You’ve heard that the area you live in has hard water and that water softeners can help, but do you really know what that means? Many people don’t understand the effects of hard water on your home and family and why having a water softener is necessary.
First, let’s look at what hard water is and how harmful it can be. Then we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding home water softeners.
What Is Hard Water?
Many people assume that all tap water is the same, but that’s not the case. You may have experienced traveling to a new place and drinking the tap water, only to find that it tastes different from the water at your home.
Water can have different minerals dissolved in it, picked up during its trip through the water cycle. Hard water contains high levels of minerals, while soft water has very few minerals. Hard water can sometimes appear cloudy or have a “flavor.” On the other hand, soft water is typically very clear and tasteless.
Generally speaking, the tap water across the state of Utah contains high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous and calcium, and other minerals. Poor as the water quality might already be, experts across the state have reported that it is expected to worsen with time. However, there is hope in sight. A water softener can significantly improve the quality of water in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Softeners
Now that you understand what hard water is and how a water softener can help, here’s a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about water softeners.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
A water softener, also known as an ion exchange unit, is an appliance that connects to your water system to reduce the number of hard minerals like calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, and phosphorous in your water. The actual unit is filled with beads made of resin or other materials.
In a process known as ion exchange, these beads trap the hard elements and exchange them for potassium and sodium when water is pumped through them. Simply put, all of the water in your home flows through the water softener, and it exchanges hard water ions for soft water ions.
Will a Water Softener Make My Water Salty?
One common fear about installing a water softener is that it will make your water salty. But that’s not the case. Why, then, does a water softener require salt? It’s actually to flush the hard elements out of the unit. Here’s how it works.
Once the resin beads inside the softener are full of calcium and magnesium, the salt in your unit is used to rinse the beads with a brine solution that removes the hard elements and flushes them through the waste drain and out of the system entirely. This process is known as regeneration, and it keeps your water softener functioning correctly. So no, you won’t taste salty water if you have a water softener—just clean and clear water with no taste, color, or odor.
Why Do I Need a Water Softener?
Many people believe that if they’ve lived this long with hard water, they don’t need a water softener in their home. But trust us, once you get a water softener, your life will never be the same. Here’s why you need a water softener.
- Hard water is terrible for your plumbing. The hard elements in your water build up inside your water heater, dishwasher, washing machine, faucets, and pipes, causing severe problems. Blockages caused by hard water can lead to a decreased lifespan of your appliances and inconvenient plumbing problems.
- Studies show that bathing in hard water can cause dry skin, an itchy scalp, unhealthy hair, and more. Hair repeatedly washed in hard water is significantly more prone to breakage than hair washed in soft water.
- Hard water leaves spots on everything. Good luck keeping your shower door clean, and forget about sparkling glasses from the dishwasher! It does the same to your clothes in the washing machine, causing them to wear out faster and requiring more detergent to get them clean.
What Size Water Softener Do I Need?
The answer to this question varies from home to home, and you should call an expert plumber to help you choose a softener that will be right for your home and family. The size of the system will be determined by two things: the type and amount of minerals present in your tap water and the number of people that live in your home.
It’s essential to know how many gallons of water will be used in your home every day to choose a system that will work for your home.
Will a Softener Impact My Water Pressure?
While you should still have plenty of water pressure, adding a water softener will inevitably cause some pressure loss. This is because of the resistance from the resin beads. It takes longer for the water to pass through them to get to you than it would if coming straight from the source.
However, if you experience a significant drop in water pressure, there’s probably something else going on. You can try dumping the tank, cleaning it, and refilling it with new resin beads to see if that helps. If low pressure remains, we recommend contacting a plumber to help correct the problem.
Quick Quality Plumbing Is Here
If you’re ready to have healthier skin and hair, extend the life of your appliances, and put a stop to clogged pipes, Quick Quality Plumbing is here to help. Our licensed plumbers offer a full range of water softeners, so they can recommend one that’s right for your home. We’re also full-service plumbers, so we can help you with any other plumbing problems you’re having.
We serve home and business owners in Lehi, Provo, Orem, and neighboring cities in Utah. Contact us today to get started!