Have you ever wondered if water softeners are really necessary? Water softeners work in conjunction with your septic system. They improve the home’s water quality as well as benefit the overall system. Here’s what you need to know about water softeners and septic systems
Before you decide to use a water softener, you need to understand how they affect the septic system. Before discussing this, let’s take a look at how each operates independently of the other.
What Does a Septic System Do?
When waste leaves the home, it travels through a main line and enters into a septic tank. This serves as a holding area for deposited waste. While stored in the septic tank, the waste then separates into three primary levels. The waste, or sludge, falls to the bottom of the tank due to its higher density. The lightweight “scum” rises to the top.
Bacteria grows inside of the tank and helps decompose the stored waste. This generates a section of water in the middle known as effluent. The effluent remains in the middle and exits through the tank’s outlet into the distribution box, then proceeds into a drain field. The tank essentially sorts out the waste and disperses the effluent.
You can read a deeper explanation of this process HERE.
What Do Water Softeners Do?
Hard water is full of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are accrued over time as the water passes over rocks and soil while still underground. Over time, these minerals build up and can cause damage to plumbing systems, skin, hair, dishes, laundry, and more.
You can typically identify if your home uses hard water by the way it affects your skin. See if it leaves spots on your dishes, or if the water is affecting your laundry in negative ways.
If you’re still unsure, you can see what sections of the country use what types of water HERE.
Water softeners work to remove these harmful minerals, increasing the home water quality. Water softeners are usually comprised of a brine tank and a media tank. These two tanks work in tandem to remove damaging minerals such as calcium and magnesium. They then replace them with something less harmful, such as sodium.
How Do Water Softeners Affect Your Septic System?
Now that you understand how septic systems and water softeners operate, you may be asking if water softeners have any damaging effects on septic systems. In short, the answer is no.
The added sodium concerns many homeowners who believe that it is harmful to the bacteria in the septic system. However, studies have proven otherwise. In fact, studies have shown that a small amount of sodium actually aids in the growth of these bacteria. This makes your septic system even more effective. Not only does it lower the amount of sodium being used, it improves the quality of soil and the growth of bacteria. It is far more effective than the harmful minerals it is replacing.