The Many Advantages of Using a Water Softener

Hard water can cause a number of problems that some homeowners find frustrating, and that others barely notice, yet can be costly to remedy. Hard water causes scale build-ups that can clog pipes and make water-using appliances run less efficiently. Hard water also reduces the effectiveness of soap, which results in dry skin, dull hair, water spots on dishware, and stiff clothing. A water softener can correct all of these undesirable issues and save homeowners money.

Putting It All Together

Water softeners work to remove positively charged calcium and magnesium ions from water, restoring a more natural chemical balance. Without calcium and magnesium, scale deposits will not form. Special systems designed to present scale build-up can convert calcium ions into crystals that cannot bind to pipes and other surfaces. The crystals are small, neutral, and easily rinsed away, so they do not pose any kind of threat or inconvenience. Water softeners can also restore the effectiveness of soap. Hard water carries a positive charge that neutralizes soap, but softened water allows soap to dissolve like it is supposed to. Reviews of water softeners are readily available to anyone interested.


Noticeable Benefits of Softer Water

Homeowners who start using water softeners notice many improvements. These include:

  • Dishware, cars, tile, and other washed items have fewer water spots.
  • Skin and hair become softer, sleeker, and cleaner.
  • Less soap scum is left behind in appliances, sinks, and tubs.
  • Clothes become softer, brighter, and whiter.
  • Water-using appliances have a longer lifespan.
  • Monthly costs are lower since appliances run more efficiently.
  • Repair and maintenance costs for appliances and pipes are also reduced.

Of course, it is important that homeowners choose the right type of softener if they want to enjoy the benefits of water softening without any downsides.

Types of Water Softeners

Homeowners installing a water softener can choose between salt-free and salt-based water softening systems. Salt-based water softeners have more obvious effects when it comes to creating bubbly, lathering soap that produces brighter clothing and softer skin. Salt-based softeners also are more effective at stopping scale build-up. However, since these softeners add sodium to the water, they may not be a good solution for people with high blood pressure or heart disease. These softeners have even been banned in some cities because of the environmental impact of wastewater with an excessive salt content.

Salt-free water softeners offer the same benefits as salt-based softeners, but they are healthier and more environmentally friendly. A salt free system does not require maintenance, produce waste products, or use electricity and chemicals. In fact, salt-free softener components only need to be replaced once every five years, whereas salt-based systems need new salt added on a monthly basis.

Choosing the Right System

When water has very high calcium and magnesium content, a salt-based water softener may be necessary; salt-based softeners are more effective at treating water with high hardness levels. However, these systems have their downsides, so they are typically not ideal for homeowners dealing with moderate water hardness. People with mild water hardness or at-risk family members, including children and the elderly, should consider a salt-free system so they can enjoy all of the benefits of softer water without any drawbacks.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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