When I purchased a home a few years ago, I had no idea what kind of workload I would be faced with. In addition to trying to figure out how to keep the place clean, I was also left with the challenge of tidying up the yard and keeping things trimmed. It was a little overwhelming, but I knew that I could do it with a little hard work and dedication. I started reading a lot of books and blogs about creating gorgeous things for your home and yard, and it was a great creative outlet. This blog is all about exciting, fun ways to make your home and yard even more beautiful.
If you've grown tired of cleaning stubborn hard water stains from the inside of your shower, sinks, and dishwasher, you may be considering the installation of a whole-house water softener to help remove calcium and other scum-causing minerals from your water supply, improving taste and feel. However, switching from hard to soft water for your outdoor irrigation system or garden water supply could potentially impact the growth of your plants. Should you install your water softener in a way that maintains hard water for your outdoor supply? Read on to learn more about how a water softener can benefit the health and longevity of your faucets, appliances, and other fixtures, as well as how softened water may impact your garden.
How can a water softener help protect your appliances?
The difference between hard and soft water lies in the balance of minerals. Hard water has a high concentration of minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, which it gains as it filters through bedrock into groundwater supplies like wells. These minerals are often left behind when water evaporates from the surface of your sinks and appliances, leaving a chalky scum (or even rust-colored rings if your water has a high iron content). If your home's water supply comes from a private well and is untreated, there's a high likelihood that you have hard water. Many public water supplies also have somewhat hard water, as the filtration and sterilization processes used by these facilities often doesn't involve the removal of minerals.
Hard water can be hard on your appliances, as well. Over time, these minerals can build up on the tubes and filters inside your clothes washer, dishwasher, refrigerator icemaker, and other appliances, leading to early failure and replacement. Your water heater could also begin to show signs of premature failure after processing thousands of gallons of heated and mineral-heavy water—after a while, you may notice that your hot water supply is significantly diminished because of the heavy lime-scale buildup inside your water heater.
Installing an ion-exchange or reverse osmosis water softener will filter out these excess minerals and leave you with scum-free water. An ion-exchange water softener operates by replacing the mineral ions in each droplet of water with either sodium or potassium ions gained from salt or potassium pellets inside your water softener. The resulting water has trace amounts of sodium or potassium, but not enough to impact your health. Reverse osmosis water softeners filter your water through a permeable membrane that removes the larger calcium, magnesium, and iron ions. This filter will occasionally require replacement, but doesn't change the composition of your water except by the removal of mineral ions.
Should you maintain a separate supply of hard water for your garden?
Plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil, helping them to grow. Because plants' primary source of water is rainwater, which is chemically different from both hard and soft water, watering plants from a cistern or other rainwater collection system is usually best.
However, if you live in a drought-prone area or don't have a rainwater collection system, you may choose to water your plants using your home's water. If you do, choosing a reverse osmosis water softener for your plants' water supply is usually the best decision. Because ion-exchange water softeners can add a slight amount of sodium or potassium to the water supply, and because hard water has additional minerals that the plant already absorbs from the soil, neither is an ideal solution. However, reverse osmosis water softeners are able to produce pure water that is most similar to rainwater when it comes to agricultural use. For more information, contact companies like Johnson Water Conditioning.Share