The water softener is a device or system connected to the house’s main pipe to reduce the effect of hard water on the pipes, water appliances, and the users’ skin and hair. It is typically installed right after the whole-house filter, which serves to remove the majority of larger sediment and contaminants existing in the water beforehand, thus easing pressure on the device.
From the look of it alone, such a system will require quite some investment of time and money. Yet, to many households in the US, it is about as popular as the heater.
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What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains a large number of dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium, and sometimes, other minerals. Specifically, any water with more than 7 grains per gallon (mpg) of calcium carbonate is considered hard water. The hardness level can also be expressed in parts per million (ppm), or milligrams per liter (mg/L).
How To Install Your Water Softener
Water softeners are not particularly difficult to install. However, they do require some basic knowledge and experience in plumbing. The reason is that these systems are typically connected to the main water supply of the whole house, and thus will require pipe cutting, pipe connection, soldering, and sometimes ground digging to allow the placement of the pipes.
The Disadvantages Of Hard Water
Thankfully, calcium in water is not a health hazard. On the contrary, multiple studies have proved that it can be beneficial to your body in various ways. That is the reason why some quality household water filters may involve a step called remineralization, during which it is added back into your drinking water.
Despite all the possible health benefits when consumed, the calcium, along with other minerals, can still cause problems at a high concentration in the water.
1. Damages On Water Pipes And Appliances
Many households with hard water deal with limescale buildup inside their pipe systems as well as water fixtures and appliances.
Depending on the level of hardness, the residue can ruin the appearance of the equipment (causing stains on the faucets, for example), or wreak havoc on them internally (forming limescale in the pipe system and appliances, resulting in broken details, clogging, and leakage). Damage tends to take less time to become visible and is more serious on equipment where the water flows are slow. It’s the worst on your boiler, traditional or tankless water heater, washing machine, and pipes.
2. Skin Irritation
The high pH and mineral content in hard water can be the cause of various skin problems, including dryness, itchiness, clogged pores, and acne. That’s the reason why a dermatologist may sometimes suggest using bottled water for face wash when you’re having an acne breakout.
Furthermore, water hardness is associated with worsened existing skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis. The mineral residue is also blamed for hair brittleness and scalp irritation after washing.
3. Stains That Persists
The minerals in hard water tend to stick to surfaces. That’s how they create unhygienic looking spots and stains on your glassware, tiles, cars, shower heads, toilet bowls, and bathtubs. To add insult to injury, they have the ability to neutralize soap and detergents. As a result, these stains usually take extra effort and extra solution to clean.
Signs You Have Hard Water
If the symptoms below sound familiar, it’s likely that you’re exposed to hard water.
- A clogged showerhead.
- A subtle layer of white on your skin after a shower.
- A film of residue on your glassware, mirrors, tiles, or your car after cleaning. If the hard water also happens to contain a decent amount of iron, you will find yourself spending hours scrubbing yellowish stains on your tiles, toilet bowl, and bathtub.
- Roughened laundry, clothes that fade quickly, and white clothes turning yellow after a few washes.
- Slower flow over time and your plumbing requiring constant maintenance due to limescale.
- Mineral residue at the bottom of the kettle or the water container of a coffee maker. Leakage and damages to various water appliances.
Scale Free Pipe System
As explained earlier, the minerals in hard water tend to stay and create limescale on pipes and cause frequent damages.
The whole house water softening process removes the minerals responsible for the formation of limescale. Thus, it can effectively eliminate the cause of the problem in the first place. It’s one of the most effective ways to cut maintenance costs on your plumbing in the long run.