Repairing Your Water Softener – What You Need to Know
What is it? What is “Hard” Water?
Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium.
These minerals come from soil and rock such as limestone that dissolves in our river systems. Our water sources are the Bow and Elbow rivers which travel through the Canadian Rockies before reaching Calgary.
Hard water is not a health risk, but it is troublesome because hard water causes mineral buildup on all fixtures, poor soap and or detergent performance, and can cause skin irritation.
Hard water interferes with almost every daily cleaning task from personal grooming, bathing, dishwashing, laundry, and general cleaning.
The amount of hardness in the water affects the amount of soap or shampoo used in bathing and can cause skin irritation. Doing laundry in hard water can make fabrics stiff and rough. Can result in incomplete stain removal, graying, and dulling of colors. In addition, soap curds and hard water deposits can be deposited on dishes, bathtubs, showers, and all water fixtures.
Why it Matters
Hard water is brutal on appliances. Not only appliances but plumbing piping in your home as well. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of all water-using appliances and piping.
According to Natural Resources Canada, your hot water heater is the second-highest user of energy in your home. Hard water mineral build-up in your hot water heater takes more energy, making your water heater work harder and wear out faster.
Managing Hard Water
Water hardness can be managed in two ways: by packaged water softener such as baking or washing soda or borax. Or mechanical water softening units.
How to remove hard water:
- Start by mixing half water and half Vinegar in a spray bottle
- Spray the mixture in your tub and shower or on other water spots and wait a few minutes before wiping clean.
- Dry the surface to prevent further spotting
- Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar
- Smear the paste over the surface of the stain and let sit 15 minutes.
- After waiting 15 minutes, scrub clean and rinse with water.
- Remember to dry the surface to prevent further spotting
- Finally, you can try removing hard water using lemon juice
- Spray lemon juice on hard water spots and let sit 10 minutes
- Rinse after 10 minutes
- Again, make sure to dry the clean surface.
Packaged water softeners only take care of the areas that are accessible.
Mechanical water softening units: Water softeners work on an ion exchange process. The calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with sodium ions as it passes through a mechanical water softening unit.
Having a mechanical water softener permanently installed into your home’s plumbing system to continuously remove the calcium and magnesium takes care of your water heater, pipes, and plumbing fixtures.