Homeowners who have lived with hard water all their lives may not really know why it could be problematic. If you have hard water, there will be scale buildup developing in appliances, which can lead to premature failure. One of the benefits of removing the calcium is how it can protect the water heater or any type of appliance that heats water in your home (dishwashers, HVAC humidifiers, steam showers, coffee makers, etc.).
Hard water also doesn’t allow soap to work as effectively as it’s supposed to. If there’s hardness in the water, the soap will treat it just like dirt. It will attach to the calcium instead of attaching to whatever you’re actually trying to clean. By removing the calcium from the water, the soap has nothing to do but to attach to what you’re cleaning, making it more effective.
Water softeners work through something called ion exchange to remove the calcium that’s basically creating the hard water. ‘Ion exchange’ is a technical term describing the little beads in the water softener, which are typically made from plastic. Those beads have a negative charge, and calcium ions have a positive charge. As the calcium flows through the softener, it comes into contact with the bead and stays on there.
A sodium ion has a stronger positive charge than a calcium ion, so whenever we backwash the water softener with sodium, it pushes the calcium ion off the beads and into the drain. Most of the sodium is rinsed off, but there’s a small amount of residual sodium in the water softener. When calcium is attracted to the beads, that sodium is pushed into the water. It’s a very simple process once you become familiar with it. We’re really just catching the calcium, putting back a little bit of sodium, and cleaning it every so often depending on the capacity of the water softener.
If you think you’re noticing the signs of hard water in your home, you should start by getting an in-home water test. Contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382. Calcium is something we can test for right at your home for free. From there, we can speak to you about whether or not you have hard water. If you do, we can provide you with the options to solve it.