Have you been considering installing a water softener system for your home? Are you tired of hard water wrecking your hair and skin when you shower? Do you need clarification on what a water softener is, how it works, or if you need one?
Here, we’re going to discuss how a water softener can be helpful for your plumbing, your home, and you, but to make things simple, check out our video below:
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener is a system installed within your home’s plumbing to filter out high concentrations of calcium and magnesium from the water coming into your home. Managing your home’s hard water with a water softener brings it from a more alkaline or hard state to a more acidic or soft state: broadly speaking, highly alkaline water is considered “hard”, while more acidic water is “soft”.
What is Hard Water?
When the water coming into your home is hard because it contains high amounts of these minerals, it can cause a number of issues:
You may find cloudy spots and white, crusty deposits on certain appliances, such as sinks, dishes, silverware, tea kettles, coffeepots, and showerheads
It reduces the ability of soap and shampoo to lather, leaving skin dull and hair limp and dry; clothing appears gray and faded
It leaves skin feeling dry and itchy
It leaves mineral deposits in your pipes and other areas of your plumbing system, which can lead to clogged pipes, seized valves, and plugged-up showerheads and aerators. It can even dramatically restrict the water flow to your home, putting stress on your entire plumbing system.
Fortunately, all of these issues are addressed simply by the installation of a water softener. Of course, there are some factors to consider when installing a water softener in your home.
What to Consider When Installing a Water Softener
There are some important considerations to make when installing a water softener, such as:
The Hardness of Your Water
You can test your water to determine its hardness by using a commercially-available kit ($5 to $35), sending a sample of your water to a certified lab (usually around $100, includes a complete report of everything in your water), or possibly by requesting this information from your community water system.
It is essential that you know the base hardness of your water so that you know how much softening it will need, as waters with a more alkaline pH will require more softening to make it more acidic, or bring it into the acidic pH range, than water that is less alkaline. Water is considered hard when its pH is above 8.5, but it might be considerably harder in some places than others.
The Size of Your Home
Smaller homes and larger homes will require different water softeners to ensure all of the water coming into your home is softened properly.
The size of your home is directly related to the amount of water coming into it; this may affect the hardness of the water throughout your home as well as its initial hardness when it enters your home.
The Level of Filtration You Desire
What is a comfortable range (in ppm or parts per million) of water softening for you and your family? Generally speaking, if your water is in the range of 1 to 100 ppm, this is considered the acceptable range of water softness for most people.
Another way to measure this is in GPG, or grains per gallon, wherein the ideal hardness of water is within the range of 1-4 GPG. If the water softener is set incorrectly, the water hardness will not be ideal (or within a good range of softening). GPG is another way of expressing ppm, where 1 GPG is equivalent to 17.14 ppm.
FAQs About Water Softening
There are many questions about water softening, and at Silver State, we are always happy to answer yours! These are some of the most common queries:
Is Softened Water Safe to Drink?
Softened water is generally safe to drink for most people. Sodium levels may run a little high in softened water, however, so it may pose a challenge for people who are particularly sensitive to sodium.
An 8-oz glass of softened water has about the same sodium content as a single slice of bread: not bad for most people, but anyone on a reduced-sodium diet might want to grab a drink from the fridge instead.
How Does Softened Water Affect My Plumbing?
Hard water causes the buildup of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, in your plumbing system. Over time, this causes the issues mentioned above. One of those issues is that it wreaks havoc on your plumbing. The buildup can actually restrict the water coming into your home because the insides of your plumbing are becoming so clogged with mineral deposits. This leads to a variety of problems, from not getting the water you need from your faucets to having to replace parts and pieces of your entire plumbing system.
Can I Install a Water Softener Myself?
Only if you’re a licensed plumber! Water-softening systems are intricate and should only be approached by a plumbing professional to ensure they are installed correctly and all of the necessary connections are intact.
Which Brand is the Best?
We recommend several different brands at Silver State based on the above factors: the hardness of your water, the size of your home, and the level of filtration you would like. Working with Silver State on purchasing and installing your new water softener will ensure that you make the best decision possible considering the criteria involved.
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Water Softener?
The cost of installing a water softener varies widely depending on a number of considerations. However, replacing substantial parts of your plumbing system due to mineral buildup can be extremely costly. Many customers find that installing a water softener pays off considerably over time: not just in plumbing repair costs, but in comfort, too.
Should You Get A Water Softener?
If you notice that your laundry comes out of the wash looking worse than when you put it in, have a hard time getting enough lather to wash your hair in the shower, find mineral build ups on appliances like your coffee pot or showerhead, or notice that the flow of water through your sink just isn’t what you expect it to be, it’s a fine time to consider installing a water softener.
Contact Silver State today to discuss the installation of your new water softener system, and kiss itchy skin and hair (and clogged pipes and appliances) goodbye! We look forward to working with you