how to soften hard water

Have you noticed white spots or buildup around your faucets or on your dishes? When you shower or wash your hands, does it feel like you have perpetual soap scum on your skin that is difficult to get off? Are your energy bills slowly rising, and you’re not sure why? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have hard water in your house. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to soften hard water that will make drinking and using the water in your home much more pleasant.


Where Does Hard Water Come From?

As rainwater falls, it is naturally soft. However, as it makes its way through the ground and into our waterways, it runs through soil and rocks that are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chalk, and lime. As the water continues on its travels, it picks up even more minerals through the pipes in your home. This growing concentration of minerals is what changes your water from soft to hard.

While these minerals usually aren’t dangerous, they can cause an array of problems in your home, which can be frustrating and end up costing you money over time.


What Kind of Damage Does Hard Water Cause?

While hard water isn’t toxic, there are a few reasons why you should consider softening your water for the good of your home and yourself.

  • Calcium or limescale buildup in your pipes reduces water flow, leading to a decrease in water pressure.
  • The minerals in hard water can dry out your hair and skin. 
  • Unsightly hard water buildup around your faucets can be difficult to remove and may require the purchase of special cleaning supplies.
  • Your clothing could lose color and wear out faster due to the minerals in hard water, which prevent detergents from foaming and adequately cleaning your laundry.
  • Your appliances may have to work harder due to deposit buildup and soap scum, leading to an overall increase in your energy bills.

How to Reduce the Damage of Hard Water

If you think you may be dealing with hard water, there are a few things you can do to try and offset the damage from its heavy mineral deposits.

  • Only wash your clothes in cold water. Without heat, hard water is less likely to damage your clothes.
  • Set a low-drying temperature on your dishwasher. Again, with less heat, hard water is less likely to leave mineral deposits on your dishes.
  • Have a professional cleaning company remove the mineral buildup on your faucets, appliances, and pipes.
  • Use a moisturizer after bathing to keep your skin from drying out and becoming irritated.
  • Incorporate apple cider vinegar into your hair washing routine to remove mineral buildup and to keep your hair from becoming brittle.

Of course, these tips aren’t long-term solutions. To truly avoid all the damaging side effects of hard water, you’ll need to remove the excess minerals that are causing them. This process is known as water softening.


How to Soften Water Without a Water Softener

So you got a free water test, and it’s confirmed: your home is suffering from hard water. What can you do? There are two options ahead of you — investing in a comprehensive water softening solution or using stopgap measures to soften your water in the short term.

Short-term options you can try:

  • Install ion-exchange filters on your shower head and kitchen and bathroom faucets to remove chlorine and lead from your water.
  • Boil your water before using it to get rid of calcium. Once the water cools, the sediment will rise to the top, and you can use a spoon to scoop it off before transferring the rest of the water to a clean container.

On the upside, these options are inexpensive. However, they aren’t particularly convenient. Boiling your water before use quickly becomes time-consuming, and ion-exchange filters are only helpful on the specific fixtures where they’re installed.

If you are looking for a comprehensive and long-lasting way to completely rid your home of hard water, installing a whole-house water softener is your best solution overall.


How to Soften Water with a Water Softener System

For fresh, pure water throughout your entire home, experts recommend a whole house water softener and filtration system. But what are they, and how do they work? 

First, hard water enters your home, either from a pipe system or a well, and makes its way to the water softener tank filled with resin beads. Opposites attract, so once the water is in the tank, the positive charge from the sodium on the resin beads attracts the negative charge from the minerals in the hard water. The resin beads grab ahold of the mineral ions and remove them from the water. The now softened water leaves the tank and makes its way into your home, giving you clean, high-quality water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and washing your clothes, body, and hair.

How to Maintain a Water Softening System

Whole-home water filtration systems only require a little maintenance, sometimes referred to as the regeneration cycle. As the resin beads in your system attract and collect minerals from hard water, they occasionally need to be cleaned of these minerals and recharged. You can easily do this by adding salt to your softener system every 6-8 weeks, as according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once you’ve added salt to your system, the regeneration process begins:

  • Salt is added, creating a salt-water solution called brine.
  • Next is the backwash cycle. This is when the brine flows through the resin tank, rinsing the beads and exchanging new sodium for the old hard water minerals.
  • The brine solution and the minerals flush out of the tank into a nearby drain.
  • Now the resin beads are renewed and ready to collect more minerals.

This generally takes about two hours, and it is recommended that you do not use the water in your home during this process.


The Science of Water

At The Science of Water, we offer whole house water treatment systems, including water softeners. We are dedicated to providing you and your family with the clean water you deserve.

As an authorized dealer of Puronics filtration systems, The Science of Water proudly installs systems built with NASA technology. Select products have also been tested and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), giving you peace of mind that your home has only the purest water at the highest standards. Our water softeners also have built-in diagnostics to ensure you always have a consistent supply of supreme-quality water available at your fingertips.

Visit our website today to request our free water test. Our experts will analyze your current water and work with you to decide which of our world-class systems is the best for your home and your budget.


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