To many homeowners, a water softener seems like an unnecessary expense. After all, most municipalities spend a great deal of tax money on treating and cleaning their water supply. Wouldn't point-of-use treatment be a waste of time and money?
The short answer to this question is "no." Softened water provides many benefits to a home--some of which might not be readily apparent. However, whether you notice them or not, these benefits make awater softener a sound investment for just about any homeowner.
Benefit #1--Your Hair Won't Turn Orange
Hard water is defined as water that has picked up soluble minerals on the path from the water source to your faucet. One of these minerals that is commonly picked up is iron. Iron is good for your body and is added to many foods and multi-vitamins. That means drinking water with iron won't likely hurt you.
That said, it'll turn your hair orange. Iron-rich water can cause your hair to look brassy and reddish--no matter what your natural color is. It also causes your hair to have a difficult time absorbing moisture. A water softener will exchange the iron for sodium, leaving your hair luxurious--and its natural color.
Benefit #2--Your Appliances Will Last Longer
Minerals in hard water form a sticky substance called scale. This scale builds up on the interior of pipes, causing water pressure problems and even obstructed pipes. When this happens in a tankless water heater, the heat exchanger can overheat or the reduced flow can prevent proper heating.
More importantly, when the scale is broken loose, it often clogs up your appliances. This can cause them to malfunction prematurely. A water softener helps prevent this by reducing the amount of scale found in your pipes and in your appliances.
Benefit #3--Soap Will Actually Work
It's common for people to wash their dishes and laundry in hot water. The reasoning for this is that the detergent will allegedly dissolve more effectively in hot water--leaving a rich lather. However, soap is hindered much more by minerals in water than by water temperature.
Soap can actually combine with the minerals in your water and form a type of curd. This curd will not dissolve and wash your belongings as intended. This requires you to use more soap to achieve the same effect. A water softener allows you to use less detergent, saving you money and ensuring a proper cleaning effect.
Benefit #4--Your Kitchen and Bathroom Will Actually Look Clean
The same scale that forms inside your pipes with hard water is often found everywhere water is used. In most homes, this means the kitchen and bathroom. If you've ever seen a white film on faucets, fixtures, and even clean dishes, you've seen this type of scale.
Unfortunately, this scale is extremely difficult to remove once it's attached to a surface. As a result, even clean kitchens and bathrooms often look dingy and covered in scale. A water softener will prevent this scale buildup, as well as make it easier to clean due to the soap working better.
Benefit #5--It Could Help Your Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition where victims experience painful, red patches of skin. Often, expensive creams and medications are required to manage this condition. This is a double hardship for people with the condition.
However, studies show that households with hard water are more prone to eczema than those with a water softener. Also, for people who currently have eczema, softened water can help mitigate or even eliminate eczema. Over time, a water softener can be a much more cost-effective solution for eczema sufferers than the expensive medical solutions.
These benefits more than justify the cost of adding a water softener to your home. Even if you've learned to tolerate your home's hard water, the quality of life improvements that a softeners provide are too great to ignore.