The biggest advantage of having soft water is the cleaning power that soft water naturally provides. In fact, most common household cleaners have agents to soften the water as a main ingredient. With soft water you can clean more effectively while using far less soap.
Hard water deposits are responsible for soap scum and residue left behind throughout the entire house, especially the bathroom and kitchen. Showers stay noticeably cleaner in soft water homes, including the shower door, wall, tile, and fixtures.
While soft water is great for your hair and skin, the overall health benefits are a bit controversial. In terms of consumption, minerals can be very beneficial to the human body. Many people
It’s common to have a filtration system or reverse osmosis system installed in addition to a water softener. Some people don’t like the taste that a water softener leaves behind. It was once thought that salt intake from a water softener may be harmful but studies show the amount is so small that it’s not harmful. The downside of a reverse osmosis system is that you are still removing all of the beneficial minerals from the water.
Most studies do show that minerals are actually good for us and have both direct and indirect health benefits. This is particularly true when it comes to the water we cook with which has a high loss of magnesium, calcium, fluoride, and other important elements.
I usually recommend running a hard water line to the refrigerator and sink when a water softener has been installed, this way you get the best of both worlds.
There is no doubt about it that soft water is much better for your entire plumbing system. Sediment buildup causes problems for shower valves, water heaters, fixtures, and can also reduce the water pressure over time. Over time a layer of sediment will line the pipes inside of a home. The water heater will also be affected by sediment that has built up inside of the tank. The loose sediment has a tendency to sit at the bottom of the tank that acts as an insulator between the burner and water. This will impact both the efficiency and performance of the water heater and could even shorten the life of the tank. If you don’t have a water softener you should flush your water heater every 6-12 months.
Plumbing concerns with a water softener
Most water softeners will automatically discharge several gallons of water on a daily or weekly basis. This can cause problems if the floor drain is not draining properly. The drain tubes that run off the unit over to the drain can sometimes get moved, causing the basement to flood. Some units can discharge up to 20 gallons per regeneration cycle. The frequency and amount of the discharge will depend of the type of unit you have and the hardness of your water.
In other cases we have been called out to remove an old water softener that is no longer being utilized. If you operate a standard salt water softener without any salt it basically turns into a holding tank. To some degree this makes all of your potable water stagnant. When having a water softener installed it’s a good idea to have the plumber put in a bypass valve for when the unit is not in use.
A water heater has also been shown to shorten the life of some water heaters. While their is usually a reduction in the amount of sediment, water heaters may have trouble with thermal expansion. The check valve that is required for most water softeners can causes water pressure to build up inside of the water lines.
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