As groundwater moves through rock and soil before it comes to your tap, it dissolves small amounts of minerals like magnesium and calcium. These minerals cause water hardness, which can have some devastating effects on the quality of your water.
Hard water negatively impacts water’s ability to lather. Hard water can leave a soap scum residue on dishes and make your skin and hair feel grimy, even after you’ve washed them.
If you have hard water (and if you live in Phoenix, the Arizona Water Quality Association reports you do), you may be wondering how to get rid of hard water. If you’ve heard about water descalers and are wondering how they compare to water softeners, we’re here to answer some common questions.
What is a Water Descaler?
A water descaler, sometimes called a water conditioner, is a system that reduces the effects of hard water in terms of the scale deposits, or build-up, that are left on the surfaces the water comes into contact with. Water descalers use a magnetic field to charge the water’s mineral particles. This causes the mineral particles to stay in the water, instead of being transferred to surfaces like your bathtub, shower wall or sink.
Water descalers can use several different technologies to reduce the effects of hard water. These can include using:
- A low voltage current to create an electronic charge in your water that holds the minerals in the water, making them less likely to deposit in your pipes.
- Magnetic devices to change the structure of minerals in your water, making them less likely to deposit.
- Template-assisted crystallization, which creates mineral crystals before the scale can form on surfaces like your water heating element.
Although a water descaler minimizes the clean up needed on your water surfaces, the water that flows through your pipes is still hard, which can cause a lot of problems if you are just using a descaler. Also, because the water is still hard with mineral content, when it dries on surfaces such as countertops, glassware, or dishes the mineral spotting will still be visible.
Hard water can clog up pipes and force your equipment to work harder to get you the water you need. Hard water can also cause appliances like washing machines and dishwashers to break down.
With hard water and only using a descaler, you may still use more water than you should be to perform tasks like washing dishes and showering. Plus, you likely have to use more soap, since hard water makes it difficult to lather.
Soft water flows freely through pipes and helps your water equipment work optimally. If you have hard water, a water softener is the best solution.
What is a Water Softener?
A water softener actually changes the chemical composition of the water. A water softener removes minerals from water through an ion exchange process. This prevents scale build-up just like a water descaler, but it also provides other benefits.
Water softeners have polystyrene beads that are charged with sodium chloride ions. When hard water passes over the beads, the mineral ions and sodium chloride ions swap. The water is then free from minerals. The amount of sodium in the water is minuscule, so it doesn’t affect the taste or scent of the water.
Soft water that is created by a water softener:
- Doesn’t create buildup in pipes
- Lathers like it’s supposed to
- Doesn’t leave a grimy, soap scum mess on dishes, hair, skin, clothes and anything else it touches
While a water descaler will charge the mineral particles so they don’t form scale deposits, a water softener will additionally change the taste, scent and function of the water when it’s being used.
Not All Water Treatment is Equal
Water descalers may be an appropriate solution for water that is already soft or for water that has lower hardness levels. Water descalers can help reduce scale build-up and minimize the mineral particles you may find on surfaces that water touches.
But if you use a descaler and not a water softener, you will still experience the effects of hard water in your ability to lather and clean with your water. Hard water can leave clothes stiff, add a nasty residue to dishes and negatively impact your ability to clean your hair and skin.
Hard water will also cause build-up in pipes that can lead to erosion. This decreases the ability of pipes to function efficiently, which can lead to costly appliance replacement and higher water bills.
Arizona, in particular, has hard water levels that require water softening to purify water’s taste and ability to function. If you want water that doesn’t affect your pipes or your quality of life, a water softener is a better solution than a descaler.
Partner with Water Softening Experts
A water softener is the best way to transform water so that it doesn’t damage your pipes or fail to lather. Soft water tastes and smells purer and is free from minerals. It lathers like it’s supposed to, so your body, clothes and dishes actually end up clean and without a grimy residue. Soft water ensures your pipes are working optimally.
If you’re interested in having soft water in your home, contact the experts at Clear Water Concepts. We have water softener solutions to improve your quality of life.