Stopping to fill up your water bottle at the kitchen sink before leaving for a visit with Grandma has become routine. At home, you’d never hesitate to drink straight from the tap. But something tastes funny about the water in other people’s homes. It’s not something you’ve given much thought to, presuming it’s due to different piping systems. You’re simply accustomed to the taste of your own home’s water, right?
The truth is, the taste and quality of water differs depending upon where you live, the method of purification, and the source of the water. You’re correct that the contaminants in pipes through which the water travels to the tap can account for the different taste at Grandma’s house, but it’s also due to the varied process in which that water is purified. For the most part, that process is the same—the water is filtered, and a host of contaminants are removed—after which, the water is then treated with chlorine. The strength of the chlorine depends on the level needed to make the water safe for drinking.
The taste of water is not only affected by chlorine levels and the pipes it travels through, but also the distance traveled, and the length of time it remains in the pipes. Traces of lead and copper are not uncommonly found in tap water along with chlorine. These elements can greatly influence how water will taste once it enters your home. You may find that even water just across town is completely different than what comes out of your own faucet.
Your experience with water will never be the same from one area to another. If you notice a strange taste or odor, it’s a sure sign you may need a filtration or purification system. The best way to get rid of hard water and the unpleasant taste and smell that comes with it is to use a water softener and a filter system. There are plenty of reasons to soften your home’s water. If you’re planning on installing a softening system, you’ll need to know how to choose the right one for your home.
What’s In Your Water?
We take drinking water from our tap for granted, but what happens before it gets there determines what needs to be filtered out before it will taste, smell, and perform household tasks the way it was meant to. Water with a high level of magnesium and calcium is considered hard water. This type of water presents a multitude of problems, including ugly stains in toilets, soap scum in showers, poor water pressure, less efficient appliances, skin irritations, dingy clothing, and scale responsible for bacterial growth.
A water softener for your home is the only perfect answer to hard water troubles. How to determine what size water softener you need begins with knowing how much hardness it will be required to remove each day. If you have city water, your local utility company can supply you with the information you’re looking for. Often, you can find their annual reports, also called Consumer Confidence Reports, (CCR) online. These reports tell you where your water comes from, what’s in it, and how to protect it. If you have well water, you’ll have to test the water on your own; most home improvement stores have test kits available for a minimal cost.
Your home’s daily water usage as well as the hardness level of your tap water tells you the softener size you will need. Your water bill, showing your monthly consumption during a normal month, can be used to help establish your average household use. Or, for an estimate of a home’s daily usage, multiple the number of people in your household by 75 gallons per day. Homes with higher water usage benefit from a softener with a greater softening capacity.
What Size Softener Do I Need?
Water softeners range from compact to big and bulky-- and with vastly different grain removing capacities. How do you know what size you need? Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon. To calculate your home’s daily softening requirement, multiply the number of people in your household by your home’s average daily consumption of water (in gallons). Then, multiply that number by the grains of hardness in your water for the total number of grains of hardness your softener will need to remove each day.
In the United States, an average GPG (grains per gallon) is 10. Let’s say you have a water hardness level of 10 grains per gallon and you have 5 people living in your home. By multiplying 5 by 75 gallons, your approximate household usage is 375 gallons of water per day. Then, multiply 375 gallons by 10 grains per gallon for a total of 3,750 grains per day that your softener is required to remove. Water treatment industry standard indicates a water softener should regenerate about once every 7 days.
For a daily softening requirement of 3,750 grains per day, your water will need a softening system with a grain capacity of 32,000. Here’s a more detailed sizing chart for help with finding the proper water softener for your home: https://www.discountwatersofteners.com/water-softener-sizing/. If you’re still unsure, call a professional and reliable company to answer any questions you have.
The Benefits of Softened Water
Unpalatable water can force homeowners to scramble for the appropriate filtration method to rid their water of the taste of pennies, dirt, or bleach. The good news is that if the culprit is hard water, there’s a simple solution. The benefits of installing a water softener extend far beyond the water you drink each day. You’ll love the way your skin, hair and clothing feel, those shiny appliances, and spot-free glassware.
Water softening systems also play a huge role in extending the longevity of your plumbing and all water-using appliances. A high efficiency water softener can be installed in your utility space and soften all the water at the source before distributing to the rest of your home. Properly sizing and installing a new water softener is a solid investment in your home, your health, and your family.