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How Water Softeners Work
What a water softener does is trade “hard” minerals in water for “soft” ones. The typical trade involves calcium entering a water softener and being traded for sodium (a soft mineral). Inside a water softener are a bunch of chemical magnets called “ion exchange resin.” These are what do the trading. The more chemical magnets you have in a softener, the higher capacity it is and the more gallons you will be able to purify before you need to recharge (regenerate) it.
How to Choose the Right Water Softener for Your Home
Home water softener systems hold the potential to improve people’s quality of life. By far, the most commonly used type of whole house water softener use is an ion exchange process, with multiple options to choose from.
These water softeners regenerate on a predetermined schedule that you will set. These outdated models aren’t ideal if you want the most efficient softener. If you underestimate your water usage, the softener will regenerate too infrequently, leaving you with hard water at certain times.
Overestimating your water use will result in unnecessary regeneration that wastes energy and water. These softeners require resetting the timer each time there is a loss of power, making it a nuisance to most.
This is the best model if you want a more efficient system. Sensors in this system monitor water usage. When the resin is full of hardness minerals, the softener regenerates on its own. This softener works on an as-needed basis, and some advanced models can learn your water use patterns to further optimize regeneration frequency.
Single-Tank Water Softener
A single-tank system uses an efficient amount of space with its compact design that holds the brine and resin tank in a single cabinet. The “on-demand” feature monitors your water usage in gallons. The softener will regenerate during off periods when capacity is reached. It’s almost impossible to run out of soft water.
Twin-Tank Water Softener
This model uses more floor space but that’s because of the two resin tanks. The space accommodation is worth it. When one tank is being used for soft water, the other is regenerating it in case more is needed throughout the day. The twin-tank system is great for large families who need more soft water during the day, making the higher cost well worth it.
The Effects of Hard Water
Hard water has many negative effects on your body, your plumbing system, and your appliances.
Due to the fact that it makes it more difficult to create a good lather and rinse your hair, hard water results in tangled, dry hair that often has soap film on it. Additionally, because hard water cannot properly dissolve detergents and soaps, it results in skin that is dry, flaky, and itchy. The excess minerals in hard water can also directly dry on the skin, which clogs the pores and leads to acne breakouts. In particularly dry climates, hard water can even cause dermatitis or worsen the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema. Because detergent cannot fully work due to the presence of minerals in the water, it results in “detergent crud” on your clothes, making them not seem completely clean.
Perhaps one of the most detrimental effects of hard water is what it does to your plumbing. The harder your water is, the more minerals are present that can leech onto the insides of your pipes. While hard water build-up can occur in all pipes, it is more common in those that carry hot water. Eventually, the increased presence of scale begins to constrict the opening in your pipes, reducing the flow and water pressure at fixtures like your showerhead and faucets. In extreme cases, the scale can completely block your pipes and cause them to burst due to pressure build-up.
Hard water also contributes to the inefficient operation of your major water-using appliances, including the water heater, dishwasher, and refrigerator. The pipes and valves within these appliances can also become clogged with scale, reducing water flow or causing leaks, resulting in potentially expensive part replacements. This can amount to a 30% to 50% decrease in the lifespan of major appliances due to extreme wear and tear.
The Presence of Chlorine in Your Home’s Tap Water
Chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant, and it’s been added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing bacteria that the water or its transport pipes might contain for more than 100 years.
Aside from all the health risks related to chlorine in our water, it is the primary cause of water tasting bad and smelling foul. High levels of it leave an unpleasant, bleach-like taste in your food. Chlorine also dries out skin and hair, and cause rashes.
The good news is that chlorine is one of the easiest substances to remove from our water. And, because of advancements in water filtration, there’s no need to continue putting it in water.
The Presence of Iron in Your Home’s Tap Water
As rainwater infiltrates the soil and underlying geologic formations, it dissolves iron causing it to seep into aquifers that serve as sources of groundwater for wells.
Concentrations of iron as low as 0.3 mg/L will leave reddish-brown stains on fixtures, tableware, and laundry that are very hard to remove. When these deposits break loose from water piping, rusty water will flow through your faucets.
Iron gives water a disagreeable metallic taste. When the iron combines with tea, coffee, and other beverages, it produces an inky, black appearance and a harsh, unacceptable taste. Vegetables cooked in water containing excessive iron turn dark and look unappealing. You will also find reddish-brown stains on fixtures, tableware, and laundry that are very hard to remove.
The pH Value in Your Home’s Drinking Water
The indicator for acidity and alkalinity is known as the pH value. A pH value of 7 means a substance is neutral. The lower value indicates acidity, and a higher value is a sign of alkalinity.
High-pH water has a slippery feel, tastes a bit like baking soda, and may leave deposits on fixtures. Low-pH water, on the other hand, may have a bitter or metallic taste and may contribute to fixture corrosion.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
TDS is anything—other than pure H2O—in water that you cannot see. This could include any salt, metal, or mineral, and the lower the TDS level is, the purer the water. TDS is measured on a quantity scale, either in mg/L or, more commonly, in parts per million (ppm).
An elevated total dissolved solids concentration does not mean that the water is a health hazard but can result in your water having a bitter or salty taste; result in incrustations, films, or precipitates and stains on fixtures; corrosion of fixtures; and reduced efficiency of water filter and equipment.
Why Your Home’s Water Appears Cloudy
A build-up of trapped air in your water pipes can cause water to become carbonated and look cloudy, but this is harmless. Your water pipes may also be contaminated with small particles such as rock, stone, sand, or dirt, which leads to cloudy looking water. If it is caused by more serious contaminants, though, installing a reverse osmosis system is the next step. By filtering water through a series of membranes, these systems catch up to 99% of contaminants, including chemicals like pesticides and chlorine.
The Importance of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems
Public water suppliers work hard to provide clean water for their customers. The problem is that there are many contaminants, especially those that cause taste and odor issues, which are simply not EPA regulated. These contaminants can easily penetrate aquifers, streams, and rivers, bringing impurities straight to your water lines.
RO filtration improves taste, odor, and appearance of water by removing contaminants that cause taste and odor problems. With an RO system, you can cancel your water delivery service and stop purchasing cases of bottled water. Reverse osmosis filtration provides better quality water for just pennies per gallon.
Our Central New Jersey and the Jersey Shore water softener experts can install a variety of Kinetico water softeners and reverse osmosis systems. Reach out to us by filling out our online form.
Best HVAC experience I’ve ever had. “The guys at Guaranteed are the best. Al Giordano was friendly, on time and knowledgeable. He helped us pick out the best system for our home. Brian and Nick installed the system in one day. They were efficient, respectful and clean. The job came out better than I could’ve imagined. Best HVAC experience I’ve ever had.”- Sebastian C.
I will definitely use them again! “Truly great service, Joe is an excellent technician. He took the time to explain everything he was doing and answered all of my questions. I’m so glad I took advantage of the tune-up offer that Guaranteed Service was offering. I will definitely use them again for my maintenance service in the future and would highly recommend this company.”- Susan C.
Courteous, Professional and Efficient! “One of the best companies that I have ever worked with! From my first phone call to the final walk through, everything was impeccable! Al Giordano- Lyndell P.
was just amazing, explained everything upfront and took the time to answer all my questions and address my concerns. Jason, Brian and Nick were fantastic and I cannot stop raving about them to my friends and family! I would recommend them over and over again, courteous, professional and efficient! Call Guaranteed Service, you will not be disappointed!”