Examining Water Softening in Modern Home Water Systems

We live in a world of evolving technologies, and water treatment has changed significantly over the last century or so. The first ion exchange water treatments for softening water were adopted in the early 1900’s. Since that time we have seen these types of water treatment methods used increasingly in the home. This change in perception from what was perceived as a luxury item to a water treatment essential is an interesting story. 

The Lack of Water Softeners 

Even in recent history, water softening systems were perceived to be a luxury product. Many considered softened water to be something that was merely unaffordable for them. For many people, the taste of chlorine in their water was expected along with scratches and spotting on glassware. Poor water quality was expected, and most people expected to deal with the results. This is even evident in domestic appliances, even a decade ago these devices used far more water and soap compared to the more efficient models we see today. 

The Emergence of the Water Softener Examining Water Softening in Modern Home Water Systems

This all changed back in 2016 when water softening became the breakout product to improve your quality of life. It seemed that every other magazine or TV advertisement was extolling the virtues of softer water. Every plumber and big box outlet had a water softening system to suit your needs and budget. It seemed that softer water was now a possibility on virtually any budget and the public responded positively to the message. Now even only a couple of years later, the chances are that if you don’t know someone with a water softener, one of your friends or relatives does. How did this idea take hold so quickly and turn into a water treatment revolution? 

The Catalyst for Change 

There did seem to be an organic change in how water treatment was regarded, but the movement for softer water needed a catalyst to really get the ball rolling. This catalyst was the Department Of Energy (DOE). A change in DOE regulations to reduce the amount of water used in appliances placed pressure on major appliance manufacturers. The water usage had to be drastically reduced, so the quality of water used in those appliances became increasingly important. Some manufacturers even added disclaimers to their warranty that specified the incoming water quality required. The quality of water used in an appliance can affect how well it performs and how long it lasts. Hard water damages water using appliances by causing a buildup of minerals that cause significant wear and tear along with a drop in efficiency. 

A Change in Perception 

Following on from the changes to domestic appliances, people were informed about the other damage that could be caused when using hard water. Many areas of the home can be adversely affected, such as plumbing, faucets, toilets and bathtub/shower fixtures. Over time people noticed that softer water improved how much better these key home systems worked with softer water and other benefits. Less detergent or soap was required for cleaning, lower temperatures could be used and these translated into real and immediate savings. This only spread the word about softer water further resulting in a massive change in attitudes in a very short period of time.

By Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska. 

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.  

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