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Fact: Your Quality of Life and Water Can Be Elevated with a Softener

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.

"Salt Free" or "Magnetic Conditioners Will Soften My Water

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.

Water softeners make the water salty.

Water softeners indirectly add sodium to the water by replacing the scale causing minerals calcium and magnesium it removes with the non scale forming mineral sodium.

"An 8-ounce (237-milliliter) glass of softened water generally contains less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium, which is well within the Food and Drug Administration's definition of "very low sodium." Says Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D. at the Mayo Health Clinic.

The Full Article can be viewed at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/AN00317

We typically have harder water in Minnesota and the average would more accurately be 10-30 milligrams in 8 oz. In comparison, ocean water would contain 1,035 miligrams in 8 oz of water.

Various sources such as the National Research Council have gone on the record indicating that drinking softened water does not pose any health risks.

However, because a water softener is removing the calcium and magnesium from the water and replacing it with sodium, it may change the texture, taste or feel of the water and may be undesireable for some.

If you do not want to drink softened water there are options. Your kitchen cold water can be bypassed or by utilize a drinking water purification system such as reverse osmosis.

Water Softeners Waste Water, Salt, and Energy

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.

I don't like the slimy feeling and I can't get all the soap off in the shower.

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.


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Water Softeners are Bad for Septic Systems

There has been a decades old debate regarding the relationship between water softeners and septic systems. Water softeners have long been unfairly blamed for septic problems or failures prompting joint efforts between the WQA, NOWRA and the NSF developing a controlled scientific study to get to the truth regarding softeners and septic systems. The study actually concluded that properly operated water softeners actually benefit septic systems. It is recommended to make sure your water softener is operating properly, not discharging unnecessarily due to incorrect settings, design or malfunction and that you are utilizing a modern on demand system

Water Softeners "Remove the Good Minerals" from water.

Water Softeners are designed to specifically target the hard water minerals calcium and magnesium. The removal of hard water minerals through softening is not done so for the purposes of drinking or cooking, they are removed to prevent failure of water using appliances, plumbing and fixtures. Hard water can make water very unpleasant for bathing, washing clothing and can causing water using appliances like water heaters and dishwashers to operate much less efficiently increasing energy use and expense to homeowners replacing these appliances more often than needed. Those that are concerned about removing calcium and magnesium from a drinking water standpoint are encouraged to have the kitchen cold water line branch off prior to the water softener, so that you can enjoy the calcium and magnesium and still protect your home from the negative effects of hard water.

We have been doing business with Merles Water Conditioning for over 10 years and would give this company a 5-Star rating for extraordinary customer service.

Julee K - White Bear Lake, MN

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