Most people do not think much about the water that comes to their home as long as it serves all the basic purposes of cooking, cleaning, drinking, and so on. Understandably, it is not a cause for concern until homeowners start to experience a weird taste in the water, realize their skin keeps getting dry, or notice white casts all over the utensils.
The experts at American Home Water & Air can explain that this is due to hard residential water. And if you have been facing the same issues, here are the ten signs that will tell you it’s time to buy a water softener.
Table of Contents
- 1. Check the results of professional water tests
- 2. Leaving water stains all over the place
- 3. Scale buildup becoming too hard to remove
- 4. Rising utility bills are a sign
- 5. Fading or graying laundry with a tough residue
- 6. Your skin and hair keep getting dry and lifeless
- 7. The water heater keeps failing or malfunctioning
- 8. You have an old water softener to replace
- 9. You have a system that is really bulky
- 10. An off-putting taste in the water you drink
1. Check the results of professional water tests
One of the best ways to figure out if the water in your household needs a softener is to get it professionally tested While you will find DIY testing kits available widely at hardware stores and home centers, many professional companies offer take-home samples that you can choose to mail in or drop off to have the water checked for a nominal fee.
In the case of municipal water systems, the local water department can be brought in to check the hardness of the water. Water gets classified as per the amount of calcium carbonate present in milligrams per liter (mg/L). So, there are four types of water hardness:
- 0 to 60 mg/L is considered soft to slightly hard water
- 61 to 120 mg/L is considered moderately hard water
- 121 to 180 mg/L is considered hard
- More than 180 mg/L is considered very hard
2. Leaving water stains all over the place
As hard water is full of dissolved metals and minerals, it tends to leave stubborn, ugly stains on the bathtubs, toilets, and sinks, along with scaly, white deposits all over the faucets. An easy fix for the stains left on fixtures is to get the stains soaked in a cup of bleach and half a cup of powdered dish detergent. If you are trying to remove those white deposits on your faucets, spray them with white vinegar. Allow it to sit for some time before using a soft cloth to rinse and clean it.
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3. Scale buildup becoming too hard to remove
Mineral deposits, called limescale or scale, tend to build upon the glassware, dinnerware, teakettles, coffeepots, cutlery, and pots. It leaves behind a chalky and hard film that gets difficult to remove. The worst thing is that scale might build up inside those appliances that need water, like your plumbing system, washing machines, and dishwashers, which might lead to costly repairs.
4. Rising utility bills are a sign
When your utility bills keep on rising, it is one of the signs that you need a water softener in your home. Check the plumbing system for any white scale marks. With time, the scale builds up to clog the pipes. When something like this happens, the heating system tends to overwork to push the water through. Moreover, scales tend to build up and impact the efficiency of water heaters and boilers.
5. Fading or graying laundry with a tough residue
Hard water tends to make laundry detergents and soaps less effective. It tends to leave a tough residue behind that refuses to fade from your clothing and linens. The residue looks gray and dull, develops a bad smell, and gets scratchy and rough. Washing your linens and clothes in such water can lead to premature wear and tear on the fabrics.
6. Your skin and hair keep getting dry and lifeless
The minerals present in hard water tend to make your hair and skin itchy, flaky, and dry. It might also block the pores in your skin and cause inflammation, blackheads, and pimples. As soap does not dissolve completely in hard water, there is a sticky film of soap that stays on your skin. It prevents the much-needed removal of dirt and bacteria. It is the same soap or shampoo film that makes your hair limp, dull, and dry.
7. The water heater keeps failing or malfunctioning
One of the most inconvenient and costly signs that you require a water softener is seeing the water heater fail or malfunction repeatedly. The hardness of water leads to premature and rapid aging in your water heaters, particularly the electric models. Keep in mind that heating hard water tends to accelerate the scale formation inside the tank and on the expensive heating parts of the tank.
8. You have an old water softener to replace
You might have one of those timer-based water softeners. The systems tend to regenerate as per the schedule you set more than a decade ago. The modern systems easily regenerate soft water depending on your requirement. It is known as ‘demand initiated regeneration. This is a better system as it functions based on the needs of the user.
9. You have a system that is really bulky
Your water softener might be bulky and take up a bit too much space. The softeners that come with twin tank systems usually need additional room. Single cabinet systems are demand-initiated and take up much less space. Thus, the latter is an efficient choice for your place. The new-age systems also come with low salt indicators, water use monitoring, and better iron removal, which makes management and maintenance easier than before.
10. An off-putting taste in the water you drink
If the water gets an off-putting or strange taste, it is a sign that there is something wrong. Though it might mean that the water has contaminants or chemicals present in it, the hardness of the water might also be to blame for this. The high mineral content of hard water makes it taste different from soft water.
If you note any of these signs in the water you use, go ahead and purchase a quality water softener. After all, better water quality is important for your health and the appearance of your home.
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