Water softener : what is it what is it used for what are its limits ?

If we refer to statistics, nearly one in three French households is already equipped with a water softener. However, as this device is still expensive, is it really essential?

The benefits of a water softener

The water softener, as its name suggests, has function of lowering the rate of limestone present in running water. Indeed, once passed through the device’s filter, more precisely by coming into contact with the resin, the water freed from calcium and magnesium ions becomes softer. To do this, the appliance must be installed in the laundry room or in a room primarily intended for this purpose upstream of the water inlet.

In recent years, new generation water softeners have been on the market. Unlike models with classic resin, the water softening is obtained thanks to the action of CO2 on the chemical elements at the origin of the formation of limestone; the CO2 being introduced into the liquid. But regardless of its mode of operation, this equipment is now very successful, because it makes it possible to avoid many problems associated with too hard water.

Apart from being unpleasant, water with a high calcium content can be harmful to the skin in the long term, as it dries out the epidermis. In addition, hard water is also the cause of the clogging of pipes and water pipes, as well as the premature wear of taps, mixer taps and other dishwashers. And that’s not to mention the scale deposits that generally cause the breakdown of many household appliances (be careful, the softener does not remove the limestone!). Finally, by investing in this equipment, you also save on detergents for laundry and dishes, and you also lower your electricity bill since fresh water heats up more quickly.

A practical guide to water softeners

However, the installation of a water softener should not be systematic, especially in regions and residential areas where the rate of magnesium and calcium per liter is less than or equal to 120 milligrams. To go into detail, a softener is generally only recommended when the water hardness is around 30°f (French degrees). The reason ? Water qualified as normal treated by this device simply loses its main mineral salts, but is suddenly enriched with sodium.

Hence the distortion of its taste. Not to mention the negative effects of too much salt on the health of people with heart disease or high blood pressure, but also of seniors, babies and pregnant women. In addition, to reduce its hardness, the water goes through a degenerative recycling process, thus increasing the volume of water consumed by the household by 10%. Otherwise, to prevent the proliferation of microbes and bacteria, the resin also requires regular maintenance.

There are different types of water softeners on the market, ranging from manual to automatic to semi-automatic. Of course, the automatic ones are the most attractive because their start-up and operation are fully automated. In addition, this type of softener does not consume much water compared to others. On the other hand, they are the most expensive on the market…

Anyway, this device is still expensive, because it takes an average of 400 euros for basic models and that without installation costs. Moreover, this responsibility will only be entrusted to approved installers and technicians, especially if the device still needs to be configured. In conclusion, do not rush into this not necessarily essential investment.

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