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Water Softeners

The installation of a water softener will remedy your hard water problems. You will immediately see and feel the difference a softener makes in the quality of your water and the quality of your life. With conditioned water, you and your family will look and feel better with glowing complexions and soft, shining hair. Your laundry will look better and fabrics will last longer. Housework becomes much less of a chore.

You will spend significantly less money on detergents, cleaning products, conditioners, creams and personal grooming products. In addition, your plumbing, fixtures and appliances will be protected against costly repairs or premature replacement.

How does a Water Softener Work? 

A water softener works on principle known as ion exchange. The softener contains resin beads, which are charged with sodium ions. When hard water passes through the resin the hardness minerals change places with the sodium ions on the beads. The hardness-free water then passes into the house.

After a period of time the resin becomes full of hardness minerals and can hold no more. The resin is then washed with a salt solution. The sodium from the salt attaches itself to the resin beads and the hardness ions let go of the resin beads and are washed down the drain. This process takes place automatically and is known as regeneration. Salt (sodium chloride) must be occasionally added to the brine tank of the water softener.

Contrary to popular belief, a water softener adds no salt (sodium chloride) to the household water. Rather, it exchanges sodium ions for the pesky hardness ions, thus adding sodium to the water supply usually in the form of sodium bicarbonate. During the regeneration process the softener is separated from the household water supply by an automatic bypass. This assures that no salt enters the house.

Softening & Sodium

Water SoftenerProbably the number one question asked by the consumer concerning water softening is about the "sodium issue." This issue is greatly misunderstood because of all the bad press about too much salt (sodium) in the average American's diet today. We must have sodium to live, but how much is enough and how much is too much? The topic can be put into perspective by showing where the sodium in one's diet comes from daily.

As discussed earlier, a water softener takes out calcium and magnesium and replaces them with sodium. The amount of sodium added to the water is determined by the amount of hardness minerals, which are taken out. The harder the water before softening , the more sodium is added to the softened water.

For example, if you drank 2 quarts a day of soft water that was 10 grains hard (moderately hard) before softening, you would only take in 112 milligrams of sodium. This would be less than the amount of sodium contained in one slice of white bread. One cup of milk contains 120 milligrams of sodium. 2 slices or bacon contain contain 150 milligrams of sodium. 10 potato chips contain 200 milligrams of sodium. It can be seen that soft water only adds an insignificant amount of sodium to the daily diet.

So while it can be seen that softeners do add some sodium to the diet, the amount added should not in itself cause great concern. There are many foods with far more amounts of sodium than the insignificant amounts contained in softened water. It would be far more reasonable to cut back on these salty foods than to target softened water as a culprit.

The American Heart Association recommends that for every 1,000 Calories of food consumed, the sodium intake should be 1,000 milligrams and should not exceed the 3,000 milligram limit. So the two quarts of soft water drank daily would constitute only about 4 % of the maximum recommended amount of sodium in the diet.

In extreme cases where, for medical reasons, sodium must be severely restricted from the diet there are several ways to eliminate the sodium from the drinking water and still enjoy the benefits of soft water:

  • The plumbing can be arraigned so that unsoftened water is piped to the kitchen and other drinking water taps.
  • Hot water only can be softened.
  • Potassium (sodium free) water conditioning salt can be used.
  • A Reverse Osmosis drinking water system can be installed.

Potassium Water Conditioning Salt

If the above discussion of does not dissuade fears of water softeners, new news on the water conditioning front certainly should. There is now a way to soften water without any sodium at all.

Several years ago the water conditioning industry was pleased to witness the advent of the sodium free salt, potassium chloride. Not only does this new product contain no sodium but in fact contains a mineral which is useful and beneficial to the body, potassium. The drainage from softeners using potassium salt during regeneration is more environmentally friendly than that from sodium based softeners,  because potassium, is  a necessary plant nutrient. 

Potassium salt works in the same way as sodium salt in the ion exchange softener; but instead of exchanging the hardness minerals for sodium it exchanges them for potassium.

Those people who are on sodium free diets or just don't like the idea of sodium based softening can now enjoy the benefits of soft water without worry.

Almost all water softeners can use the new potassium salt and it is sold at most stores where regular water conditioning salt is sold. (See "Sodium Free Salt" under "water links")

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  41022 Highway 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
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