Hard water effects are seen in a variety of ways. To name a few issues, hard water clogs pipes, shortens the life of appliances and equipment, necessitates the use of more detergent, soap, and scouring powder, requires more energy to heat water, and leaves a crusty, difficult-to-clean film on tile and sinks. To address hard water issues, homeowners frequently install a water conditioner or water softener to remove heavy mineral concentrations from their water.
What is hard water?
Hardness is based on the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium present in water. The ground from which your water supply comes will determine the water hardness in your area. As rain falls from the clouds, it is soft and free of minerals, but once water begins to sink into the soil and rocks, it picks up dissolved minerals and then becomes hard water. Water from a lake or reservoir is collected from snow melt and runoff and is usually slightly harder than rainwater; however, water from an underground aquifer that is pumped up to homes will be much higher in minerals and thus harder.
Is hard water bad for you?
Hard water is fine to drink, and actually supplies a number of necessary minerals people need to stay healthy. Some of the minerals most concentrated in hard water are calcium or magnesium carbonates, chlorides, or sulfates. All are fine to drink, necessary for health, and play a role in preventing diseases and many cancers.
In the war on hard water, there is the main weapon: water softeners. It controls the hardness of water and eliminates the hard minerals, and therefore, limescale.
A water softener, or "traditional" softener, has been around the longest and uses a process where minerals in hard water are exchanged for sodium ions (these types of softeners require a salt source).
As water enters the water softener tank, the stronger, positively charged minerals like calcium and magnesium in the water push the salt ions free and cling to the resin beads. The sodium ions take the place of the minerals and flow to the faucets and spigots in your home.
Which water softener is better?
Each model has strong points that you should be aware of when making a selection. As far as cost, the entry-level models start around £300, and top-of-the-line products run about £1500-£2,600.
Looking simply at the goal of reducing or eliminating hard water, a water softener is the best option. When compared to water conditioners, the softeners are better: they actually remove the minerals, whereas conditioners transform minerals in the water by altering the charge. This reduces the limescale buildup, but the minerals are still in the water. With a conditioner, the minerals, instead of sticking together and forming hard limescale, form a soft powder that can be easily washed away.
Water softener maintenance
A traditional softener requires maintenance. Every 6 weeks, salt needs to be added to the system, and the brine tank should be cleaned every 6 months. Homeowners will also need to check the salt levels in their water softeners on a weekly basis, as well as have the drain line checked on a regular basis to ensure it's not clogged.
In many areas, hard water can be a problem resulting in higher energy costs, clogged pipes, and reduced life of appliances. Water softeners work well in dealing with hard water.
Contact our independent water treatment experts for an advice on what model of a water softener suits best your budget and individual requirements.
Please fill out the Quick Quote Form if you would like to arrange a visit or get a quote.
Call us on 01932 245 200 to receive an advice on your water softener needs.