Water quality is always on the mind of homeowners from the taste and smell to the limescale forming around fixtures we all have at one time or another wondered what exactly was in the water coming into our home.
In America 80 percent of American get their water from municipal water supply and the rest get their water from private wells. Both municipal and private water can be considered hard and it really depends on where you live in the US.
Hard water is essentially the buildup of calcium and magnesium and other minerals that rain water has slowly absorbed in rivers and streams before it gets to your home.
These natural minerals are not bad for you and not considered a contaminant. In fact these minerals are very healthy and good for you. However these same minerals can cause constant plumbing issues when the hard water slowly builds up and can clog pipes.
Appliances and water heaters also are exposed to build up that can greatly shorten the life on these water using machines.
While we all remember the reports on water salesman coming to your home testing hard water as if it was going to kill you. Many local water dealers have misled the american public and sold millions of Americans on traditional salt based water softeners or ion exchange.
These devices replace the calcium and magnesium and exchange them with salt or sodium. THis sodium is then re entered into the water supply which is impossible for water treatment companies to remove it, So it gets put back to local waterways with regular drinking water.
This water then has higher levels of sodium which is bad for the environment as well as local farmers that use this water that has higher than normal sodium and harms crop production.
This environmental damage has led to a lot of city districts flat out banning or greatly restricting their use in farming communities. This of course has led to cullinan and other water softener companies filing lawsuits against the cities in a desperate plea to keep the billion dollar industry going strong.
Simply put in a world where technology moves so fast it gets hard to keep up year to year with Iphones, we still rely on a device that was made decades ago that essentially turns unfiltered dirty tap water into unfiltered dirty tap water full of sodium.
To make the matter worse salt based water softeners waste thousands of water regenerating as well as electricity. On top of all this, these devicing actually do not filter the water and its actual contamines like carbon water filters do as hardware is not listed as a contaminant by the CDC.
So in such a fast paced technology revolution we still rely on these salt based systems to keep our homes free from the effects of hard water.
But the water softening industry is a hard one to change. It is an extremely old industry that relies on high pressure sales tactics selling older often easily scared homeowners into buying water ion exchange devices.
Not knowing that healthy minerals are being removed and sodium is taking its place all the while chlorine and its by products which are actually health concerns are still present in the water.
It’s simply a device and technology that does not make sense to anyone not making money on them.
Luckily there are some new promising technology that can reduce these issues without sodium and salt. These salt free systems are taking the industry by storm using template assisted crystallization. This process does not remove calcium and magnesium but instead transforms it so that it cannot stick or create limescale while the water travels through the home.
These systems are starting to gain traction as well as magnetic and electromagnetic devices that have been introduced. Some studies that I have seen do not show these systems as effective as the TAC systems.
Beyond all the salt vs salt free water softener debate that has been going on in the industry it is hard to imagine in the next 10-20 years when millennials start buying homes that these systems that are so environmentally unfriendly and unhealthy would be popular.
The green movement seems to be not going away any time soon and the water softener industry has been not wanting to change, but popular demand will show how serious this next generation is about the environment and at what costs they will go in treating the water in their home.