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What Is a Water Softener and Do You Need One?

At LG Home Comfort, we make your comfort our top priority.
Tap water
November 3, 2022

Has your skin been feeling dry and itchy after showering? Do your hair look lackluster? Perhaps your dishes are not as sparkly as they used to be, or your laundry is not as bright. Your water may be hard if you have noticed any of these things.

Fortunately, there is an effective and accessible solution: water softeners. This blog post will cover what you need to learn about water softeners, from how they work to why you might need one. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener is an innovative filtration system that eliminates high calcium and magnesium levels resulting in hard water. The water softening system removes these mineral contents from the water, which then flows through the plumbing and leaves the softening system. 

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Have you ever wondered how those little water-softener salt solutions magically transform hard water into something much more palatable? If you ask yourself what a water softener does, the answer is easier than you think.

Water softeners do not add anything to your water to make it softer. Instead, they use an ion exchange process to remove hardness in minerals, calcium, and magnesium, from the water supply and exchange them with sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Here is how it works:

When hard water enters your home, it does so through the main water pipe. From there, it travels to the water softener tank containing thousands of tiny resin beads. These beads are specially charged to attract and hold onto the hardness-causing minerals, calcium, and magnesium.

As the hard water passes through the tank, the resin bead grabs onto the minerals and removes them from the water. This leaves behind softened water that is free of hardness minerals.

Why Do You Need A Water Softener?

Knowing what you get from a product before investing in it is always a good idea. You may ask yourself, “why do I need a water softener?” You may be baffled about the idea of using water softeners in your system at the moment. Hence, we listed reasons why you should consider trying them below.

  • Save you money on cleaning products.

Due to magnesium and calcium ions, hard water and soap do not lather well. Using soft water for cleaning and doing laundry can help remove soil or dirt with less water and laundry detergent.

  • Improve the efficiency of your water heater.

Hard water can clog your boiler with scum and scale that can cause damage. As a result, this can reduce the efficiency of your boiler by as much as 50%. Even a small deposit can cause a 12% loss in heat efficiency. The water softening process dissolves scale buildup and improves system efficiency.

  • Helps manage skin conditions.

Hard water can potentially dry skin because of soap scum. Soap scum is created when soap reacts with hard water minerals. Fortunately, soft water helps soap lather and leaves no harsh residue.

  • No more bad hair days. 

Hard water’s minerals can remove hair’s natural oils, leaving it dry and frizzy. However, using a water softener removes these mineral ions for softer, shinier hair.

  • Reduce cleaning time.

Cleaning with soft water takes less time. It is also easier to produce a good lather to remove dirt and stains without leaving stains compared to hard water, which is challenging to wash with and leaves mineral deposits on smooth surfaces.

  • Cleaner laundry and dishes.

Hard water and soap do not mix well, making cleaning a challenging task. The mineral deposits in hard water can damage clothes and kitchenware, causing them to wear out faster. A water softener can remove minerals from your water, giving you softer water that mixes better with soap for a better clean.

  • Protect your appliances.

It is possible for hard water to damage appliances as well as their appearance. A water softener prevents limescale buildup and extends the life of machines.

How Big of A Water Softener Do You Need?

If you are considering making some energy efficiency upgrades to your home, you may ask, “how big of a water softener do I need?”. To know what size you need, consider these factors. Let us take a closer look at the following:

  • water’s hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG). The larger the number, the harder your water. You can have your water tested to find its hardness or check with your local municipality—they are required to keep records of the water quality in your area. Once you determine the hardness of your water, you can choose a softener that can handle it.

  • The second factor to consider is daily consumption. This is how much water your household uses daily. The more people in your home, the higher your consumption will be. To calculate your daily consumption, look at your water bill from the last month and divide it by 30 days. Using this method, you can estimate your daily water consumption.

Alternatively, use an estimate if you do not have access to this data. According to USGS, the average individual consumes 80–100 gallons of water per day. Take this figure and multiply it by the number of family members in your household.

Once you know these two factors, you can choose a water softener that is the right size for your needs. And if you are unsure, always reach out to a professional for help

What Types Of Water Softeners Are There?

Here is a quick rundown of the different types of water softeners so you can make an informed decision:

  • Salt-Based Water Softeners

These systems use salt solutions to remove hard water minerals using ion exchange water softeners. The resulting chloride solution is released into the environment. These softeners are inexpensive but can add salt to your water supply. If you follow a sodium-restricted diet or are concerned about the environmental impact of adding chloride to the environment, consider another type of water softener.

  • Dual-Tank Water Softeners

A dual-tank water softener system has a resin tank with sodium ions covered with resin beads that remove hard minerals from the water and a brine tank for rinsing the beads. High-demand households with a continuous supply of softened water can benefit from a dual-tank system.

  • Salt-Free Water Softener

Salt-free water softeners use ion exchange to bind hard minerals to a resin bed. They are less harmful to the environment and do not require salt. They are becoming more popular with environmentally conscious consumers.

  • Magnetic Water Softeners

Magnetic water conditioners use an electromagnetic coil to change the structure of calcium and magnesium ions, causing them to precipitate out of the water. This can help to reduce buildup in pipes and fixtures and make it easier to clean surfaces. Also, they are a lower-maintenance option and can be ideal for those looking for an eco-friendly option.

Tips To Consider In Choosing The Best Water Softening System

Water softening is an important process for many industries and homeowners. While there are different types of water softening systems on the market, choosing one that is best tailored to your specific needs is essential. Here are a few factors you need to weigh when choosing a water softener unit:

  • For homeowners, the most crucial factor to consider is the size of your home. Water softening systems are available in various sizes, so selecting one that can handle your household’s water usage is important.

  • For commercial buildings, the size of the facility is also an essential factor to remember when choosing a water-softening system. If the building uses mainly city water, the water softening system must have the capacity to handle the volume. 

However, if the building uses underground water, the system will not need to be as large.

The final factor to consider when choosing a water softening system for a commercial building is the type of business that will be using the system. A more powerful system may be necessary if the business uses a lot of water for cleaning or other purposes.

Final Thoughts

Water softeners are a great tool to get rid of water hardness. If you are looking to save money, increase your home’s efficiency, or improve your health, then a water softener may be the right solution for you. In addition, they are great for all types of plumbing, including single-family homes, condos, townhouses, apartments, hot tubs, and pools. 

A properly installed water softener can provide you with cleaner-rinsing water while reducing scale buildup and helping keep your plumbing and appliances running at their best.