The water supplied to our homes and businesses has a number of minerals present in it. Depending on where we live, depends on the level of minerals that can be found in the water and whether your supply is deemed as ‘hard’ or ‘soft’.
Hard water has a higher level of calcium and magnesium in it; the higher the level, the harder the water. Living with hard water can have a detrimental effect on your home, your appliances and your own lifestyle and health. You can check your postcode on line or carry out a simple test at home to establish whether you have hard or soft water. However, there are many visual tell-tale signs that will give you a clue.
Do the taps in your property need regular descaling to remove white deposits around the base and the spout?
Have your bathroom tiles and shower screens taken on a dull appearance, which only scrubbing with a descaling product seems to improve?
In addition there are the less obvious indicators and those that are not always noticeable.
Calcium is a very good insulator. With hard water, calcium deposits will build up as limescale, coating the inside of your hot water tank and building up in your pipework. Unfortunately, this has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of heating systems and pressure as water will take longer to heat up, will suffer from restricted flow and eventually affect everything in the house including household appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers.
What does a water softener do?
It will transform your water from hard to soft in a simple, almost invisible method. They work by a process of ion exchange where calcium and magnesium are removed, taking limescale and scum with it during the softening process.
At the heart of every softener is its ion-exchange resin. This resin consists of microscopic beads which trap the magnesium and calcium ions, so water comes out soft. The resin needs to be cleaned (or regenerated) every so often and this is done by flushing the resin through with salt water, literally cleaning it and allowing it to do its job afresh. A common misconception is that you cannot drink softened water. It is the resin that is cleaned and rinsed with salt water and many modern water softeners that use a food grade resin will offer the best quality of end user water. The latest and most efficient machines can also work out when to carry out this cleaning process, keeping water and salt usage to an absolute minimum.
Benefits of having softened water
Clean and sparkly kitchens and bathrooms with a smear and limescale free appearance
Softer skin and hair – one of the many benefits of bathing in soft water
Improved condition of skin, particularly where a family member suffers from skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis
Many money saving advantages – lower heating costs, longer household appliance life, reduced use of household detergents, reduced use of shampoo’s, conditioners and soap
Less time spent cleaning