How do you soften hard water in your home?


Quick Answer

The most common and effective way to soften hard water in your home is through the installation and use of a water softener system. Once you install the system, all the water in your house passes through it, which removes the minerals that make water hard in the first place.

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Full Answer

Water softeners work on the principle of ion exchange, in which the harder ions are replaced by ions with a more tolerable hardness level. Sodium and potassium replace the calcium and magnesium ions. These minerals cause less buildup in pipes, which is one of the key problems necessitating water softener systems.

Most water softener systems use softener salt to allow the ion exchange. These systems are common because they are much cheaper than alternate water softener systems. As an alternative to softener salt, some systems use potassium chloride. These systems allow for a water softener that isn't dependent on salt, which provides a good alternative in areas where salt-based water softeners are not allowed. Some advanced systems use a technique called reverse osmosis in order to lower the mineral density of the water. These systems cost more, and are sometimes critiqued for having a lower mineral content than is generally advisable in drinking water.

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