Water is called "hard water" if it contains excessive amounts of certain minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, because these substances leave a hard scale on surfaces that come in contact with the water. You can tell you have hard water if there's build-up on your sinks and bathtubs, or if you have to use large amounts of soap to clean dishes or wash your hair.
True to its name, hard water can hit you—and your pocket—hard. It works against you in most indoor uses, such as bathing, washing dishes, and shaving.
Hard water can clog plumbing in appliances, cutting down on efficiency and hiking up energy and maintenance bills.
Treated water means less housework:
A Culligan water softener removes the materials that make your water hard and causes scaly buildup on utensils, porcelain...even your skin! Advanced features help you save money by using less salt, water, and electricity. Easier living with softer water:
What is the difference between softening water and filtering water? You don't have to be a hydrologist to understand the basic principles behind water filtration and water softening. Here's an abridged version of what happens when you filter or soften water.
Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like manganese, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from pure H2O. By passing water through a "filter bed," or "media bed," these granular particles are trapped—and clean, purified water passes through the bed.
Softening water involves something called "ion exchange" to remove dissolved minerals—like calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese—that can't be trapped in a filter bed. Softeners use fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the resin. As water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin. The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities.
Free of contaminants and minerals, water treated with Culligan softeners or filtration systems will make an impression on you and your household, and at the work place.
Whether you use a filter or a softener depends on whether the contaminates in your water are particles or dissolved minerals. Culligan Water Filters remove the substances from your water that can cause staining, foul odors, and the need for excessive cleanup. Household chores become easier because your water is working with you, not against you.
The solution to the hard water problem is to get rid of the calcium and magnesium. While there are chemical treatments that do this, we believe that the healthiest and best method is installation of a water softener.
A water softener is a mechanical appliance that's plumbed into your home's water supply system. Softeners trade the damaging minerals for sodium ions. The process is called ion exchange.
The heart of a water softener is a mineral tank. It's filled with small polystyrene beads, also known as resin. The beads carry a negative charge.
Calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions that cause water hardness can be removed fairly easily by using this ion exchange procedure. Water softeners are exchange devices. Exchange involves the replacement of the hardness ions with non-hardness ions. Water softeners use sodium (Na+) as the exchange ion. Sodium ions are supplied from dissolved sodium chloride salt, also called brine. In the ion exchange process, sodium ions are used to coat an exchange medium in the softener. The exchange medium is made of resin beads that resemble wet sand.
As hard water passes through a softener, the calcium and magnesium trade places with sodium ions. Sodium ions are held loosely and are easily replaced by calcium and magnesium ions. During this process free sodium ions are released to the water.
After softening a large quantity of hard water the exchange medium becomes coated with calcium and magnesium ions. When this occurs, the exchange medium must be recharged or regenerated. To recharge the softener with sodium ions, a softener is backflushed with a salt brine solution. During a backflush the brine solution replaces the calcium and magnesium ions on the exchange medium with sodium ions from the salt solution.
Maintenance of water softeners is largely confined to restocking the salt supply for the brine solution. The brine tank may require periodic cleaning. The frequency of cleaning depends on the amount and purity of the salt used in the softening process. The brine valve and float assembly should also be checked and cleaned as often as needed.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 85 percent of the United States geography has hard water. While many consumers use a water softener so they can enjoy the benefits of soft water, there is some confusion about whether softened water is safe to drink.
Some consumers are concerned that drinking softened water will increase the level of sodium in their diet. Despite the myth, softening your water will not result in salty-tasting water. Sodium bicarbonate, which is different from sodium chloride (table salt), is formed through the water softening process.
The amount of sodium added to water from the water softening process depends on the hardness of the water supply. When very hard water (greater than 10 grains of hardness per gallon) is softened, only 20 to 40 mg of sodium is added to every 8 ounces of water. For comparison, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk contains about 120 mg of sodium, a 12-ounce can of diet soda contains from 20 to 70 mg, and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 25 mg.
The majority of the sodium in consumers' diets—more than 90 percent—comes from sources such as processed foods and table salt. The recommended daily allowance for sodium consumption is 2,400 mg. Drinking two quarts of softened water would only add only about 240 mg of sodium to your diet. Individuals concerned about sodium in their diet should consult their physician about effective means of reducing overall sodium consumption, which will probably involve diet change. It is unlikely that a physician would discourage anyone from drinking softened water.
Of course, many of our water softener customers also use a drinking water system in their kitchens for the best combination of water conditioning methods.
Many customers who have water softeners installed in their houses notice that their skin feels "slippery" after a bath. Some customers say, "My water is too soft! I can't rinse the soap off!" This reaction is normal for new soft water customers.
What causes that slippery feeling? Clean skin!
Hard water leaves an insoluble soap-curd film on you, causing your hair and skin to "squeak". Most of us grew up with hard water, so "squeaky clean" was all we knew and what we grew to expect from our bathing and shampooing. Some of the soap manufacturers even perpetuated this misinformation with their commercials about "squeaky clean". No wonder we all believed that we were our cleanest when our skin and hair squeaked.
