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Specific question on water softeners because I'm not fucking getting this. So a water softener works by replacing calcium/magnesium/whatever ions with salt (sodium chloride) ions, making the water soft.

But those salt ions are still in the water, right? And won't they leave salt crystal deposits just like the calcium or magnesium would?

I feel like I'm misunderstanding some fundamental part of water softeners because they're always advertised as "preventing mineral deposits" but... isn't it just going to be salt that's deposited instead of calcium?
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>>1290764
Sodium chloride is almost infinitely soluble in water compared to magnesium and calcium salts, so it won't form scale.
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Water softners are terrible for your health and I highly advise against using them. I live in an area with very hard water so most people around here use softners. I'm a registered nurse and I see patients every day with high blood pressure from all of the salt they are drinking. It absolutely deatroys your arteries and for what, a little less scale on your faucet? Think of your health people, you literally drink water every day. Do the right thing and keep that high concentration of salt out of your body, you'll thank me later
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>>1290852
>>1290802
>>1290764
Uhhhh... the softeners don't just dump salt in the water. They use ion exchange resins. The *resins* are washed in salty water during the recharge/regen cycle. That's what the salt is for. Then the salt is flushed out.
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>>1290852

Do you feel smart lying on the internet?
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>>1290856
Stop posting anon, you don't understand how ion exchange resins work.

>>1290852
If your kidneys do their job, the weekend bit of sodium left by ion exchange won't make any difference.

t. Also an RN.

n.b. - for the prior anon, we also use an ion exchange resin for hyperkalemia called kayexelate. It carries excess K+ out in your poop.
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>>1290916
"Wee bit of sodium "
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Got another question:

Let's say you have a dish sitting in your dishwasher with two drops of water on it - one hard water, the other soft water from a water softener.

If you let those two drops evaporate, you'll still end up with the same amount of solids left behind, wouldn't you? Since the salt is just replacing the other ions.
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>>1291131
No. I can't explain the science like these nerds here, but I work on commercial dishwashers for a living, and in the exact scenario you describe, the salt, if there is actually any in the water, doesn't stick to ware like lime does.

I have two theories: salt doesn't adhere like lime, or salt doesn't care about heat like lime does.

If you run soft water over one plate that is 150° and unsoft over a plate that is 150°, both for 1 hour, the softened water plate will always be clean, assuming you used detergent, and assuming water hardness is less than 1ppm.
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>>1291208
Alright, interesting.

Just from what I've heard and experienced with soft water, I knew that it won't leave behind water spots. But after actually thinking about it, that question came up. I mean, the salt has to go somewhere...

Now we need one of these science nerds to teach us a bit
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>>1291131
>>1291208

Yes, the softened water will leave some residue if it's allowed to evaporate. Sodium bicarbonate or similar. However, that dissolves easily and can be wiped off dishes, while lime scale can harden.

A descaler gets you somewhere in between. I dislike softened water, and descaled water tastes/feels much better to me, but I do still get light residue that requires lime-away to clean. Easily 90% less than when I wasn't using any treatment though.
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>>1290916
That's objectively how they work.

The water that goes in your pipes is passed through the resins, which absorb various ions in the water supply. Then when needed, the ions in the resin are exchanged for sodium chloride, which is taken up preferentially by the ion exchange material.

The ion-rich water from this cycle is dumped, which is why a water softener requires both a drain and supply loop. While this is happening, the softener closes a bypass valve so you still have water while it's cleaning itself. Most of the salt and the material flushed from the resin is discarded into the drain. Only a little salt is left over in the exchange resin because it also rinses with non-salty water before opening its bypass valve again. Salt is a lot more soluble in fresh water than the ion resin. That's why you need 40lb bags of salt all the time to make brine to wash the resins out.

>>1290852
This is simply not true. Even the hardest water is only going to have a few milligrams of salt added to it per serving. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/water-softeners-sodium/faq-20058469
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>>1290916
>Stop posting anon, you don't understand how ion exchange resins work.
OK, fine, care to explain it?
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>>1291331
>>1291330
Oh, I see a non-faggot already did.
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why do people soften their hard water?

hard water is the best fucking water to drink
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>>1290764
>And won't they leave salt crystal deposits just like the calcium or magnesium would?
The point of softening water is twofold.
First, the softener system acts as a trap for most of the calcium, iron, and magnesium. The salt deposits from those minerals are way way way harder to break up and than deposits left behind by the salts used for softening.
Second, the addition of "salt" is a really low concentration. You're not turning your plumbing into a brine tank so it won't be pickling you or your dishes. The addition of the salt improves the solute capacity of the water that comes out of your fixtures. Without the softening, this capacity would have been taken up by the minerals themselves. This increased capacity makes detergents and surfactants significantly more effective.
>>1291131
>If you let those two drops evaporate, you'll still end up with the same amount of solids left behind, wouldn't you?
Sort of, but the second droplet has lowered the total concentration of hardness within the water. And therefore increased its ability to retain those solutes. This means that a higher percentage of them will drain away rather than depositing.
>>1292455
>why do people soften their hard water?
Because it clogs up your shower nozzles, leaves deposits on your dishes, makes soap scum build up faster in your shower, makes ring stains in your toilet faster, and your hair feel much coarser after you shower.
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Science fag here. All water lying about your shower or kitchen will evaporate a little, and when the water evaporates, the concentration of salts in that water increases. Magnesium and calcium salts, among others, have a much lower solubility than sodium and potassium salts, and if too much water evaporates then these salts will crash out of solution and form a crust on whatever material they're left on. Since they aren't as soluble as other salts, it will take longer for the already partially saturated water washing over these deposits to dissolve them. But they're not much of a problem in and of themselves.

Soap on the other hand complicates things, since soap's active ingredient is usually a sodium compound of some sort, typically SLS. When a solution has "not enough room" for both a lot of undissolved SLS and calcium salts in it, the calcium ions displace the few sodium ions from the SLS because chemistry reasons, leaving calcium lauryl sulfate in solution. Since this is much less soluble, it precipitates out of solution and forms soap-scale, which will essentially never dissolve back into even distilled water, meaning it has to be scrubbed off, and it has a somewhat waxy/fatty texture by virtue of it being some sort of fat/oil based compound, making it far harder to get rid of than normal limescale.

I'm making this shit up, but it fits my model of chemistry so I'll run with it. Got no clue about ion exchange or what, I'm only a physics student.
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>be me
>live in south east wales
Soft water all the way. Never ever had to contend with any of this shit.
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>>1291296

Can I put a water softener on my toilet so I don't build up lime scale?
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>>1292830
>Soft water all the way. Never ever had to contend with any of this shit.
never get to taste a crisp glass of mineralized (hard) water. Feel bad for you, anon.
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>>1293615
Enjoy your lime-coated faucets, grimy clothes and shitty hair m8.
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>>1293606
Usually water softeners are for the entire house, I don't think you could buy one small enough to just service a toilet.

>>1293615
>>1293633
Soft water does taste like ass but I hate mineral buildup and my skin and hair are way the fuck softer when you bathe with soft water. Same with towels, sheets, and clothes.

I'll deal with the ass-taste if other areas of my life are significantly improved.
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>>1293643
>not mixing your own mineral water
Is this a business opportunity?
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>>1293661
Anything's a business opportunity with the right marketing




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