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Water Softeners for The Home
A lot of people are blissfully unaware that water that comes into our homes is of different qualities, depending up on the area in which you live. Some area have soft water (the best kind for domestic purposes) and some areas (the majority) have hard water.
Hard and soft water are two extremes. Water may be more hard or more soft so really it’s a sliding scale from hard to soft. So what makes water hard? Or conversely, what makes water soft?
In its simplest form soft water is pure it contains no additives. Hard water, on the other hand has mineral salts dissolved in it. The chief ingredients in hard water are calcium and magnesium.
How do these minerals get into the water? Well as water falls as rain, it sinks into the earth and meets all kinds of rocks, some porous, some not. And on its travels it dissolves those minerals that are present and readily dis-solvable. At some point this water resurfaces in lakes and rivers and that’s where we source our water supplies.
What’s the Problem with Hard Water anyway?
Limescale, this is what happens in our homes when the minerals, dissolved in hard water leach out. This happens all the time but is especially bad when the water is heated.
A good example of this is a kettle. Boiling water releases limescale which most modern kettles are designed to hold back and not end up in you coffee. A more detailed explanation regarding hard water found can be here
But limescale, although unsightly around showers and bath taps, is the only the external manifestation of the hard water problem. Worse is the limescale that you can’t see, inside pipes and hot water systems. Slowly but surely layers upon layers of limescale get deposited on the inside of pipes making the internal diameter smaller. Hot water elements, which heat the water in your hot water system also get caked in limescale, which indecently is also a good heat insulator. Which means your hot water system gets less efficient. Although it costs the same the water is not as hot.
Finally the limescale gets into the threads of taps and stopcocks, where it acts as a type of glue. Unless you constantly open and close those taps once in a while (a good tip by the way) you will find that old tap or stopcock will refuse to turn so encrusted in limescale has it become.
Benefits of a Water Softener
There treatments that a qualified plumber can carry out to flush out your system. A chemical agent is used to dissolve the limescale build inside pipes and other equipment and get things back to the way they were. This treatment doesn’t remove all limescale and it’s difficult to know how thorough it’s been as you can’t see inside the pipes. Benefits of soft water additional reading
A better way is prevent as shown here wholehousewatersoftener.org In this case you fit a device on the water supply as it enters your home. Its job is to remove the minerals from the water thus making it soft. And that means no limescale. The limescale problem is now a thing if the past. These devices are fairly priced, easy to maintain and will save you money over time.