Last time on the blog we went to work treating the simple symptoms of hard water, discussing how to break up soap scum on bathroom fixtures or freshening up your laundry. While those can be easy fixes, if your hard water problem is particularly tenacious you may find you need to attack the problem at its source, and while you probably can’t remove the minerals from the ground, you can certainly stop them before they make their way in your home.
If you’re looking to take care of the problem for the whole house and be done with the minor treatments, well then it is time to look into a water softener. First, using test strips to measure the hardness of your water to find what size softener you’re going to need. Looking at the ‘grains per gallon’ measurement from the test strip and your utility bill to find out how many gallons of water you use on average in a given day, you’ll then want purchase a softener capable of handling 10x the amount. So if there are 10 grains in a gallon of your water, and you use 100 gallons a day you’re looking 1000 grains per day. The softener to go after will be capable of handling 10,000.
Now that you know the size of what you’re after you are going to need to look at the different kinds of softeners out there. The most common types are ion exchange softeners, and that breaks down to two different methods, but both work similarly. The sodium chloride and potassium chloride ion exchange softeners (say that five times fast!) function by adding another mineral to the water, either a tiny amount of salt (sodium chloride) or potassium. While sodium is the most effective way to soften your water, potassium is an option for those who can’t have sodium. Just be aware, those with weakened kidneys or on some medications can find it harmful. If you’d rather not have sodium or potassium in your water, invest in a reverse osmosis filter to remove all of it after the water has been softened.
You have the size and type of water softener all sorted out, what’s next? Well, just like your HVAC system it’s time to get it properly installed and keep it properly maintained so that it is always working efficiently and correctly. We hope these water treatment methods have been useful and no longer are you plagued by the difficulties of hard water. We’ll see you next time here at the Parker & Sons blog.