Struggling With Hard Water? It May be Time for a Softener

tap water

Hard water is the plague of most homeowners today. While neighborhoods enjoy much better water quality from upgrades and improvements at the municipal utility level, that comes with a price. The amount of minerals that are included in the water is far more than needed and ends up becoming a source of a lot of damage, especially in terms of residential use.

Hard water is responsible for clothes’ color fading faster as well as wearing out sooner, causing scaling and stains in sinks and tubs, and damage to home plumbing, particularly the water feed lines and junctions that are constantly exposed.

Depending on the age of the home and the length of contact, hard water tends to do its greatest damage over time. So, homes that are brand-new see very few issues aside from annoying staining or scaling on shower walls.

However, homes that are 20 years or older tend to have much more serious issues, including everything from the water heater failing prematurely to plumbing breaks and leaking connections. Anything that has a rubber seal practically gets eaten up by the minerals in hard water after 5 to 10 years.

Considering a Water Softener

A whole-home water softener can do a lot of good for an existing home, benefiting everything from the laundry to the plumbing systems. While it won’t reverse the damage already done by exposure to hard water, softened water will definitely taste better, break the cycle of damage and repair, and take the strain off of existing and weakened plumbing that’s already been beaten up by mineral exposure.

How Does Softening Work?

The mechanical process for a softener involves pushing water through a series of filters that strip out the minerals involved. Doing so reduces the “hard water” effect and produces water that is smoother without the negative effects.

The water is entirely drinkable and pure, just without all the minerals otherwise included in the tap feed. Some softeners use a mechanical approach, and some use a chemical filter approach, but they all end up removing the calcium and magnesium that create the hard effect.

How does a homeowner know it’s working? First off, as soon as a shower or extended wash is taken, the dryness and flaking that normally happens with skin exposed to hard water isn’t happening any longer. Over a few weeks, the change is also noticed in the laundry, with less staining, and a reduction in scaling occurring after cleaning the bathroom fixtures affected by water.

Health Changes

On the one hand, soft water tends to have more salt in it. Those under dietary limitations for salt intake may end up having to drink and cook with more bottled water than out of the tap as a result. On the other hand, the improvement in one’s skin and hair becomes visible and obvious quickly, which is a health improvement.

Personal and sink cleaning becomes easier because it takes less soap to clean things. Hard water is brutal on soap and negates its effectiveness. Softened water works in the opposite direction for the positive.

How to Get Started?

The best way to understand all that’s involved with a water softener installation is to start with a professional plumber. He or she can take a solid look at what’s going on with your current plumbing system in a home and what it will take to add a softener to the existing grid.

Based on those details, both an evaluation and recommendation list can be put together on what will work. And a homeowner doesn’t need to settle with just one opinion; multiple evaluations are quite possible.

Each plumber service involved will also provide a big given the chance of what it would take for them to handle the installation. This gives a homeowner a full spectrum of choices and what changes are needed to make a softener a reality.

If you’re seriously thinking about a big plumbing change definitely connect with a licensed plumber. They are a great source for what it really takes to make a softener change, and the more information you get, the better you will be when it comes time for a full decision and commitment.


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