Alkaline water has a high pH level – higher than tap water or reverse osmosis-treated water. Proponents of alkaline water believe it has multiple health-related benefits, including easing digestion, boosting the immune system and offering anti-aging properties. It’s also said to help the body recover after intense exercise.
Hard water contains large amounts of dissolved minerals, such as calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. While suitable for drinking and gardening, hard water causes mineral build-up in pipes, showerheads and appliances, thus reducing their efficiency.
Hard water interferes with all cleaning tasks from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water can look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may also cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull.
Hard water contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-reliant appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of minerals that can contribute to inefficient operation; pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately may require pipe replacement.
Some municipalities in Canada use groundwater taken from aquifers in the ground to supply water to their residents. Typically, groundwater has high mineral content which means it’s hard. Remote properties in small and rural communities get their water from private or communal wells. Well water is high in minerals and is also hard. If you are experiencing any of the following it may be time to consider using softener:
• You notice scale buildup on your appliances
• Your skin and hair are dry
• Your clothes are gray and faded
• You see stains on the sinks and bathtubs
• Your plumbing is in constant need of repair
• Your water bill is skyrocketing
• Your glassware is brittle and easily damaged
If you are unsure whether your home should have a water softener, you can bring a sample of your water to The Water Store for a free water test.
If you live in an area where there is municipal water, there are still benefits to having a softener in your home, such as better functioning appliances, nicer feeling skin and hair, better looking clothes and linens.
Softened water is achieved through a water softener that exchanges calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ions. When the water softener resin is saturated with hardness, its softening capacity is restored by recharging with a salt solution. The sodium chloride provides sodium ions, which replaces the unwanted hardness minerals.
Soft water protects your investment in your water-using appliances and plumbing. It makes clothes cleaner, softer and brighter and makes them last longer. Glassware and silverware sparkles without spotting. It leaves hair and skin soft and silky smooth because hardness minerals when combined with soap, forms a curd on your hair and body.
Water softeners use water to “backwash” or “regenerate” the water softening filtration media after a certain number of gallons of water have been run through and treated. Frequency of this cycle depends on your water usage and softener capacity. Majority of the models sold and recommended at The Water Store are energy and water-efficient and use minimum amounts of both to complete this function. Water softeners can also save money because the minerals that are in hard water are tough on appliances; dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines causing these to wear out and replaced sooner. Also – it takes more detergent – and often more water – to get things “clean,” because hard water reduces the cleaning efficiency of any kind of soap.
Softened water is not recommended for lawn watering and other outdoor uses as this will lead to more frequent system regeneration and higher costs. A bypass valve is always installed on all The Water Store machines for this exact purpose.
If you do not want this additional sodium or potassium in your drinking water a separate cold-water line and faucet can be installed that bypasses the water softener. This allows for drinking and cooking water with unsoftened cold water, additionally installation of a purified drinking water system should be considered.
While most softeners need little care and will last for many years – problems may occasionally occur.
To ensure smooth functioning, the water softener should regenerate at least once a week to assure its longevity.
Consider machines that have controls that minimize water use during regeneration. Often, one cycling a week will be sufficient for a family of four if the unit is sized properly.