What is a water softener?
In some areas, the water is hard because of ions like calcium, iron, magnesium, and other ions. A water softener that is directly attached to the water supply eradicates those ions and extends the life of your appliances, clothes, and plumbing. While a water softener can be a rather expensive investment, it provides an ROI for many years and saves you money from the need to repair and replace water use items.
A water softening system will remove several problems you may be having that are associated with hard water such as dry hair and skin, stained bathtubs, faucets, and sinks, even make your clothes brighter again and last longer. Here are 5 indications that you should consider having a water softener installed in your home.
- Dry Hair and Dry Skin – Our skin needs water for nourishment, but hard water can dry it out. Instead of nourishing it, it becomes dry and leathery from the extra calcium and magnesium found in tap water. Those minerals create blackheads, block your skin’s pores and they become inflamed. With a water softener, these issues disappear, along with the blackheads.
- Stained Bathtubs, Faucets, Sinks – If there are stains on your bathtubs, faucets, and sinks are an indication that you need a water softener. These stains happen because the minerals are left behind when the water evaporates.
- Consistently Clogged Plumbing and Plumbing Repairs – Hard water leaves behind limescale and minerals that buildup and clog the water pipes in your home. Repiping your house with copper or PVC is one way to minimize this, but it will build up again over time. But installing a water softener is will stop it altogether.
- Appliances and Dishes Are Spotted – The valves of your dishwasher will collect a buildup of those minerals deposits and limescale develop, preventing them from working properly, thus resulting in water leakage. Over time, your dishwasher’s lifespan is shortened. Those mineral deposits also will spot and stain your dishes, and even the windows around your home can be affected by hard water.
- Clothing Becomes Faded, Gray, Rough – Doing laundry with hard water will dull and fade them, making them gray and rough, leaving them scratchy feeling. While a liquid detergent and liquid fabric softener will reduce this from happening somewhat, installing a water softener is more effective.
Can I install a water softener myself?
As we have discussed here already, hard water is hard on your clothes, dishes, hair, and skin, even the windows in your home. Hard water corrodes water pipes, making them degrade, rot and require constant repairs and replacements. The technology of a water softener eliminates this from happening, making your home more comfortable and safer.
When it comes to installing a water softener yourself, each home is different when it comes to the types of pipes and where the water softener needs to be installed, the level of difficulty level can vary. If you aren’t a DIY kind of homeowner, you may be better having a professional install or get help from somebody that has installed one.
If you are a DIY homeowner and you aren’t afraid to cut through pipes, you should be able to tackle this project with a fair amount of ease. Using a scale where 1 is easy and 10 is difficult, choosing one of the following four water softener systems is easily determined:
- Salt-based systems run a difficulty level of 6 to 8 simply because of how the pipes connect.
- Salt-free systems run a difficulty level of 4 to 8 based on the type of system you purchase being electrical or a water softener with filter media style as well as what kind of pipes your home has.
- Magnetic systems run a difficulty level is 2.
- Reverse osmosis systems run a difficult 5 for under the sink installation, and a 10 or higher for a whole house water softener system.
If you choose to go with a whole house water softener filter system, check your local governing office if there are any building codes and permit required. If they are, this will be needed whether you do the install yourself or hire a professional.
Keep in mind that in some areas, installing a whole house water filtration or water softening system will require you to conform to building codes and possibly to pull a permit as well.
Which water softener is best?
A water softener will solve your hard water issues and problems. While minerals like calcium, magnesium, and manganese are not a health concern, too much of a good thing isn’t good. So, too much of these things keep the shampoo and soap from lathering, leaves spots on your dishes and a ring around your bathtub. They fade your clothing and dry your hair and skin. And if they are doing all of that, imagine what they are doing to the inside of your dishwasher or water heater!
Which water softener is best? Well, there are several on the market and depending on what your hard water problems are will depend on which one is best for you. We’re going to cover some main examples and talk about what they do:
- A Salt-Based Ion Exchange Softener – This water softener cycles the water in your house through two tanks. One has a distinct type of resin beads and the other tank is filled with brine. The principle way this water softener works is by exchanging ion (salt) with the calcium, iron, and magnesium found in the water.
