You might have a water filtration system for your home, but you really need a water softener to get top quality water. While a water filtration system removes contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a water softener removes dissolved minerals. Dissolved minerals are notorious for destroying tankless water heaters and other appliances. Water softeners prolong the life of these appliances.
Getting quality, clean water requires both water filtration and a water softener. Here are several reasons soft water is essential for water quality.
1. A water softener resolves hard water problems
Do you ever wonder why you get dark rings in the bathtub or kitchen sink? That’s from hard water. Do you struggle to rinse soap off your body after showering? Your water is probably hard.
Water is considered hard when it contains a high level of dissolved minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium. Hard water isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it deposits film and crust on coffee pots, shower heads, faucets, and around drains. Hard water can also stain dishes and utensils.
In addition to creating a huge inconvenience, hard water can do serious damage to your home. For example, hard water damages pipes, washing machines, and other appliances. The crusty deposits left by the minerals build up over time and create clogs. With enough clogs, your entire plumbing system may experience an increase in pressure, which can lead to plumbing problems.
If you want to keep your appliances and plumbing in good shape, a water softener is a good preventive measure.
2. A water softener is easy to repair
Once you know how a water softener works, they’re easy to repair. Of course, if you’re not the DIY type, you can always call a water service repair shop.
A water softener works through a process called ion exchange.
The system adds salt to a small amount of water and then passes the salt water into a resin tank where polystyrene beads attract the salt. Once the sodium molecules are attached to the polystyrene beads, the water is purged. Now the softener is ready to soften the water.
Next, unsoftened water is passed through the resin tank and the calcium and magnesium trade places with the sodium molecules. That water is then passed through to your home. Once the beads reach their capacity and can’t attract anymore minerals, the dissolved minerals get scrubbed off the beads and the cycle starts again beginning with salt.
If your water softener isn’t performing properly, you might be able to fix it yourself with the following methods:
- Thoroughly clean your brine tank. The brine tank is where you store your salt pellets. This tank needs to be cleaned once in a while with soap and water. Also, sometimes the salt can harden into a dome with a hollow space underneath. It’s also a good idea to check your tank once each year to make sure the salt isn’t clumped.
- Clean your resin bed. The resin bed is where the hard water is replaced with sodium. If there is iron in your water, you’ll need to clean the resin bed once each year. A product called “Iron-Out” can be added to the brine tank and flushed through the system to refresh the resin bed.
- Clean the resin tank injector. Dirty salt can clog the injector. With the water turned off, relieve the water pressure with a manual regeneration. Next, remove the caps on the water softener head and clean both sides. The left side should be the injector screen while the right side should be the injector.
3. A water softener is easy to maintain
When you have a water softener system you can call a water specialist to perform annual inspections and perform maintenance. All you need to do is change your water filters periodically. Depending on how high the mineral concentration is, you may need to change your filters every two to four months.
The other task you’ll need to stay on top of is filling the brine tank with salt pellets. Ask your water company for instructions specific to your particular system. They might recommend a specific type of salt pellet and they’ll also show you how to perform a manual regeneration.
A water softener is a wise investment
Getting a water softener to supplement your water filtration system is a wise investment. Softening the water will prolong the life of your appliances and fixtures and you won’t have to deal with white crust and rings around your tub.