This article, written by the American Ground Water Trust was originally published in THE AMERICAN WELL OWNER, 1998, Number 3


Do you find that your soap isn’t cleaning as efficiently as you would like? Does your bathtub have a tough-to-clean residue? Then you may have hard water, which is common in areas where wells are in limestone. Hard water, caused by the natural (and non harmful) minerals, calcium and magnesium, can also leave scale inside pipes and hot water tanks. This can lead to less effective water flow and heat efficiency.

Do you need a water softener? It may be your best solution. Water softeners are inexpensive to operate and easy to use. Most softeners work on an ion-exchange process and consist of a tank containing resin. The resin is soaked in brine and has sodium ions attached to it. This resin “likes” calcium and magnesium ions more than sodium ions, so when water containing calcium and magnesium passes through the resin, the hardness oi ns are attracted to the resin and the sodium ions are released. The water softener is trading sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions; hence the term ion-exchange. [If you are on a low-sodium diet, it is best to consult your doctor before regularly drinking softened water.]

There is NOT a one-size-fits-all water softener! Beware of the door-to-door salesperson who has no expertise in water chemistry. Make sure you have a qualified specialist assess your needs and correctly install dependable equipment. The only way to check that your system is set correctly and working properly is to have a certified water laboratory periodically check the hardness levels. Keep a record of the results with your well and water system documents.

[© American Ground Water Trust. This article may be reprinted for non-commercial educational purposes provided it is used in its entirety and that reference is made to its source as an article in THE AMERICAN WELL OWNER, 1998, Number 3]