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Why Soften Water?

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Water Softening Overview

What is water softening?

Why soften your water?
Calcium that is dissolved in water forms deposits that:
• Abrade and fray the threads in clothing
• Stick to clothing and other household products and appliances (You can feel the difference
between towels that are new and those that have been repeatedly laundered in hard water.
Those laundered in hard water ones are rough, the result of rock encrustations embedded in the
fibers.)
• Spot dishes, faucets, sinks, toilets, cars, in fact all surfaces, with a microscopic film of limestone.
• Deposits buildup inside water pipes, heaters, and bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
• Gas water heaters used 29% less energy to heat water and electric water heaters used 21% less
energy when operated on softened water according to a study done by New Mexico State
University.


How can water be softened?
• Presently there is only one practical way for homeowners to soften their water and that is through
an ion exchange water softener, including portable exchange devices. Briefly here is how it works:
Ion exchange water softeners are filled with millions of tiny resin beads that attract and hold on
to calcium. As the water passes through this resin "bed" the calcium is removed so it cannot
harm your household goods.
• What happens when the resin beads are full of calcium?
The resin bed is rinsed with dissolved salt, usually table salt. The dissolved salt scours the
calcium from the beads which prepares them to remove more calcium. This rinsing process
takes place every few days, usually at night.
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Are there other alternatives that remove calcium from the water?
• Not that we are aware of at this time. Some other technologies can remove calcium but an very
high cost in energy or wasted water. Ion exchange water softening is the most cost efficient
method to remove calcium.


I've heard of other "salt free" devices that are offered as alternatives. What are they and what do
they do?
• First of all, you need to talk to the manufacturer of these devices to get the facts.
• Consumer protection laws are clear across the land. Manufacturers must have scientific test data
to back up their claims for their particular product.
• Since no testing standard exists in the US for these devices we have not tested nor certified these
products so we can only pass on what we have heard. (More on testing and certification below)
• We understand that there are products that are marketed as scale control devices.
• Scale is the rock like mineral deposit (limestone) made up of calcium carbonate that forms inside
water heaters, pipes, and fixtures over a period of time.
• Scale control devices can have the ability under certain circumstances to help reduce the amount of
scaling inside these pipes and fixtures.
• To our knowledge these scale control devices do not claim to remove calcium and so they do not
produce soft water.
• Controlling scale inside pipes, water heaters, and fixtures is an important benefit but it is only a
partial benefit.