Plumbers and plumbing companies do more than simply fix or repair pipes. The best plumbers view themselves as providing clean and safe water to others. In particular, as contaminated water enters more towns and communities, homeowners must rely on quality plumbers. As a result, plumbers provide families with the water they deserve. From the proper water softness, which filters natural and environmental minerals, to improved efficiency around your home, working with quality plumbers makes a huge difference.
For example, plumbers across Michigan traveled to Flint to install free filters for residents. As many people know, the Flint city water contained lead, which requires proper filtration for safe drinking. Currently, plumbers continue replacing pipes in homes in order to provide safe drinking water.
Closer to Connecticut, residents of Plainville, CT received a letter from our local water supplier with some news about the town water. The good news is that the Town of Plainville and State Officials confirmed that our water is completely safe to drink. However, experts labeled the water very hard.
What is hard water? Simple. Hard water means the water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals. In particular, the water contains calcium and magnesium. Additionally, hard water has a tendency to cause mineral buildup in water pipes and heating systems. Plus, hard water reduces efficiency and increases energy costs by as much as 30%.
Although hard water does not directly impact your health, it does affect your overall well-being. For example, hard water reduces the performance and lifespan of your water-related appliances. Plus, washing machines or dishwashers lose efficiency because the minerals bind with soap and detergent. As a result, the inefficiencies reduce the performance of these appliances.
For example, did you know that nearly 85% of people in the U.S. have hard water?
Not sure if you are part of the 85%? The tell-tale signs include things, such as:
- water spots on dishes or glasses,
- soap scum in the shower and sink,
- dulled hair and clogged pores,
- scratchy or hard clothes after doing the laundry,
- increased difficulty in household chores, and/or
- reduced water flow and pressure.
CREATE WATER SOFTNESS IN YOUR HOME
If you are like most homeowners, you likely know about things such as hard water, water softeners or water treatment.
Originally, the term hard water referred to the lack of soap lathering. The “hardness” prevents soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble mineral contained within the water. Fortunately, it is pretty straightforward to treat hard water in your home through water softeners.
WHAT ARE WATER SOFTENERS?
Water softeners counteract the impact of hard water by removing the minerals. Properly installed water softeners create better water quality and extend the life of appliances, such as the washing machine.
A water softener system treats your home water when the water enters the your home by removing the impurities before the water travels through the pipes and into your water-using appliances. Water softeners stop hard water from coming out of the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen (or wherever you may have faucets).
All water softeners operate under the same principle. Softeners trade the minerals (i.e., magnesium or calcium) for something else, in most cases sodium. The process is called ion exchange.
At the heart of the water softener is a mineral tank, which is filled with small polystyrene beads (aka resin or zeolite). They carry a negative charge, which means these minerals will cling to the beads as the hard water passes through the mineral tank.
Water softeners have a separate brine tank that uses common salt to create brine solution. Sodium ions have positive charges. The hard water flows into the mineral tank and the calcium and magnesium ions move to the beads, replacing sodium ions. The sodium ions go into the water. Once the beads are saturated with calcium and magnesium, the unit enters a regenerating cycle. Upon completion, the mineral tank is flushed of excess brine and the brine tank is refilled.
One of the biggest misconceptions about water softeners is that the salt actually softens the water. However, the thousands of resin beads inside your softener that filter out hard water minerals actually “softens” the water. The salt in the water softener enables the resin to collect and remove the “hardness” from your water.
BENEFITS OF WATER SOFTNESS
If you have hard water and install a quality water softener, then you and your family will begin to experience numerous benefits. From improved health to brighter clothes and more efficient appliances that will save you money, water softeners are a great idea.
- Water Softeners Provide Health Benefits
The health benefits of water softeners include the ability to use chemical free soaps. Plus, your family can drink and bath with mineral free water. Overall, you’ll feel “softer” skin and clothes.
- Cleaning Benefits of Achieving Water Softness
Properly installed water softeners reduce cleaning-supply costs by 50-75%. Additionally, due to the mineral-free water, you’ll experience brighter, whiter clothes and towels with less detergent. Plus, no more hard water spots or etching on dishes, glasses or crystal. As a result, you’ll experience cost savings on reduced soap use.
- All Around Benefits of Water Softeners
In general, water softeners improve water flow and water pressure, which reduces build-up in pipes. As a result, homeowners receive increased water heater efficiency from less mineral scaling. Plus, softeners help eliminate staining and discoloring and lower hot water heater energy consumption by up to 29%!
