Water Softeners, Hard Minerals and Soft Water | Common FAQs

You've had issues with your appliances and a scaly residue on your showers and sinks. You call a plumber and they recommend that you install a water softening system. While you may understand a little about what a water softener is and why your water is considered hard, you probably lack the scientific understanding of the whole situation. The more you understand soft and hard water and the scientific manipulation of your water, the better you will understand why you do need a water softening system. Take a look at some of what you need to know to get you started on a path of understanding. 

How exactly does a water softener work scientifically?

A water softener is possibly one of the most simplistic water filtering systems. The water softener is actually what is referred to as an ion exchange system. In other words, hard ions in the water are exchanged for softer ones. During the filtration of your water, the mineral ions in the water get exchanged for sodium ions as they pass through the resin beads in the unit. Because sodium is not a hard mineral and other minerals are essentially eliminated, the water that comes through the softener is considered soft water. 

Why are certain minerals considered hard minerals?

The whole reason you will want a water softener is that you have what has been deemed as hard water, but what exactly does this mean? Hard water is water that contains minerals that have a certain hardness, such as calcium or magnesium. Scientifically speaking, hard minerals are those that have a super strong bond so the displacement of atoms in the mineral is harder to achieve. Soft minerals, such as sodium, are much less dense and more easily broken down, especially in water molecules that keep the soft minerals hydrated so atoms are easier disrupted. 

How does water, a fluid, contain solid minerals?

Yes, your water is fluid and often considered to be a weaker element, but water has a certain superpower: it is capable of picking up trace elements as it moves. Through the ground, pipes, and your water softener, the water molecules pass through and grab tiny fragments of minerals and hold them in place until something disrupts that hold. For example, your water softener's resin bed will disrupt the water molecules and the hard minerals in them, but allow the softer sodium minerals to be carried through. 

Now that you know more about the scientific process, you may be ready to buy a water softener. For information about specific water softener systems, contact a retailer like Green Living Water Solutions.