Ben Scherschel, On The Go Portable Water Softener, LLC
Water softening is reducing the concentration of calcium, magnesium, and other metal cationsin hard water. These “hardness ions” can cause a variety of undesired effects, including interfering with soaps, and the build-up of limescale, which can affect the life of appliances by causing rust stains, changing taste and odor, creating water spots, and causing rough, dry skin.
As avid RVers travel throughout the U.S., they will discover that several camp grounds and RV parks have hard water. Furthermore, the Sun Belt states such as Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California can have "extremely" hard water. With more than 8 million RVs in the U.S. today, and more than 200,000 RVs made each year, most RVers don't realize they are damaging their investment with hard water. Sinks, toilets, and showers with hard water damage can make it difficult to resell an RV, and hard water will greatly reduce the life of hot water heaters. RVers are also denied the advantages that soft water provides for consumption (and their coffee every morning!).
So, what makes water hard?
The words "hard water" describe water that contains calcium and magnesium, the hardness minerals. Rain water begins as soft water, which is free of these hard minerals. As rain water passes over and through the earth, flowing into lakes, rivers, streams, and ground water, it absorbs hardness minerals. While these minerals aren't harmful to your health, they affect the properties of water, and its effectiveness for washing and cleaning.
Although water hardness usually measures only the total concentrations of calcium and magnesium (the two most prevalent divalent metal ions), iron, aluminum, and manganese can also be present at elevated levels in some locations. The presence of iron characteristically confers a brownish (rust-like) color to the calcification instead of white (the color of most of the other compounds).
Water hardness is typically measured in GPG [grains per gallon] or PPM [parts per million]. Here is a table to illustrate various levels of hardness:
Soft 0-3 0-60
Moderately hard 3-7 61-120
Hard 7-11 121-180
Very hard 11 greater then 181
More than 85% of American homes have hard water.The softest waters occur in parts of the South Atlantic-Gulf, Pacific Northwest, New England, and Hawaiian regions. Moderately, hard waters are common in many of the rivers of the Tennessee, Great Lakes, and Alaska regions. Hard and very hard waters are found in some of the streams in most of the regions throughout the country. The hardest waters (greater than 1,000 PPM) are in streams in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, and southern California.
Total Hardness test strips for water quality are the ideal solution to measure “water hardness.” Total Hardness test strips are perfect for measuring the water source to help determine capacity, outlet water flow, softness, and performance of the water softener. They offer a wide range of detection and are calibrated to be accurate and sensitive. With their low cost and high accuracy, Total Hardness test strips also save your customers time and money. No more counting drops or waiting for laboratory results, and levels can be determined in just a few seconds.
The ion exchange process requires salt to be added periodically to the softener unit, a step called "regeneration.” Every softener should also include a back-flushing to maintain the performance of the unit.
Selecting a portable water softener:
Many factors should be considered when purchasing a water softener for an RV:
Portable water softeners are incredibly important for an RV because they help prevent rust buildup, soap scum, water spots, and dry skin. Using a water filter is an added bonus, as it removes sulfides and other particles that give water a bad flavor or odor. However, filters are only effective for small volumes of water and do not dissolve minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. A water softener will ensure that an RV’s pipes and appliances will remain stain and clog-free, requiring less maintenance and repair in the long run. Soft water SAVES MONEY by protecting your RV investment. Additionally, without soft water, you would be denied the advantages that soft water provides for consumption by reducing those harmful minerals that cause bad tastes and odors.