Studies conducted by the independent test firm Scientific Services S/D, Inc., of New York, revealed the following benefits of softened water:
“IN WASHING MACHINES, SOFTENED WATER CAN REDUCE DETERGENT USE BY 50% AND SAVE ENERGY BY MAKING IT POSSIBLE TO WASH IN COLD (60ºF) RATHER THAN HOT (100ºF) WATER. COLD WATER WASHES WITH SOFTENED WATER ACHIEVED THE SAME OR BETTER RESULTS WHEN IT CAME TO REMOVING STAINS AND WHITENING FABRICS. IN DISHWASHERS, SOFTENED WATER CAN ACHIEVE THE SAME CLEANING RESULTS AS UNSOFTENED WHILE USING LESS THAN HALF AS MUCH DETERGENT.”
From increased longevity of major household appliances to better hair, water softeners have a wide range of benefits.
- Increased longevity of the washing machine and dishwasher (and coffee machine!).
- Decrease amount of cleaning agents and excess water draining back into the local groundwater and/or water system.
- No more lime scale.
SELECT THE BEST WATER SOFTENER FOR YOUR HOME
There are several factors to consider when selecting the best water softener system for your home. Does your family use a lot of water? How much softening power does your home need? Are you willing to complete routine maintenance?
Plus, there multiple types of water softeners. However, each type of softener removes minerals from hard water in different ways. For example, some water softening systems are ideal for homes, while others are best suited for commercial locations.
In general, the major difference between water softener systems is the number of tanks.
- In a one tank system, there is a single tank or cabinet-style system. This system requires less space because the softener’s brine tank resides inside of the salt tank.
- In a two tank system, there is a separate salt tank, which provides more options for the hard water capacity of the unit.
SALT-BASED WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
In a salt-based water softener system the household water cycles through two tanks. The first tank contains resin beads, while the second tank contains brine. Salt-based systems require a regular ‘regeneration’, which occurs when the hard water ions flush out of the system. The regeneration process makes these systems effective at providing clean water throughout your home.
SALT-FREE WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
Overall, a salt-free water softener is not as effective as the standard salt-based water softener. In a salt-free water softener system the household water regenerates with a potassium-chloride salt substitute rather than sodium. The system prevents minerals from being deposited into the home water flow. As a result, the system limits build-up in pipes and water-using appliances. For those homeowners and families concerned about sodium (or salt intake), then this system might be a worthwhile option.
MAGNETIC WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
Magnetic softeners are only temporary (the field ‘paralyzes’ minerals for up to 48 hours). In a magnetic water softener system the household water flows through a magnetic field. The magnetic field changes the electromagnetic properties of the calcium-carbonate minerals so they are repelled by pipes. The system includes a plug-in device that clips onto the incoming water pipe to create the magnetic field.
DUAL-TANK WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
In a dual-tank water softener system there is one tank that regenerates while the other tank is in use. For large families or homes with particularly hard water, the dual-tank system works because there will always be available water.
Of course, the dual-tank system requires plenty of space and requires installation near the main inbound water line so it can supply the entire house. This systems requires a drain for backwashing as well. If you choose a model that requires electrical power, be sure a circuit is located nearby.
SELECT THE RIGHT WATER SOFTENER
In selecting the proper water softener, then rest assured, that size does not matter. The right softener needs the ability to remove the minerals from water without frequent regeneration.
For example, water softeners are sold in several sizes and each are rated by the number of grains of hardness they can remove from water between regenerations. The idea is to get a unit that will go multiple days between recharges. Ideally, the water softener can also handle periods of larger-than-normal water usage.
“YOU CAN CALCULATE THE SIZE OF WATER SOFTENER YOUR FAMILY NEEDS BY MULTIPLYING THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD BY 75, WHICH IS THE THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF GALLONS USED PER PERSON PER DAY. TAKE THIS NUMBER AND MULTIPLY BY THE NUMBER OF GRAINS PER GALLON (GPG) OF HARDNESS MINERALS IN YOUR WATER TO FIGURE OUT THE CAPACITY OF WHOLE-HOUSE WATER SOFTENER YOU NEED.”
So, for example, figure that a family of five uses 375 gallons of water per day (5 X 75). If your water has 10 GPG, you have 3,750 GPG of hardness minerals (375 X 10) requiring removal each day.
As a result, creating the proper water softness for your home means understanding your options. Just like researching other home service providers, it is important to conduct proper due diligence.
Generally, it is good practice to work with an established company, so look for reviews and referrals. The longevity of a company typically means they provide high quality service to customers and remain in business for so long.
For any questions about your water softness, contact SolvIt Water.