When considering which water softener to purchase there are some important factors to consider including some significant health issues. This is because water softeners actually use sodium to alter the water. As we all know, sodium is a major cause of increased blood pressure and other serious health problems.
Sodium is an essential mineral because it's necessary for fluid and electrolyte balance in your body. However, consuming too much salt (also known as sodium chloride) may lead to high blood pressure, a condition called hypertension.
How Do Water Softeners Work:
Water softeners or whole house water treatment systems use a process called ion exchange to remove minerals from a water supply before it enters the home. This involves passing the water through a tank filled with resin beads that are coated with ions of either sodium or potassium chloride.
In simple terms, the sodium or potassium ions in the water softener swap places with the calcium or magnesium ions (which are the hard minerals that cause hard water stains and limescale) in a domestic water supply.
What To Consider Before Purchase:
• Firstly, sodium chloride is usually less expensive than potassium chloride although the latter is better for the environment. This is because the system has to have the brine solution discharged to recharge the ions on the resin beads.
• If the potassium solution is discharged it has less impact on the environment and can actually be put on lawns as potassium is a key plant nutrient!
• Contrary to a common misconception, using sodium salt in your water softener will not adversely affect your plumbing. Most modern plumbing is made of PVC plastic and is not affected by increased levels of either sodium or potassium chloride. Sodium salt can, however, reduce the amount of maintenance required for your brine tank.
• For those concerned about the health issues of how much sodium is put into the water by a water softener, the answer is, it all depends. The harder your water supply the more sodium ions are needed to soften it. That said, studies indicate that even water softened with sodium chloride has a low concentration of sodium.
• The costs of water softeners are usually far outweighed by the benefits and cost savings obtained, through using softened water.
Your local health department can tell you the sodium and other mineral content of your community's water supply.
Options if Your Tap Water is High in Sodium:
• Consider switching to another type of water-purification system.
• Buy demineralized water for drinking and cooking.
• Softening only the hot water and using unsoftened cold water for drinking and cooking.
Ultimately the choice between sodium or potassium salts in your water softener is a personal one, depending on the presence of potential health issues with your water supply, cost, and environmental priorities.
Whichever one you decide on, the advantages of a water softener far outweigh the disadvantages. As well as all the above they can also be helpful in reducing cleaning time by preventing hard water stains and limescale forming around the home.
Patrick Henry BEng (Hons), is a recognised industry expert in removing hard water stains. With an honours degree in Chemical Engineering, he teaches people how to remove stubborn hard water stains and limescale using a step by step guide. He is author of the ebook "Hard Water Stain Removal Secrets Revealed". Complete information on his popular ebook is available from his web site. And while your there, don't forget to subscribe to his FREE report at http://www.hardwaterstainstips.com.