Water Softener – Why use one?
Why use a Water Softener, and why use one in San Antonio specifically? One problem that it can solve is the scaly build-up on dishes, dishwashers and other household products from hard water. Hard water deposits also build up in the hot water heater and in hot water pipes which can cause clogs or back-ups. One of the most personal effects is the uncomfortable residue on the skin, in hair and the need to use more soap because hard water does not lather as well as soft. Soft water also helps prevent soap scum in the tub or shower.
So what is hard water? It is water with large amounts of dissolved calcium or magnesium. This creates a problem because as it precipitates or dries, it forms a substance called “scale.” This is the build-up that clogs pipes and creates soap scum. Calcium in the hard water reacts with the detergent or soap in the water and affects lathering which means that more soap must be used. Less soap is used with the soft water and has much better results. This saves money in the long run! According to the Water Quality Institute, half the detergent in cold water was just as, if not more, effective as more detergent in hot water for removing stains and producing bright clothes.
Hardness can vary from place to place, even within San Antonio, but a Water Softener expert can test the water easily at the home. In San Antonio the water is in the “moderately hard” category per the United States Geological Survey’s classification system.
How does the Water Softener work? It substitutes the calcium in the hard water with sodium in a bed of polystyrene beads called “resin” or “zeolite.” Because the sodium in the beads is more positively charged than calcium, they easily exchange places and this is what softens the water. The salt added to the Water Softener recharges the polystyrene beads much like a rechargeable battery after a certain amount of exchanges have taken place and the setting to do this can be by timer, mechanical means or a computer reading, depending on the softener chosen.
Some of the benefits of having a water softener include:
• Reducing the cost of running a water heater (due to keeping the calcium build-up from forming)
• Preventing clogs and build-up from forming in pipes and water heater
• Lengthening the life of washers, dryers, dishwashers and small appliances such as coffee machines
• Enjoying the clean feeling after a bath or shower and smoother, softer hair with less soap and shampoo
• Loving the look of dishes and glassware again with no build-up
• No soap scum in the shower or tub