Does A Water Softener Prevent Water Spots? September 6, 2020 16:00
Does A Water Softener Prevent Water Spots?
Hard water minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium, will leave white colored spots on surfaces where water is left to evaporate. Contrary to popular belief, water softeners do not prevent white spots. Now don't get us wrong, that doesn't mean you shouldn't invest in one, but if you buy a water softener just because you don’t want to have hard water white spots anymore, you will be disappointed. Keep reading to find out what you really need to prevent water spots.
Why does spotting occur?
In short - TDS. Water Hardness represents only a part of the mineral content of water—the calcium and magnesium ions. Total Mineral Content referred to in water treatment as TDS, or “Total Dissolved Solids,” is the real predictor of water's spotting potential. The higher the TDS, the more spotting you'll experience.
Here are some other factors that lead to spotting:
1. Water Softeners Need Salt
Is your brine tank running low on salt? Or perhaps salt bridging has occurred: A salt bridge happens when a hard layer of salt form at the top of the salt pile near the brine tank and it’s supported at the edges of the tank. This will create a gap where the salt is prevented from dissolving in the water and prevents your softener from properly softening. To fix this, you can break up the crusted layer yourself with a broom handle or a similar tool.
Or, “salt mushing” may have occurred. When dissolved salt recrystallizes and creates soft sediment in the bottom of the brine tank, this sediment is called “salt mushing." Salt mushing can keep your water softener from properly regenerating. The best method to solve this problem is to drain the system and replace the salt altogether.
2. Essential Maintenance is Required:
Is your water softener working properly? Does Your Water Softener Need Maintenance? Besides checking your brine tank for salt issues, also check if your softener is functioning as it should. When it is not, hard water seeps into your home's water pipes, increasing the chances of water spots.
Have you cleaned your resin beds recently? In order for your softener to continue regenerating and removing hardness ions, the resin beads need to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning (Regeneration) normally occurs when the water softener cycle recharges the media, but it’s also necessary to flush the resin bed every now and again to maintain performance.
Are your system settings correctly set? Having the wrong settings will affect both the operation of the softener and the quality of water it produces. For concerns regarding the operation of your water softener or maintenance concerns mentioned above, contact your regional water treatment dealer or your manufacturer.
Ion exchange softeners exchange salt for hardness minerals in the water. The whits spots left behind are salt. But if softeners leave why spots why install them at all?
Okay so now that you know your softener might leave white spots, you might be wondering why soften your water at all? The real benefits of softened water reveal itself when doing household chores, saving on utility bills, using fewer detergents, and showering in water that keeps your hair and skin healthy. Want to read more about the benefits of water softeners? Visit this article "Do I Need A Water Softener?"
Do water softeners reduce TDS?
You may be wondering why a water softener can’t reduce TDS when it is removing minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water softeners are designed to reduce the number of hard minerals in your home’s water. However, water softeners do not reduce total dissolved solids (TDS).
Softening, contrary to popular belief, doesn't take minerals out of the water. Rather, it exchanges sodium for the hardness minerals, calcium and magnesium, in more or less equal proportions. TDS is the measure of all matter that is dissolved in the water – inorganic and organic. Water softeners remove ions like calcium, magnesium, and iron, but there could easily be other dissolved solids in the water that are leaving behind some sort of film or residue when the water evaporates (creating the water spots). That means that the TDS of softened water would be essentially the same as that of hard water.
Since sodium ions are being exchanged for calcium and magnesium ions, the TDS of your water isn’t directly affected. For every sodium ion taken out, a sodium ion is put in. The higher the mineral content in your water, the more sodium is exchanged to soften it. The sodium content of softened water completely depends on how hard it was to begin with. Still, softening is an advantage to the car washer since the minerals in the softened water are easier to get rid of and don't form the scaling associated with hard water, but high TDS water, softened or not, will produce spots.
Softened water is certainly better for cleaning and bathing, and will extend the life of home appliances. However, the spotting you notice from soft water may actually be sodium spots. With softened high TDS water, you'll still have spots. The good news is that sodium spotting can be easily wiped off with a towel, while hard water spotting, such as soap scum and limescale buildup takes hours of scrubbing.
What water doesn't leave water spots?
The best water to wash a car with, actually, is water low in TDS, such that a Reverse Osmosis will produce. Many professional car wash locations feature a ”spot free rinse“ with reverse osmosis water. Reverse osmosis reduces the TDS of water by about 95% and does assure a spot-free rinse with most waters, so that's something to keep in mind if you're looking for a cleaner rinse. An RO system removes both TDS and contaminants (chlorine, fluoride, etc) that lower water quality. A whole house RO system will guarantee the same spot-free rinse you get at a professional car wash and for a cheaper price!