The effects of using hard water can be frustrating for some homeowners and barely noticeable for others, but they can be very expensive to manage. Hard water causes scale buildup that can clog pipes and make water-using appliances run less efficiently.
Also, hard water makes soap less effective, resulting in dull hair, dry skin, stiff clothes, and water spots on dishes. Fortunately, a water softener can solve the problems mentioned above and save homeowners money.
Putting it all together
Water softeners work by removing positively charged calcium and magnesium ions from water to restore a natural chemical balance. Scale deposits will not form in the absence of calcium and magnesium. Special systems that aim to prevent scale buildup can transform calcium ions into crystals, and these cannot stick to surfaces like pipes.
Since these crystals are small, neutral, and easy to rinse, they do not present any risk. In addition, they can recover the effectiveness of the soap. While hard water has a positive charge that reduces soapiness, soft water allows soap to dissolve naturally.
Benefits of softer water that are visible
Homeowners who have started using water softeners notice many improvements such as the following:
- Hair and skin become cleaner, softer and shinier.
- Appliances that use water last longer.
- The clothes become whiter, softer and brighter.
- Washed items like cars, dishes, and tiles have fewer water spots.
- There’s less soap scum on sinks, tubs, and appliances.
- Repair and maintenance costs become lower.
- Monthly expenses are reduced because the appliances work efficiently.
- Repair and maintenance costs for household appliances and pipes are also reduced.
Deciding on the right type of softener is certainly critical for homeowners if they want to enjoy the benefits of water softening without the inconvenience.
Different types of water softeners
Homeowners planning to install a water softener have salt-based and salt-free water softening system options. The effects of salt-based water softeners are most obvious in terms of making a foamy, bubbly soap that gives softer skin and shinier clothes.
Salt-based softeners can prevent scale buildup more effectively. However, these softeners add sodium to the water, so they may not be suitable for people with health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, salt-based softeners have been banned in several cities due to the impact of wastewater with too much salt content on the environment.
Although salt-free water softeners provide the same benefits as salt-based softeners, they are healthier and more environmentally friendly. A salt-free system is maintenance-free, does not create waste products, or use chemicals and electricity. For this reason, its components can be replaced once every five years. On the other hand, salt-based systems need new salt added to them every month.
How to choose the right system
A salt-based water softener is suitable for water with a very high calcium and magnesium content; That’s because this type of softener is effective in treating water that has high levels of hardness. However, salt-based water systems have their drawbacks, making them unsuitable for homeowners who handle moderately hard water.
A salt-free system may be the best option for people who have mild water hardness or high-risk family members such as children and the elderly; this will allow them to enjoy the benefits of softer water without the drawbacks.