Education is key when deciding whether or not to purchase a water softener. While these appliances offer many benefits, there are a few potential pitfalls you’ll need to be aware of as well. Here are some facts about water softening that will help you make your decision.
Appliance and Plumbing Life
Hard water leaves deposits in plumbing as well as on faucets and fixtures. These deposits can clog and narrow your plumbing pipes and can corrode old metal plumbing. Hard water is also hard on household appliances and can shorten the life of coffee pits, washing machines, water picks, dishwasher and other appliances. Soft water eliminates this problem and can make a substantial difference in the lifespan of plumbing and appliances.
The minerals in hard water mix with soap and cause soap scum that is hard to remove from sinks and bathtub as well as from your body. Soft water rinses away cleaner and makes it easier to clean both yourself and your home using less shampoo, soap or cleanser. Cleaning supplies, soap and shampoo will all be more effective and last longer since you can use less.
If your heating systems relies on radiators that carry hot water throughout your home, a water softener can create significant savings on your heating bill. Hard water leaves scale and buildup on the pipes that carry the water, reducing heat transfer by up to 12 percent. Cleaning your system and then running only soft water through it makes the system more efficient and less expensive.
Salt and Mineral Intake
Water softeners add salt to your water and will increase your salt intake if you drink right from the tap. A water softener also removes minerals in hard water that your body needs to stay healthy, such as magnesium and iron. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease or other health problems, you should consider drinking bottled water if you tap water is softened. Adding a multivitamin to your day too is a good idea, so you can keep getting the nutrients you were previously getting from tap water.
Soft water is more volatile than hard water, which basically means that it is more likely to pick up lead and other unwanted elements as it flows through plumbing. If there is lead or other contaminants already lurking in your pipes, soft water is more likely to carry it to the tap as water flows from softener to faucet.
Some water softeners are extremely inefficient, wasting up to 120 gallons per 1,000 gallons of water delivered. This can raise your water bill in a hurry and is plain wasteful. The brine-filled water that enters the sewer system from the softener and the rest of your home can be a problem as well, making it harder to recycle the water for drinking and irrigation.
It is important to note that the negatives of soft water can be managed through the installation of a bypass system. A bypass system lets you send only some of your water through the softener while having water delivered to the kitchen for drinking and cooking bypass the appliance. You can also look for a model designed to be as efficient as possible. Though these negatives can be minimized, you need to know about both the pros and cons before making a decision.