Does your water have an awful smell or a chalky feel? Your local water supply might be high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. These minerals may cause scale buildup in your plumbing system and can cause health risks.
As an informed consumer, you’ll want to learn a bit more before investing your hard-earned money in a water treatment system. To fully understand the pros and cons of having a water softener in your home, you must first learn how water softening systems work.
How does a water softening system work?
Water softening is the process of removing the metal cations, mainly calcium and magnesium, in the water. The most commonly used water softener in households is the salt-based system, also known as ion exchange system. The way it works is as follows.
Once hard water enters a mineral water tank, it flows through a bed of spherical resin beads, made from polystyrene and charged with sodium ions. Since the beads are ions, they have a negative charge. The beads continue to grab the minerals and displace the sodium charge. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are then eliminated and replaced with sodium ions. A brine tank is also included to help the system generate softened water.
Water treated by an ion exchange system, however, might be harmful to persons on sodium-restricted diets, so instead, a reverse osmosis system can be used to remove chemical impurities in the water, though it is considerably expensive. Another type of water softener is the salt-free system, which is ineffective with water that has magnesium, so it’s only used to remove calcium from the hard water.
Pros of having a water softener
1. It makes water safe to drink
Many people ask if softened water is safe to drink; the simple answer is YES! Compared to hard water, soft water is safer to consume.
2. It makes water a good cleaning agent
Soft water allows soap and detergents to work more effectively, making freshly washed clothes appear shinier; not to mention that it’s gentle on the skin. On the other hand, hard water is resistant to soaps and can irritate your skin and scalp.
3. It prolongs your appliances’ lifespan
Mineral deposits in hard water can build up in appliances such as water heaters and washing machines, causing them to spike your energy consumption in order to work. A water softener helps relieve the pressure off these appliances, extending their lifespan.
4. It eliminates strain on plumbing fixtures
Toilets, dishes, sinks, and pipes can get clogged due to buildup of minerals from hard water, resulting in reduced water flow and stress on your fixtures. A water softening system will keep you free from worrying about spending extra on unclogging your pipes.
5. Softened water can prevent eczema
High levels of hard water have been linked to the development of eczema in children, and its continued usage might worsen it. Using softened water could thereby prevent or reduce the progression of eczema.
Cons of having a water softener
1. They are expensive to install and maintain
Installing a water softener could cost at least $2,000. It also needs a regular maintenance and replenishment schedule since the resin beads eventually run out of sodium ions to counteract the calcium and magnesium ions.
2. The alternatives are just as costly
You will have to pay for additional features that you want to include in your water softening system. However, the cost-for-convenience tradeoff doesn’t guarantee that any of those additional features you paid for won’t fail.
3. Water softeners do not disinfect the water
If the source of your water contains chlorine or is infected with bacteria, a water softening system can’t do anything to address problems with the smell and taste of the water. It may even ruin your system if even a trace of oil enters it.
4. Softened water isn’t plant-friendly
If you have a garden, you can’t use softened water to water your plants due to its salt content. Not only will it essentially cause the plants you water with it to die of thirst, the salt in the water will build up in your soil and will make it hard for more plants to grow.
5. It messes with dietary mineral requirements
The water softening process replaces the calcium and magnesium in hard water with sodium ions. Drinking softened water poses a potential health risk for people on low-sodium diets. Also, people who may require calcium and magnesium in their diet will not find those minerals in softened water.
Now that you know some of the pros and cons of having a water softening system, it’s up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons or vice-versa.
If you’ve decided that you need a water softening system in your home, you can call on our H2O Heroes from Water Filter Warehouse. We have the expertise and experience to help you achieve the optimal water softening solution for your needs. Book an appointment now to get a free in-home water test, or call us at (866) 426-4376.