Because water softeners have become a popular trend you may think of purchasing one yourself. But what is hard water and what are its effects? Can a magnetic water softener be your solution? To make sure you pick the right product for your home it’s important to answer a few questions and we provide the answers below.
Hard Water and its Effects
Ever wonder what the residue on your glasses or clothes is after washing? Chances are you have hard water without knowing it. Hard water is water with higher concentrations of hard minerals such as magnesium and calcium. This uptake of minerals happens when water moves through sedimentary rock because water is a solvent.
To make it clearer: Soft water has a mineral concentration of 17 parts per million (ppm), moderately hard water has a total concentration of 60 – 120 ppm and hard water exceed 180 ppm.
What are the effects of hard water?
Hard minerals in water form lime deposits known as the scale which builds upon pipes and heating elements. Scale build up causes a decrease in water flow and leads to blockages. 6mm of scale can build up over 4 years and reduce energy efficiency by up to 40%. Water hardness also affects energy efficiency by making water ‘heavier’ and harder to heat.
Unfortunately, it will also affect your appliances and even your budget as you’ll have more expenses around the home.
The scale deposits on heating elements and hot water pipes can reduce the lifespan of appliances such as washing machines & dishwashers. Soap consumption is increased as soap suds don’t form as easily in harder water. It also causes clothing fabrics to break down.
What about the health effect of hard water?
Consumption of essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium are healthy making hard water safe to drink. Health benefits, however, are not significant and scale build-up can make water taste bad. Hard water can dry out your skin and hair, exacerbating pre-existing conditions such as dandruff and eczema.
Can you see the huge impact this has on your home? And that’s why water softeners have become so important. So have you thought about having your water tested to help you make an informed decision about which softener to buy?
The magnetic softening systems are popular but also draw a lot of criticism. Here are some facts to help you decide.
Magnetic Softening Systems
Water softeners, also known as magnetic conditioners, are designed to counteract the effects of hard water by removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water. Magnetic water softeners use powerful magnets to achieve this.
How do Magnetic Water Conditioners Work
Magnetic water softeners work by installing magnets outside of the water inflow pipes. Magnetic fields then separate hard water ions out before water enters the plumbing system.
When mineral particles pass through the pipes they pick up positive charges which cause them to stick to the negatively charged pipes as scale build up. The magnets reverse the polarity of these particles which prevents them from sticking to the pipes.
Magnetic water softeners don’t remove the hard minerals from water but change the composition of the water in a process called magnetically induced ionization (IMI). The minerals remain in the water but are held in suspension reducing the effects of hard water.
Are Magnetic Water Softeners Reliable?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding magnetic water softeners. There are claims that they’re as efficient as traditional salt water softeners and others state there’s no scientific evidence to prove their efficacy.
Research suggests that the results of studies done on magnetic softeners are inconclusive and their effects on hard water are marginal. Magnetic softeners are also unreliable in terms of giving a long-lasting effect because the water reverts to its original state after 48 hours and even when heated.
How do They Compare With Other Water Softeners?
But if you don’t pick a magnetic water softener, what other options do you have? You can try traditional softeners that work with salt by targeting minerals that cause water hardness. These systems contain resin beds which are responsible for replacing hardness ions with sodium ions in a process called ion exchange.
Another alternative is salt-free softeners that use chemicals to change the composition of the water so that it doesn’t stick to surfaces as scale.
The salt-free and magnetic softeners only condition the water by changing its composition. This makes salt water softeners the most effective in reducing the negative effects of hard water scale build-up, prolonged life of appliances, harshness on skin etc.
Magnetic softeners are by far the most affordable when compared with their salt and salt-free counterparts. They require zero maintenance whereas the other two require water, electricity, salt, and chemical usage.
How about the water quality? Water conditioned by magnetic softeners is safer to drink as it retains essential minerals and doesn’t use chemicals or increase the sodium content of the water. This makes the magnetic softener the healthiest and most eco-friendly option.
In the end, it’s up to the consumer to decide which effect he or she wants in the home.
Are They Efficient?
A water softener will save you money and improve the health of your hair & skin. Choosing the right one is important. Before spending money on a softening system, why not have your water tested to determine the level of hardness?
We can see that when compared with salt and salt-free options the magnetic softeners have some great benefits. They condition the water rather than soften it and are therefore probably more efficient if your water is moderately hard.
The magnetic softener is the perfect addition to a food service business which requires non-chemical water softening. These softeners are most effective at reducing scale which can become problematic in these kinds of environments.
Now the ball is in your court. You need to discern how big your hard water challenge is. Based on those facts you can pick the ideal water softener and though they’re not the best on the market, in certain scenarios a magnetic water softener can be your ideal solution.
LEARN MORE: How to install any water softening system.
Jake is a clean water enthusiast and blogger. He has spent his university days in Chicago studying various water filtration technologies and now enjoys helping people live healthier lives when it comes to water consumption.