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A soft water service is a company that provides water softeners for property owners with hard water. Soft water is low in calcium and magnesium content, so a soft water service uses a machine loaded with salt to transform hard water into soft water by removing the minerals from the hard water. Along with providing the softening machine, the typical soft water service will also provide any required filters and installation of equipment, as well as deliver the required salt to the customer. Service plans vary according to the level of water hardness and the customers' preference.
Hard water exists in nearly every area of the world. Although the consumption of hard water is not considered dangerous — in fact, some studies link drinking hard water to improved heart health —, many people enjoy the benefits of a soft water service. Soft water requires less detergent to create a lather and is less harmful to appliances. Soft water also heats more rapidly than hard water, thereby saving on utility costs when cooking or heating with water or steam. It is, however, common to use a soft water service for an entire building while keeping the drinking water lines separated from the system.
Soft water is not enjoyed by everyone, therefore, the drinking water in a building is often left removed from the soft water supply. Occasionally, a water filter will be placed in the hard water line by the soft water service provider in order to remove sediments from the drinking water. In some circumstances, the soft water service will actually install a supplemental drinking water faucet to the kitchen sink to allow soft water to be used for washing dishes and cooking from the main sink faucet.
Common soft water service includes testing samples of the building's water supply to determine which method will work best to soften the water. Once testing is complete, the service provider will commonly schedule a meeting to discuss options with the owner concerning softening the water supply, as well as the various purchase or rental plans available for the softening equipment. Once agreed upon, the service provider will schedule an installation time and place the equipment in the building, typically in a basement or utility room. After installation, the softener service will deliver salt on a regular or as-needed basis and will service the water softening machine as required or as agreed upon in the service contract.