Water Softener Hardness – How Hard Is Your Water Supply?

Water hardness is caused by a high mineral content in the water, particularly calcium. Although other minerals may be present that may also influence your decision to buy a water softener, hardness caused by calcium is by far the most damaging.

The reason why calcium causes the most damage is that it has a tendency to solidify into a hard shell that coats everything the water touches. This hard shell is called scale. Scale collects in fabrics as well, giving laundry a dull appearance and rough feel. It even sticks to your body, making your skin feel slimy and your hair heavy and dull. It prevents detergents and soaps from doing their job properly, so you have to use more of these products to get lather and a proper clean.

When it comes to baths and laundry loads, the problem can be addressed by conditioning the water with the addition of a water softener. Hardness in the water can be alleviated with the addition of some rock salt to the bath water, or using a water softener such as Calgon.

Other hard water problems aren’t as easy to deal with. You can’t simply add Calgon to pipes, which means that the hard water is flowing freely through them, leaving hard scale deposits everywhere it touches. Scale accumulates inside water pipes, eventually clogging them and it has the same effect on shower heads in an even shorter length of time.

To prevent costly problems caused by scale and avoid having to replace major appliances sooner than necessary, the best thing to do is install a water softener. Hardness in the water is one problem that can be solved fairly easily. Most water softeners eliminate troublesome calcium by using salt to replace unwanted calcium ions with less bothersome sodium ions. Once the calcium has been eliminated, no scale will accumulate and nothing will become clogged.

Salt isn’t the only water softening medium. It’s also possible to use potassium chloride crystals in a water softener instead of salt, and achieve similar results. The main difference between using salt or potassium chloride is that the waste water contains potassium rather than sodium (another issue to be considered is discussed here ). Another method of managing hard water is the use of an electromagnetic device that keeps the calcium in liquid form, preventing it from becoming solid.

Understanding hard water and the problems it causes can help you decide the best course of action when it comes to rectifying the problem.

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