Frequently Asked Questions & Answers About Water Softeners

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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers About Water Softeners

Have you thought about getting a water softener for your home? In most cities in Utah, the natural water supply is filled with minerals that make water “hard”. They usually don’t cause much of an issue with how your water tastes, but they can wreak havoc on your appliances and pipes. Getting a water softener is a great way to reduce or remove minerals from your water, but before you get one, here are some answers to the most common water softener questions.

The most common minerals found in hard water are calcium, magnesium carbonate, and manganese, and water is considered “hard” when it measures a minimum of four grains per gallon (GPG) or 68.4 parts per million (PPM) of dissolved minerals. To find out exactly how hard your water is—or if it is hard at all—you can have it tested locally and get a report of minerals and levels.

Most water softeners work by adding salt to water as it enters your home. When hard water with minerals comes in contact with resin beads attached to sodium/potassium ions, an ion exchange trades salt for minerals. Generally a water softener system will include a salt storage tank connected to an ion exchange resin tank, which is then connected to your water heater and your plumbing lines. Water comes in, minerals are removed in the ion exchange tank with salt from the storage tank, and soft water is transferred to the water heater and to your home.

The benefits of soft water in your home are numerous, and include:

  • A reduction in scale on the inside of pipes, faucets, pots, glasses, tubs, and showers
  • Better sudsing of soaps and detergents, so you can use less and save money
  • No more “soap scum” residue on your showers, tubs, and sinks
  • Reduced wear and tear on appliances such as your dishwasher and washing machine

Yes, when you have a salt-based water softener, it replaces the minerals with sodium so the end result is water with salt in it. However, most systems do not add salt to cold water in the kitchen (the water you’re most likely to be drinking) so you probably won’t really notice a salty taste.

The most important things to look for when shopping for a water softener are the capacity (how much water it can soften with each cycle), and the process for regeneration. Some are on a set regeneration schedule, based on average usage for your family, while others monitor the water levels and regenerate only when it’s necessary. The latter is often more efficient. Getting one that is the right size for your family’s water usage is important so it won’t be constantly regenerating.

To find out more about soft water options and benefits, call Beehive Plumbing today.