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The water for our daily use is not only made up of hydrogen and oxygen; it also contains minerals. The mineral content should be a certain level for the water to be considered soft and suitable for consumption and domestic use. Hard water is not something that you will find useful. Many people will opt to use mineral water, but the excessive consumption of this does have its domestic and health hazards. If you are in an area with hard water, it is possible and essential to treat it so that you can remove the excess minerals to make the water suitable for household purposes as well as consumption. You can do this using water softener. To find the best of such devices that are energy efficient, you will need to adhere to the following:
Determine the Hardness of Water
Hard water is found in 85% of the geography of America; this is according to the United States Geological Survey. How hard the water varies from one area to the next depending on different factors such amount of rain, industrial dumping, topography, and proximity to the sea. Underground water in areas where there is frequent industrial chemical waste dumping is bound to contain intoxicants. You can use simple kits to determine the level of hardness of the water. You can get the kits from the local plumbing stores or opt to call an expert to test the water.
Do You Need Soft Water?
Though it may be useable, hard water is generally not gentle on your skin, clothes, utensils, floors, and surfaces. The damage the hard water can cause depends on its hardness. A gallon of water will contain 10 grains of hardness; water for drinking should contain around 6 grains per gallon. Water for household purposes such as bathing, washing, and cleaning should contain about 8 grains per gallon. As such, you should know the purpose of the water to know how soft you want it as you take into account the pump factor, power, and flow rate so that you can cut costs.
Is Soft Water Safe?
The water softener devices will convert the hard chemical in the water while exchanging some with soft compounds. The process of softening the water will generate a residue chemical – Sodium Bicarbonate. The residue is not the same as Sodium Chloride and is not salty. How much sodium to add to the water depends on the hardness of the water, where around 20 – 30mg is added to 8 ounces of water. That amount is far less than the sodium found table salt and some processed foods. As such, the sodium in the softened water posed no health risks. But it still is wise to get with your physician to know your sodium intake before you start using a water softener.
Benefits of Water Softeners
- Scale or limescale reduction
The combination of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate creates a hard, chalky layer called scale or limescale on surfaces. That is the whitish coating you will note in the kitchen sink, utensils, walls, floor, and faucets after using hard water. If not removed, the scale causes surfaces to fade. Softening the water gets rid of the formation of these hard, chalky deposits.
- Increased lifespan of appliances
If you have water appliances such as dispenser, showers, faucets, and heaters, they soon fade because of the layers of calcium and magnesium that accumulates on their inner and outer surfaces. The same thing will happen on the utensils you wash using hard water. In time, the scale deposits lower the looks of your utensils and the hampers the performance of your appliances such as reducing their lifespan. Softening the water help avoid such an outcome.
- Unclogged plumbing
The issue of clogged pipes and drains is something that homeowners dread. One of the significant contributors to this problem is hard water. It leads to the formation of scale that hampers the flow rate of water. In short, it suffices to say that hard water is utterly bad for your metal pipeline and drainage system. Therefore, the use of soft water is the best way of avoiding such problems. The hard water should be treated to make it soft before it is allowed to flow through your plumbing.
- Better skin care
Hard water will harm your skin. Bathing in such water leaves traces of magnesium and calcium on your skin that can cause it to frizz, dry, or develop rashes. The excess formation of the scale on your skin can make it easily irritable and itchy. The opposite of this stands when you bath in soft water. You skin stay clean, free of any deposits, and well moisturized thus less likely to be itchy or with rashes.
- A better flavor of water
Take a sip of hard water, and you will feel a kick for its salty, sour taste. In some cases, hard water will also have a distinct smell. The use of water softeners gets rid of the salts by injecting sodium that help get rid of the salt and odor through an ion exchange process that makes the water fit for drinking and cleaning.
- Cleaner and better fabric
Hard water will damage the clothes you wash because it leaves salt and mineral deposits that stain and weaken the material. Moreover, hard water will not lather quickly when you add soaps and detergents but form a layer of scale that sticks to the clothes. With soft water, you will not have to deal with such an issue because it lathers easily and thus dirt particles will be loosened with ease making the laundry work less tedious.
- Better health
Overall, hard water is not good for your health. The consumption of this water over an extended period promotes the build of calcium and magnesium deposits in the body. The calcium, for instance, will affect your bone health. It is one of the causes of the yellowing of the teeth and a rough throat lining.
Some people are allergic to the mineral in underground water, thus should not drink or use soft or hard water. As such, they should have an allergy test done before they purchase salt-based water softeners.
Water Softeners Work Best with Water Filters
The water softener devices are designed to make hard water soft but will not get rid of contaminants in the water such as microorganisms, toxic metals, sediment, and chemicals. Filtration is thus an essential element in the process of making hard water soft. The filters should be fitted on the water softener inlets to help get rid of unwanted elements; this also reduces the energy needed to clean and soften the water making it fit for drinking and household use.
The elements extracted from the hard water do not obstruct the functions of the water softeners; in most cases, the metals and sediments filtered from the water will be the cause of the clogging. As such, you will need to clean the filters and replace them routinely. For those with assess to treated hard water, they can run it through their water softeners before allowing it to flow through their plumbing.
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