How to Stop Hard Water Issues
How to Get Rid Hard Water
One of the most annoying problems householders in the UK have to contend with is working out how to get rid of hard water in their home.
Hard water issues are prevalent across the UK and the impact on cleaning your clothes and yourself, not to mention the effect on drinking water, has led many to seek a long-term solution.
Unless you want to uproot your family and move to a location without hard water – highly unlikely – your options to get rid of hard water are limited to buying a product that will turn your hard water into soft water.
There are many different names used by different companies to describe home water treatment products – water softeners, filters, filtration systems, reverse osmosis etc.
To make it easier to understand your options, it is possible to categorise most products into one of two types:
· Salt-water softener systems
· Salt-free water softener systems.
Hard water solutions for home
The problems caused by hard water are that the minerals in the water cause scale build-up.
Scale build up clogs your water pipes, does not taste or smell nice, and it can damage your home appliances.
Systems that use salt to remove hard water are so common that some people think they are your only option.
These systems use an ion exchange process to remove the minerals that cause hard water by ‘exchanging’ them with sodium (salt).
Your hard water will become soft, but there are two drawbacks when using a salt-water softener system:
· You must continually replace the salt used in the softening process
· The treated water cannot be consumed due to its high salt content and you will need to install a separate tap for drinking water. In the UK, this is mandated by law.
A salt free system works differently from a salt-water softener because it conditions the water by filtering it instead of exchanging the unwanted minerals with salt.
There are several options you can choose if you decide to go with a salt-free water softener to replace your hard water with soft water.
Salt-free softeners inhibit scale using media cartridges instead of salt. The great benefit of a salt-free water softener is that the water is safe to drink.
No salt is added to your water supply.
You also do not need to install a separate drinking tap.
Some people claim that the use of salt makes the water ‘feel’ softer, but there is little research to back up this claim.
Although you do not have the inconvenience of replacing the salt in a salt-free water softener system, you will need to replace the anti-scale media cartridges. How often you need to replace them will depend upon your water consumption.
How do you remove hardness from drinking water?
For many people, the biggest issue they have with their household water supply is the quality of their drinking water.
Some people do not like the taste or smell of their water (or their tea and coffee made at home), while others are very concerned about their health and worry about drinking water contaminated with toxins or chemicals.
Water has no taste, so if you can smell or taste something in your drinking water, something other than H2O has caused it.
If your biggest priority is to have clean, pure, healthy water to drink, you a few options. The main ones are:
· Buying bottle water
· Installing a water filter (not a salt-water softener because you cannot drink the treated water)
· Installing a reverse osmosis water filter
Buying bottled water is very expensive, so the best option for most people is to install a water filter at their kitchen sink to use for drinking and cooking.
Hard water filters
The options when buying a hard water filter are many.
You can choose an under-sink filter that connects to your water supply and filters the water before it reaches the tap.
Good quality products that use granular carbon to remove chlorine and other harmful contaminants can be bought for less than £50.
You can also purchase a reverse osmosis water filter that will eliminate almost all of the chemicals and dissolved bacteria in your water supply. These systems are more expensive but are becoming very popular.
Another option many people are now choosing is a whole of house hard water filter. These filters remove pollutants from all of the water that enters your home.
This means that not only is your drinking water free of contaminants, but your bathing and laundry will be, too. You can now buy whole of house filtration systems for you home for less than £500.
Good quality products use filter cartridges certified by the EU and these condition the water to eliminate impurities and contaminants.
The cartridge media must be replaced regularly, dependent upon water usage, but they are a great hassle-free way to have filtered water throughout your home.
Hard water softener
The one problem with a salt-free water filtration system is that it does not soften water as well as a salt-water softener.
Makers of these products have now introduced models with scale reduction so that your filtered water is softened to the level of a salt-water softener.
Your other option could be to purchase a salt-water softener for your home and then install a water filtered system at your kitchen sink. (You would still be drinking salt water when you brush your teeth, however.)
How to convert hard water to soft water at home for bathing
The best way to make harder water soft for bathing is to install a whole of house water softener system.
You can choose a salt-free filtration system with. scale inhibitor or a salt-water system.
The main difference between the two systems is that the salt-free system will filter out the chlorine from the water and the salt-water system will not.
The usual problem with bathing is the chlorine level, so salt-free systems with scale inhibitors are now becoming very popular.
How do you remove hardness from drinking water?
It is important to remember that water softened by a water softener system that uses salt cannot be used for drinking.
In other words, buying a salt-water softener system will not make your hard drinking water soft because you won’t be drinking that water.
If you have installed a whole of house water filter system with scale reduction, your tap water will be soft and free of contaminants.
Other hard water treatment options
After considering salt-water and salt-free water softener systems, your other option is to install a reverse osmosis water filter system.
Whole of house reverse osmosis systems are more expensive and there are limits depending on your budget, the size of your home, and the space required to store the tank needed for the treated RO water.
The benefit of having a reverse osmosis filtration system in your home is that your water will be of the highest possible quality.
How do you prevent hard water?
It is not possible for a homeowner to prevent hard water from entering your home. Hard water is a fact of life for those who live in hard water areas.
The only option you have is to find a quality product, backed by a guarantee and a company with a good reputation for customer care and sound advice.
If your goal is to have soft water in your home that you can also drink, the options for most households are to:
· Get a salt-water softener system and a separate water filtration system for your drinking water
· Choose a whole of house water filtration system with scale reduction
· Spend more money and buy a reverse osmosis water filter system (if you have the space and the water pressure).