It’s right there in the title – you can eliminate hard water with a water softener! Great news, right? Well, it is if you know what hard water is, or you have hard water and you want to soften it. Let’s expand on all of that – tell you how water softeners work, and then you’ll be as excited as we are!
Water hardness is, in its simplest form, a way of describing how many minerals are dissolved in your water. The Government of Canada has an excellent description of the water hardness scale: 0 to <60 mg/L is soft, 60 to <120 mg/L is medium hard, 120 to < 180 mg/L is hard, and 180 mg/L and above is very hard.
You want some mineral content in your water because your body needs minerals in order to complete its natural processes. That means that medium hard water is actually a pretty good place to be – in fact, that’s where Winnipeg’s water hardness lands (82.4 mg/L).
The main problem with water hardness has little or nothing to do with health – sources of potable water don’t have enough minerals that you’d risk toxicity, or they wouldn’t be considered potable. Rather, hard water can cause plumbing problems as excess minerals can build up in your pipes. What’s more, hard water can make it difficult to use soap and detergent, with which it reacts less effectively than with soft water.
How, then, can you make your water soft? With a water softener, of course! How do they work? Chemistry!
Basically, the minerals found most often within hard water are magnesium and calcium. Water softeners are filled with a plastic resin that’s full of sodium ions. When the hard water passes through the softener, the magnesium and calcium stick to the resin, and the sodium is released. This process does add some sodium to your water, but you won’t find it tastes salty.
There can be some concern about using sodium softeners for people who have to monitor their sodium intake. For those people, getting a potassium-based softener can work. Either way, you’ll need to refresh your system by adding sodium (or potassium) to the softener every once and while.
A lot of our readers live in Winnipeg, and almost everyone in Winnipeg is hooked up to the city’s water. The people who fall in that category basically don’t have to worry about hard water – Winnipeg has struck an excellent balance between mineral content and softness. Those who aren’t connected to the city’s water, on the other hand, may well want water softening – well water, in particular, can be pretty hard.
We offer residential plumbing services in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Looking to find and install the right water softener for your needs? Get in touch with us.