Why Install a Water Softener?

Do you live in a hard water area? Have you ever considered installing a water softener but never knew where to start?

What does it mean to have hard / soft water?

The amount of dissolved mineral ions in water decide whether the water is classed as hard or soft. The types of rocks found in different areas will also have an impact how hard / soft water is in the area. This is because rainwater is slightly acidic, when it rains, the water runs over rock - dissolving some compounds into the rainwater. Most of the United Kingdom has some level of hardness in it's water.

What does having hard water mean?

If you live in a hard water area, you may have noticed a build up of limescale on your taps, shower-heads and even in the kettle. Those who live in soft water areas will have little or no limescale build-up. It can be an endless chore, ridding your home of limescale and water marks. There are countless sprays and products specifically for removing limescale and whilst they remove the build-up, they don't stop it from building up again and again. Which is great for Barry Scott (google him) because people keep on buying these products, not so good for the customer's purse.

What can I do to stop limescale build-up?

Water can be treated to stop limescale build up, one popular option is to install a water softener. Although a softener can be an expensive initial purchase, it can saving you money in a number of ways. - Heating: Just 1mm of limescale can add up to 7% on to your energy bills, think about it, if there is a build up of scale on the inside of your pipework, the pipes are in effect - thicker. Softened water can also help to protect your boiler, making it last longer. - Washing Clothes: Again, softened water can help protect your washer, which has a small heating element inside. Less washing powder is needed as softened water allows soaps to lather up more, also there is no need for fabric softeners. - Shampoo's and Soaps As I have already said, soaps lather up better in softened water, therefore you will need less shampoo to wash you hair and a small drop of bubble bath will fill your bath with bubbles. If you are using less, your bathroom products will last your longer, therefore; save you money. - Dishwashers Ever wonder why we put salt into dishwashers? Well, it's because essentially, a dishwasher is a mini water softener. The salt allows for better cleaning and stops water marks on your glassware. Households with a water softener do not need to put extra salt into their dishwasher.

How does a water softener work?

A softener removes calcium and magnesium ions from water and replaces them with sodium ions. This is called ion exchange. An ion exchange column: calcium ions in hard water get replaced with sodium ions to produce soft water There is a chamber, filled with ion exchange resin. This resin is normally covered with sodium positive ions. As water flows over the resin balls, calcium and magnesium positive ions in (found in hard water) stick to the resin and release the sodium ions in to the water. In effect, they swap places. After a while, all the sodium ions have been exchanged and the resin needs re-newing. The resin is rinsed with a solution of salt water. The high concentration of sodium ions displaces the calcium and magnesium, so the water softening unit is ready for use again. This process is called regeneration. This is why after the initial purchase, the only thing you need to buy for you softener is salt. Do you have a water softener? What was the biggest difference you noticed after installation?  
June 26, 2014
In: Uncategorized
Tags: Water Softener, Salt. Hard Water, Soft Water, Ions, Sodium, Dishwasher, Limescale, Calcium, Magnesium

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