Water Softening Myths and Facts
Water softening is a scientific, quantifiable process. Unfortunately, it is also one that is subject to marketing language, which vastly lessens the accuracy of much of the information that you’ll find out there about the process. Here are some myths and facts to consider.
Myth: Ion exchange softeners are the only way to soften water.
Fact: Ion exchange softeners are just one effective way to soften water. These devices work by exchanging the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium ions. Sometimes they exchange them with potassium ions, as well. The end result is that the hardness of the water is significantly reduced and all the attendant problems of hard water are also diminished or eliminated altogether.
There are other ways that water can be softened, however. Reverse osmosis filters are very popular ways to reduce the hardness of water. It’s also possible to use chemicals to soften water. These include borax, used in a powdered form, and washing soda. Lime softening is another process that produces effective results. Chelating agents are sometimes even added to products to ensure that they have water that is soft enough to produce lather.
Myth: All softened water is the same.
Fact: Not all softened water is the same.
Softened water, as was noted above, has the calcium and magnesium ions exchanged for sodium or potassium ions or is otherwise treated in ways that increase sodium content. If there is too much sodium in the water, it can become undrinkable. Quality water softeners are designed to not only eliminate hard water issues, but to produce higher quality water for drinking purposes.
Myth: Everything called a “water softener” is the same.
Fact: There are multiple types of “water softeners”, but not all are the same.
Water softener could be a scientific term, but is also largely a marketing term. There are a lot of different products out there that have this name. The methods by which they soften water, however, are not the same and, in fact, they may not actually soften water at all, though the people who buy them likely are led to believe that those products do produce softened water. The aforementioned methods are the most popular and effective for softening water.
Myth: Hard water is an inconvenience.
Fact: Hard water threatens your pocketbook in very real ways.
Hard water affects everything from how well your soap and shampoo lather to how much you spend on energy costs. For example, according to the Chicago Tribune, every 5 grains per gallon of hardness equates to an 8% drop in efficiency for your hot water heater, which translates to an 8% increase in cost. Over time, that can add up.
In addition to this, hard water can cause real damage to appliances, pipes and other devices. As the hard water forms scale, it obstructs flow. This inevitably reduces water pressure, but also can ruin some devices. Your coffee pot will likely end up filled and eventually clogged with scale, for instance, as will your pipes, showerhead, and so forth.
About The Author:
Greg Scott is President of Valparaiso based Miracle/EcoWater Systems, the premier water conditioning company in Northwest Indiana serving the Lake, Porter and LaPorte County areas. A 3rd generation water treatment professional, Greg grew up in the family owned business started by his grandfather in the late fifties. He has made water treatment his life and under his direction and high-standards, the company’s water treatment experience, knowledge, and products are unrivaled in region.