According to the US Geologic Survey, 85% of US
homes have hard water. Excessive levels of calcium and/or magnesium cause hard
water. Earlier generations coined the phrase “hard water’ because it made
The US Department of the Interior classifies
hardness based on the concentration of grains per gallon (gpg) of calcium and/or
magnesium. To put it in
perspective, a typical aspirin equals about five grains of material. If the
aspirin were dissolved in a gallon of water, it would add 5 gpg of “aspirin”
to the water.
Water classifications range from soft (less than
1.0 gpg of calcium and/or magnesium) to very hard (greater than 10.5 gpg).
While hard water is not unhealthy, it does cause
Laundering: Soap curd (a sticky
film formed when soap is used in hard water) affects fabric life and fading.
Hard Water Scale: Minerals cause
a hard surface scale to form. This scale will clog pipes and can decrease the
life of toilet flushing units by 70% and water faucets by 40%.
Water Heater Efficiency: Hardness scale tends to
build up on heating elements and can reduce a gas water heater’s efficiency by
as much as 29% and an electric water heater’s efficiency by as much as 21%.
Cleaning Tasks: Soap curd makes
cleaning and washing less effective and efficient.
Bathing: Soap curd film on the body can leave skin dry and hair limo and dull.
The Water Softening Process
The negative effects of hard water can be reversed
through the use of softened water. A water softener works on the principle of
“cation exchange” in which ions of the hardness minerals are exchanged for
sodium or potassium ions, effectively reducing the concentration of hardness
minerals to insignificant levels.
There are three types of water softener:
Automatic – uses a timer to start the regeneration process
Demand initiated – regenerates only when soft water runs out.
Portable Exchange – the entire regeneration tank is replaced when the softening agent is exhausted.
Information provided as a complimentary FYI