A water softener is an essential appliance for any home. Hard water leads to many issues in homes. Some problems that hard water causes are pipe clogging, wear and tear on fixtures and faucets, and hazy dishes. Also, hard water dries out skin and hair. This is not ideal for people who have conditions like dandruff or eczema. Often, city and well water supplies are hard. You might wonder how does a water softener work? Well, in today’s post, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about this critical system. 

What Is Hard Water? 

Minerals are the culprit in hard water supplies. The amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium determine how hard or soft your water is. You can spot hard water from a handful of signs. For example, when using soap, hard water doesn’t create much suds. Also, soap will leave a slick film on your hands with hard water. Over time, the calcium in the water reacts with the soap to form soap scum. You will need to use more soap or detergent to get things clean with hard water. Another tell-tale sign that you have hard water is a white residue left on glasses.

In order for water to classify as hard, it needs at least 17.1 mg/L or more of calcium and magnesium. Additionally, if you experience any of the following, you may have hard water: 

  • musty laundry 
  • increased soap usage
  • mineral deposit buildup on faucets and showerheads
  • soap scum in the shower

So, How Does A Water Softener Work? 

Water softeners are often installed at the water supply’s point of entry into the home. Now, it’s important to remember that water softeners do not soften irrigation water. Irrigation water should never pass through a softener. The salt in the water kills and puts plants under stress. This is one reason farmers have to rotate fields from season to season. The buildup of salt in the fields leaves the soil unusable. 

A water softener is similar in shape to a water heater. Except, a water softener has resin beads inside of it. The hard water passes through the system, interacts with the resin, and then, the system is rinsed with saltwater. 

The resin inside of a water softener releases sodium ions. Like we said before, hard water contains magnesium and calcium. Both of these elements contain ions that are opposite of sodium ions. As the hard water runs through the resin, the ions stick to the sodium ions. Finally, once the system is at capacity, it will flush itself out with saltwater. The sodium in the saltwater interacts with the solution and rinses it all down the drain. Now, the system is ready again to soften your water. 

Need Help Choosing A Water Softener?

Finally, you understand how a water softener works. With a water softener, you’ll experience a fresher, cleaner feel. You can say goodbye to soap scum, mineral deposits, and a lack of suds. Which softener is right for your home, though? 

With so many choices out there, how will you decide? At Autry Plumbing, we love helping our customers make the best decisions possible. Give us a call today to get on our schedule. We’ll help you choose and install a great water softening system.