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Water Softening

What is Water Softening?

Removing calcium and a few other minerals that harm household appliances, reduce the cleaning power of detergents, make deposits on clothing, fixtures, dishes, windows, and other household property:  That is the basic definition of water softening. Therefore, a water softener is a device that removes calcium and other minerals from the household water supply. The devices sold for softening water are ion exchange water softeners and, in some locations, portable exchange water.

Calcium and other minerals that make our water “hard” show up in our water to varying extents.  Calcium and other minerals are deposited as scale that scientists call calcium carbonate, or limestone – the white residue you sometimes see.  This limestone scale is an abrasive and rock-like material.  It damages your pipes, appliances and clothes, as well as causing spotting and filming.

Should I be Concerned?

Hardness elements in your water are not a health concern; however, hard water significantly harms pipes and appliances, which means bigger landfills, more energy consumption, and higher energy and home repair bills.  It has also been shown that clothing and household linens are harmed by hard water. 

Finally, two new independent studies show consumers using softened water can cut back on dish and laundry detergent use by 50% or more and can lower washing machine temperatures from hot to cold just by using softened water. 

Finding Hardness in My Water

There are several options to test for hardness in drinking water. You can:

How Do I Soften My Water?

The most common way for homeowners to soften their water is through an ion exchange water softener. National product testing standards and certification are in place to evaluate ion exchange water softeners to assure consumers of claims being made by those products. Be sure to look for certified ion exchange water softeners in the Gold Seal search window.  Also, look for the highest efficiency rated equipment if you live in an area that is trying to reclaim its wastewater.

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