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Can a Salt Free Water Softener Solve Your Hard Water Problems?

by Dorian Travers on Mar 24, 2015

Are you dealing with hard water problems? If so, you are not alone. According to a United States geological survey, over 85 % of Americans have hard water in their homes.

Here are the telltale signs that you have a hard water issue:

  • Your white clothing looks dingy after laundering.
  • Your soap doesn’t lather well in your shower.
  • You have crusty deposits on your showerhead and faucets.
  • You have a ring around your tub after bathing.

By using the following information, you can reduce the hard water in your home and extend the life of your appliances and plumbing.

What causes hard water problems?

Water becomes hard when magnesium, calcium and other minerals are deposited into groundwater via leaching. These minerals interfere with the cleaning action of detergents and soaps.

Moderately hard, hard or extremely hard water requires that you treat the problem to prevent mineral residue remaining on your clothes, glasses, dishes and plumbing fixtures.

How is hard water measured?

  • Soft water is measured by 0 to 3.5 grains per gallon or by 0 to 60 parts per million.
  • Moderately hard water is calculated using 3.6 to 7 grains per gallon or by 61 to 120 parts per million.
  • Hard water is measured by 7.1 to 10.5 grains per gallon or by 121 to 180 parts per million.
  • Very hard water is calculated using 10.6 grains per gallon or more and 181 parts per million and above.

According to National Public Health Guidelines, you should soften the water when the hardness level exceeds 150 parts per million (ppm) or 8.8 grains per gallon.

To determine the hardness of your water, you can ask your local Cooperative Extension Service Agent or your county or municipal water supplier.

How can you make your water soft?

You can soften your water with a mechanical water-softening device in your home.

Water softeners work by simply reversing the process of exchanging gentle potassium and sodium ions for hard-water mineral irons.

If you are on a low-salt diet, however, you should install a salt free water softener to reduce the hard water problem in your plumbing.

How do you install and use a salt-free water softener?

Most water softening systems consist of one single tank or two tanks. A two-tank system uses one tank to store the salt and one tank for softening the water. A salt-free system uses only one tank to purify and soften the water.

While some do-it-yourselfers can install the system in their home, it is best to have a professional plumber to install the unit for you.

Your plumber will install a bypass to allow the softened water to go to your shower, tubs and washing machines. Unless you install a whole house water filter, you can also send the untreated water to outdoor faucets, toilets and to your drinking water supply.

Can a Water Softening System Cleanse and Purify my Tap Water

The Penn State Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering notes in their Water Softening Report that water softeners will not necessarily remove any of the more serious drinking water contamination problems.

If you are interested in tap water purification, you can install a water filtration system under the sink or use a faucet filtration product.


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