U.S. residents enjoy safe drinking water globally thanks to the EPA’s strict guidelines. However, these guidelines do not regulate the hardness of water because hard water is not a threat to public health. Yet, hard water can cause several problems.
Hard water causes scale buildup, leading to clogs, reduced water flow, and blockages. It can also lead to dry and itchy skin. Most parts of Illinois have hard water; thus, there is a likelihood that your home in Bloomington, IL, has hard water. Not to worry, though; a water softener can resolve hard water problems.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener removes minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water. It does that either by ion exchange, neutralization, or filtration.
Salt-based (ion exchange) systems are the most common among the numerous water softener systems. Although salt-based units only remove calcium and magnesium, they are cost-effective, suitable for whole-house use, and last for a long time. Salt-free systems do not remove minerals; instead, they neutralize the minerals to keep them from sticking together and creating buildup.
Filtration systems like reverse osmosis water softeners remove minerals from the water as well as bacteria and other contaminants. These appliances are the most expensive and are not usually suited for whole-house use.
Pros of Water Softeners
Household Appliances Last Longer
Scale buildup caused by hard water significantly reduces the efficiency of many household appliances. Water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and even your coffee maker will last longer with softer water, eliminating the need for frequent replacements and repairs by a plumbing company.
Reduce Maintenance Costs
Because water softeners prevent scale buildup, you will not need to hire a plumbing company to clean your pipes and drains as often. You can save on costly repairs, and the plumbing in your house will last longer.
Cleaning Becomes Easier
Soft water does not leave stains on glassware, cutlery, sinks, clothes, and windows. This makes cleaning more manageable, and you will not have to use as much water and detergents.
Improve Dry Hair and Irritated Skin
People with sensitive skin, especially children, will benefit from soft water. Hard water tends to leave the skin dry and itchy and may worsen eczema and rashes.
Water Softeners Reduce Utility Bills
If there is no scale buildup in a water heater, it will take less time to heat water. The same goes for other appliances that use water. Not only that, but you tend to use less soft water than hard water. Water softeners do not use a lot of electricity, and the long-term benefits usually make up for the extra cost.
Their Benefits Outweigh Running Costs
Water softeners only consume a minimal amount of energy. Water loss is not that significant, and they do not need to be regularly maintained by a plumbing company.
Cons of Water Softeners
Water Softeners Only Remove Minerals
If you are concerned about contaminants in your drinking water, water softeners will not help you. They only remove minerals like calcium and magnesium but not bacteria and chemicals.
They Don’t Improve the Smell and Taste of Water
As stated before, water softeners only remove minerals. This will not improve the smell or taste caused by other contaminants.
Most Water Softeners Require Regular Maintenance
Ion-exchange or salt-based water softeners depend on salt; when it runs out, you have to replenish it. Depending on the system and the level of hardness of your water, you might have to replace it weekly. Even though salt-free softeners do not use salt, they still use some softening agents that can be more expensive than salt.
Costly to Install
Water softeners are usually whole-house systems and must be installed by a certified plumbing company. Not only is this costly, but it will take some time and is not an option if you rent the place. Sometimes a plumbing company will have to do a few changes or upgrades to your plumbing for the system to work effectively.
Softened Water Can Be a Problem for the Environment
Salt-based water softeners remove minerals by dumping them in the wastewater. This ends up in the sewer line and requires more resources to be recycled. Excess salts and chloride can end up in rivers and lakes, affecting fish and other animals. The excess sodium in the water is also not suitable for irrigation.
Soft Water Is Corrosive
Soft water tends to corrode heavy metals in pipes and fixtures. Therefore, you may incur costly repairs from your plumbing company as the pipes may need to be serviced or maintained regularly.
Soft Water Might Not be Suitable for Everyone.
Drinking or cooking with softened water can increase sodium and potassium intake. That’s why the World Health Organization suggests that people with certain health conditions should talk to their doctor before installing a water softener system in their homes.
In a Nutshell
Investing in a water softener primarily depends on where you live and the hardness of your tap water. Many plumbing companies offer water testing services.
Your plumbing company in Bloomington, IL, will assist you in choosing the right type. It can install and maintain the water softener system and address any other plumbing issues you might have. If you are just looking for clean drinking water, then maybe a point-of-use water filter is a better choice.
Covenant Plumbing Is the Plumbing Expert You’re Looking For
If you are looking for a plumbing company that offers both water testing and water purification systems, Covenant Plumbing has you covered. We have served Bloomington, IL, and surrounding areas for over 16 years.
Over the years, our plumbing company has earned a reputation for superb customer service and quality. Our plumbing services range from drain cleaning to remodeling to sewer repairs, and you can rest assured that we do our job right the first time. Don’t hesitate to call Covenant Plumbing today.