The hardness of our water now exceeds 20 grains and we have been told that in order to get clean glasses from the dishwasher we must install a water softener. Any recommendations on this type of appliance?
When we had our well we had very hard water and the glasses always came out of the dishwasher cloudy and streaked but by adding a cup or half of cup of white vinegar to the last rinse it helped lots. It was a bit inconvient but still better than washing by hand.
Here's another link for a nonchemical water softener.
Here's some general information about Watern Softeners:
Water softeners work on the principle of ion exchange with salt free ions (sodium & potassium) substituting for calcium and magnesium ions. Once the calcium and magnesium are removed, the water is no longer hard. Water softeners, while neutralizing the "hardness' concentration of magnesium and calcium increase the salt content of water. For every calcium and magnesium ion removed, two salt ions are added. Based on these facts it is better to use sodium chloride as a regenerate rather that potassium chloride due to the high cost associated with potassium. Any softener can use either sodium or potassium as a regenerative. All softened water is not recommended for drinking, therefore a secondary removal system such as, reverse osmosis, should be used. Water softeners contain a resin that will remove soluble iron on an ion-exchange basis, the same way as calcium and magnesium are removed in water softening. Depending on the size of the unit, removal up to 10 ppm of soluble iron can be removed. Iron is not considered a health problem, but it can be very objectionable if present in amounts greater than 0.3 ppm.
WATER HARDNESS PROBLEMS
Hard water deposits a rock-liking corrosion, leaks, restricted water flow and rock like scale in pipes causing reduced water pressure.
Heated water forms rock-like scale faster. Scale builds up on heat element reducing efficiency and shortening appliance life. Softened water can save 22% in water heater costs. Hard water scale clogs and erodes working parts of plumbing fixtures. It also forms on the skin and dulls the complexion while contributing to hair problems. Soap curds with hard water increasing the use and cost of soap and chemical usage. This increased soap usage also strains septic and municipal waste systems. Hard water also dulls colors in clothes and makes them stiff and scratchy.
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