What is hard water?

Hard water is water that contains high amounts of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

How do I know if I have hard water?

You should speak to your water provider, who will be able to tell you the degree of hardness of your water. Alternatively you can obtain a testing kit and find out for yourself.

What’s the difference between conditioned water and softened water?

In softened water the calcium and magnesium content is replaced with sodium. In conditioned water, the calcium ions are altered in such a way that they remain in suspension as small particles. Both methods prevent the formation of crystalline deposits (lime scale) in pipes. With conditioned water you have the added benefit that the calcium remains in the water, which is a good dietary mineral. With softened water you have the problem that the sodium content of the water is increased which may make is unsuitable for drinking.

Why does it take so long to rinse the soap off my hands?

The terms "soft water" and "hard water" are important here. Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, and hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with the soap you use to produce a residue that feels like it is hard to wash off. If you use hard water, you also will have a harder time working the soap up into a lather. Hard water is prevalent in some parts of the country, and sometimes water-softening chemicals that reduce the amount of calcium and magnesium are added to the water.

The salt in my salt tank is rock hard and doesn’t seem to be going down...what’s wrong?

This condition is called “bridging” and what is happening is that a salt bridge has been created in your brine tank. The salt has been packed in so tightly that when the system enters the brine regeneration cycle, only the bottom most portion of the tank comes into contact with the water. The water will continuously dissolve the salt in this lower portion, leaving the upper portion in a solid mass. To remedy this, ensure there is enough water in the brine tank and break up the salt bridge with the end of a broom handle.

How deep should the water be in the brine tank between cycles?

The amount of water in the brine tank determines the amount of sodium dissolved to properly regenerate the softener. The level will depend on the capacity of the system; a typical 30,000 grain system needs about 12/lbs of salt while a typical 45,000 grain system needs about 16/lbs of salt. If the float assembly is set at 10" from the bottom of the brine tank than this effectively provides 10/lbs of brine solution and so on. There are higher efficiency settings but this is good rule of thumb.

How much sodium will be in water after using a water softener?

In most cases, you'll find less sodium in a glass of softened water than in a slice of white bread. If your doctor recommends a sodium-free diet, then one should limit the consumption of softened water or purchase a LUMINOR reverse osmosis system to remove the salt from your drinking water.

How do I size a water softener?

In sizing a softener, one should look at the hardness level and iron levels as well as the size of the family that the softener will serve. Slightly hard water with little or no iron and a household of two would be sufficiently serviced with a 24,000 grain water softener. Moderately hard water with slight iron problems and a household above two would be best served with at least a 36,000 grain unit, while very hard water and or high iron content should utilize a 40,000-64,000 grain unit.

When I install my softener does the brine tank have to sit right beside the resin tank?

No, however they should be within 6 meters (20’) of each other.

What is the purpose of the salt in the brine tank?

The softener works by passing the hard water through resin beads which have soft sodium/potassium ions attached to them. While the water is in contact with the resin beads an ion exchange takes place with the hard mineral ions (typically calcium and/or magnesium) trading places with the soft sodium/potassium ions. After a period of use the sodium ions are depleted being replaced by calcium and magnesium. The resin then needs to be regenerated with the sodium ions so the resin will again be able to exchange the hard for the soft.

What style of softener is the best?

There are 2 basic types of water softeners; a Cabinet Model/Single Tank Softeners and a Free Standing/Dual Tank Softeners. Free standing dual tank softeners disallow any opportunity for salt fumes to rise into and damage the valve assembly. However Cabinet model Units consume less space and are therefore popular for mobile home applications. Ultimately, they both provide soft water, the choice is typical determined by available space and aesthetics.

Is a two tank system preferable over a single tank (cabinet) system?

Salt water is corrosive. On a one tank system the resin tank, controls, and valve are all exposed to the salt water and/or vapors. Over time this will cause damage to the system. We feel that it's far superior to keep the brine tank separate from the rest of the unit.

Why would I want to soften my water?

It greatly reduces the scaling of pipes, faucets, pots, glasses, tubs, etc. You will use less laundry soap, dishwashing soap, hand soap, etc. The water is more pleasant to wash with, less soap scum.

I've read ads that claim that magnetic softeners would solve my hard water problems. What is your experience with these systems?

First, Magnetic "conditioners" have been around for over 30 years and are not a new item. Second, we ask if they work so well, why doesn't everyone have one? There has been extensive research that has yet to find any scientific (non biased) proof from a reliable source that proves that magnetic conditioners are actually effective. If you have verified proof that a magnetic conditioner is effective, please send it to us!

Someone told me that softened water feels 'slimy'. Why is this?

When you wash your skin with hard water, there is a layer of soap and minerals that is left on your skin. This is what causes the supposed 'squeaky clean' feeling. With soft water, the soap is completely rinsed away leaving just the natural oils your skin produces.