Hard water is a very common problem in the United States that subjects many homeowners to the wide variety of issues that can be created when ions such as calcium, magnesium, and iron are present in the soil. The severity of water hardness depends on the level of these particles in the soil and is usually the highest in states located in the Midwest with declining concentrations being found as one moves toward the Coastal states. Individuals who experience moderate to severe water hardness may notice deposits on metallic surfaces, appliance damage, decreased soap lathering, damaged clothes, clogged plumbing, and more. In order to alleviate these issues, most people will need to purchase and install a softening system that is designed to remove the molecules entirely or alter them in some way. Those who have a general understanding of the maintenance requirements associated with different types of products do tend to make more informed purchasing decisions and experience higher levels of satisfaction.
When evaluating potential purchase options, consumers will find that most softening systems fall into one of two categories that include salt-based softeners and salt-free alternatives. Products that use salt to eliminate hard water are typically constructed of two tanks. The primary tank contains an electrically charged resin bed that pulls ions out of the water and binds them as they travel through the tank. This resin bed stores the ions until they can be rinsed away by a concentrated salt solution. The secondary tank is designed to store the salt that is used for this purpose. Most modern salt-based products operate using a computerized head that initiates regeneration cycles once the resin bed has been saturated. An individual who chooses to buy one of these products will find that the bulk of the upkeep required to keep the system operating properly involves monitoring and replacing the salt in the secondary tank.
In general, the rate at which salt is depleted depends on the water volume being used by those living in the home and the severity of hardness. Households that use large volumes of water will need to make sure they check the salt level every two to four weeks to make sure that it has not fallen below the level of the water. In most cases, it is a good idea to keep a couple of 40 pound bags of water softener salt in stock so that one does not run out. Most grocery stores sell salt that is specifically designed for use in a water softener. Other maintenance requirements could include adding an iron additive in areas where there is a high concentration of iron particles in the soil, detaching and sanitizing the softener if bacteria is discovered in the water, and breaking up a salt bridge if one forms near the bottom of the secondary tank. Although it is possible for homeowners to perform these activities on their own, those who have little to no plumbing experience are encouraged to contact a certified installer for more complex issues such as sanitizing the system.
Homeowners usually decide to go with a salt-based softener when evaluating their options for getting rid of hard water in the home because they tend to be the most effective and require very little upkeep. Those who are concerned about the impact that these products have on the environment and who are considering a salt-free alternative should be aware that several different systems exist. Some alternative products attach to the outside of a pipe leading into the home while others require their own dedicated pipe that diverts water through the system before entering the main plumbing network. In most cases, the water softener maintenance requirements associated with these products are very low. It is a good idea to discuss alternative options with a professional in the area before deciding on a specific product.
Modern water softeners have become increasingly automated over the past several years and are now easier to maintain and less harmful to the environment. Because there are so many different systems available on the market, it is important to read through several water softener reviews before making a purchase. While the salt-based systems are more likely to provide the kind of results most people are looking for, alternative options may be the most appropriate choice for those who want minimal upkeep requirements and who have concerns about the effects of salt-based systems on the environment. It is also an excellent idea to get in touch with a certified professional who can provide advice and input throughout the purchasing and installation period.