your dishes or water fixtures have become victim to scale buildup, you likely have hard water. Hard water interferes with almost everything from laundry to bathing. Over time, hard water will even affect your pipes.

Water hardness is measured by the presence of minerals in water, namely calcium and magnesium. Eighty-five percent of homes in the United States have hard water. Phoenix is one of the top five cities with the hardest water. As rainwater travels through soil and rock, it picks up minerals – some essential – and is then carried into the groundwater we use in our homes and businesses. In some geographical locations, there is more or less hard water depending on how many minerals the water picks up as it moves through the soil and rock.

Water that does not contain very much calcium or magnesium is called soft water.

Hard Water

Water hardness is expressed in one of two units of measurement: the first unit is milligrams per liter (mg/L), and the second unit is grains per gallon (gpg) of calcium carbonate. If you have your water tested, your report will use one or both of these units to tell you how hard your water is.

You can have your water tested by a plumbing company, your local utility company, or you can do it yourself  (not the most effective way). If you find your water is hard, we can discuss what water softening system is best suited for you or your business needs.

Water Softener With Salt
Traditional water softeners work due to a physical and chemical process that filters the water through an exchange media known as resin. Ion exchange is the process through which the water flows through the unit while the resin releases its sodium ions and readily trades them for the calcium and magnesium ions. The water produced by this process is now considered soft. Throughout this exchange, ions are not chemically altered. Instead, tiny beads in the resin bed attract the hard water minerals, holding them back from the flowing water.

It is important to note that the resin is not an inexhaustible exchange site. When all of the exchange sites are replaced with mineral content, the resin is spent and will no longer soften water. At this point, the water softener will need to be run on an alternate cycle called regeneration. During this cycle, the resin is backwashed with a salt solution. The brine is reverse flushed through the system taking with it the calcium and magnesium ions that had been adsorbed on the resin. Once backwashing is complete, the softener can be returned to use. Some water softeners will automatically switch to the operation cycle. Others have a manual switch. Most newer, high-efficiency water softeners use less than 10 bags of salt per year.

Typical maintenance on a traditional water softener includes your salt choice (rock, solar, or evaporated), cleaning the resin bed every few months, and biannually cleaning the venturi valve which sometimes gets plugged with sand, sediment, and dirt.

Salt-Free Water Conditioner
This option is relatively newer and actually conditions the hard water. Instead of removing calcium like traditional salt softeners, our salt-free softeners chelates (binds) and isolates the calcium ions, preventing them from precipitating out and forming scale. Once bound to the salt-free system’s chelant, the mineral cannot form scale. It also lowers the measured pH of the water to reduce or eliminate scale formation.

The chelant in CitraCharge creates a ring structure to bind the ions to the CitraCharge instead of to other ions, which is what typically causes scale and hard-water deposits. The CitraCharge formula stops the mineral ions from causing hard water problems by making the typically troublesome minerals stay apart in the water, so instead of attaching to the metal in the pipes, the water passes through. Since they’re bound, those minerals also freely wash away from your body, hair, dishes, pipes, fixtures, and appliances.

Is Hard Water Bad For Me?

Hardness is a property of water that is not a health concern, but it can be a nuisance. Hard water can cause mineral buildup in plumbing, fixtures, and water heaters, and poor performance of soaps and detergents.

The most notable difference between hard and soft water can be seen while doing household chores. Dishes will have a white residue on them, your clothes may look dingy, and your bathtub might have a ring around it (not due to a lack of cleaning). Also if it feels like your hair is becoming increasingly drier and duller, hard water may to be blame.

When it comes to taste, the minerals in hard water can be tasted and sometimes seen in your baking. Hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium or chlorine-rich tap water affect the performance of some ingredients, including yeast. When drinking it straight – the harder the water is, the more metallic it will taste – ultimately altering the flavor of foods and drinks.

On a side note, if your water has a rotten egg (sulfur) odor, that’s usually caused by the levels of sulfur bacteria and hydrogen sulfide gas that can be found your house’s water supply. This is common in homes where the water supply comes from a well. There are a variety of reasons your water may smell like rotten eggs, but in most cases, it’s safe to drink. However, this smell can mimic underlying contaminate smells which are hazardous to your health. If you ever have a concern about your water, contact Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical for a closer look.

Water: The Element of Surprise

While it’s a personal decision to install a water softener system in your home or business, simply put – if you have hard water – you should probably have a water softener. Although it won’t hurt your health, hard water will hurt your possessions and decrease the lifespan of your plumbing.

Life can be hard sometimes, your water doesn’t have to be. Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical of Anthem, Arizona can aid you in your water treatment needs. We offer maintenance, repairs, and installation of water softeners. Experience the clear difference luxurious treated water brings to your home or business. Alongside our outstanding products and services, we also offer a water treatment annual check-up. Contact Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical today: 602-834-9602, serving our neighbors of the North Phoenix Valley.

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