The water that has high mineral content in it is known as hard water. Elimination of magnesium, calcium and other positive ions of the metal from hard water is called as water softening.

What is the need for water softening?
In the general sense hard water is not much harmful for drinking purpose. Most peculiarly hard water can cause severe problems when it spoils the water piping, water tanks, water geysers and other paraphernalia that retains water inside. The dissolved magnesium and calcium will concentrate and form scales. The scales will develop and build up inside the pipes and other equipment. The water flow will gradually get reduced in the pipes due to the scale deposition. The pipes will get blocked slowly. The formation of scales in the water heaters and kettles, incompatibility with the soap is an indication for the presence of hard water. To avoid the adverse effects created by the hard water to the utensils and other equipment water softening is carried out.

What is water softening?
Excluding the minerals from the hard water and making the water to be well-matched with the soap constitutes water softening. Hard water can be battled with reverse osmosis technique, by adding softeners like washing soda or borax to water or by passing the water through water softeners. The softened water will lengthen the life of the plumbing equipment. Water softening is accomplished using ion exchange resins and chelating agents, through distillation and lime softening.

Water Softeners
Water softener is an instrument that reduces the hardness in water. There are certain branded companies that manufacture water softeners and some of them are Prime water systems, Aqua soft water softener, Kent water softeners, Tescon Aqua solutions. However, all these water softeners will function properly for few months and a year or two. Of course, their functioning will also depend on their maintenance and use. Water softeners can end up with problems due to some reasons.

Water softener problems

• Health related problems: Water softeners mostly accumulate sodium which is known to cause health problems. Excess sodium is known to be harmful especially for people with high blood pressure. As sodium is an important component of the water softener, the excess salt in drinking water might pose problems.

• Problem with the machine: There might be several reasons for the water softener to stop working properly. Some of the reasons can be diagnosed and rectified easily while some are not so simple. The water softener tank has to be flushed initially which aids the technician to know whether any salt has to be added to the system. Sometimes, it might be necessary to add more salt to the system and fill it with water to function effectively. There might be problems with motor or if the unit does not get power. There might also be a problem with circuit breaker. A professional can be called to take care of these small issues.

• Problem with the Brine line: Very often problem with brine line occur in water softeners. This can be corrected by flushing the brine line, by replacing the injector and filter screen if they are found to be defective. The optimum pressure that has to be maintained in the brine line has to be monitored. Generally, brine line pressure differs when there is damage in the line. It is very important to repair the brine line as it is vital for water softener to work well.

• Iron content: The iron content of the water in the system should be within limits. This can be maintained by checking the filter. The filter might need replacement. The bypass valve also has to be checked to confirm that it is functioning well.

Building up of salt bridge in the tank is yet another problem encountered in water softeners which has to be tackled by cleaning the tank. Periodical checking can make the water softener system to function well.

About Author / Additional Info: