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Does your skin and hair get dried out after you shower? Is there foggy residue on your dishes after you wash them? Do your clothes come out faded or discolored after you do laundry? You’re probably dealing with hard water, an issue shared by 85% of all U.S. households. A water softener from Angel Water will reduce water hardness, make your water more pleasant, and save you money year after year.
Let’s take a closer look at how a water softener makes daily life easier and why Angel Water is your go-to expert for water softeners in Barrington, IL and the Chicago area.
A water softener is a water treatment system that improves quality of life and saves money by reducing water hardness. What is hard water anyway, though, and how will it affect your daily life?
When water comes down as rain, it’s typically what we would call “soft” water. However, as it travels over the earth and through the soil in rivers, streams, and reservoirs, it collects minerals including calcium and magnesium. When water has an excess of these minerals, it’s called hard water.
The minerals in hard water dry out your skin and hair, neutralize soaps, and accumulate on surfaces. That’s why your skin feels dry and tight after a shower and you see soap scum and mineral deposits on your plumbing.
A water softener will remove excess minerals to provide your home with soft water (less than one grain of minerals per gallon). Here are some of the ways a water softener makes your life easier and saves you money:
Angel Water is a team of experienced water experts who’ve been installing and maintaining top-of-the-line water softeners for decades. Our technicians have years of hands-on experience dealing with water issues and water softeners in Barrington, IL and the Chicago area. Our waters softeners such as the ERR-3702 come from trusted brands like EcoWater, whose products are built to NSF standards and backed up by rigorous testing and industry standards.
We’ll install a high-quality water softener in your home, perform regular water softener maintenance and repair visits, and even deliver salt for your water softener right to your door. For effective water softening, top-tier product support, and convenient salt delivery services, Angel Water is your go-to source.
You may be thinking, “How can water be hard? It’s a liquid!” However, water hardness doesn’t mean the water is literally hard. Instead, it’s a measure of the water’s mineral content.
When water in the environment passes through soil and rocks, it picks up a lot of different particulates. Among these are minerals like calcium and magnesium. An excess of these minerals is what we call “hard water”.
The United States is located in a part of the world that largely consists of ancient sea beds. These sea beds have high concentrations of limestone. As a result, most water in the U.S. passes through this limestone at some point, and 85% of people in the U.S. have hard water in their homes.
Here in Northern Illinois, we’re in a region of extreme water hardness. Chicago’s water has a hardness of approximately 8 grains per gallon, which is well into the range we consider “hard”. This is why water softeners are especially necessary here and throughout the Midwest.
In addition to making you itchy and leaving a film on your dishes, hard water will also rob you of thousands of dollars over the years if you don’t do something about it.
The calcium and magnesium that cause most of the hard water problems in your water both carry positive charges. Because the charge is opposite that of the resin, these minerals will cling to the resin as the hard water passes through the mineral tank, which means they DON’T go on to stick to your pipes, your dishes, your shower walls or your clothes!
Well, now that the minerals are clinging to the resin, won’t it just get clogged up and become useless?
No. Sodium ions also have a positive charge, but it’s a weaker charge than the calcium and magnesium, and that’s they key to the regeneration cycle!
In a separate tank, sodium is mixed into a very strong brine solution so that it can be flushed through the resin whenever it becomes saturated with calcium and magnesium. The high concentration of sodium ions allows them to gang up on the calcium and magnesium ions and overpower them to break them away from the resin.
The excess minerals are then flushed down the drain line and out of your home, leaving the weak sodium ions clinging to the resin. These weaker bonds are easily broken by the stronger calcium and magnesium ions, so once the regeneration cycle is over the resin is ready to catch the minerals that clog up your appliances and cause dry, brittle hair.
A combination of modern salt dosing technology and high quality resin can keep your costs low and your home free of soap scum, cloudy, spotted dishes and ugly scale buildup on your appliances and faucets.
What is hard water?
What is water softening?
What is a water softener?
Why is water softening applied?
Water softening is used in households and businesses around the world to ensure high quality water which can be used effectively for cleaning and won’t clog pipes or damage appliances.
Hard water causes lime scale deposits which reduce the efficiency of water heaters and can increases the cost of domestic water heating by as much as fifteen to twenty percent.
