Are Water Softeners Worth it? A Buyer’s Guide for 2021

According to data provided by the US government, hard water is a widespread issue in the country and affects the majority of states. This means that the likelihood that you live in a place with hard water is extremely high. Hardness in water causes many problems, starting from annoying irritation of your skin to serious damages to plumbing and central heating systems in your property.

It is believed that by far the best solution that science has come up is water softener installation. But are water softeners worth buying? We are here to extinguish all these doubts that might trouble you, so go on reading further. advantages of water softeners system.

What is Hard Water?

First of all, what is considered as hard water? You need some figures to clarify this term.

Simply put, hardness in water is defined by high concentrations of diverse dissolved mineral compounds, specifically calcium and, to a lesser extent, magnesium. The general classification of water types is:

  • 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per liter) calcium carbonate is classified as soft;
  • 61 to 120 mg/L as moderately hard;
  • 121 to 180 mg/L as hard;
  • more than 180 mg/L as very hard.

In general, hardness minerals are not a concern for your health. They are non-toxic and safe to drink. But household water containing a high amount of calcium and magnesium can easily damage your home appliances and cause many considerable troubles, affecting the quality of your life.

Negative Effects of Water Hardness

The effects of a high concentration of hardness minerals range from insignificant to devastating, such as:

  • It is the main cause for cloudy water spots on your sink, dishes, silverware, etc.;
  • Such water with lots of calcium and magnesium in it forces the accumulation of crusty, hard-to-remove mineral deposits and residue in bath and kitchen domestic appliances such as pipes, fittings, filters, aerostats, showerheads, coffee makers, to name but a few, resulting in extremely often needed servicing;
  • It is also proven that the lathering and washing abilities of soaps, shampoo and shower gels are significantly reduced by mineral components contained in hard water. As a result, you will waste more water (and money as well) while doing your household chores. Moreover, clothing and any colored fabrics at home will not be looking that nice anymore due to eventually becoming duller and faded;
  • Hypersensitivity of the skin may lead towards irritated and dryness, thus, having a negative effect on your wellbeing.

How a Water Softener Can Change Your Life for the Better

The Advantages of Having Soft Water Are:

  • Prolonged working life of all your home appliances, including but not limited to washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, plumbing, and central heating systems that will work at maximum efficiency. There is no need to worry about how to find money if an issue occurs and you need to immediately fix the problem caused by hard water;
  • No hard chalky mineral deposits and white spots on your dishes and your favorite cups; taps and valves will also be limescale-free;
  • Your hair and skin will thank you for looking healthier and shinier;
  • Economical usage of detergents due to improved lathering and rinsing properties;
  • Clothes will retain their brightness and last longer as a result of being less exposed to detergents;
  • The water will taste noticeably better.

What is a Water Softener? How Does it Work?

There exist different approaches to combat hard water, and the ion-exchange resin method is the most commonly used in the US.

A water softener consists of a tall, narrow water-softener tank and a wide but smaller in height brine tank. The former is connected to the water supply system and filled with resin beads. The latter is connected to the softener tank through a fill tube; and the softener tank has a discharge hose running to the closest drainpipe. To add to this, the brine tank has a lid for filling it with salt pallets.

Once in the softener tank, water percolates through the resin beads. Minerals in the water being positively charged exchange ions with the negatively charged resin beads. As a result, hard scale deposits cling to the resin.

At some point, when the beads cannot exchange any more mineral ions, they’ve reached their maximum capacity and need to be regenerated. That is the moment when the brine tank has a role to play in the water softening process. Due to the calculations done by an on-board computer, salty water from the brine tank goes to the resin tank to regenerate the system. The salty water interacts with the mineral deposits, washing them away from the beads. This waste then goes through the discharge hose, and the whole water softening system is ready to soften household water again.

Buyer’s Guide for 2021: How to Choose a Water Softener for Your Home

There are plenty of water softeners available on the market and they all come at different prices. That raises a fair question: Which option should you choose?

As mentioned above, the most popular method of water softening is based on ion-exchange. This approach has proved to be of high efficiency.

However, scientists have come up with at least 2 workable solutions in recent years, which are Template Assisted Crystallization and electromagnetic wave induction, ensuring great results. These methods of dealing with hard water rely on changing the likelihood of hard minerals clinging to surfaces and, consequently, reducing the building up of mineral deposits. In other words, there is no removal of calcium and magnesium from the water. What happens is that the adhering properties of these minerals are altered.

To conclude, time-proven ion-exchange is still one of the most efficient amongst all existing water softening methods and is considered the standard in the field. On the other hand, not every person can opt for it. Some people may prefer salt-free softener solutions that are gaining popularity.

To find out more about availability of the diverse options on the market check the article linked above on the 11 Best Water Softener Systems in 2021 and pick your best match.