What is a Water Softener and Is It Worth the Purchase?
Scrub, scrub, scrub – do your sinks , kettles, and shower heads build up with mineral deposits that are hard to clean up? Hard water is the culprit.
Hard water is water that is high in mineral content, namely calcium and magnesium. 85% of American homes have hard water in their homes. People who want to remove hard water from their homes will often use a water softener to do the job.
But, is a water softener worth the purchase? Below, we’ll cover what a water softener is and some pros and cons to consider.
What is a Water Softener?
Water softener systems, also called ion exchange units, work to remove calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from tap water.
The system acts like a magnet, and uses negatively charged resin beads to trap positively charged calcium and magnesium minerals.
The next few sections will cover the most important pros and cons of buying a water softener.
Pro: Appliances + Plumbing Will Last Longer
Whether we’re looking at espresso makers, washing machines, or your entire plumbing system – they aren’t designed with mineral build ups in mind.
These mineral build ups make both appliances and your plumbing systems work overtime to produce the same results.
A water softening system can cost anywhere between $500 to $6,000, with the average cost being around $1,500. However, costs may be even higher as this range only accounts for installation and not actual operation or maintainence.
Pro: Easier Clean Up
As mentioned in the beginning, hard water can get messy with time. On top of creating visible mineral deposits, these same minerals can also stain. Your dishes, cutlery, glassware, and anything else that comes into contact with hard water is prone to discoloration with time.
Con: Hard Water May Be Good For You
Calcium and magnesium are good for you, and particularly for bone health. There is some evidence that drinking hard water may protect against several types of cancer because of these minerals.
Pro: Removes Strong Smell From Water
If the mineral content is high enough in your water, then your water may give off an earthy or rotten egg type smell. With the minerals removed, the smell will disappear and no longer be a problem.
Con: Water Tastes Salty
For those with sensitive taste buds, softened water may come off tasting salty. That’s because the softening process adds potassium or sodium ions into the water to eliminate the minerals. The intensity of said saltiness may also intensify if a water softener system is not well maintained.