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“Hardness” is a term used to describe the amount of calcium and magnesium in water. Excessive calcium prevents soap from lathering and can form very harmful scale on household pipes and appliances. Hardness is not a health issue.
Treating hardness is a tricky issue for several reasons. First, legitimate “softening” equipment is frequently oversold by profit-driven marketers. In addition, there are many new “softening” products on the market that are of questionable value.
Conventional water softeners are actually ion exchangers which “swap” sodium for calcium and magnesium. In other words, they “remove" calcium and magnesium by adding a more-or-less equal amount of sodium to the water. When the sodium in the softener's resin bed is depleted it has to be replenished. That's why softeners have “brine tanks” to which salt must be added regularly.
Alternative “softening” devices include magnets, both natural and electrical, as well as electronic treatments which purport to render the water's calcium content more friendly to household plumbing. KDF treatment media, most commonly used to reduce chlorine and heavy metals as well as H2S and iron, is also said to have “softening” properties. KDF does not remove calcium, but some sellers of KDF products claim that it protects plumbing and fixtures from scale formation.
We do not sell magnets or other alternative softening devices. This should not be taken as a condemnation of such products. We don't say that they don't work: we're just waiting for quantifiable proof that they do. Some information about KDF's scale prevention effectiveness.
We sell many products containing KDF, but we do not make claims that they “soften” water.
Our conventional softeners are here. This site offers only our most commonly sold softeners. Please call for more information about other styles and sizes of water softeners.
We also sell several filter cartridges in our Cartridge Menu that contain phosphate. Phosphate is a long-used technology that prevents scale formation in refrigerators and other appliances.
(whole house & well units)