Everything You Need To Know About Water Softeners

Central Kentucky is notorious for its hard water and its effects on your home’s plumbing. Hard water can even affect you and your family’s clothes, appliances, and bodies. Essentially unfiltered tap water is hard water, but even if you use bottled water to drink, hard water can still cause harm to you and your home.


What Is Hard Water?

As water makes its way into our water supply it picks up minerals, like calcium and magnesium. The water picks up these minerals as it runs over the large limestone deposits under Central Kentucky. The water erodes the limestone and dissolves the minerals into our water supplies. Even after your water is treated, the calcium and magnesium deposits remain in your drinking water and can affect you and your home in different ways.


How Can Hard Water Affect Me?

Hard water has no significant negative health side effects, in fact the National Research Council found that hard drinking water can contribute to a small portion of your daily intake of calcium and magnesium. However, hard water has a negative impact on the overall health of your hair and skin. The minerals cling to your hair and body causing dry skin and damaged hair. Hard water can even ruin your clothes as you wash them. Hard water will actually make your clothes’ texture rougher and will cause them to lose color quicker than clothes washed in soft water.


Hard Water and Your Plumbing

While hard water can cause problems for your body, hard water is most harmful on your plumbing system. Hard water leaves white or red stains on your shower, sinks, faucets, and anywhere else water is used. Hard water makes cleaning supplies and soap less effective too, causing you to use more detergents to clean. This happens since the soaps cannot dissolve completely in the water, as the minerals have already diluted the water.


The calcium and magnesium in hard water also builds up in pipes, reducing the water flow in your faucets and appliances. The mineral collections in your pipes can even create pinhole leaks, which are extremely costly to repair. Hard water shortens the lifespan of your plumbing appliances, like your dishwasher and washing machine. It does this by blocking the water flow to these appliances. The appliances must work harder to get water, decreasing their efficiency and lowering their lifespan. This collection inside of plumbing appliances is especially harmful to your water heater and reduces the efficiency and lifespan of it exponentially. In Central Kentucky, the hardness of the water decreases the average lifespan of a water heater from 20-25 years to 10-15 years or less. Furthermore, hard water is more difficult to heat than pure water. Your water heater will have to use more energy to heat your water, which results in higher energy bills.


Hard water can be extremely costly to you and your family, but a water softener can help alleviate these issues.


How Does a Water Softener Work?

At the simplest level, traditional water softeners use salt brine to clean the minerals out of your water. The way this works is in the molecules of hard water. Calcium and magnesium are naturally positively charged ions, which allow these minerals to stick to pipes and other plumbing appliances. When they are met with a negatively charged ion, like salt brine, the minerals stick to the negative salt brine ions, resulting in soft water flowing through your pipes. The minerals left behind attached to the salt brine go into a storage tank, which is a part of your water softener system. That tank stores the salt brine, calcium, and other minerals, and then will flush out the minerals at a time when is most convenient for you and your family. Most families elect for it to flush late at night while they are asleep. This cleansing process allows the water softener to continue working and results in very little maintenance.


A water softener can help extend the life of your water heater, beat stubborn hard water stains on plumbing appliances, protect your skin and hair, and keep your plumbing system clear of any mineral build ups.


To learn more about water softeners call The Professional Plumbers at H2O Maestro at 859-361-7925