How Water Softening Works

How Does Water Softening Work?

Believe it or not, many people think that owning a water softener is luxury. But, the truth is, it’s more of a necessity these days. While hard water is not generally harmful to your physical health, it can impose huge structural issues in both commercial and residential properties.

For starters, it creates buildup in your pipes which leads to lowered water pressure and costly repairs. Additionally, it can shorten the life of your appliances and it leaves your skin and hair feeling dry.

When it comes to the actual process of how it works, water softening by ion exchange is, by far, the most common approach in-home application. In this method, hard water passes through resin beads with electrically charged ions.

These beads remove magnesium and calcium ions from hard water, resulting in soft water. Once the resin beads become saturated with the minerals, the system shifts to regeneration. Brine water rinses the resin, washing off all the minerals to prepare it for another round of softening. It’s an elegant solution to a problem that many homes throughout Texas deal with.

What is Hard Water?

In general, hardness is the amount of dissolved magnesium and calcium in the water. You may notice it when you wash your hands with soap and water. Even after soaping and rinsing thoroughly, you may still feel slimy, as if there is a residue left on your hands. You may also notice calcium buildup around faucets and showerheads, your hair feels dry, laundry is not so soft, and you have cloudy dishes after washing them in the dishwasher.

Generally speaking, you can tell that you have hard water simply by noticing the buildup on showerheads and around faucets. However, if you’re not sure or if you just moved into the house, you can also buy a test kit from the local hardware store. The test kit can tell you whether or not you have hard water simply by reading the color-coded strips.

Signs That You Need Water Softening

Here are a few questions that indicate you need water softening:

  • Does your tap water look cloudy?
  • Do you feel slimy or slick in the shower?
  • Does it feel like your soap or shampoo is leaving a residue?
  • Do your hair and skin feel slimy or dry right after bathing?
  • Do you see any spots on your dishes, utensils, and glassware after washing them?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you probably have hard water. Give JustUs Softening a call now to schedule a free water analysis.

Do I Have to Use Salt in My Water Softener?

There are two kinds of water softeners available, but there is only one clear winner. Salt-based softening systems are still the most effective because they make sure that calcium and magnesium are completely removed from the water. Salt-free softeners, on the other hand, merely do water conditioning work. These systems just neutralize magnesium and calcium contaminants so they won’t stick to household surfaces. They don’t remove it from the water.

The salt in your softener is an important cleaning agent when it comes to addressing water hardness. There are two main types of salt used: Sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride (a kind of salt). You can easily check if the salt in your unit is running low by looking at the brine tank. If it’s running low, then it’s time to add more.

What Type of Salt Should You Use in Your Water Softener?

Using salt blocks can cause an imbalance in the brine solution, resulting in inefficient regeneration of the water softening system. It is highly recommended to use a pellet, cube, or granular types of salt instead. These forms of salt supply a better brine solution that ultimately contributes to the overall efficiency of your unit.

Is Soft Water Safe for Drinking?

Soft water is generally safe to drink. Keep in mind that softened water is not saltwater, and that water softening systems don’t purify water using sodium. When water is softened, it flows through resin beads to eliminate hardness. Once the resin beads are saturated and can no longer remove hardness, regeneration takes place with the help of the salt solution. The salt solution merely purifies the resin beads.

There may be a bit of salt left in the water, but it is not enough to cause concern for most people’s diets.

Is Soft Water Better for Cleaning Purposes?

Hard water can negatively impact every cleaning task, from bathing and grooming to washing clothes. Why? Because hard water affects the amount of soap needed for cleaning. When you use soap with hard water, it combines with minerals and forms a sticky soap curd. This soap curd can cause skin irritation, make your clothes stiff, and make your hair dull. When you have hard water, all cleaning requires more soap which ultimately shortens the lifespan of your clothes and may also lead to skin irritation.

Cleaning with soft water is a lot more effective since it requires 50% to 75% less soap and you don’t have to deal with soap curds.

Get Started With a Free Quote!

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Contact JustUs Softening Now!

JustUs Softening offers immediate, affordable, and professional water softening services in Austin, Texas. All of our technicians are licensed, insured, and have more than 50-years of experience. Whether you are from Crystal Falls, Georgetown, Lakeway, Round Rock, or Leander, our licensed and insured plumbers are here to solve your home’s hard water issues. Get a free consultation and water test with our water conditioning experts today.

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