If you live in the United States, odds are you have hard water. According to the U.S. Geological survey, almost 90% of homes in the United States have hard water. While hard water does not present any known health issues, it can cause problems with your appliances and plumbing. To help solve your hard water problems in Minnesota, you may consider a water softener installation in Minneapolis. |
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is, of course, not actually hard, and a water softener does not "soften" water. Hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The minerals found in water occur there naturally as the water runs through soil that contains those specific minerals and dissolves them. A water softener removes the minerals from the water in order to prevent hard-water deposits called scale.
What Is Scale?
Scale is a buildup of the minerals found in water, and is responsible for the spots you get on your faucets, dishes, or car, and the filmy feeling left in your shower. But scale doesn't just cause aesthetic problems; it can also shorten the life span of your appliances and can even lead to clogged pipes. As the scale builds up over time, it can clog your appliances, such as your dishwasher or laundry machine, making them less efficient and need to work harder to get the job done, and can slow the flow of your water.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener is a water treatment system that is hooked up to your water supply in order to remove hard water-causing minerals. Most water softener systems use a process called ion exchange to remove the minerals from the water by replacing them with something else. In most water softeners, the replacement is sodium, although potassium chloride is a more expensive sodium alternative.
What Is Ion Exchange?
During ion exchange, many water softeners will have a tank with resin beads. These resin beads have a negative charge. The resin beads will have positively charged sodium ions attached to them. As the water flows by, calcium and magnesium ions, which have an even stronger positive charge than the sodium, will be attracted to the negatively charged resin beads. As the calcium and resin ions attach to the resin beads, the sodium ions are released into the water.
Replacing the Sodium Ions
Most water softeners will automatically regenerate the resin with sodium ions when it has become full of calcium and magnesium ions, either after a certain period of time or after a certain amount of water has run through the system. To regenerate the resin, a brine solution of saltwater is poured through the system over the resin, washing the calcium and magnesium ions down a drain. As a result, water softeners will usually have a tank for you to fill with salt. Generally, adding salt is the only regular maintenance a water softener requires.
Benefits of Water Softeners
In addition to prolonging the life of appliances in the home and reducing the chances of clogged pipes due to scale buildup, having a water softener installation in Minneapolis can provide you with a few other benefits. For example, you will find that the film in your shower is reduced, and that your dishes and plumbing fixtures no longer have hard water spots. Hard water also reduces the ability of soap to lather and makes it harder to rinse. When using a water softener, you may notice that your skin and hair feel softer, and your clothing and soaps that can cause films and roughness are easier to rinse away.
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