Hard water causes two kinds of problems:
1. Scale forms on the inside of pipes and water heaters. The calcium and magnesium precipitate out of the water and stick to things. Scale reduces the flow of water through pipes and it also doesn't conduct heat well. Eventually, pipes can become completely clogged.
2. Hard water reacts with soap to form a sticky soap scum and reduces soap's ability to lather. Since most of us wash with soap, hard water makes the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower or bath less productive.
The solution to hard water is to filter the water with a water softener. A water softener is usually a solution for the whole house.
The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated.
To do the ion replacement, the water is run through a bed of small beads that are covered with sodium ions. As the water flows past the sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. Eventually, the small beads contain nothing but calcium and magnesium and no sodium ions, and at that point they stop softening the water. Then it is time to regenerate the beads.
Regeneration involves soaking the beads in sodium ions. When you dump in a bag of salt, sodium chloride, the water softener mixes up a very strong brine solution and washes it through the bed of small beads. The salty brine displaces all of the calcium and magnesium ions that have built up in the beads and replaces it again with sodium. The remaining salty brine plus all of the calcium and magnesium is flushed out of the water softener and down the drain.
Contact Flier's at 616-583-9040 for more information.