- A Salt-Free Water Softener – This water softener without salt regenerates with a salt substitute of potassium-chloride instead of sodium making this better choice for a household that has dietary restrictions of salt intake. This water softener type descales and prevents mineral deposits instead of reducing hard water minerals. While this may not do as much as the more conventional type of water softeners, it is better than not having one.
- A Dual-Tank Water Softener – This water softener will disconnect from your home’s water system while recharging, making it unusable. It is best to schedule this to happen during the night so there isn’t any disruption to the household daily routine.
If you choose this type of water softener, remember it will need a good amount of space and must be installed where it can supply the entire house from the main incoming water line. If it is an electrical model, make sure it there is a nearby electrical outlet as well.
How long should a water softener last?
Everything in your household that is going to be used daily will have a limited lifespan, and a water softener isn’t any different. The components of a water softener can break, there can be electrical issues happen, or it simply just quits working. And like any other appliance in your home, if you keep your water softener well maintained, it will last longer, 10 to 15 years on the average.
A water softener has an important job of removing calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from your home’s water system. How long it will last will depend on how much use it gets, and it is the water quality that determines that. Because there is not a definite timeframe establishes when a water softener should be replaced, knowing the signs that your water softener is beginning to fail is important, which is pretty much the same indicators that you need a water softener to start with.
- Shampoo and Soap Won’t Lather – When shampoo or soap won’t later and you seem to be replacing those items more frequent, your water softener is probably wearing out.
- Laundry Issues – We’ve discussed here how hard water is rough on our clothing, and while the liquid fabric softener helps, they’re still itchy and stiff. Or your clothing is looking faded and grey again. These are indicators that you need to check your water softener.
- Crusty Buildup Around Faucets and Pipes – There are natural minerals in hard water that aren’t harmful to your health, but for your appliances, faucets, and pipes, they can do a lot of damage. If you’re seeing a chalky, crusty buildup around the faucets and pipes in the bathroom and kitchen, or a and faucets. Pay attention to your faucets when you are cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, it is time to check your water softener.
- Your Water Tastes Different – Once you have a water softener in place, you’ll notice the taste difference almost immediately. If your water is starting to taste rough again, check your water softener.
Is drinking softened water bad for you?
No, in fact, one of the driving factors that many homeowners purchase a water softener is to make the water safer and taste better. Most water softeners remove the minerals found in hard water, like calcium and magnesium by way of ion-exchange, meaning it uses sodium. The resin that catches those unwanted minerals is cleansed by the sodium, leaving a small amount of sodium behind.
Depending on where you live, the amount of salt that is in softened water and how hard the original water is will make the difference how much sodium will be left in the soft water. However, it is important to understand that the amount of sodium is not a health factor unless a member of your household is on dietary restrictions for sodium intake.
Do water softeners need to be serviced?
Water softeners, for the most part, are fully automatic and minimal maintenance is required if they are the proper size for your home and have been installed correctly. The routine you need to pay attention to is what kind of water softener salt to add to the system when needed. This maintenance step is typically done quarterly, and the homeowner can do this or you can pay to have it done.
Like anything in your home that you use every day, like your HVAC system, your water softener may need periodic service too. One example that indicates service is needed is if the water quality drops and the daily salt levels remain the same. Or if it isn’t going through the regeneration cycle or becomes stuck would indicate you need to make a service call. Any hard water signs are indicators your water softener needs to be serviced by a licensed contractor.
Water Softener Additions
In addition to installing a water softener system to your home, consider a carbon backwash filter as well. When combined with a water softener or no-salt water conditioner, you’ll have a great combination for great tasting, healthy tap water. And if you aren’t sure whether you need the water softener or filter first, the recommended set up is a carbon filter first with a water softener next. This setup will extend your water softener’s life span because it will remove chlorine before the water reaches the softener. Call (404) 758-6237 today for water softener services in Canton, GA!