Do I Need a Water Softener?

Hard water is water with high mineral content. Hard water forms when water picks up soluble minerals like calcium and magnesium carbonates while passing through limestone and chalk deposits underground. Drinking hard water can have some health benefits, but hard water can also cause skin conditions, defective plumbing, unsightly mineral deposits on sinks and appliances, and other nuisances. This is why many households have water softeners installed to remove these minerals from their water supply system. A water softener uses an ion exchange process to replace minerals in household water with sodium ions.

Soft water is much gentler on plumbing systems than hard water is, and it can extend the life of appliances and pipes. Soft water has numerous other benefits as well. But first, here’s how to tell if you have hard water:

The Signs: How to Tell If You Need a Water Softener

  • Your laundry is stiff and dull, and the whites appear grayish.
  • Your skin is itchy or susceptible to rashes, and your hair is dry and flat.
  • Your appliances and plumbing fixtures have white limescale or calcium buildup. Porcelain is stained.
  • Your water pressure is low. Showers and sinks won’t flow steadily or fully.
  • Your sinks and toilets seem to clog easily and drain slowly.
  • Your dishes are foggy, have water spots and break more easily.
  • You purchased a hard water testing kit from a hardware store and got affirmative results.

Water Softener Benefits

Have you noticed one or more signs of hard water? A water softener will resolve those problems and offer more benefits too:

  • Soft water makes soap more effective so you can use less soap for bathing and doing laundry. This will save you money and leave you with cleaner clothes and healthier skin and hair.
  • Dishwashing will be easier and more effective, whether you hand-wash or use a dishwasher, because soft water doesn’t make dishes brittle and foggy.
  • The plumbing benefits of water softeners include better pipe and water heater longevity, along with fewer clogs and better-looking (shinier!) faucets and fixtures.