What Makes Water Hard or Soft?
By definition, “hard water” is water that is full of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Up to 90% of homes in America have hard water, whether from a well or a municipal water supply. These minerals are in no way harmful if ingested, but they can cause significant issues.
How Water Softeners Work: The Ion Exchange Process
Getting rid of the minerals in the water is a simple chemistry experiment. A person may have to reach far back in their memory banks to remember that a chemical reaction occurs in the presence of a positive and negative charge of atoms (ions). They exchange electrons and bond together, creating a new substance. This is like what takes place within the tank of a water softener. The process looks like this:
- Resin beads in the softener’s water tank have a negative charge (anions).
- The dissolved iron, calcium, and magnesium have a positive charge (cations).
- The minerals are drawn to the negative charge of the beads and adhere to them.
- The water flows from the tank, basically mineral-free and “soft.”
- The beads are cleaned through a renewal process that uses salt with a higher positive charge than the minerals so that the beads will drop them for the salt.
- The minerals are flushed out of the system.
Indicators that a Home has Hard Water
Even though the minerals in hard water are not harmful to the human body, they can cause many minor inconveniences and plumbing problems. Hard water is not good for a home’s plumbing system or appliances. It is easy to determine if a home’s water is hard water. Here are a few indicators:
- Soap Scum: If a homeowner struggles to rid their bathroom of soap scum, hard water may be the issue. Soap scum happens when soap and the dissolved calcium in the hard water create a film that is difficult to remove.
- Low Water Pressure: The water may be there, but it may not be able to get through the pipes as well due to scale buildup from the minerals in hard water.
- Spotty Dishes and Glasses: Whether washed in the dishwasher or by hand, there may be streaks or spots that keep the drinkware from looking clean.
- Stiff Laundry: If stuff is coming out of the dryer or off the line feeling stiff and scratchy, hard water may have been present when the clothes were washed.
- Dry Skin and Hair: The remnants of minerals left on the skin and hair after bathing can make a person’s skin and hair itchy and dry.
The Advantages of a Water Softener for the Whole Home
If a household is experiencing any of these issues, they should consider purchasing a whole home water softener. Water softener installation is often easier and less expensive than people expect.
Soft water makes it easier to wash dishes, clothing, and oneself. The water may even taste better after the softening process. A water softener will also prevent premature wear and tear to a home’s pipes and appliances, extending the life of the plumbing. With so many benefits, all homeowners struggling with hard water should get a water softener.
About Lascko Services
Lascko Services is a family-owned and operated company with over 20 years of experience serving the community of Muskegon, MI, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, personal attention, and easy scheduling. Call them today for water softener services in Muskegon, MI.