If your home doesn’t feature a water softening system, there’s a good chance your household is being left vulnerable to a number of issues caused by hard water. Water that hasn’t gone through a softening process tends to contain high concentrations of the minerals calcium and magnesium. Not only does removing these minerals have benefits for your physical wellbeing and comfort, but it can also help prevent certain types of damage to your home’s plumbing and appliances. If you take the time to learn about water softening and how it can benefit your day-to-day life, you may decide that adding it to your home would be a wise decision.
What Is Water Softening?
Typically, most untreated water is going to contain quite a bit of calcium and magnesium, which can build up over time and cause various types of damage to your pipes, appliances, and fixtures. However, when that mineral-heavy water goes through a water softener, it passes through a layer of something called ion exchange resin, which activates the process called ion exchange. What this means is that the ions of calcium and magnesium within the water are being exchanged for sodium or potassium ions, which are attached to the beads of resin. Essentially, the water softening system is removing the harmful minerals and replacing them with minerals that won’t cause any damage. At the end of the process, the water is considered to be soft instead of hard.
How Do You Know if Your Water Is Hard?
Although the vast majority of the United States is considered a “hard water area,” it is not always a certainty that the water in your home is in need of softening. Granted, water softening is always beneficial, but some homes and areas are in more dire need of it than others. It’s important to listen to the things your home is telling you. If you notice any of the following red flags, there’s a good chance your home could benefit greatly from a water softening system.
- Persistent watermarks on faucets or dishes
- Clothing color fading fast
- Lime and chalk buildups around sinks and showers
- Strange water taste or smell
- Low water pressure
- Dry hair or skin after shower
Protecting Your Pipes and Appliances
One of the biggest issues with having all that calcium and iron in your water is the fact that it will accumulate over time. When the ions of these minerals build up within your home’s pipes, the space that the water has to flow through will become more and more restricted. As a result, higher pump pressure will be required to effectively move water through the pipes, and more energy will also be needed to keep your water hot or cold. When this happens in your home, your monthly energy bills will immediately go up, and the chances of having to pay for a costly plumbing repair will rise considerably. However, if the water has gone through a softening process before it reaches your pipes, that buildup never has a chance to occur.
Hard water can have negative effects on your appliances as well. Dishwashers, laundry machines, water heaters, and even smaller units like coffee makers and ice machines can all be damaged or have their lifespans shortened by the buildup of calcium and magnesium. This buildup, which is also referred to as scale, will reduce the quality and efficiency of these appliances and force them to take on more wear and tear. Softened water is much easier for them to work with, and as a result, they’re able to remain in tiptop shape for significantly longer.
Benefits to Your Hair and Skin
In addition to benefiting your plumbing and appliances, softened water can have positive effects on the health and comfort of your hair and skin as well. Because of the fact that soft water contains fewer minerals, your skin is able to retain the moisture from it more effectively. As a result, your skin is less likely to become dry or irritated, especially after bathing. However, when you bathe or wash with hard water, the minerals can actually work to remove much of the natural oil from your skin. This not only will dry out your skin, but it can also result in the skin becoming itchy and uncomfortable. The positive effects on your hair are similar. Softened water works to balance the pH level of your hair, whereas washing it with hard water can cause it to become dry, brittle, and frizzy. In some cases, it can even cause the color of your hair to dull slightly.
Another issue with hard water is that the minerals prevent it from being completely soluble with soap. This causes a precipitate to materialize in the form of soap scum. Because soft water isn’t plagued with these ions of calcium and magnesium, washing with it will actually allow you to form a deeper lather of soap, which will, in turn, allow you to clean yourself more effectively.
Benefits to Your Clothes and Dishes
Hard water can have negative effects on your clothing too. When you wash your clothes with water that hasn’t been softened, those ions of magnesium and calcium can leave deposits on the fabric. Over time, these deposits can cause the colors of the clothing to fade, and in some cases, they can even cause stains to form or whites to become dingy. Softened water is the better option as it won’t leave those harmful deposits. Soft water will do a more effective job of cleaning as well. This is because, without the presence of those minerals, the water will dissolve into the clothing more easily, which results in a more thorough and complete cleaning.
The positive impact on your dishes will also be noticeable with softened water. If you regularly notice a cloudy appearance or lingering watermarks on your dishes after you’ve washed them, it’s likely being caused by calcium and magnesium in your water. With a water softener, those ions will never even get the chance to build up on your dishes, and they will have a much cleaner appearance afterward. This is further aided by the fact that soft water fuses with soap and detergent more effectively, which results in better cleaning ability.
We at Beyer Plumbing have been providing high-quality plumbing services to homes and businesses in the San Antonio, TX, area since 1990. The services we offer include emergency plumbing, repair and replacement, water heaters, water softeners, water quality systems, leak detection, drain cleaning, and even construction. We are a family-owned business, and we view our customers as an extension of our family. Our clients have come to expect fair treatment, committed service, straight talk, and a focus on quality from us, and we strive every day to provide it to them. We also keep up with the latest products and advancements so that we can continue to reliably serve you.
Contact us at Beyer Plumbing today to learn more about our services and schedule your first appointment.