Talk:Water softening

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initial remarks[edit]

I'm no chemist, but I think the ions stick together because of cohesion; however, there is no chemistry-related article for cohesion. Please change this article if I am wrong. Thanks. --Urbster1 23:47, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I will try to clear up the chemistry a bit, without (I hope) making it too technical. Steve 23:17, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Water softenerWater softening – Articles are usually named for the process, rather than the equipment used to carry out the process. For example, air conditioner is a redirect to air conditioning. Note: water softening currently redirects to water purification, which I think is less appropriate than redirecting to water softener, as water softening is a very small section in the water purification article. I didn't want to change it before a decision is made. -- Kjkolb 02:32, 12 May 2006 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~

Support ~ trialsanderrors 20:54, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Done. —Nightstallion (?) 07:08, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

By definition (as listed in several of the references already included in this article), water hardness is the presence of Ca and Mg only. Water softening, then, involves the removal of these ions - and NOT as the article currently states, the removal of "some other ions". It is true that ion-exchange water softeners will remove other cations, for example Iron, but when they do this they are not softening the water. The definition of water hardness should be included within this article. In North America, water hardness is usually measured in units of gpg or grains per gallon, which is equivalent to the concentration of Ca++ and Mg++ ions in ppm, divided by 17.1.

The article later mentions anion resins, and "water softeners" which remove SO4. While anion resins and anion exchange units do remove anions including sulfates, they are NOT water softeners since they are not removing Ca and Mg. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Vague, broad statement regarding suitability for regular consumption[edit]

I'm questioning the following statement in the text: "However because of the increase in sodium concentration, some people believe water softened in this way is not suitable for regular consumption."

I've never heard anyone say this. Has anyone else? Do we have any sources?

I heard some people who are on a sodium restricted diet might be concerned about drinking softened water. I also heard that softened water should not be used for some sensitive house plants. Alas, no sources. There are also comparisons of the amount of sodium in softened water to that in a slice of bread. Alas, no sources. 03:49, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Also, a common alternative to sodium in water softening is to use potassium chloride. The KCl is said to be less harmful (or even beneficial) and does not harm plants. Some discussion of KCl vs. NaCl would be beneficial.

Junk Science vs. Magnetic Water Softener[edit]

I've heard of "saltless" water softeners and a quick google search does yield results, but I am still trying to determine the validity of such systems. I came here originally to see if there was any mention of them... and since there isn't I'm becoming skeptical already. One system purports to use magnets, another electricity, and other systems seem to purely attempt to filter out the ions... which to me doesn't sound quite right. Anyways, good or bad I'll write something about what I find over the next few days or whatever. Blissfulpain 22:10, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this article should also mention the fact that there are scores of worthless "no salt 'water softener'" devices out there that are fraudulent scams. To soften water one must use ion exchange or reverse osmosis; there is at least one patent for a fraudulent device that claims to use magnetism as a "water softening" device, but it does nothing at all to water. These devices either clip on to the cold water pipe leading to a water heater, or they have a wire that is wrapped around the water pipe leading to the water heater. NONE OF THESE DEVICES SOFTEN WATER. A few of these devices have stopped claiming they use an electromagnetic field to "soften water" because consumer advocates have started explaining that is impossible: instead they have started claiming their devices emit some sort of "shaped field" or "pulse" that effects the water---- and those claims are also false. Please, someone add to the main article a mention of these frauds. Thank you. --Desertphile (talk) 01:01, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
I have added a section on "Physical conditioners". You might also like to look at Electrically converted water (ec-H2O). Biscuittin (talk) 18:20, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

There are a lot of no salt units to treat hard water that have a lot of flaws yes. There is a unit that uses a fluctuating am frequency that treats the issues of hard water but does not soften it. The worldwide-patented HydroFLOW technology is easily installed. It immediately induces an (AM signal) into the plumbing system. This signal alters the physical properties of water forcing suspended material to join and stay in suspension preventing them from adhering or accumulating.

The effect is carried throughout your entire water system upstream and downstream from the HydroFLOW unit. Existing build up will begin to breakdown, over a period between one to four months, leaving your pipes, showerheads, appliances free from build up, which is a major contributor to loss of pressure and, water consuming appliance premature failures, not forgetting the water heater which uses a much greater amount of energy, with only 1/8 of scale build up. The amount of energy used jumps dramatically as the scale increases.

