Everything You Need to Know About Water Softening
There’s an 85 percent chance that the tap water in your home is “hard.”
What is hard water, and why should you care? Water is deemed hard if it contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium. While hard water isn’t detrimental to your health, it can be harmful to your home.
Depending on the hardness of your water, you might need a water softening system to counter its effects. If you liken the plumbing in your home to blood vessels, then having hard water is like having high cholesterol. The excess calcium and magnesium eventually become mineral deposits that can clog pipes and restrict water flow in the home.
Do you think you might need a water softener for your home? Read on to learn about how to soften water and its benefits.
Signs of Hard Water
If you’re not sure if you need a water softener, look for the following signs:
- “Soap scum” on bathtubs, sinks, and kitchen or bathroom fixtures
- Soap is more difficult to lather
- Higher soap usage
- Stiff and gray or faded laundry
- Spotty dishes and glassware
- Dry skin and hair after showering
- Low water pressure
Running a household can be a nightmare if you’re dealing with the effects of hard water. Not only does hard water make you devote extra time for cleaning, but you’re also spending more money. Due to scale buildup, your plumbing and appliances can get damaged, leading to higher utility bills and expensive repairs.
How Does a Home Water Softener Work?
Home water softeners are appliances that remove calcium and magnesium ions from tap water. You can get them at an average of $1,500 for the system and installation, although prices tend to vary depending on the manufacturer. Some can be very pricey, for example, as seen in some Rainsoft reviews.
The most common type of water softener is the ion-exchange type, and you can recognize it from the large tank of salt pellets included. It works by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions or salt. While it does add salt to your diet, the amount isn’t significant health-wise, and you can also opt for the more expensive potassium pellets.
There’s also the salt-free type which uses a mechanical filter that removes calcium but not magnesium. As you may have guessed, it doesn’t work that well versus very hard water. Another type uses the process of reverse osmosis to remove most water impurities, but it has a much higher price tag.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Water Softening
The clear advantage to softening your water is that you prevent the buildup of scale on anything the water touches. You can lengthen the lifespan of your pipes and appliances and also lower repair and utility bills. Soft water is also better for the skin for some people.
However, there are some disadvantages too. If you have a history of high blood pressure, you may not want any amount of extra salt in your drinking water. Some people may also require dietary supplements to replace the calcium and magnesium eliminated from the water.
Should You Soften Your Water?
The choice of whether to install a water softening system in your home depends on you weighing the pros and cons. Soft water isn’t preferable in all situations. However, you might consider getting a water softener if you’re starting to notice problems caused by mineral buildup.
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