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It’s easy to take good drinking and wash water for granted, but these things aren’t always readily available. Home owners in many parts of the nation must modify their water systems in order to live comfortably.
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It’s easy to take good drinking and wash water for granted, but these things aren’t always readily available. Home owners in many parts of the nation must modify their water systems in order to live comfortably. Eighty nine per cent of homes in the U.S. have hard water, which is high in minerals, and can cause problems for bathing and washing clothes – if treated improperly it can also be unhealthy do drink. Hard water is especially common in arid regions, such as Arizona, Southern California, and Nevada. Many home owners take care of the issue with a sodium water softener, which employs remarkably simple technology in changing the chemical structure of water.
Water softeners use the principle of ion exchange to lower the mineral content in water and replace it with sodium or potassium. Most household water softeners include a tank filled with resin beads that exchange hard mineral ions for sodium ions. When hard water passes through and around the beads, mineral ions are absorbed and replaced with sodium ions. This makes the water softer and more palatable for household use. Water softening is also used frequently for industrial purposes.
Soft water is better for washing because it lathers with soap much more easily. It’s also more gentle on clothes in washing machines.
In industrial settings, water must be softened to keep boilers and cooling towers from breaking down.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when considering the advantages of hard and soft water. Soap in soft water may be harder to rinse away, since the two don’t combine as easily – this why many people find their skin slippery after showering in soft water. Soft water may also be more corrosive on pipes, and contain elevated levels of cadmium, copper, and lead. This generally isn’t a concern in homes with water softeners, but rather in areas where the water is naturally very soft.
Home owners in desert regions should consider the benefits of installing a water softener – a small difference in the quality of water can improve quality of life, and increase property value.