There are many advantages and disadvantages to having a water softener installed in your home. If you are in the market for a water softener to treat the hard water coming into your home there are a few things to consider. If you are looking at a traditional salt based water softener system you have some great benefits as well as a few drawbacks to keep in mind. First let's take a look at the many pros of a water softening system for your home.
With a water softener you will extend the life of your appliances and also keep water lines from getting clogged. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium with will stick and create build up in your home. That buildup could be the reason you have constant plumbing problems and blockages if you live in an area of hard water. These plumber visits can add up quickly incurring costs for the homeowner through the years. Water softener will keep these minerals from building up over time saving you money.
.2. Extends the life of appliances
Treating hard water with a water softener will extend the life of all water using appliances. Your water heater is especially susceptible to hard water and can cause coils longer to heat up resulting in higher energy use. Your washing machine as well as your dishwasher can become clogged with hard water as well. A water softener will keep these appliances running smoothly and increase the life of all water using appliances greatly.
3. A water softener can also filter the water
Depending on the water softener you have installed there could be an added carbon filter to remove chlorine and improve the smell and taste of the water. Some traditional systems will have both a softening and filtering aspect which is an added benefit to those looking to reduce chlorine in
4. Keeps your facets, kitchen sink and bathroom windows free from white residue
Many people that live in areas of hard water hate to deal with limescale on all of their faucets and shower heads. The white residue is left over calcium and magnesium that hardens when it dries. Not only does it look unsightly it also causes faucets and shower heads to spray abnormally because of clogging in the heads. Shower windows will also never look clean as hard water will dry on the windows making your bathroom r shower looking dirty when residue dries and can be a nightmare to clean.
5. Another positive to a water softener is that it will make your clothes brighter and softer. A lot of detergents will add in a softening agent to keep hard water from ruining your clothes due to hard water. A water softener will also make your skin soft and shiny with the absence of chlorine and added sodium in the water. You will also notice soaps lathering better and the need to use up to 60% less soaps and detergents.
What are the cons or downsides to a water softener?
Some of the cons to having a water softener are
Added salt expenses
For a salt based water softener you will constantly need to be adding salt to keep the water softener running. The added salt could cost up to 20-30 dollars a month as well as the added water waste due to the regeneration a water softener must cycle through. The added expenses of salt can offset some savings a homeowner may experience. A local company like Culligan, make most of their profits from these reoccurring expenses.
Salt based ion exchange water softeners also are environmentally unfriendly. The added sodium in the water ends up finding its way to natural waterways which can affect cities trying to reuse water. The added sodium can harm local farmers that use the water for irrigation which has caused some cities to ban or greatly restrict their use in farming communities.
Unhealthy level of sodium
Some homeowners wonder about the level of sodium added in the water. Some people on a sodium restricted diet are usually recommended to add a reverse osmosis system for drinking water to remove the sodium for drinking. This usually adds to the overall cost and maintenance of a water softener system. Also some people do not like the slimy or slippery feeling that a water softener leaves after showering.
Do I even need a water softener?
Some homeowners may not know if they even need a water softener or not. If you are not sure you can always get a cheap water test strip from amazon.com to see how many grains per gallons of hardness your water has. It will generally be put into soft, slightly hard, hard, or very hard water. You can then decide whether or not you will need a water softener in your home. If your water is not super hard you can sometimes get away with using products like lemi shine for your dishwasher and vinegar to help keep hard water stains from causing too much trouble if you are on the fence.
So is a water softener worth it?
Whether or not a water softener is worth it is really up to each homeowner's preference and how hard their water is. Generally the pros will outweigh the cons of owning a water softener. If the negative aspects of a water softener make it difficult to purchase you can also look at getting a salt free water softener. Most of the cons to a water softener are the salt and sodium as well as maintenance issues which is why a lot of homeowners are turning to salt free solutions to hard water.
Choosing a salt free water softener
If you are still deciding and researching your best options for a water softener system to solve your hard water issues you may see a lot of different systems and water softener alternatives. The salt free water softeners on the market today have most all the pro’s of a water softener without the cons. They don't use harsh salts or chemicals, they waste no water, do not require buying and lugging salt and also do not produce the slippery slimy feeling of salt systems.
These systems use a different process to treat the hard water coming into your home and may be a good option for people worried about the common complaints of traditional salt water systems .