Often the water that we bring into our homes from either a public water utility or an in-ground well contains a number of dissolved minerals. The effect of these minerals can include discolouration and staining, particularly in laundry, from the presence of iron, unpleasant taste and odour, spots on your dishes when run through a dishwasher and on showers. They can also affect the performance of plumbing fixtures and water heaters if minerals are allowed to build up over time. Water with these minerals is often called “hard” water.
A water softener (or water conditioner) uses a small amount of sodium or potassium to minimize calcium, magnesium, manganese and ferrous iron ion concentration, as well as neutralizing acidity and removing particles of sediment. Inside the tank are resin or plastic beads, coated with sodium or potassium ions.
The charge of those ions is positive while the minerals have a negative charge. Water passes over the beads and the positive-negative relationship allows the “hard” minerals in the water to be replaced by the “softer” sodium or potassium. Over time, the sodium or potassium on the beads becomes entirely replaced by the minerals, so salt is added to the softener to allow them to regenerate and continue to effectively soften the water.
There are a number of different types of water softeners to choose from, for specific and localized purposes or for your entire home.
No scheduled or automated processes. You add the salt to regenerate the beads, and you determine how much softening and recharging take place, how often, and when.
Water softening happens automatically but the beads are only regenerated when you say so via a button or switch.
A timer automatically handles both the softening and recharging of the beads at set intervals, determined by you. You are only responsible for ensuring that salt is added for the regeneration process.
This method is efficient as an “on-demand” water softener, operating only when water is needed.
Call James Wall Plumbing to learn more about the water quality in your home, how a softener can improve it, and which type is right for you.
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