When people talk about hard water, what they are referring to is actually the amount of minerals found in their water source. Generally, these minerals include dissolved magnesium and calcium.
Although considered as healthful in the right doses, the minerals in hard water can cause problems in the pipes, leave marks on glasses and dishes, and potentially damage appliances.
Thankfully, there is a solution to hard water and that is getting a top rated water softener installed that is properly sized for your home.
A. What are the Benefits of Using a Water Softener?
A water softener is a filtration system that is installed at a water source of your dwelling’s point-of-entry to eliminate unwanted minerals in the water. Essentially, it is a filtration system that traps mineral particles to allow pure water to flow through.
Using a water softener is not only beneficial to the longevity and durability of home appliances but it also helps prevent unwanted water streaks, promote softer fabric on laundered clothes, and prevent glassware and silverware from becoming dull.
It also helps promote smoother skin and hair after washing.
B. Do I Need a Water Softener?
If the effects of hard water does not bother you, then you probably do not have to install a water softener. However, if hard water is causing problems in your appliances or if you want to avoid damage issues in the future, you should consider getting a water softener to filter out unwanted particles in the water.
To determine if you truly need a water softener, consider the following:
1. What is the level of hardness in your water?
In some areas, water hardness is mild enough not to cause any issues. However, some homes have to contend with severe hard water. The best way to determine how hard your water is is to test it.
There are several ways to do this.
First, fill a glass with water halfway. Pour a few drops of liquid soap into the water, cover, and shake. Observe the appearance of the water. If it is cloudy, then you have hard water.
Next, check your local hardness map on your local municipality website, or, the USGS has integrated a water hardness scale for the entire US. Look for your location to see if your area has hard water. Alternatively, you can also ask your municipal authorities.
There are also water hardness testing devices you can use to test your water. You can purchase a kit, then simply follow the instructions provided. You will then obtain a precise figure on your water hardness level.
Lastly, you can have your water tested. A laboratory analysis is the complete way of knowing what exactly is in your water.
You will receive a report indicating the water hardness level, along with other useful information about any impurities and microorganisms present.
2. What size do you need?
Consider how much water your household uses on a daily basis. Of course, this will depend on your activities and the number of family members you have. The amount of water you use (or at least, its approximation) will dictate the size or capacity of the water softener you need to purchase.
You should also consider that having a water softener installed in your home could help increase its market value, just in case you are thinking of selling it later.
Hard water can damage your appliances and fixtures, which means you might be looking at several hundred (or even thousand) dollars worth of repairs and replacements over time.
3. Will you have value for your money?
A water softener is an important investment, so you want to get the most out of your purchase. It is not enough to rely on a company’s promise or sales pitch regarding their product.
You have to consider certain factors that will allow you to enjoy more benefits. To do so, make sure you:
Identify the best water softener products and companies. Some of the most reputable and experienced manufacturers of water softeners have been in the industry for some time.
They have built their reputation on having systems that have been tried and tested. These companies also rely on technicians who have the right set of skills and experience to ensure proper and safe installation.
Compare products and prices. Many companies offer similar products at different price points. Keep in mind that a high price tag does not guarantee that the product is the best in the market.
However, cheap products are also cheap for a reason. When you compare water softener system brands, make sure to learn more about the design and features of the product and the company behind them.
It will also help if you read independent customer and product reviews so you know what to expect.
4. Consider renting the system
If you do not want to make a purchase yet or are still unsure, you could consider renting a water softener. This is also a good way to determine if the system will work for your home.
Many companies allow customers to rent their products, so ask about their terms. This will help you decide if a water softener system is the right solution for you.
5. Pick a solution
Once you have determined that you need a water softener system and you have all the information you need, consider your budget. Most water softener systems in the market cost from $500 to about $2,500 depending on their capacity and features.
With your budget in mind, consider the benefits of each system to identify the best option for your home.