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How Do Water Softeners Work?

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How do water softeners work? If your home uses hard water and you take a shower while staying at a hotel or friend’s house, you’ve likely noticed the silky and luxurious feel the water has. You come out of the shower with your skin feeling smooth and your hair shining bright. And if you aren’t already aware of the wonderful benefits water softeners offer, you may conclude that you’re simply having a “good hair day.” Or perhaps your friend’s water is made of some kind of magic.

When in reality, it’s the water softener they have installed. However, the perks are not only evident in the way your skin and hair feel after a refreshing shower. In fact, water softeners have an entire list of how they help in many areas of the home. 

You may be wondering, how do water softeners work? In this blog, Flow Pros answers just that. 

Continue reading to learn how water softeners work to make appliances last longer, protect your home’s pipes, and even improve your skin and hair.

What is Softened Water?

Softened water is treated hard water, absent of calcium, magnesium, and other metals. As a result, your clothes are softer, your appliances last longer, mineral build-up in your home’s pipes is reduced, and much more.

For a plumbing system, softened water is like using conditioner on your hair. When you only use shampoo, your hair may feel dry and brittle. But, when you use conditioner, your hair is stronger and silky-smooth. While on the other hand, hard water is a lot like using only shampoo, leaving the pipes more susceptible to wear and tear

The Benefits of Water Softeners

Think of all the places you may use water throughout your home- the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry room, etc.

Using a water softener benefits all the daily activities in these areas of your home, like washing your hair, cleaning dishes, and doing a load of laundry. Plus, water softeners protect your home’s pipes and appliances. With the lack of harsh minerals found in hard water, softened water helps to prevent premature wear and breakdowns.

The Major Benefits of Water Softeners:

Honestly, the perks of using a water softener are practically endless. Below, we will focus on five significant benefits and how water softeners work to make our daily lives more comfortable, practical, and easier than before.

1 | How Do Water Softeners Work to Soften Water?

Simply put, water softeners work by replacing calcium and magnesium with sodium ions. The unit is installed where water enters the home. Upon entering the mineral tank, water flows through resin beads, usually made of polystyrene, charged with a sodium ion. The negative charge from the sodium ion attracts the positive charge of calcium and magnesium. This process removes the harsh metals and releases a sodium ion. The result is a flow of softened water into your home.

2 | How Do Water Softeners Work to Increase the Lifespan of Some Appliances?

Without metals in the water circling through your house, certain appliances will last significantly longer than they would if using hard water. Water softeners work to prevent mineral build-up in common appliances, from the coffee maker to the laundry machine. Build-up can cause a device to operate less efficiently or break down prematurely. 

In fact, installing a water softener may double the lifespan of the appliances in your home, especially those that use hot water. At higher temperatures, more calcium and magnesium solidify. The build-up can attach to the heating element in the water heater and create strange noises as if the machine is popping popcorn rather than heating water.

Using a water softener will help to keep your appliances happy and healthy, saving you time, money, and hassle.

3 | How Do Water Softeners Work to Produce Healthy Skin and Hair?

If you’ve always washed your skin and hair with hard water, you may not realize the dryness you experience is because of the water. Most of the time, people will blame the soaps they use or simply conclude that their skin and hair are drier than others. Although this may be true in some situations, if hard water is being used, it’s likely the culprit.

So, ditch the massive amounts of lotion, oils, and other moisturizing products for a water softener. After a hot shower, you’ll quickly notice the difference. Your skin feels soft and silky, and your hair is smooth and healthy. 

Not to mention, when hard water dries out your skin, acne and other skin issues can occur. This is because your skin will overproduce oils to try to balance out the dry and uncomfortable skin. Oils are natural, and your skin needs them to be at its best. Using a water softener will prevent overly dry and acne-prone skin.

4 | How Do Water Softeners Work to Make Dishes and Laundry Sparkling Clean?

A soft water system will also do wonders for your dishes and laundry. Have you ever wondered why your dishes come out of the dishwasher with cloudy streaks and residue? Well, it’s not your dish detergent. In fact, it is the mineral build-up from the hard water the machine is using. 

Not only is this unsightly and aggravating, but it can remove the protective coating on your dishes over time. This makes your dishes harder to clean because food sticks easier. Plus, they’ll lose their quality much quicker than if they were washed with softened water.

Water softeners also make your laundry softer, cleaner, and last longer. Hard water can leave mineral build-up on your clothes, which blocks the soap from entirely washing the fabric. As a result, your clothes may appear dirty, and you may be inclined to clean them again. Additionally, hard water will dry out your laundry, like how it dries out your skin and hair. 

With softened water, your clothes are softer and brighter after running through the washing machine. Your laundry will keep that brand-new appearance for much longer than if hard water is used.

5 | How Do Water Softeners Save You Money?

A soft water system will save you money in the long run. First, your water heater will work much more efficiently. With hard water, calcium build-up pollutes the water tank and reduces its ability to heat the water quickly. This is because calcium is not a heat conductor. In other words, with the long-term build-up of this mineral, your water heater will have to work extra hard to heat the water for your home. This inefficient operation will certainly show on your utility bill.

The second way a water softener will save you some cash is by lengthening the life of the appliances in your home and preventing repairs or breakdowns. Have you ever had to replace a faulty dishwasher or washing machine? These appliances don’t come cheap. Luckily, installing a water softener will avoid these issues by providing your home’s appliances with water that helps and does no harm.

Flow Pros Plumbing Installs Water Softeners 

Many times, our knowledgeable and experienced technicians are asked by homeowners how they can extend the life of their plumbing system and avoid emergency repairs. One of the first things we suggest is to install a water softener system.

And now you know precisely why. Water softeners are one of the best methods of keeping your home’s plumbing system healthy. But what’s even better is the benefits it offers for your own health and comfort.

Are you considering installing a water softener? We certainly encourage you to do so!

And we will even install it for you. Count on the trusted team at Flow Pros Plumbing to install the system correctly.

Reach out to us today so that you can enjoy all the beautiful perks of softened water.


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