When your water tests at a hardness level of 7 gpg (grains per gallon) or greater, it’s considered hard water. Many homeowners don’t understand the significance of the hardness scale, or how having hard water may affect them. How do you know when a water softener is necessary for your home? The truth is, if you have hard water you’ve probably already seen or felt the effects, but it’s the long-term damage from hard water that makes a water softening system worth its weight in gold.
The first noticeable sign of hard water is, despite your best efforts, cleaning becomes much more difficult. Soap and detergents don’t lather properly, and you end up using more without achieving the desired results. Soap scum builds up easily with hard water. Dishes, laundry, and your body never feels or looks squeaky clean. Hard water causes dry, flakey skin and hair that appears limp or unwashed. When you have hard water your appearance, as well as your home’s, will suffer.
Hard water also leaves residue, known as scale, inside your pipes and appliances. This scale build-up reduces the performance of water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and other water-using appliances, forcing them to work harder and break down more easily. Higher usage raises utility costs, and requires more frequent replacement of appliances.
Those mineral deposits that build up in your appliances and pipes also collect in your bathtubs, showers, and faucets. Hard water can also become a nuisance in places you wouldn’t think of, like the insides of coffee makers or the bottom of tea kettles. When hard water boils and sits, or is left to evaporate, what’s left behind can leave a bad taste in your water or crusty deposits. Discovering white flakes floating around in your beverage isn’t most people’s cup of tea.
How Much Will A Water Softener Cost?
Despite the multitude of problems associated with hard water, you’re still uncertain whether to purchase a water softener. Sure, you don’t want to keep replacing your appliances or calling a repairman for clogged plumbing, but you’re on the fence about whether unruly water is something you can live with. Most likely, your hesitancy comes from the belief that water softening systems cost more than they’re worth. This couldn’t be further from the truth as a water softener not only solves water-related problems, but also saves you money.
The total energy required to run a water softener over the course of a year is a lot less than you’d expect. In comparison, the energy used to power an alarm clock is equal to that used for a water softening system. Also, most water softeners only regenerate when needed so water and energy are used efficiently. For a family of four, most systems run less than 5 times per month, and fewer than 10 bags of salt are typically needed per year. Newer water softening systems are even more energy and cost efficient, producing less waste than older models.
Softened water makes a huge difference when it comes to the longevity of your water-using appliances. A softener system reduces the wear and tear and prevents build-up in pipes. Water heaters and washing machine replacements are pricey; keeping them working up to twice as long when used with soft water saves homeowners a bundle. You’ll spend a lot less time scrubbing when your cleaning products work as they should, and you’ll use a lot less of them. Installing a water softener in your home will save you across the board.
You, Me, and Your Neighbors, Too!
Only 15% of the United States has naturally occurring soft water. The remaining 85% fight a daily battle against mineral build-up, appliance inefficiency, and spotty dishware. The Midwest region ranks highest for having some of the hardest water in the country, with a consistently average gpg of 16! On a hardness level scale, with 7-10.5 gpg being hard, and anything above 10.5 gpg being extremely hard, Midwest households knock it out of the park, making owning a home water softener necessary-- unless they prefer to cut their appliance life by 50%, or deal with embarrassing stains and crusty faucets.
If you’re part of the 85% it doesn’t mean you can’t solve your hard water problems. One simple appliance can produce soft water from even the hardest water supply. A home water softener will negate all the harmful effects of hard water by removing the minerals that make the water hard. Through a process called ion exchange, a water softener will remove excess calcium, magnesium, and manganese from your water, leaving only soft water for cleaning, cooking, drinking, and laundering.
For some people, having softened water may feel unnecessary. To others, it seems a luxury. But if you’re one of the 85% of homeowners who has spent countless hours scrubbing scale build-up from toilets and showers, or you’ve had to replace your water heater or dishwasher in record time, you know that a water softening system is something you can’t live without.