Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Admin
Given the fact that hard water is a common issue in the U.S. (it is estimated that over 85% of the country’s municipal water supply contains potentially harmful degrees of hardness), it is little surprise that many households in the US already use water softeners and that the latter’s popularity is on a rise.
However, if you want to install a water softener system, how should you go about it? How to know whether or not you need a water softener and if you do, which particular product or model is ideal for your particular requirements?
We would recommend the Springwell FutureSoft water softener as our preferred choice, however, more on that later.
So, in this article, we’ll talk about what water hardness is and how it can have a negative impact on your household; how to check the hardness of municipal water that comes to your home; the benefits of installing a water softener; and finally, how to go about when choosing that single product which will meet pretty much all your needs.
What is Water Hardness?
Any water with high levels of minerals in it is referred to as hard water. Most commonly, calcium and magnesium are the two minerals that are found in almost all water although, in many regions, iron and aluminum also find their way into the waters.
The waters we receive in our homes come from the natural environment. They are sourced from groundwater, rivers, and lakes, and water, in its natural environment, passes through deposits of chalk, lime, and gypsum that contain the traces of minerals mentioned above.
Now, the water treatment process used for water supply does not remove these hard minerals and this is where water softeners enter the scene. Water softeners are systems designed to remove hard minerals from water, thereby altering and reducing the hardness of the water.
Why Do You Need a Water Softening System?
Now, take note that minerals in water are not bad for our health at all (unless they are found in too high a concentration) and it is perfectly alright to use hard water for drinking purposes. However, the problem lies in the fact that hard water is harmful to all water-based appliances and bathroom fixtures; the limescale build-up due to hard water can at times seriously damage the plumbing system of a building; hard water is also bad for our hair and skin as also for our clothes; and it is equally bad for our kitchen utensils, including all that expensive glassware and silverware we fondly cherish.
This is why all homes and businesses must consider installing a water softener at any place where the water is found to be even ‘moderately hard’ in the water hardness scale. And if it is designated as ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’, installing a water softener system becomes an absolute must. This way, you get to make sure that hard water is not negatively impacting the overall value of your home or business.
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How to Test Water Hardness
Brown or beige stains or film over your bathtub and shower doors, on faucets and showerheads, etc. are telltale signs that you’re receiving hard water in your home.
However, you need not (and should not) wait for those signs (it takes time to form those stains) to know whether or not you are using hard water. The simplest way to know whether or not your water s hard is to use what is known as the ‘soap test.’ Pour few drops of liquid soap into a container filled with tap water and then shake well. If the water in the container turns cloudy, you know that you’re using hard water.
Now, the next step is to check exactly how hard your water is. Map of the USA integrates water hardness scale into it (that should give you some idea about the magnitude of the problem), so you can easily check the water hardness of your area from looking into the map.
For more comprehensive knowledge, you can visit websites like usgs.gov where you’ll get to know the concentration of individual minerals in the water of a particular area or region.
These resources will give you a good idea as to how hard the water you are receiving in your faculty is. For more precise results, however, we recommend that you either use a good water quality testing kit or send your water sample to a nearby professional water-testing lab. With a testing kit or lab analysis, you do not only get to know the hardness of the water but also the amount of impurities your municipal water contains.
Choosing Your Water Softener
There are many brands offering a variety of water softener models in the market today. So, how do you decide which one is the right one for your needs?
Well, here is where you’ll need to do some research of your own. The two most basic things to consider include the type of the model (salt-free, salt-based, designed for well water, etc.) and the size of the model.
Now, what type of water softener you need will depend on the water hardness of your area and the kind of conditioning your water needs. For example, if your water contains aluminum and iron in addition to calcium and magnesium, you’ll need a different model than if it contained calcium and magnesium only.
Again, if the water hardness in your area is labeled as ‘very hard’, you may have to invest in a heavy-duty conditioner with a high flow rate and superior ability to prevent scale build-up inside the pipelines.
As for size, consider how much water you consume on a daily basis (you may need to hire a professional to get an accurate measure) and then choose a model of a size that will be in line with your daily consumption.
Finally, once you’ve decided on the kind of model you’ll need, make sure to buy one that gives you proper value for money. All manufactures will promise great value for their products which is why you need to read as many reviews (from reliable sources) as you can find. Check on factors like performance, maintenance, longevity, warranty, etc.
Finally, after all your research, if you are still unsure about what model to get, you may check on the possibility of renting water softener systems. Renting a system will provide you the opportunity to assess its viability vs your requirements and help you make a proper and informed decision when you finally make the purchase.