Only people who have suffered the effects of hard water will know how hard it actually is. No, it does not cause any adverse health issues as per studies, but it sure does clog pipes up and make your dishes look like they were never washed. (PS: not a good thing when you have guests coming in.)
Also, be ready to lose your hair!! Strand by strand.
What is Hard Water?
Have you ever wondered what actually is Hard water? Well, the answer is simple, hard water is water which has excess of calcium and magnesium carbonates. In simpler terms, it is water which contains high amount of minerals.
Thanks to water softeners available in market, hard water can be softened without much hassle. Water softening is a method by which hard water is turned into soft water mainly by usage of salt resins and by ion exchange process.
7 Things You Must Consider When Buying a Water Softener for Your Home
Amount of Hard Water Usage
Determining the amount that needs to be softened is very very important when you are considering to buy a water softener, because, this is one of the factors by which you will have to decide the size of the softener you will install in your house.
How do you determine the amount of water consumption in your house per day? Well, an average person uses almost 80 gallons of water each day. You can directly multiply 80 gallons by the number of people in your house. Remember this is an average calculation.
Now, if you think you can buy a softener because you know the quantity of water that needs to be softened, you might want to go to the next point. I like proving people wrong. Jk.
Hardness Level of Water
Ever wanted to know how hard water is formed? Well if you did want to know, then here is the answer. Hard water is formed when water moves through deposits of limestone and chalk (which contains magnesium and calcium carbonates). So, hard water has a range of hardness depending on how much magnesium and calcium carbonate deposit it carries away.
It is very necessary to consider hardness level of your water while purchasing a water softener, because if you just buy a softener based on the hard water quantity used in your house, you might end up consuming more salt than what is required. (due to the salt resins used in the water softeners).
You can go to the municipality and ask for the hardness of the water they are providing to your house or you can find the hardness level by using a test kit.
Hardness is measured in grains per gallons. So once you find the grains per gallons, you can directly multiply it by water consumption per day in your house. This gives you the number of grains to be removed every day.
Number of grains to be removed each day = No of grains per gallon (hardness level) X Amount of water consumption in a day
Once you know the number of grains to be removed each day, you can easily choose a water softener that can fight these grains.
Type of Water Softener Based on Regeneration Cycles.
There are mainly two types of softeners available in US market for household water softening. When you buy a water softener you need to know which one will work best for you.
a) Timer Regenerated water softeners
In these kind of softeners, a specific amount of salt is used at a regular period of time. No matter how less or how much more of water you use, the water is cleaned at regular interval.
Say I have a timer regenerated softener which is set to use 10g of salt for a week for cleaning. The water softener will use only 10g of salt every week no matter what amount of water is used in my house.
Imagine you went on a vacation mid-week and you used only less amount of water a week compared to your normal usage, your timer regenerated water softener will still use the same amount of salt that week. This will result in over-consumption of salt. Doesn’t sound that good of an option now, right?
b) Meter regenerated water softeners
Well, these water softeners are more efficient as they only start the cleaning process once a preset amount of water usage is done.
Buying /Leasing a Water Softener
Did you know, you can either buy or lease a water softener? A normal water softener will cost you anywhere between 500$-2500$. Many of us go through the trouble of using hard water because buying a water softener is too expensive or you are staying in that house for a very short period of time.
If you do not want to own a water softener, you can lease it for a short period of time. My personal opinion is, if you are going to stay in a house with hard water for a long long time, invest in a good water softener. A best water softener makes your life a lot easier for at least 15 years. Imagine less plumping issues. No filmy layer on hair and much more. Basically it gives you an easy life.
Features/Controls of Water Softener
Each water softener has different features and controls. There are different regeneration cycles, amount of salt and water needed for regeneration etc.
So if you are going to buy a water softener, ensure you are buying something which will not create any hassle for you.
Talk with your agent about what are your requirements, study all the options. Remember this is something you are going to use for next 15 years or so.
Deciding the Company
Once you decide to buy a specific type of water softener, you need to gather information about the companies which sell those type of softeners. My suggestion is to not go for a water softener company just because it provides the cheapest rates.
Before choosing a company, get the rates from at least 2-3 companies and ask them about the service they provide and warranty details. This will take some time but believe me, it is definitely worth it.
Water Softening Certification
Always ensure that the water purifier is NSF International certified, which is a testing company that certifies water treatment products. Also look for a Water quality associations’ certification. These certifications guarantee that the equipment has passes industry standards.
Once you purchase the right water softener, then you will hear yourself saying “I used to have trouble fighting the plague which is hard water, but not anymore. “
You can thank me later!