Many people swear by the importance of a water softener in their homes, while others feel it is unnecessary. So, when deciding whether to put in a water softener, what is the correct answer? The truth is, soft water for your home is a personal preference that yields benefits some people feel are necessary, and others think are not that important.
That is why the professionals at Flow Pros Plumbing have put together this list of pros and cons of a water softener for you to make your own decision.
Before beginning, let’s go over the definition of hard water and what a water softener is. Then, if you live in the Hillsborough or Pinellas County area, call us for a free water softener estimate for your home.
What is “Hard” Water?
The “hardness” of water is graded on a scale of soft, hard, and very hard water. The hardness indicates the amount of calcium carbonate and magnesium in the water supply coming into your home. You can determine these levels in your water with a simple at-home test or call your water supplier to do a quality check.
Dictionary.com defines hard water as:
“Water that contains magnesium, calcium, or iron salts and therefore forms a soap lather with difficulty.”
Interestingly, the hardest water can be found in Texas, southern California, and Kansas. But the softest water is located in Hawaii.
What Does a Water Softener Do?
Simply put, a water softener makes the hard water soft. The softener will remove the deposits of calcium and magnesium ions and replaces them with sodium ions. During this process, the water enters a mineral tank. It is forced through a basin of resin beads charged with sodium ions. The negative charge of the resin beads replaces the positive charge of the calcium and magnesium ions.
In the end, the water is free from calcium and magnesium, leaving the water with a soft feel, or soft water. That said, there are no health-related risks to having hard water; it is a preference to soften water. But there are both pros and cons to having a water softener installed on your home’s water filtration system. Here is what we have found.
First, you may want to know what good a water softener will do for you when properly installed and used.
- Soft water is safer to drink, as it has been through an additional purifying system. Besides, it removes trace ferrous iron, which colors surfaces and darkens the water. And it adds sodium to the water, helping the body’s fluid balance and aiding in sending nerve impulses.
- Pipe Protection: You can protect your pipes from blockage or damage and decrease your calls to your local plumber, saving you money in the end.
- Keeping the Limescale Away: You’ve seen it; build-up and scale on faucets, sinks, and shower doors. This white scale is ugly and can even gunk up your washer and water heaters.
- Extend Appliance Lifespans: Your appliances will work efficiently for longer spans with softer water and less limescale build-up.
- Dishwasher Glasses are Cleaner: Ever notice spots on your glasses right from the dishwasher? That is from the limescale, not rinsed away. Get cleaner dishes that are spot-free with a water softener.
- Use Less Soap and Shampoo: When the water is soft, you will use less and get even cleaner. The soft water lathers up significantly more than hard water, making it work better too.
- Hair and Skin: When folks have hard water, their skin is dull because the hard water does not thoroughly rinse off soap scum and that soap left behind is drying.
- A Better Wash for Clothing: Your clothes will look brighter and last longer when the water is soft. Hard water will beat up clothing pretty fast.
Finally, a water softener reduces the time you spend washing everything, from the dishes and clothing to the family dog. Spend less time washing and more time doing what you love with a water softener.
And now, we should present the other side, which is the cons to water softener installation for your home. That way, you can weigh the options and make an informed decision suitable to your personal preferences.
- It does not clean your water. You see, if your water source is a problem, the softener will not be of much help. Water harboring bacteria and excess chlorine will not be heled with softener installation.
- Oil in your water source can ruin a softener. This is why we suggest your water is tested before installation.
- Softeners are expensive. No doubt, you will spend some money to get the soft water you desire. Replacing the beads or salt depending on your system can rack up the price. And the initial installation and purchase can cost over $2000.00. Then repairs can be costly too.
- Softened water on plants will decrease their productivity by increasing the acidity of the soil.
- Those on low sodium diets should consult a doctor before installing a softener on their home water systems. Certain people may need supplements to add calcium and magnesium back into their diet.
Suppose any of those reasons are a significant concern for you or someone in your home. In that case, you may want to consult your physician or think twice before installing a water softener. Basically, your water needs to be hard enough to justify the need and softener cost.
Signs You Need a Water Softener
Water testing is the best way to know if you need a water softener. But there are some more obvious signs you may see that will spur you to get the testing. Here is what we see in homes all over Pinellas and Hillsborough County.
- Are your shampoos and soaps not lathering like they do in other homes? Maybe you noticed in a hotel how well your conditioner works. You may need soft water.
- Does your hair feel dry, and your skin feel itchy and look dull? Well, you may need to soften the water to get all the soap scum build up off your hair and body.
- Do your towels and bedsheets always seem scratchy and faded too quickly? Hard water makes the fabrics break down quicker and leaves them feeling scratchy.
- When the glasses in your clean dishwasher start to become spotty, then cloudy, your water is most likely too hard. Soft water makes cutlery shiny too.
- Are you constantly battling stains on your sinks and bathtubs? That is from the soap scum left behind by hard water. Reddish-brown stains in the shower are a tell-tale sign of hard water in your home.
- Perhaps the most obvious sign is the scale ring on facets in the bathroom and kitchen. It is unattractive and bad for the pipes as well. If left to continue building up, the lines can eventually experience decreased water flow and even clog.
If you have any of these issues, the pros may outweigh the cons, deciding for you.
Water Softener Installation
There is no doubt that we recommend water softeners for all our hard water customers at Flow Pros. If you want softer hair and skin, clean faucets and pipes, cleaner dishes and bathrooms, then a water softener is a good idea for you and your home.
The water softeners used today are reliable, effective, and available. The good news is that your local plumber can install one for you. And the advanced technology of the water softeners on the market today will be set up to bypass our outdoor spigots. That is good news for your yard and plants.
Avoid potential plumbing problems, costly pipe replacements, and extend the life of your appliances with a home water softener installed by the pros at Flow Pros Plumbing.
Contact our staff today to get on the schedule for a water evaluation and installation quote. You’ll be glad you did.