The type of water you have in your home can have a major impact on the quality of your home plumbing system, appliances, and health.

Keep reading to learn more about hard water versus soft water, how a water softener works, and the benefits of getting a water softener installed in your home.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water

There are two main types of water that run through home plumbing systems: hard water and soft water. Whether or not the water in your home plumbing system is hard or soft depends primarily on the area in which you live and which minerals are naturally present in the water supply that is used in that area. While it is possible that your home has soft water naturally, it is pretty unlikely. 90% of homes have hard water in their plumbing systems.

The main difference between hard water and soft water lies in the minerals or lack thereof that are found in each type of water. Hard water contains higher levels of dissolved solids, specifically sedimentary contaminants such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Soft water, on the other hand, contains only trace amounts of dissolved solids. The main mineral that is present in soft water is sodium, and soft water contains only very small amounts of sodium ions. The remainder of soft water is made up of pure hydrogen and oxygen ions.

What is a Water Softener?

As its name suggests, a water softener is an appliance that transforms hard water into soft water. It does this via an ion exchange process, which removes positively charged ions in the water and replaces them with negatively charged ions.

In terms of hard water, the ion exchange process that transforms hard water into soft water replaces positively charged iron, calcium, and magnesium—the minerals that are most commonly found as dissolved solids in hard water—with negatively charged sodium.

The water softening process

The water softening process

Most water softeners use tiny negatively charged particles and introduce them into the water. These negatively charged particles attract positively charged ions in the water and trap them to filter them out of the water and leave only negatively charged sodium ions behind. The end result of this ion exchange process is soft water that contains only trace amounts of sodium ions—it is not saltwater—and won’t leave scaly residue behind in your pipes and appliances.

Why Get a Water Softener?

So what’s the point of getting a water softener to transform the hard water in your home plumbing system into soft water? Well, it turns out there are actually many advantages of having soft water rather than hard water in your home plumbing system.

Hard water can cause a variety of problems. It is more difficult to generate a lather while using soap when you’re washing your hands or face or body or hair in hard water. Washing your dishes and clothes in hard water can lead to dingy spots on your dishes and dull, scratchy clothes and towels.

Beyond these inconveniences, having hard water in your home can cause more serious issues for your plumbing system and your health. Hard water leaves a scaly residue behind in your appliances and pipes. This residue can build up over time and lead to harmful bacterial growth and cause clogs in your plumbing system. Long-term exposure to the dissolved minerals in hard water can also cause irritation to your skin and eyes and worsen the symptoms of a variety of pre-existing health conditions.

How to Install a Water Softener

While it is possible to install a water softener in your home on your own, it’s also a process that is easy to mess up. In order to avoid making a simple mistake that disrupts your home plumbing system, it’s usually a better idea to leave the water softener installation process to a trained professional rather than try to handle it yourself.

If you’re located in the Inland Empire or its surrounding areas in Southern California, trust Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing to install your water softener in your home for you. Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing is a full-service leak location and plumbing business that hires only the most experienced, trained, and professional technicians. They offer a wide variety of services, including water softener installation services for their valued residential customers throughout the Inland Empire and beyond.

Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing is a certified water softener provider and installer. Take the first step toward getting rid of the hard water problems in your home once and for all. Give Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing a call today to get a quote for a water softener and installation.