But, we know now that "squeaky clean" is not clean at all. It should be called "squeaky dirty". The fact is that we "squeaked" with hard water because there was an invisible hard water soap scum film on our hair and skin, causing our skin, scalp and hair to really be overly dry. This is bad for skin and hair. Soap scum film builds up on hair, weighting it down and making it brittle and lifeless. Soap scum film on skin makes our skin dry and itchy.
Here is one way you can prove this to yourself. Notice that hard water leaves a bathtub ring and soft water does not. That hard water bath tub ring is made of scummy, "gooky stuff" that sticks to the tub. That same scum sticks to your skin, clogging your pores and causing your skin to feel overly dry and "squeaky". On the other hand, soft water leaves no bath tub ring. Soft water also does not leave scum on your skin, scalp and hair. Soft water leaves your skin and hair "hydrated and clean", not squeaky. Since water is wet and there is not scummy film on your skin to cause friction, the water feels "slippery". That slippery feeling is the indication of healthy, clean skin and hair.
With soft water, you can rinse an extra 15 minutes but the slippery feeling will not go away! The soap is long gone and your skin is very clean. Within minutes of drying off, you will notice how soft your skin feels—almost as if you applied skin lotion. Soft skin is healthy and clean skin! Ladies, your hair will be easier to style, keep its curl longer, be more bouncy and feel weightless.
Once you have experienced the wonderful clean feeling of soft water, you'll never want to be without it again. And, your skin, hair, appliances and plumbing will thank you.
The most highly-advanced drinking water system available, a reverse osmosis system using a series of filters, including the technologically-advanced RO module, reduces many microscopic impurities and chemical elements.
With the "RO", you will:
Health experts have long advised drinking plenty of water for a healthier life. Imagine how much you and your household would benefit from filtered water. For a permanent, technologically-advanced solution that provides the ultimate inconvenience and taste, nothing beats Culligan drinking water systems—the reverse osmosis (RO). We've enhanced time-tested techniques with state-of-the-art technology to bring more refreshing water to your home—a difference you can taste with every glass.
You, your family and your guests will love the refreshing, great taste, of your new Culligan water—and you'll love the cost savings! Culligan drinking water systems can cut your grocery bill as you discover just how good drinking water can be. The kids can enjoy the delicious taste, too—a cost-effective alternative to sugary drinks. Free of contaminants and minerals, water treated with Culligan systems will make an impression on you and your household, and at the work place.
Our RO systems are professionally installed by our experienced staff, and are connected to an attractive Culligan faucet. For great-tasting water throughout your home, they can also be hooked up to most ice makers and wet bars. And hassle-free filter changes are only one simple phone call away. Nothing gives you water so clear, so conveniently, as Culligan drinking water systems—it's water you can feel good about.
Reverse osmosis is sometimes referred to as ultra-filtration because it involves the movement of water through a membrane. The membrane has microscopic openings that allow water molecules, but not larger compounds, to pass through. RO membranes also have an electrical charge that helps in rejecting some chemicals at the membrane surface. Proper maintenance is essential to retain effectiveness over time. Some units are equipped with automatic membrane flushing systems to clean the membrane.
The effectiveness of RO units is characterized by the rejection rate or rejection percentage. The rejection rate is the percent of a contaminant that does not move through, or is rejected by, the membrane. These rejection rates are for single contaminants under design conditions.
Rejection rates need to be high enough to reduce the contaminant level in the untreated water to a safe level. To determine the needed rejection rate, it is necessary to consider the initial concentration. For example, if a water supply contains nitrates at a concentration of 20 milligrams per liter (mg/l), an RO unit rejecting at a rate of 85 percent, which means 15 percent remaining, would reduce the level to 3 mg/l (20 times 0.15 = 3). For more information about the expected rejection rates of Culligan Drinking Water Systems, please ses our FAQs.
Having your water tested will help you determine your exact needs, even though you may already know you have one or more water problems. In determining your needs, our water expert will look at a number of things. For example, the hardness level of the water and the size of your family will influence the size or type of equipment necessary for water softening. Additional problems may require additional equipment solutions. The same principles hold true for drinking water systems.
Your water usage and pressure will both effect your equipment needs. The amount of water used as well as water pressure are factors to consider when fitting your home with a water quality improvement system. Household size may influence consumption, but different families have different needs. Every factor should be considered, including family growth and guest visits.
Fixing your existing water problem is your primary goal, but don't be eager to settle for the least expensive solution. A higher-priced unit may serve your needs better by being more efficient and long lasting, and by reducing operating costs and maintenance time. Be sure, however, that you're getting your money's worth. Before you buy, we will give you a detailed estimate of equipment, installation, and operating costs. You should study these materials and ask any questions you may have. We want you to be familiar with your equipment, our services and your costs.
Water conditioning equipment may qualify for financing under FHA Title 1 or private lending agreements. Check with your local bank or finance company for information. Culligan of Hannibal also offers special financing options.