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How to Tell if You Need a Water Softener

How Can Water be Hard?

How can water be described as hard when it is a liquid? The term hard water describes what is happening at the microscopic level. Water is the universal solvent, meaning it tries to dissolve everything it touches. This is especially true of water in nature. Natural water contains minerals that come from natural rock formations. Thus the term “hard water.”

The reason that hard water is undesirable has to do with the fact that water is such a great solvent. The problem arises when people rely on water to dissolve something, like soap, but it is too full of hard minerals to dissolve something else fully. Read on to learn about water softeners and how they deal with hard water in the home. 

What Does a Water Softener Do?

softenerCalcium and magnesium are the two minerals that contribute to hardness in water. When dissolved in water, they become charged particles called ions. Ions are so small that they can’t be filtered through traditional means. That is why water softeners use a process called ion exchange to eliminate these minerals. 

The ion exchange process uses a natural resin to capture calcium and magnesium ions electromagnetically. Over time, this resin captures as many ions as it can hold until it needs to be refreshed. A water softener uses two tanks to accomplish this: one for the resin and one for extremely salty water. Once the resin is fully saturated, the brine water is flushed over the resin to remove the minerals. The result is that a home always has soft water. 

Signs That a Home Has Hard Water

signsWater is good at dissolving other substances but can’t dissolve substances as well when hardness interferes. What are the implications of this concept in everyday life? Think of situations where washing and rinsing are concerned. How can anything get clean if water can’t fully rinse things like soil or soap? The result is: 

  • Dull, dry hair
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Dingy clothing
  • Water spots on dishes 

In addition to being unable to wash well, hard water tends to deposit its minerals onto everything it touches. This is a potentially harmful situation for the plumbing in a home. The consequences of hard water for plumbing are: 

  • Clogged pipes
  • Faster corrosion
  • The reduced life expectancy of water heaters and plumbing
  • Crusty, white spots on fixtures and showerheads
  • Higher utility bills 

How Whole Home Water Softeners Can Help

The solution to hard water is easy. Whole-home water softeners are specially designed devices that soften the entire water supply of a home. They only require minimal attention every month or so to refill the brine tank with salt. 

Living with soft water offers benefits like:

  • Healthier skin and hair
  • Longer-lasting clothing
  • Reduced plumbing repairs
  • Water heaters and plumbing last longer
  • Dishwashers and clothes washers are more effective at cleaning

About Knight Plumbing, Inc.

Knight Plumbing, Inc. has over 20 years of experience serving the community of Milwaukee, WI, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, fast arrival, and expert solutions. Call them today for water softener services in Milwaukee, WI.