Hard water contains dissolved salts normally of calcium and magnesium, when the water source passes through limestone, chalk and dolomite. These minerals are not in any way a danger to human health, but can change the taste.
These dissolved salts do make it difficult for soap to produce lather, and when they get deposited in pipes and equipment that uses water, can form scales that can clog plumbing and also damage machineries that use water.
The Necessity for Water Softening
This makes it necessary for the hard water to be softened by water softener systems. Nowadays most detergent manufacturers do add ingredients that can counteract the minerals in hard water, but scale formation can be dangerous to boilers and hot water piping.
Hardness is measured in parts per million, which is I milligram in a liter of water. Water that has more than 60 mg/L is considered hard and does require the use of water softener systems if the water has to be made completely safe for use in appliances.
What Do Water Softeners Do?
Water softeners work by removing the minerals from the water. They can prevent the accumulation of soap in washing, which quite often leaves deposits on dishes and glassware, and can make clothes stiff and sometimes discolored. A water softener will completely eliminate these irksome problems.
Softeners prevent mineral build up in pipes, which can quite often be seen as white patches in showerheads, and on top of faucets and other fittings. These buildups can prevent the shower from working as it should as the holes in the shower head get blocked.
Types of Softeners
All softeners perform a basic task of removing unwanted salts from hard water. The different types use different processes to achieve the same end result. Softeners can also be semi automatic or automatic and do require regeneration cycles to flush out the salts.
The different types of water softener systems can be those that use nano technology to eliminate ions, as this prevents the ions of magnesium and calcium from getting attached to water. This process uses no salts. The most common type of water softener is one that uses a medium that is coated with potassium or sodium, and this cause the ions of magnesium and calcium to be exchanged.
There are other systems that use magnets and carbonate salt, while the most efficient of water softeners is one that uses semi-permeable membranes to encourage the reverse osmosis process. This is a slow process and does require water to be pumped at high pressure and is also the system that is the most expensive.
Water softener systems should be decided on only after a detailed analysis of the raw water, which in turn will help to decide the system that is the right one.