Water Softener FAQ

If you think you have hard water, please continue reading! Know exactly what hard water is and how a water softener can stop it!

Hard Water

What is Hard Water?

The most common problem found in homes is the water. Hard water contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 grain per gallon (GPG). Common minerals in water include: calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

How is hardness of water measured?

The hardness of water is determined by parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon (GPG). Keep in mind that 17.1 PPM=1 GPG.

Why should hard water concern me?

Hard water can be a problem by making everyday tasks much less efficient. When water is softened, only about half the soap is needed to wash dishes or do laundry. Hard water can also be a skin irritant when used for bathing.

Who will test my water for hardness?

If you are connected to a municipal supply, call your Superintendent or City Hall. If you are on a private well, YOU are responsible for the safety of the water you drink and use. You should test your well for bacteria at least once a year, and for other contaminants at least every three years.

My water is hard, what should I do?

If your water tests over 3 GPG hard, then you should mechanically soften it with an ion exchange water softener.

Water Softeners

What should I look for in a Water Softener?

Be sure the unit you are looking at can adequately accommodate your household. It will need to treat all of the water that you and your family use on a day-to-day basis. It should have enough resin. You should also be shown two or three ways to initiate recharging the unit.

The 3 most popular ways are:

  • -Timeclock: Your water is calculated and the frequency of recharging programmed into the timer.
  • -Electronic Sensing: It electronically checks the resin and then determines when the resin needs to be recharged.
  • -Meter: A meter is installed in the water line and simply measures how many gallons of water you actually use.

Types of Water Softeners

  • Cabinet Style All parts of the water softener system are contained within a single cabinet.
  • Side-By-Side Style The brine tank and resin tank are separate and can be disconnected.

I have a water softener, and now my water feels "slimy." Why is that?

When the hardness materials are removed, soap no longer forms a soap curd. That is the "sticky" feeling you get on your skin with hard water. The slick, slimy feeling experienced with softened water is your natural body oil without all the soap scum and minerals.

How much sodium does ion-exchange add to my water?

For every grain of hardness in your water, 7.5 mg of sodium will be *added* to each quart of water by the ion-exchange method. If you have water that is 10 grains per gallon hard; you will add 75.0 mg of sodium per quart of water softened by ion-exchange. To put that into perspective; one 8-oz glass of milk contains 120 mg of sodium, and one slice of white bread contains 114 mg of sodium. You must also remember that there is *probably* sodium in the raw water too. If your city supply treats your water by a "hardness reduction" treatment plant, you can be sure that the sodium level in your water has increased as a result. How much? Call your plant operator and ask. It is information free to the public.

Will using a water softener make my water taste salty?

The purpose of the salt used in a water softener is to regenerate the resin beads that remove hardness from water. A water softener will not make your water taste salty.

How often should I add salt to my softener?

The more you regenerate, the more often you will need to add salt to your water softener. Typically, most people check their salt level once a month. To maintain high quality and efficient water softening, keep your salt level at least half full.

What is mushing?

Mushing occurs when the salt pellets or cube used in your water softener are too loosely compacted and turn into tiny crystals of evaporated salt. When this happens, the salt crystals, which are similar to table salt at this point, may bond together to form a solid mass in your brine tank. Mushing can disrupt brine production, keeping your softener from working.

What is bridging?

Bridging happens when the salt in your brine tank sticks together forming a bridge above the water line. Because the salt bridge is unable to come into contact with the water your water softener will be unable to soften your water. Bridging typically occurs with lower quality salt that contains more insoluble content.

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