You installed a water softener to avoid hard water stains resulting from the buildup of minerals like calcium and magnesium. However, you still see white spots on your faucets and showerheads, electric kettle, and other places where mineral deposits are likely to form. You’re left with one question: Why isn’t your water softener doing its job?
How Water Softeners Work
There are two types of water softeners: ion bond and ion exchange. Ion bond softeners bind up the minerals in hard water, while ion exchange softeners swap salt for calcium, magnesium, and other hard minerals.
In the case of ion-bond softeners, the white spots you may notice around the house are a combination of minerals and binding compounds. With ion exchange softeners, they are composed of salt. In both cases, the spots will be easy to clean, contrary to hard mineral deposits.
Is Your Water Softener System Working Properly?
Several issues might affect the function of your water softener system, making it work sub-optimally. Some of the most common problems are:
- Your brine tank is dwindling, which means you should add water softener salt.
- There is a salt bridge or dome, a hard crust formed on top of the salt layer in the brine tank, preventing the salt from dissolving and performing its function. If this is the case, you will need to break the hard layer.
- You have “salt mushing” from dissolved recrystallized salt forming sediment at the bottom of the tank. You can solve this is by draining the system and replacing the salt.
- The resin bed, a collection of resinous beads in your water softener’s tank, needs flushing and cleaning.
- Your system settings are not optimized for your needs.
Do You Have a High Level of Total Dissolved Solids?
A properly working water softener will lower the levels of hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, in your water. However, there is other matter, organic and inorganic, that dissolves in your water system. This may include other minerals, metals, soil runoff, etc. These dissolved solids could result in sediment, residue, or film, and water softeners have no effect on them.
It is possible to conduct a water test to measure the levels of TDS (total dissolved solids) in your water.
Do You See Sodium Spots?
An ion exchange system functions by removing hard mineral ions like calcium and magnesium from the water and replacing them with sodium ions, meaning that the more hard minerals present in your water initially, the higher the level of sodium will be after the water softener does its work.
Sodium will leave a powdery residue after the water evaporates. An example of these harmless spots is after you wash your car and let it air dry.
However, sodium is much easier to clean that calcium or magnesium deposits. You can avoid these spots by hand drying your car or by simply wiping it off.
Consider a Reverse Osmosis System
While softened water is certainly better for your appliances and home maintenance, a reverse osmosis system will remove most of the dissolved solids and contaminants that have a negative effect on water quality. A reverse osmosis system works by filtering water through a special membrane.
Many homeowners use a reverse osmosis system for drinking and cooking water that consists of a separate faucet from which the filtered water flows. Water filtered by reverse osmosis tastes good and eliminates the need for expensive and inconvenient bottled water, and you will have peace of mind knowing that the water you consume is always clean.
It is also possible to install a whole house reverse osmosis system. It will eliminate any residue or sediment problems and give you clean, filtered water throughout your home, including outdoor faucets. With a whole house system, you will always have sparkling clean dishes and a spot-free car after washing.
Whether you need a whole house reverse osmosis system will depend on your water quality and levels of contaminants in your area. In some regions, water quality is so compromised that it is inadvisable to use tap water for brushing teeth, bathing, or cleaning without further treatment. Whole house reverse osmosis systems are often used in rural areas dependent on well water or houses located near manufacturing plants.
Atlantic Blue Water Services: Because You Deserve the Best
At Atlantic Blue Water Services, we offer a wide array of water treatment and testing services, including whole house filters, specialty filters, and reverse osmosis systems. Based in Maryland, we have been in business for 26 years and pride ourselves on our reputation of reliability, professionalism, and excellent service.
Don’t settle for hard water stains and contaminated water in your home. Call us at 410-840-2583 to learn more about water treatment options for your home and schedule a free basic water test.