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Hard water is found in 85 percent of all homes' water supplies. Most of the world's water supply comes from underground and when it travels through the ground, it runs through dirt and rocks and often picks up minerals such as calcium, lead, and iron. That's what makes water "hard." This is water that is heavier than softened water and contains more minerals.

What's wrong with hard water?
Hard water can cause problems on several fronts. First, it can clog your appliances. Using hard water in your dishwasher or coffeemaker can mean a build up of mineral deposits. That buildup can mean your appliance has to work harder to properly pump water. Hard water can also mean your dishes, clothes, and body don't get as clean. Hard water doesn't lather up as well, and thus, you have a more difficult time cleaning. In addition, hard water can leave a sticky film on your tiled bathroom, in your bathtub and on you.

How can you soften your home's water?
In order to soften the water in your home, you'll have to use a process called ion exchange water softening. You can do this by permanently installing water softening equipment or by hiring a water softening service to bring softened water to your home each week.
The ion exchange process happens when water flows through a bed of resin. The hard water's calcium and other mineral deposits are replaced with sodium ions, which softens the water.
If you install a permanent water softener, you'll buy a unit that will come in a tank, and you do your own resin regeneration. Many people often find this to be economical and convenient. Typically, homeowners will choose this route, while renters who may not wish to invest in more permanent equipment will choose to buy water.
If you decide to hire a water softening service, a dealer will bring a portable water unit to your home on a regular basis and hook it to your water line. The dealer regenerates the water at his location. If you go this route, you don't have to worry about maintaining the tank or worry about problems associated with the tank. All that is the concern of the dealer.