If you’re in the market for a home improvement project that will improve your health, beauty and overall well-being, then look no further. Installing a water softener in the home is the ideal mode to take. Hard water is a common problem in much of the United States. It is the result of minerals dissolving in the water we use for drinking, showering, and any other use you can think of.
It is useful to have a water softener because it helps prevent costly repairs by keeping scale from building up inside appliances and pipes. Over time, this scale can clog and break expensive components, and even render repair impossible. A final benefit is that sediment and scale in water will leave skin feeling itchy and dirty while making hair unmanageable and stiff. You may find yourself using more soap and detergents than usual, as it does not dissolve in heavy, dirty water.
There are basically two (2) types of water softeners to choose from:
- Ones that regenerate (recharge themselves) based upon a time-clock; and
- Ones that are meter-controlled and only regenerate on demand.
A water softener works by replacing calcium and magnesium (which are scale-forming minerals) with small amounts of sodium, which does not form scale. Over time these need to get replenished with more salt. In most parts of the country, the salt tank needs filling every 4 to 6 months. This is the primary cost of running a water softener. Additionally, higher-end models boast better efficiency with water and salt.
How Much Water Needs To Be Softened?
Water softeners are designed to soften all of the water in the home. The best option for maximum benefits is to use a full-house softener because it prevents scale from entering the pipes of the home and clogging up appliances.
Higher End = Lower Long Term Cost, Better Performance
Consider that the more money you spend up front for a unit the less you will spend long -term on maintenance. Models that automate regeneration with meters are more efficient and will waste less water and salt. These are also better suited for higher capacity such as full house softening. Smaller units will most likely cost more for their lack of capacity. A highly efficient water softener will waste less than 3% of the total water used. Compare that to a dishwasher or washing machine that waste 100% of the water they use!
In general it is best to think of your long-term needs for a water softener. This will make sure that you get the most appropriate item and save on upkeep fees. Some big name companies such as Culligan sell water softeners on a month-to-month payment plan. They then come to service the equipment. Keep this payment option in mind, but know that maintenance will definitely cost more if you went with a third-party dealer.