What is Hard Water?
In a household where hard water is present, the repercussions can be frustrating and also damaging to pipes and water heaters. Hard water typically leaves a buildup of minerals on bathtubs and other bathrooms surfaces, and homeowners often complain of problems with their hair, skin or laundry.
In a nutshell, hard water is the result of ground water mixing with minerals from the earth—typically magnesium and calcium. Hardness varies from one geographical location to the next and is not considered a health hazard, but merely a nuisance. Nearly 90% of households in America have hard water.
All drinking water contains some minerals, but the hard and fast rule is that a level of hardness between 50 and 150 milligrams per liter is satisfactory. Anything over that will require some intervention to avoid the white powdery residue that accumulates and potentially shorten the life of water heaters, plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances. Other problems associated with hard water include laundry that feels stiff, hair that becomes dull and limp and soap that is difficult to lather.
Salt-free Water Conditioners
There are several ways to combat hard water, including using a filtered distillation process, or adding chemical softeners like borax or sodium carbonate. Water softeners use an ion exchange to replace the calcium magnesium that causes hardness. Other softeners—like salt-free units (also known as salt-free water conditioners) work by preventing a build-up of minerals.
Also known as descalers, salt-free water softeners don’t actually soften the water, per say. They work by preventing minerals from being deposited inside pipes, washing machines, and other appliances that use or heat water. The descalers transmit an electric charge which changes the structure of the crystal, preventing hard scale from forming, which is also known as electronic scale control. They’re a good choice for salt-free water softening.
Scale is a crystalized form of calcium, and it’s the culprit that creates residue inside pipes, causes your soap not to lather and leaves deposits on your plates and glasses.
Salt-free water conditioners also reduce chlorine, and are said to reduce odors and improve the taste of your drinking water.
They don’t use a backwash cycle like other water softeners, so water from your house is not only conserved, but returned back to the ecosystem. Salt-free water conditioners do not use chemicals either, which is promotes a healthier earth.