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Choosing the Right Water Softener for Your Home

washing hands in sinkNobody who lives in Olathe (or most of the rest of Kansas, for that matter) is unfamiliar with the problems of hard water. Soaps and shampoos don't lather correctly, soap leaves a film when rinsed off, dishwashers leave spots on glass and other cookware, clothes laundered in hard water look dingy and feel scratchy, and fixtures become coated with lime and scale, which can eventually lead to breakdowns. It's a problem that most Kansans have had to deal with at one time or another, since Kansas has some of the hardest water in the country.

Hard water results when groundwater dissolves rocks and minerals, leaving calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Water hardness is usually measured in grains per gallon (gpg), though it is sometimes also measured in parts per million (ppm). One gpg is equal to 17 ppm.

So what's to be done about hard water? Most people who've had to live with hard water eventually decide to invest in a water softener. A water softener can be hooked up to your house's plumbing system by an experienced Olathe plumber, and will soften your water by removing the calcium and magnesium ions. Most water softeners do this by replacing those ions with sodium ions, which are soluble and therefore easier to remove and less likely to build up and cause problems. In order to do this, softeners use dissolved salt to provide sodium ions to replace the calcium and magnesium ions.

Once you've decided to get a water softener for your home, how do you choose the right one? The first thing to do is to figure out how hard your water is. Chances are if you live in Olathe you're looking at something like 170 ppm, or 10 gpg. Next, you need to figure out how much water you use in a day. Studies say that the average person uses 75 gallons of water a day, but your household may use more, or less. Once you've figured out how much water your household uses, you can multiply that by the gpg of your water to determine how many grains of hardness your softener will need to filter out every day. This number can help you choose the right water softener for your home.

There are three basic types of water softeners, divided by when they regenerate, which is to say, dissolve salt in order to produce sodium ions: timer regenerated, meter regenerated, and manually regenerated. Timer regenerated water softeners regenerate at a set time. They're the cheapest softeners, but they also use the most salt. Meter regenerated softeners regenerate based on how much water you actually use, while manually regenerated softeners only regenerate when you tell them to.

Whichever kind of water softener you buy, you'll also need to remember to pick up salt for it—the kind it needs is prescribed by the manufacturer, but solar or evaporated salts are usually best. You'll also need to have it installed by an Olathe plumber who can make sure that everything is hooked up right. If you're in the market for a water softener for your home, call Davenport Services today, and let them help you say "so long" to hard water for good.

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