Water Softening - hand washing in sink

Do I Need a Water Softener?

There’s a lot of information lately about water quality, and homeowners are asking more questions about water filtration and softening. So – you may wonder, “Does my home need a water softener?”

Water Softeners 101

As you start your water research, it’s useful to know the terms:

  • Hard Water. What is “hard” water? It’s water that has too many minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. Water picks up these minerals as it filters through rocks and limestone in the ground, picking up deposits. Water processing plants do some “softening” (or removal of these minerals), but the results vary from one plant to another. So, your city may have harder water than a neighboring location. The result is water that doesn’t lather well, and soap that is more difficult to rinse off. Hard water also causes spotting on dishes and appliances. Worse yet, scale buildup on your home’s plumbing will occur over time, making water supply pipe replacement more frequent. Hard water will degrade your water heater, shortening its lifespan. Shower heads, faucets, and other fixtures wear out more quickly too – so the cost of hard water can be pretty high. Softer water requires less laundry detergent per load, less dishwasher soap, and less body soap during showers. Washing machines will clean your clothes in colder water with softer water, saving money on each laundry load.
  • Grains Per Gallon. Abbreviated GPG, this is the measure of hardness of your tap’s water. One “grain” is about 17 parts per million (PPM). Water that measures 7 or more GPG is considered hard. A simple water test can determine how many grains of mineral are dissolved in a gallon of your home’s water.
  • water-softener-diagram-plumbing-twin-cities-mnWater Softening Process.  Most water softeners work by a process called “ion-exchange”.  In this process, sodium resin beads are filled in the tank of the water softener. Intake from your home’s water supply is sent into this tank, and calcium and magnesium are drawn to the resin beads and remain in the tank. Outflow from the water softener is now free of these minerals, and is delivered to your home’s kitchen and bathrooms. Eventually, the resin beads are exhausted and don’t function any more – and it’s tiWater-Hardness-Map-Plumbing-St-Paul-MNme to re-fill your tank with new resin beads. Softener systems come with separate tanks (two-tank), or both tanks within a cabinet.
  • Water Hardness Locally. Most of the Twin Cities is in a hard water area – and especially some suburbs have extremely hard water. Chances are you know this, from the rust stains and calcification on your shower and faucets, how your clothes look and feel after washing, and difficulty rinsing and lathering.

If you’ve got hard water problems or need your water softener system replaced or upgraded, give us a call. We’d be happy to come out for a free home visit to test your water and recommend a solution. Plus, we’ve got a coupon for you here in our Coupons ! +1-651-212-5253

– Deb at Jake the Plumber