You may have heard of well water softening, but how do you know if you need it? It may be obvious — to your taste buds — that you have too much magnesium, calcium or other elements in your drinking water. It can lead to a funny taste, though it’s almost never dangerous, and some people’s palates are more sensitive than others. The most popular methods for well water softening are ion-exchanged resin approaches and lime softening. However, it’s not just about taste (although that’s important). Water needs to be the right softness to help your pipes last as long as possible.
Hard water comes with a slew of problems, including an abundance of bicarbonates or sulfates. It can work at cross purposes with common soaps, and is the leading cause of limescale buildup. Ultimately, this wreaks havoc on your plumbing system because it causes galvanic corrosion. Galvanized pipes are common, especially in Utah, leading to issues that extend even beyond your home. Too much hard water disrupts sewage systems, which can affect your septic tank or the pipes that connect you to city supplies (if you depend on a city-owned system).
Does it feel like the soap just sits on your skin when you shower, never getting you clean? It might not be your soap’s fault — it could be that your hard water is making it impossible for soap to do its job. It remains on the skin and hair surfaces, but also sticks to your tub and shower. That slippery feeling on surfaces, better known as soap scum, makes for dirty bathrooms and hazardous slip zones. Plus, nobody wants to feel slimy when they are fresh out of the shower.
Water softening can mean adding calcium chloride, baking soda or certain types of sulfates for a quick DIY solution. However, permanent softening should be handled only by professionals. An ion-exchange resin approach mitigates the problem by swapping sodium/potassium ions for the numerous calcium or magnesium ions. Lime softening is just what it sounds like: adding lime to make the water softer.
Alternative, lesser-known approaches include adding chelating agents, distilling with rainwater (a costly solution) and reverse osmosis.
A Big Softie
Having hard water isn’t usually dangerous, but it can be. People who are on a sodium-restricted diet, such as kidney transplant patients, might unknowingly consume much more sodium than recommended if they have hard water. Other times, hard water can have so many metal ions that it becomes toxic, particularly if copper or lead are present.
Rely on a trusted, local well service provider to give you the softness you deserve. Call Mike Zimmerman Well Services for a water hardness assessment and to schedule well water softening for your comfort and safety.