Water softeners are installed to remove the hardness of the water. Hardness is a mineral content in the water that causes it to feel sticky, and it can also cause soap scum to form on your dishes and other surfaces. Most homes do not need a water softener for their drinking water, but they may need one for the rest of their plumbing. The only way to know if you need a water softener is to have your water tested.
How do I know if I need a water softener?
- Test your water hardness
One of the best ways to find out whether you need a water softener is to measure water hardness at home. You can do the test yourself right at home using a water hardness test kit, which you can buy at most local stores or online stores. There are other simple methods you can use to test water hardness at home if you don’t want to use a water hardness test kit.
The other way to know the water’s hardness is to request a water quality report from the municipal water department. You can send a sample to a testing laboratory in your area; some do it for free, and others charge a small fee for testing.
After testing your water hardness how do you define whether your water is hard or soft? The below table will help you understand better. The water hardness is measured in either grain per gallon (GPG) or ppm (parts per million) or mg/L
1GPG= 17.118 PPM or mg/l
|soft||below 3 gpg||below 60ppm||below 60ppm|
|moderately hard||3-7 grains||61-120ppm||61-120ppm|
|Very hard||10-15 grains||181-256ppm||181-256ppm|
|Extremely hard||Above 15||above 256 ppm||above 256 ppm|
According to the above table, anything above 3 grains needs an ion exchange system to treat your hard water.
Although testing water hardness is the best way to find out if you need a softening system, some signs could indicate that your water is hard, and a water softening system could be an addition to your house. Such signs include
- Soap is not lathering well
If you have a hard time getting a good lather when doing laundry or bathing that indicates your water is hard and you need a unit.
- Noticing build-up on the appliances
If you have hard water, the mineral scale will start to form on a home appliance such as a kettle and pipes.
- Stains on sink and bathtubs
After showering or bathing using hard water, a white chalky residue will be left on the floor of the bathtub or on the sinks. That is a good indication that you have hard water and that the softening unit is needed.
- Faded and dull clothes
It is tough to rinse laundry detergent using hard water; they leave it on the clothes. Also, the laundry detergent does not dissolve well in hard water; the soap will remain on the clothes, making them look faded and dull.
- Dry skin and hair
What happens when hard water comes into contact with your skin and hair? The hard water mineral is left behind. It absorbs the natural oil on your skin and hair, making your skin dry.
- Constant repair of your plumbing and home appliances
Most pipes and home appliances are made of quality metal or material that doesn’t get spoiled easily. But when they come into contact with hard water minerals, they are easily damaged by the scale buildup, causing you to keep on repairing the appliances more often.
- High utility bills
Hard water causes scale build-up on your pipes and home appliances. Over time, the buildup causes clogging of the pipes or appliances. Your pipes will work hard to let your water pass through, increasing the water bill. When it comes to heaters or boilers, the scale will affect energy efficiency, leading to a high electricity bill.
- Stains on the kitchen utensils
Hard water causes kitchen utensils to have stains all over them.
- Low water pressure
After using hard water for a time, the foam builds up on the pipes, causing them to clog. This can cause your water to have low pressure.
When you know you have hard water in your house, you should take appropriate action and invest in a hard water treatment system such as a traditional-style water softener, a cabinet-style water softener, or a twin tank water softener. If you are on a restricted sodium diet, invest in a salt-free water conditioner or electronic water conditioner.
At what hardness is a water softener needed?
If your water hardness is more than 7 GPG (grains per gallon) or 120mg/l, then you need a water softener.
Do I need a water softener with city water?
Every city’s water has a different quality of water. To determine whether you need a water softener, you need to find out the hardness level of your water. You can test the hardness at home using a water hardness kit or contact the local municipal council to find out.