Water softening can also extend the life of household appliances like laundry machines and dishwashers.
What does a water softener do?
Water softeners are a specific type of ion exchanger which are designed to remove calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions (often referred to as ‘hardness minerals’) from your family’s water.
Softeners are sometimes even applied to remove iron, though their efficacy for iron removal is considerably lower.
A water softener collects hardness minerals within its conditioning tank and from time to time flushes them away to drain. This flushing process is called regeneration and it’s a cycle that can be initiated manually, automatically at set intervals or even automatically based on the amount of water used. How your softener cycles depends on the type of control valve technology you invest in.
Softeners are rated on the amount of hardness they remove before regeneration is necessary.
How long does a water softener last?
Which types of salt should I use?
There are three types of salt that are generally used for water softening:
Rock salt has a water insolubility level of about 0.5-1.5%, which means it leaves behind some calcium sulphate that can eventually clog your system, but it’s less expensive than solar salt or evaporated salt.
Solar salt comes from evaporation of salt water and contains 85% sodium chloride. It has a water insolubility level of less than 0.03% and is generally sold in natural, chunky crystals or manufactured evenly formed pellets.
Evaporated salt is obtained from wet underground salt deposits that are harvested and dried. Evaporated salt contains between 99.6% and 99.99% sodium chloride and thus the cleanest (most water soluble) and most maintenance free salt you can use in your softener.
How often should one add salt to a softener?
The amount of salt used and how often you may need to add salt depends on a variety of factors including the number of people in your household, average water use, the size of your brine tank, and many more.
One of the most significant variables in determining how much salt you use is the type of control valve your softener uses to regenerate the system. Modern control valves can monitor your salt dosing needs to significantly reduce your costs and even notify you on your cell phone when it’s time to get more salt.
However, most softening systems will work just fine if you check them once a month and try to keep the brine tank at least half full.
How come water sometimes does not become softer when salt is added?
When you first install a new water softener, or sometimes, when you add salt to a system that has run out completely, the initial regeneration cycle may not significantly soften the water. This is because proper water softening requires a strong sodium ion solution. Immediately starting a regeneration cycle after adding salt doesn’t give the solution enough time to soak and dissolve the salt which can result in hard water getting past the softening system.
This is a temporary issue and should resolve itself with the next regeneration cycle, but if the problem persists, call us for an inspection to make sure everything is running properly.
How much does a water softener cost?
Newer water softeners are more efficient than older models and even among new models the efficiency can vary significantly. These differences produce a variety of different price points.
The overall costs of water softening depend on the type of water softener, the initial hardness of the water and the amount of water used. When the water is very hard and used heavily, the costs of softening will rise.
Generally the costs of water softeners are usually far outweighed by the benefits and cost savings obtained, through using softened water.
Do water utility companies and public systems provide softened water?
Is softened water safe to drink?
How much sodium does one absorb from softened water?
Sodium intake due to softened water varies depending on the hardness of the water. On average, your sodium intake from drinking softened water is likely to be less than 3% of your recommended daily allowance.
The intake of sodium (Na+) from a home water softening process, is negligible compared to the total daily intake of many sodium-rich foods.
Will softening drinking water deprive it of essential minerals?
When does a softener resin need replacement?
In the hardest water areas resin may need to be replaced more frequently, but we’ve seen resin last as long as 20 years.
If you notice that your water is getting hard again (spots on dishes, itchy skin, dull hair and ineffective soap and detergents) The first thing to check is the brine reservoir or salt tank, as it is often called. Make sure there is salt in the tank before making a service call!
But if there is still salt and you don’t have softened water, the issue may be mechanical.
Does a softener brine tank need cleaning?
Generally speaking it is not necessary to clean a brine tank, however it is possible if the salt product being used has a high concentration of water-insoluble material. If there is a build-up of insoluble matter in the resin, the reservoir should be cleaned out to prevent softener malfunction.
Otherwise, only a serious malfunction or the introduction of foreign matter into the brine tank would necessitate its cleaning.
Can brine from softeners damage a septic tank?
Can a water softener be used with lead pipes?
Can I Take My Water Softener with me when I move?
Make sure you have the right tool for the job with water testing from MyWaterScore.com!
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