Do I need a Water Softener?
There are times when a new gadget comes along that has to be seen (or experienced) to be believed. Most often new gadgets have an initial novelty appeal, which wanes over time. Finally it (whatever it is) gets consigned to some long lost cupboard in the house and ultimately dumped. Not so the product I’m about to introduce here.
Enter the domestic water softener and here I want to introduce you the benefits of a water softener. Of which there are many. But first what is a water softener and what does it do?
The Home Water Softener
Most domestic water that gets piped into our homes is what’s referred to as hard. This means that, on its travels to us, the water has picked up mineral salts from rocks and the soil. These dissolve into the water which is collected, filtered and purified, then piped to homes all over the country.
The filtration system fails to remove the minerals in the water as they’re dissolved in the water at the atomic level (to small for any filter to catch). But at the same time they’re harmless to us and so drinking this “hard” water has no effect on us.
So what are the Benefits of a Water Softener
However hard water is a problem for for all other uses of water around the home. The biggest problem with hard water is that the minerals dissolved within can and do leach out. The effect of this process is a substance called Limescale. This is the chalky white substance that you see around taps, around baths and around shower heads.
This chalky white substance looks unsightly but there’s worse to come. It’s the limescale deposits that you don’t see that take their toll on domestic hot water systems, washing machines and dishwashers. The life of these expensive appliances is severely reduced and that costs you money.
For heating, these limescale deposits that you can’t see, are being laid down over the years and the deposit gets thicker and thicker. But it’s worse than that, the limescale acts as an heat sink and insulator. Which means that you house get cooler – So you turn the heating up. Which is more cost to you.
home water softener to the Rescue
The solution to the hard water problem is to convert the hard water into soft water. That is water with the mineral content (ions to give it it’s correct name) removed. This can now be down very easily. Take a look at this website to find out more benefits of a water softener.
Where the municipal water supply enters your home, you have fitted a small water softener device. These devices are quite simple in principle and use ion exchange to remove the calcium and magnesium minerals from the water. Once fitted hard water goes into the device and soft water comes out of the device this all happens as if by magic. However the soft water device has to regenerate from time to time – This is where the device just flushes out all of the accumulated calcium and magnesium out through the drain.
This removal of minerals (called regeneration) happens automatically. This regeneration requires ordinary salt, blocks of salt. This then is your only task to replace the salt blocks when needed. And if you do forget to add salt – no problem. Nothing will break, you will just stop getting soft water (you’ve gone hard water again).
These salt blocks are made from ordinary salt, the type you use at the table. Salt or sodium chloride, is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet. So these blocks are relative cheap too. Which means your going to save a lot of money and the cost, after installation, is just blocks or salt.
But is My Water Going to Taste Salty?
In a quick answer – NO. Although salt gets used in the regeneration process the by-product is not salt. And this water gets flushed away, so the water is just fine.
However we would always recommend a drinking filter system in the home as these remove things that might be in the water which you don’t want to be drinking. Such as traces of pesticides, fertilisers and heavy metals that might be in there. There’s more about water filters here.