Ever wondered what a water softener does? It’s exactly what its name implies! Water softeners treat water that is “hard” with excessive minerals like calcium and magnesium. Hard water… Causes soaps and detergents to lose effectiveness. Instead of dissolving, soap and minerals combine to form a soapy “scum.” This can leave your skin, hair and laundry dried out and dirty. This causes soap-deposit spots to build up on your dishes, your car, your shower, and your bath. This can lead to calcium and magnesium buildup in pipes. This reduces flow to taps and appliances and damages the efficiency of water heaters. Water softeners are mechanical appliances that are usually plumbed into your home’s water supply system. They work by replacing calcium and magnesium ions with very small amounts of sodium, a process called ion exchange. This ion replacement happens in a tank full of negatively charged beads. The beads are initially bonded to slightly positively charged sodium ions. But as incoming water flows through the beads, the sodium ions are replaced by strongly positively charged calcium and magnesium ions. Once excess minerals and scales are removed, your water will feel soft. You will be able to use less soap for cleaning, and your water will not leave scum behind. The importance of maintenance Water softeners should last a long time when they are maintained properly. Here are some maintenance tips: Correct salt level is extremely important. A water softener should add less than 8 milligrams of salt per liter of water. More or less salt can cause problems for your pipes or water heater. Installing a flow or hardness meter will help you monitor salt levels and will cut down on extra discharge of environmentally unfriendly brine. Make sure your softener has a regenerating system to flush and recharge the softener on a regular schedule – at least every two weeks. Inspect the brine tank annually for buildup and have it cleaned as needed. No one knows more about water hardness in New Jersey than Pipe Works ServicesContact us for help with all of your water softener installation and maintenance needs. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water softeners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Pipe Works Services serves Chatham, NJ, and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!