Large amounts of magnesium, calcium, and iron in your water can be detrimental to your plumbing, fixtures, skin, hair, dishes, and clothes.
Hard Water Problems
Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. The hardness minerals combine with some soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to remove. Soil on clothes can introduce even more hardness minerals into the wash water. Continuous laundering in hard water can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.
Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin (take a look at your bath tub after your bath, that ring around the tub is the same stuff left on your skin). The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage. That "squeaky" feeling is not clean skin. Your skin naturally has oils that make your skin slick and moist when clean.
When washing dishes, especially in a dishwasher, hard water may cause spotting and filming on your stemware and dishes. The minerals from hard water are released faster when it comes into contact with heat, causing an increase in the amount of spotting and filming that occurs. This problem is not a health risk, but it can be a nuisance to clean and reduce the quality and look of your dishes.
Appliances and Pipes
Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (lime scale deposits) that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Lime scale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%.
How does Water Softening Work?
The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated. To do the ion replacement, the water in the house runs through a bed of small plastic beads (resin
). The beads are covered with sodium ions. As the water flows past the sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. Eventually, the beads contain nothing but calcium and magnesium and no sodium, and at this point they stop softening the water. It is then time to regenerate
Regeneration involves soaking the beads in a stream of sodium ions. Salt is sodium chloride
, so the water softener mixes up a very strong brine solution and flushes it through beads (this is why you load up a water softener with salt). The strong brine displaces all of the calcium and magnesium that has built up in the resin beads and replaces it again with sodium. The remaining brine plus all of the calcium and magnesium is flushed out through a drain pipe.
Santa Barbara has some of the hardest water in the country.
The benefits of soft water include:
• Soft, clean skin, and soft, silky hair that is more manageable
• Use less soap, shampoo and skin care products
• Cleaner looking, softer feeling laundry
• Quicker, easier housecleaning
• More efficient, longer lasting plumbing and appliances
Automatic water softener technology has improved dramatically in recent years. New models monitor your water usage and know when to recharge to ensure continuous soft water supply. Forty years of experience as a local soft water equipment dealer arms Pure Water with the expertise to assess your needs and design the soft water system to meet your personal needs.