Posted on: 30 March 2016
If you live in an area with hard water, you may have already noticed rust, scaling and other problems within your pipes and appliances. This gradual buildup of minerals and corrosion can impact the flow rate, taste and chemical composition of your water, and it can dramatically reduce the longevity of your appliances. Thankfully, you aren't stuck with hard water simply because of where you live. A water conditioning system can help soften your water, prevent the development of scaling and reduce unpleasant tastes or odors, prolonging the lifespan of your plumbing in the process.
Determining the Hardness of Your Water
Tests to measure water hardness are available at many hardware stores, though you may want to have it done professionally for the most accurate results. Magnesium and calcium are the two most commonly tested minerals in these kits, since they are the primary contributors to water hardness. The combined density of both elements determines the overall hardness rating of your water. You can also run a more quick and unscientific test at home with basic cleaning supplies. If you can never seem to work up a good lather with dish soap or shampoo, it is likely that you have hard water. You may also notice water scaling or rust in your faucets, as well as poor water pressure from clogged pipes.
Understanding the Mineral Content of Your Water
Once your test results are in, you will be able to assess the mineral content of your water. According to the degree of hardness standard followed in most tests, any water containing more than one grain per gallon is hard, while 10.5 per gallon qualifies as very hard. If your water is only slightly hard and you can live with the effects, this may be the end of your investigation. Otherwise, you will need to consider which water conditioning system will be adequate to bring your water back into balance.
Installing a Water Conditioning System to Suit Your Needs
Water softeners are a type of water conditioner specifically designed to reduce the levels of calcium and magnesium in your water. They do this through a variety of methods, including osmosis and filtering the water through salt. For homes with relatively soft water, you may only need to install these on drinking-water faucets. But if your appliances and pipes are also being damaged by scaling, a whole-house system may be necessary. Contact a local water conditioning company like Olympic Springs Bottled Water to get a better understanding of your home's water consumption and filtration demands. The sooner you remove unwanted minerals from your plumbing, the less likely you are to need to make emergency repairs later on.