Everything You Need to Know About Water Softeners

The tableted salt for the system of filtration of water on a blue background

Ahhhhhh – there’s nothing like a fresh glass of water. Actually, there’s nothing like water, period. We need it to survive and to accomplish a wide array of tasks on the daily (bathing, anyone?). The fact of the matter is – we take water for granted. When you actually start to learn about the complexities of water, you realize it’s a lot more nuanced than just turning on the tap to fill your bottle up.

The Difference Between Hard and Soft Water

Believe it or not, water is made up of a variety of minerals like calcium and magnesium. That’s right. It may look clear to the human eye, but under a microscope, you can tell a lot about whether that water is safe to drink.

Water is considered hard when it contains high levels of calcium and/or magnesium. To get a little science-y, calcium and magnesium are positively charged ions, which means that they bond easily with other types of metals. As a result, the water can leave behind hardened mineral deposits, such as crusty residue on your showerhead.

On the other hand, soft water contains low levels of these minerals and instead has higher concentrations of sodium.

Is hard water bad for you?

The short answer is no – hard water isn’t actually harmful to your health. However, it’s potential to create problems for your home is understated – with the power to block your pipes, ruin your water heater, or scaling your faucet head and laundry machines – it’s safe to say that hard water is annoying and inefficient. It can also make your hair or skin more dry and irritable.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Basically, water softeners work as magnets – opposites attract and all! As the hard water passes through the system and enters the mineral tank, it flows through a resin filled with negatively charged beads. Because calcium and magnesium are positively charged, these beads will seize and attach onto the ions quickly – thereby removing them from the water and releasing highly concentrated sodium or potassium instead. And voilà! Hard water turned into soft water – straight into your home.

What Does a Water Softener Do?

So what can you do to reverse the effects of hard water? Well, when there’s a will there’s a way – and a water softener is the way. Water softeners are also known as in-house filtration systems. Through an ion exchange process, it will remove the calcium and magnesium and replace it with other ions such as sodium or potassium.

How Do I Know If I Need a Water Softener?

The first thing to do is understand how hard the water is in your home. You do this by measuring using a test kit from an independent, accredited laboratory. Alternatively, try contacting your community water system directly.

Once you start noticing these signs more consistently, it may be time to invest in a water softener:

  • Dry hair or skin
  • Stiffened laundry
  • Smelly or weird-tasting water
  • Low water pressure
  • Lime and chalk build-up around your sink and bathtubs
  • Soap scum build-up around your faucets

  • Glassware is becoming brittle or damaged
  • Your plumbing constantly needs repairing

Why You Need a Water Softener: 5 Benefits

Conclusion – Yes to Water Softeners!

Water softeners are an efficient way to combat the various negative side-effects of hard water. Of course, neither hard nor soft water is inherently unhealthy. But too much sodium added through water softeners could be a concern for people on a low-sodium diet. Ensure you find out how much sodium is being added to the water or use a potassium-based system to avoid high sodium intakes. Always confirm with the manufacturer.