If you do not have a water softener, you probably have friends or neighbors that do. It is also quite likely that those friends and neighbors have been trying to convince you that getting a water softener is a good idea for you. They have been telling you for weeks or months that you need to check it out and see why this is such a good idea.
You may be convinced. You may believe that this really would benefit you in some way, but your concern comes from not really understanding how the water softener system works itself. This is a very interesting question, and maybe with a little understanding you will see that this is the ideal system to get for your home.
First of all, it’s time to get a little chemistry lesson about your water. For most people, the water that comes into their home is referred to as “hard water.” What this means is that metal ions, most often magnesium and calcium, have dissolved in the water itself and now travel as free-floating ions into your home. They then gather as residue on your pipes, drains, shower, tub, and sink leaving clogs and corrosion. Over time, this can damage your home and cause major problems for the home itself and for your appliances.
This does not even consider the effect that this can have on your skin or in your body. While not toxic, these ions can be quite irritating and cause problems for your body. Something you simply don’t need.
Now that it is clear that you need to get rid of these ions, the next thing to understand is how the water softener actually does this. To be honest, it is not very difficult at all.
There are two different kinds of water softener systems; ones that use salt and those that do not. The process is quite similar for both.
These ions that travel with your water are all positively charged metals, namely calcium and magnesium. Sometimes even iron. Going back to elementary school you learned that opposites attract. This means that the positively charged ions that are in your water are attracted to things that have a negative charge. This is one of the reasons why iron turns to rust. The more negatively charged oxygen atom in water or in the air combines with iron to make iron oxide, rust. Sound simple so far?
In the salt there is a positive particle to the salt and a negative, usually chlorine. When the metal comes through the salt, it breaks apart the bond in the salt and combines with the chlorine to make a different kind of salt. The other atom, usually sodium is now an ion, but is sent into a waste area. Your water now has no ions to it.
The waste is pushed out by a hose where you usually have some kind of drainage tube. You frequently see this on little stream heading for a drainage pipe in the floor of your home. Super simple!
In the salt less systems, the softener simply uses electric impulses to attract the metals. Electricity is nothing more than traveling electrons. When the positive metals attach to the electrons, they become neutral and are removed from the water in this process. The new metal atoms are simply discarded into a waste container that you dump out. That is all there is to it.