Are you confused by the concept of hard water and soft water? Isn’t water all the same? How much different could one kind of tap water be from another? In fact, there’s a big difference between hard and soft water, and it can definitely impact your life. Hard water, true to its name, is hard on your plumbing, your appliances, your laundry, and more. That’s why it’s beneficial to install a water softener in your home.
So, what determines if water is hard or soft?
As you know, the water you use in your home comes from underground. Flowing underground, it passes through stone, mineral pockets, and calcium deposits, picking up traces of these elements as it does. By the time it reaches your plumbing, water is often full of hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, and water with more than 3.5 grains of these minerals per gallon is considered hard. Why is this a big deal? Hard water is harsh and damaging to your home. In fact, living in a home with hard water can be an expensive problem because the dissolved minerals in your water can cause a variety of problems. When you have hard water, you’re likely to notice:
- Excessive lime and chalk buildup on the sinks and shower walls in your home.
- Watermarks on faucets, even when they’re freshly cleaned.
- Rusty hard water stains on toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers.
- Clothes getting dingy or fading unusually quickly.
- Buildup on showerheads and plumbing fixtures.
- Skin that feels dry or itchy after you shower.
- Water that tastes or smells peculiar.
- Dull, dry hair.
- Low water pressure.
- Residue and watermarks on glasses and dishes.
- Appliances breaking or wearing out more quickly than they should.
If you’re noticing any of these signs, you’re not alone: roughly 85 percent of the United States has hard water. If you get your water from a well instead of a municipal source, your chances of having hard water are higher because the water doesn’t go through any sort of filtration system before entering your home. Installing a water softener system improves the quality of your water by removing excess minerals, using a process called ion exchange.
Some of the benefits of having a water softener are almost immediately apparent.
- Your hair and skin will feel better. Hard water is so full of minerals that it isn’t completely soluble with soaps. This is what leads to soap scum and prevents you from working up a really good lather. With a water softener, you’ll get a better clean without stripping your skin and hair of natural oils. Your skin will be able to hold moisture more easily, so that it won’t feel dry or itchy. Likewise, your hair won’t feel dry, brittle or frizzy, and it won’t look dull. What’s more, you’ll get better water pressure because your pipes won’t be clogged by mineral buildup.
- Keeping your house clean will be easier. You won’t have to spend time scrubbing away soap scum or lime off of your faucets, showers, and sinks. Your dishes will be clean, with reduced water spots and cloudy glassware. You’ll invest less time and energy in cleaning while enjoying a cleaner home.
- Your water will taste better. You’ll probably notice a change in the flavor of your tap water. Soft water tastes smoother than hard water, and when it’s used to make coffee or tea, those beverages taste smoother, too.
- Appliances will function more effectively. The contaminants in hard water can eat away at your appliances, but when you switch to soft water, you’ll notice that they run more smoothly. They’ll also break down less often and require less maintenance than they did when your water was full of minerals.
- Your clothes will be cleaner and brighter. Because detergent dissolves better with soft water, you won’t have to use hot water to get your laundry clean. Even with cold water, your clothes will get cleaner and, because there are no mineral deposits on the fabric, they’ll look brighter. Your whites will be whiter and less dingy, and your colors will be less likely to fade.
Other benefits are things you’ll notice over time. For instance, you’ll save money because your plumbing won’t clog as often, and your appliances are less likely to break down. Additionally, your gas or electric bills are likely to go down because your water heater will work more effectively. You’ll also find that you spend less time on maintenance because your plumbing works better.
If you think you might benefit from a water softener system, the first step is to have your water analyzed. For a free water analysis and consultation, trust Kinetico Quality Water to test your water and help develop a treatment plan. Kinetico is Tucson, Arizona’s local source for water treatment, providing the cleanest, greenest, most efficient water systems ever made. We understand the challenges of the Tucson area, and our systems use less water than traditional water softeners. We also stand behind our products, with the most comprehensive warranty coverage in the industry. Call today or contact us for a free quote.