Water hardness can cause untold issues. It can damage your plumbing (which can be expensive to repair), leave your dishes unclean, make your laundry dry and itchy, and make your beloved power shower more of a trickle at best.
You may have heard of water softeners and how they can remove such an obnoxious problem as hard water. You may have questions about whether a water softener is necessary and whether you could make do without one.
And that is what this article is here to answer. We will also aim to cover all your most frequently asked questions on the subject along the way. By the end of the article, you will be ready to make an informed decision.
Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.
What Are The Signs You Might Need A Water Softener?
Many signs might make you suspect your water supply is too hard.
These include low water pressure, a film appearing when washing your hands or the dishes, a strange taste in the water, laundered clothes feeling dry and itchy, or a mineral build-up in your plumbing.
But none of these signs indicate the level of water hardness to any degree of accuracy. So if you suspect that you have water hardness, you need to test it.
A simple soap test may tell you if your water supply is too hard. But if you want a more accurate measurement, consult the consumer report from your water provider or use a hard water testing kit, like this one available from Amazon. It only costs a few dollars, and you get 150 test strips.
What Exactly Is A Water Softener Anyway, And How Does It Work?
A water softener is any filtration system designed to remove an excess of calcium and magnesium particles from your water.
Here’s how most water softeners work. As hard-water forces through the filtration system, the positively charged hard water ions are displaced by sodium ions.
This way, the water that does get through the filtration system is free of these hard water minerals, ensuring that only softened water passes.
When You Could Benefit From A Water Softener
If your water has a mineral concentration of more than 7 grains per gallon (GPG), then this is classed as hard water. It is equivalent to 120 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water.
If your water hardness is this high, you could benefit from a water softener.
If your water hardness is more than 10 GPG or 180 mg/L, it is hard water, and we would strongly recommend that you invest in a water softener.
The benefits are endless. Your plumbing is more effective, leading to cleaner dishes, you have better water pressure for your shower, the water looks, tastes, and smells better. Your whole family will notice improvements in their hair and skin, too.
Pros And Cons Of A Water Softener
The main pros of using a water softener are simple.
Because the water is softer, there’s less staining, spotting, and scaling, and you get better water pressure in your bathroom and kitchen.
But there are other benefits, such as less soap and detergent required to wash dishes or wash your hands. And you can save on your utility bills because it doesn’t need as much energy to get hot water from your water heater to your bath and shower.
But, there are also several cons to using a water softener.
There is a slightly increased sodium level in softened water and little or no calcium.
A water softener can waste up to 120 gallons of water for every 1,000 gallons delivered, which can increase your water bill.
Where Can I Get A Water Softener? How Much Do They Cost?
Thankfully, water softeners are readily available online from sites like Amazon. You can view a selection of them on this link.
They can vary in price. You can get one just for your shower head for less than $40. But if you want to revamp your whole plumbing system, this can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If You Don’t Use A Water Softener?
You don’t need a water softener if your water is soft already. If, however, the hardness of your water supply reaches 7 GPG or more, then you have hard water.
If you have hard water and do not invest in a water softener, you risk scale build-up in your plumbing. As these minerals build up, unbeknownst to you, there is less room for water to flow, making your water heating system incredibly inefficient.
Other Articles You May Find Useful
Here are some of our other articles that you might find beneficial:
- How To Test Water Hardness – This article explains how to test for water hardness and interpret the water hardness scale.
- What Does A Water Softener Do – This article explains what a water softener does.
- How To Fix Hard Water – This article outlines some ways to fix a hard water problem.
Finding out how hard your water is can be quite a simple process, but rectifying it can be expensive, so we recommend testing your water for hardness before shopping for a water softener.