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What is hard water?

All water starts as soft water. As it falls through the atmosphere and filters through rocks and soil, it picks up invisible minerals. The presence of these minerals in water makes household cleaning tasks more difficult.

In fact, the phrase “hard water” was coined to describe this water which was hard to use. It’s that simple. Hard water is found throughout the Canada. And while hard water looks and tastes the same as soft water, it makes household tasks more difficult to perform and more costly to use.

Hard water is:

Harder on clothes – Clothes washed in hard water tend to wear out 15% faster than those washed in soft water.

Harder on washers – The American Water Works Association has shown that washing machines that use hard water can wear out up to 30% faster than those that use soft water.

Harder on dishes – Hard water can leave an unsightly film buildup on glasses and dishes.

Harder on you – When you bathe with hard water, deposits are left behind which may dry out skin and leave your hair looking dull. Shaving is also more difficult in hard water. Hard water also leaves a filmy soap ring around bathroom fixtures making bathroom and kitchen cleanup more difficult.

Harder on budgets – Hard water requires much more soap, shampoo, or detergent than soft water, so your soap products don’t stretch nearly as far. When you add Riepert products to your water softener, you make your life a little easier. You’ll notice your clothes will come out cleaner and brighter. Your dishes will come out cleaner and your household cleanup will be easier. And you’ll save money on soap products as well. There are two types of water softeners, side-by-side and cabinet models.

‘Side by Side’ and ‘Cabinet’ water softeners

Side by Side Water Softener

The other basic type of softener is known as the side-by-side model. You’ll notice that side-by-side units have a brine tank (salt container) which is separate from the main regeneration cylinder (resin tank). Since the brine tank can be disconnected from the resin tank, it is possible, but may be difficult to clean. While you don’t have to be as concerned about what kind of salt you use with a side-by-side softener, we recommend using high-purity salt.

Cabinet Water Softener

If your softener looks like this, you’ve got a cabinet-style water softener. It’s called that because the inner working and salt tank of this type of softener are confined to a single cabinet. Since this type tends to be bulky, you don’t want to have to move it around to clean it very often. That’s why manufacturers recommend using evaporated pellets which are lower in water soluble matter. If you use a low-purity softener salt which is high in insoluble matter, your softener may need to be cleaned frequently. Brine tank clean-out can be a very difficult and messy chore. Use the highest purity water softener pellets or solar salt to keep your cabinet-style softener working properly and save you a messy clean-out job.

Your softener’s resin tank contains thousands of tiny resin beads. These beads hold minute electronically charged ions. When freshly regenerated, the beads are full of sodium ions from softening salt. As hard water passes through your softener, the hard water ions of calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin beads. There, ions of sodium are exchanged for the hard water ions.

The result is soft water.

After several days the beads become full of calcium and magnesium ions and can no longer soften water. But when your softener regenerates again, the beads are replenished with more sodium ions, leaving you with softer water.

Can salt enter my drinking water? 
No. Salt’s sole purpose in your water softener is to regenerate the resin beads that actually take the hardness out of your water. This exchange does not make your water taste salty or significantly increase your sodium intake.

What is mushing and why should I avoid It? 
Occasionally, if you use salt pellets or cube-style salt which are too loosely compacted, they may revert to tiny crystals of evaporated salt – similar to table salt. These crystals may bond, creating a thick mass in your brine tank. This mushing may interrupt brine production – the key element for refreshing the resin beads in your softener. Without brine, your softener can’t produce soft water.

What is bridging? 
Bridging is a condition that sometimes occurs in the brine tank when salt sticks together forming a “bridge” that prohibits it from coming into contact with the water in the tank. You can eliminate bridging by using a 100% water soluble pellet product in your brine tank.

How often should I add salt to my softener?
The more often you regenerate, the more often you’ll need to add salt. A good general rule of thumb is to check your softener once a month. To maintain consistently soft water, keep your salt level at least half-full at all times.

Which salt should I put in my softener? 
That depends on your softener, your type of source water, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do on your softener.

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