Do I Need a Water Softener?


Most consumers would agree that hard water leaves scales on pots, soap films on skin, and detergent curds in the washing machine. More importantly, scales can also buildup on hot water heaters and decrease their useful life. Soap film and detergent curds in bathtubs and appliances indicate that you are not getting the maximum cleaning action from these products. Soft water not only eliminates these nuisances but also protects appliances and saves cleaning time. Below are just some common water problems you can experience with your current water source into your home. If any of the common issues below apply to you, then a water softener could help reduce or eliminate some of these water issues. It is best to consult a trained water specialists to determine what type of treatment is best for you, but almost any home could benefit from a water softener.

Hard Water

Hard water is a common quality of water which contains dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium, as well as other elements such as iron. Hardness can be typical in most homes but causes damage, discomfort, and extra expense.

Homeowners may not realize the true cost of having hard water, or recognize it as the cause of many every-day problems. In the home, knowing is half the battle. Hard water often is the cause for dry skin and hair after bathing, and preventing soap from lathering on your skin. The dissolved minerals are also primarily responsible for the buildup of scale in pipes and water heaters, causing numerous problems in the laundry, kitchen, and bath. Spots on glass and silverware, faded clothing, discoloration in the bathtub and sink, and shorter life of water-using appliances are signs that hard water is impacting your everyday life.

Once you recognize the effects of hard water in your home and on your body, and the cost it incurs, you can take action to improve the water entering your home.

Taste and Odor Issues

We want the water we use every day to quench our thirst, and make us feel clean and fresh. When our water is foul-smelling or bad-tasting, the satisfaction we get from our water is gone. Here are some common odor and taste problems your water may develop:

  • “Rotten Egg” smell: The taste or smell of sulfur in your water, akin to the smell of rotten eggs, suggests the presence of hydrogen sulfide, which is a colorless and corrosive gas often found in groundwater. It can be caused by bacteria in the water and also cause the water to taste salty. It can also cause damage to pipes and metal parts in appliances in high concentrations.
  • Musty, earthy odors and taste: Such aromas and taste may be caused by decaying organic matter in the plumbing or the water source itself. This is more common in households supplied from surface water.
  • Chlorine taste and smell: Chlorine is common in municipal water supplies as part of the normal process of treatment, disinfecting and making the water safe to drink. Getting rid of the taste and smell of chlorine can make your water more enjoyable. Getting rid of the chlorine when it enters your house can also protect your skin, hair, clothes, and appliances from the dryness and fading it causes.
  • Metallic taste: Tasting or smelling metals may be a sign of mercury, lead, copper, arsenic, or iron in the water. Manganese and zinc may also cause a metallic smell or taste and may come from aging or corrosion in your water pipes.

Corrosion Issues

The corrosion of pipes and plumbing fixtures can be caused by a variety of problems with your water. Corrosion of iron or steel is commonly called rusting. A number of factors will accelerate corrosion in your home due to your water quality.

  • Acidity (low pH)
  • High mineral concentrations
  • Stray current electrolysis
  • Galvanic corrosion caused by dissimilar metals
  • Dissolved oxygen content
  • Water temperatures

Cloudiness & Discoloration

Discoloration of water or its cloudy, opaque appearance is most often caused by the level of dissolved solids in your water. This is called turbidity and can be caused by natural disturbances that can increase the amount of small particles in your water. These solids can affect how the water tastes, smells, and performs in your home, as well as how it looks. The turbidity of your water should be checked, even if it appears clear, to determine the best treatment option.

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