There is an abundance of derogatory information regarding water softeners typically origonating from miseducation or a sales strategy of an alternative product. Water softening is a green technology that reduces green house gases by allowing water heaters and appliances to last significantly longer and operate more efficiently. Water softeners reduce the amount of soap and detergents to the drain which end up in our environment. Water softeners also reduce the amount of failed appliances in our landfills. Today’s water softeners are highly efficient and are a necessity for those who need it.
Take a look at the follwing myths about water softerns and let us know what you think.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines soft water as "water that is free from dissolved salts of such metals as calcium, iron, or magnesium, which form insoluble deposits such as appear as scale in boilers or soap curds in bathtubs and laundry equipment."
This is done by utilizing an ion exchange resin (media used in water softeners) to physically remove calcium and magnesium from the water, providing "soft water".
Today there are a lot of marketing geniuses that have found out that homeowners do not enjoy buying and carrying salt down the stairs to their water softener. Within the last few years the market has been saturated with advertisements for “Salt Free Water Softeners".
Many of these devices are sold on the premise that they leave the healthy minerals in the water. They are referring to calclium and magnesium which make up hard water. These style systems would often be more accurately described as a whole house filters or scale prevention at best as they are not removing the calcium and magnesium that make up hard water.
Another misleading tactic for salt free advertising is to promote the use of potassium instead of sodium. Potassium chloride will regenerate a water softener like sodium chloride, but is generally 30% less efficient and often 5x the cost of standard softening salt.
The bottom line is without removing the dissolved minerals calcium and magnesium you will not achieve softened water. These minerals are extremely difficult to remove without the use of ion-exchange (water softening).
Want to reduce salt use? Consider a high efficiency water softener.
Most people would agree that showering is not a waste of water as there is a trade off for the use of water, a clean body. There is a significant trade off for the water and salt a water softener uses. A scientific study* found these benefits of water softeners:
Gas water heaters maintained their original efficiency factor for over 15 years.
Water with 30 grains of hardness increased heating costs by 8% per 100 gallons of water on a gas water heater.
2.4lbs of scale accumulates each year for 30 grains of hardness in an electric water heater.
Carbon footprint of gas water heaters increased18% when operated on 26 grains of hardness for 15 years.
Detergent savings of 70% are found with soft water versus hard.
Depending on the soil, soft water was found to be 12 times more effective at soil removal than increasing detergent dose.
Soft water was found to be 6 times more effective at reducing spotting and twice as effective at reducing filming over increasing detergent dose.
Stain removal performance increases dramatically when soft water is used, even when temperature and detergent dosage are lowered.
Soft water will allow the use of less detergent and will save energy by lowering temperatures while maintaining stain removal effectiveness.
*The detergent studies were performed by the independent testing firm Scientific Services S/D Inc., and the softened water benefits were conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute, a non-profit international science and technologies enterprise.
You may have heard of this or experienced something similar while showering with soft water. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium that will bond with soap and chemical agents creating a “curd” like effect. This is often found plastered on shower doors or sinks, prevents soap from lathering and will also leave your skin feeling “squeaky” after showering. The absence of this soap curd on the skin leaves a much different feeling when showering and the perception that the soap cannot be rinsed away.
If bathing with softened water is a problem, switching to a potassium based soap will greatly diminish this feeling.