And all this is done without the use of any chemicals, backwashes or maintenance. This unit is not a fraud! I have one of these units and it has done wonders in treating the hard water problems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hwr (talkcontribs) 21:39, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Excellent! If you would kindly provide the evidence in the form of peer reviewed scientific papers that demonstrate this, that would be great. I am sure that no reputable company would make claims for a product without the support of clear and unambiguous evidence of efficacy. I can't find any such references myself but I am sure that as an ardent proponent of the system you will be able to oblige. Thanks.  Velela  Velela Talk   19:24, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

The company EasyWater makes these, and runs the site, so yeah. It's apparently not a scam, they said so. -- (talk) 20:06, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Sodium health effects[edit]

The amount of sodium added to the water is directly proportional to their hardness. The source says: "much of the groundwater in Kansas is hard or extremely hard, softening can add significant amounts of sodium.", "If the liquids you drink each day have less than 100 mg/L of sodium, it probably adds less than 5 percent of the sodium content of the average adult’s diet.", plus the example they give is for very hard water, which results in 480mg/L of sodium in the water, while the recommended limit is 500mg/L per day. It's mostly a problem when dealing with very hard water. okedem 07:39, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Alternatives to Salt[edit]

There are potassium-based water softening systems now. It would be useful to include a comparison of the effects and side effects, costs, etc., of sodium and potassium-based systems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Evolvemind (talkcontribs) 01:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I came here looking for potassium benefits/negatives and found none. I read that on the web during research some people say it's good for plants and others say it's bad because there's already enough potassium in the ground in most areas, so I am confused. Can anyone add this info in? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:03, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I think this article needs to cite some sources...[edit]

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think some of this entry is duplicated from: and should be properly cited. I did add one citation in the introduction, but I have not had a chance to finish reviewing this entry.

I found the above mentioned site while doing some personal research on water softening.

Thanks, -Pix

Health and hard water[edit]

Peple with eczema often find hard water a bit problem, this is not mentioned in the problems of hard water listed here. The National Eczema Society in the UK is running a longitudinal study on the effects of water softeners on eczema but I can't find any results so far. (talk) 19:56, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Can you cite a source concerning hard water and eczema - I mean an academic source (or something by a well known hospital, for instance)? okedem (talk) 21:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I have eczema and so does everyone in my family (5 of us). We recently got our water softened (using sodium chloride ion exchange) and my skin is MUCH better than it was with the hard water. So you have at least my personal experience. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Cleanup: Capitalisation[edit]

Can someone remove the eratic capitalisations of [sic.] "Calcium" and "Magnesium" etc in this article? Element names should be in normal case, not capitalised. (talk) 23:19, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

English article inferior to Spanish version?[edit]

I was considering if the article [Suavizador de agua] and this content content ought to be imported/merged/harmonized somehow? Your comments would be helpful Timpo (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:20, 8 June 2009 (UTC).

Sodium carbonate[edit]

The article states "A common water softener is sodium carbonate" but there is no explanation of how it works. I believe the reactions are:

CaHCO3 + Na2CO3 -> CaCO3 (precipitated) + Na2HCO3

MgHCO3 + Na2CO3 -> MgCO3 (precipitated) + Na2HCO3

Can somebody please confirm this before I put it in the article? Biscuittin (talk) 15:44, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

In the case of Magnesium, I think the carbonate is unstable so the final precipitate is either the basic carbonate or the hydroxide. Biscuittin (talk) 15:51, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


The phrase "Water softeners is desirable when the source of water is hard. well, whether municipal or private" at the beginning of the article is incorrect.

Merge with Hard water[edit]

Please see Talk:Hard_water#Merge with Water softening - the discussion here has been (merged) moved there. <snip> Widefox (talk) 00:16, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

(Closed as no merge). --Stfg (talk) 12:18, 5 November 2012 (UTC)


The photo at the top of the page is not an image of a water softener. It appears to be an image of the connection manifold for a tank-type water softener with a pre-filter attached. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

You are correct, this is definitely not a water softener. It is a standard filter housing with plumbing that could be attached to a softener. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Nope. There are salt-free water softeners like this. Just google and you'll see.TMCk (talk) 18:32, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes there are lot of alternatives, but they are minor importance for the casual reader. We could also show a distillation column or RO membrane for that matter. The point of the image is to be correct but it is impractical and impossible to cover all technologies with one image. --Smokefoot (talk) 18:45, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Possible contradiction with Magnetic water treatment page[edit]

On Magnetic water treatment section Related Devices there is a statement, "Whilst some are effective, such as electrolytic devices". However, on this page there is a contradicting statement, "Devices that claim to use magnetism or electricity as a "water softening" technique are fraudulent and often utilize pseudoscience." So either the former should not be on the magnetic water treatment page because it is not magnetic based or the latter is incorrect since electrolysis, allegedly, is not fraudulent. I am unable to verify the sources for the electrolysis working, however, as they don't have links although I've yet to try search for them manually. Driskell86 (talk) 19:11, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

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In the French Wikipedia fr:Adoucissement_de_l'eau#Adoucisseur_au_CO2, they speak about a CO2 method.

I don't see any text about this in the English article.

--AXRL (talk) 17:47, 25 December 2018 (UTC)