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What is Hard Water?
Hard water is simply water with accelerated levels of minerals, namely calcium and magnesium. Over time, this can be quite disadvantageous. Calcium deposits can reduce the efficiency of washing machines and other appliances. It can also cause low water pressure and reduce the effectiveness of soap and detergent. Hard water is also capable of clogging and corroding your pipes.
Is Hard Water Dangerous?
While hard water can definitely cause harm to your home, it doesn't have any known health consequences. Research indicates consuming hard water doesn't pose any threat to humans, and can even help with their magnesium and calcium levels. However, it can be dangerous to your hair by preventing hair care products from working properly, and your skin can become itchy and dry from soap not washing off properly. If you have sensitive skin, or conditions such as eczema, hard water can make it difficult to go about your day.
Signs of Hard Water
Hard water doesn't feel all that different from soft water. That's why you need to know about all of the biggest signs, such as:
Low Water Pressure
If you feel like your water pressure has been suspiciously low, you're probably not imagining things. Low water pressure can come from numerous sources, but you've ruled out all the other possibilities, such as clogs and aged pipes, it could very well be hard water. Check all of your faucets to see if low water pressure is consistent across the board.
Does soap refuse to wash off completely, leaving a film behind on your body and bathtub? Soap scum isn't possible without calcium. This is also bad news for clothes and dishes, which can have their appearances marred by soap scum.
Hard water can cause hard-to-remove stains to appear on your fixtures and various items. You can see spots on your dishes and your bathtub, for instance. The longer you have hard water, the worse these stains can get. You can remove them with home solutions like lemon juice or baking soda and vinegar. However, the best solution is to call a trusted plumbing company, like 1-800-Plumber +Air of Kansas City.
If your water suddenly has an unexplained taste, it's likely due to hard water. It may have a strange taste of chemicals or metal. You might have to use things like fruit juice to make your water more palatable. Notice any strange odors coming from your water, as well. This could be due to a combination of bacteria and magnesium.
What is a Water Softener?
A water softener is a device designed to reduce a water supply's overall water hardness. Let 1-800-Plumber +Air of Kansas City explain how a water softener works.
Water softeners reduce mineral levels through ion exchange. Sodium ions arrive to replace the magnesium and calcium ions. The softener contains resin beads for hard water to go over, allowing the ions to be swapped. By the time the water has come out of your faucet, it's been properly softened.
Installing a Water Softener
You can try to install a water softener yourself. These are some things you should know before trying.
Wherever water first comes into your house is where you should place your water softener. Locate the start of your plumbing line, and place your water softener as close to it as possible. If you don't have a water loop, you should definitely consider installing one. This allows you to conserve more water and keeps your indoor and outdoor water lines separate.
You need your water softener to be the right size for your home and water needs. If it's too small, it won't be effective against hard water. If it's too big, it would take too long to regenerate the resin beads. Make sure that your water softener is the right size and is efficient, only using as much sodium as it needs to.
Before you try installing a water softener, you should find a quality guide about it. Look for professional material that goes into great detail about the process. This can also include videos, made by experienced plumbers who clearly explain and demonstrate every step.
If you've done other installation jobs, installing a water softener can be a fun new project to tackle. However, if you haven't tried anything like this before, it can be very difficult. You'll need experience in soldering, for instance. Call 1-800-Plumber +Air of North Atlanta for safe and expert water softener installation.
Caring For Your Water Softener
Your water softener can be great about getting rid of hard water. However, that's only possible if you're performing all the proper maintenance, such as:
Water softeners can develop their own unfortunate minerals buildups. Salt deposits, referred to as things like "salt bridges," can form and reduce your water softener's effectiveness. When you add more salt to your water softener, see if there's any visible uncleanliness.
You can use bleach, vinegar, or dish soap to clean your water softener. Or, you can use a store-bought cleaner, though you should make sure it's not corrosive to your water softener. To keep up with your water softener, we recommend cleaning it every time you go to replace the salt, generally once a month.
Using the Right Salt
You need to make sure you're using the proper salt for your water softener. This goes in the brine tank and is essential for allowing regeneration to occur. Typically, it's found in the form of salt pellets. The trouble is some pellets have matter that doesn't dissolve in water. As a result, the tanks get dirty more easily and the water isn't softened nearly as well. Make sure you purchase high-quality salt. Even if it's more expensive at the time of purchase, it can help you save money in the long term by extending your water softener's lifespan.
You should have your water softener examined as part of an annual plumbing inspection. Even if you've been able to keep it clean, there might be parts that need replacing. A professional plumber, like one from 1-800-Plumber +Air of Kansas City can tell you if any part of your water softener needs to be replaced.
Signs You Should Replace Your Water Softener
Do you want to know when your water softener is ready to go? These are some definite signs you need a new water softener:
If you're moving into a home with a water softener, ask how old it is. If it's 20 years old or older, it needs to be replaced. Aging water softeners are unable to properly fight against hard water. Even one that's 10 years old can have trouble keeping up.
Once again, you've got soap scum stains on your sink and calcium stains on your dishes. If your water softener isn't working as it should, hard water and minerals are going to wreak havoc once again. Call 1-800-Plumber +Air of Kansas City and ask about our water softener installation options.
Let's say you installed your water softener 10 years ago, and you had two children in the home. Now, they've moved out, and you don't have nearly as much water being used as before. Don't keep using an unnecessarily large water softener. Instead, opt for one better suited for your home.
Pay attention to your water softener's regeneration process. If it's been taking longer than normal, This process involves the resin beads, which have accumulated calcium and mineral in the ion exchange, being rinsed with salty brine, ready to go back through the process. If you've noticed other signs of water softener trouble, take a look at the regeneration as well. It might not be regenerating at all or too frequently.
Do You Need to Flush Your Water Heater with a Water Softener?
You might know about flushing a water heater to get rid of excess minerals inside it. But do you need to do that if you have a water softener? It's up to you, but we'd recommend it. Mineral deposits can exist even in soft water, and an annual flushing can keep your water heater operating more smoothly.
Need a Water Softener? Call Us!
A water softener can restore health and happiness to your water and home. If you're in Kansas City and are looking for a great plumbing company to install your water softener, call us. At 1-800-Plumber +Air of Kansas City we're committed to all of our customers, all of the way. Contact us today if you have any additional questions or to schedule an appointment.
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