A Quick Guide to Water Softeners


Does your house have hard water? How would you know if it does?

Hard water is high in mineral content, which can lead to calcium deposits that can be detrimental to plumbing and appliances. Signs include a filmy feeling on your skin, water spots on dishes and rings around the bathtub.

So what can you do to alleviate the impact of hard water in your home? Install a water softener.

What is a water softener?

Water softeners remove unwanted excess minerals (e.g. magnesium) from your water supply. This is done through a process called ion exchange, in which negatively charged resin beads trap the positively charged minerals. These beads must be periodically “regenerated” to remain effective.

What is regeneration?

Minerals are separated from the resin using salt and then flushed from the system. Regeneration can be scheduled or initiated automatically, but the equipment will not provide soft water during this process. However, dual-tank systems that provide a 24-7 soft water reserve are available.

Regeneration can introduce trace levels of sodium to your drinking water. To reduce this effect, add a softener to your hot water supply only or opt for a salt-free water conditioner.

What is a water conditioner?

These systems use template-assisted crystallization to prevent minerals from sticking to plumbing and appliances. However, they don’t remove the minerals.

How do I select a water softener?

Size matters. To estimate the necessary capacity, multiply the hardness, or grains per gallon (gpg) of your water, by the average gallons per day (gpd) used by your household. Let’s say your four-person household has a water hardness of 7 gpg and uses 400 gpd. Multiplying these numbers, we get a minimum capacity of 2,800 gpg.

To determine water hardness, consult your municipal provider or use a DIY water testing kit. But keep in mind, water softeners do not filter your water — and ion exchange systems are restricted in many municipalities, so consult local regulations prior to installation.

For more advice, contact us today.

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