Emergency Services

Top 10 Questions We Hear About Water Softeners


If you live in an area with hard water, then you’ve probably considered installing a water softener in your home. A water softener can be a big improvement to your home, but you probably have some questions about how they work, what are the benefits, and more.

If you’re considering making the switch to soft water, then this is the blog for you. Here are the top 10 questions we get asked when it comes to water softeners.

#1. What Does a Water Softener Do?

Home water softeners are basically ion exchange units. These units are used to remove hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium from your waters, taking away that hard build-up you might see on your dishes and appliances.

Water softeners removes hard minerals through the ion exchange process. The resin beads in your water softener will draw out the hard minerals in your water and replace them with sodium ions, making it soft water.

#2. What Are the Benefits of Soft Water?

You’ve probably heard a few things about how great soft water can be, but you might not be sure if it is worth the investment yet. Water softeners have a variety of benefits, including the potential of improving your health. Some of the benefits of soft water include:

  • Cleaner Dishes and Laundry
  • Increases Your Plumbing’s Lifespan
  • Softer Skin and Hair
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Saves You Money on Your Water Bill

The nature of your water impacts many areas of your home and life. These are just a few of the benefits you’ll start to see when making the switch from hard water to soft water.

blue water softeners

#3. Is Hard Water Bad For Me?

The short answer is no, hard water isn’t bad for you or dangerous. While it does have excessive minerals that might make it taste bad, it’s generally safe to drink. However, just because it’s not dangerous to drink it doesn’t mean hard water doesn’t have negative effects. Hard water deprives your hair and skin of moisture and minerals that tend to coat your hair, leaving a film behind. Typically, when it comes to hard water vs soft water, the majority tend to choose soft water just for the taste, feel, and health benefits.

#4. Will My Water Be Safe to Drink?

Similar to hard water, soft water is also safe to drink for the most part. The amount of sodium in the treated water depends on the hardness of the original water. If the water hardness is below 400 ppm calcium before you soften it, then you can drink it with little concern. If your water hardness exceeds 400 ppm, then you will have to purify your water further in order to reduce the sodium content in the soft water.

#5. How Much Salt Will My Water Softener Need?

To ensure that your water softener has enough salt to operate properly, the brine tank must be always at least ⅓ of the way full. When adding salt, a good rule to follow is to fill the tank to the halfway point. The average water softener takes about 40 lbs. of salt per month to keep your salt at an adequate level.

#6. Should I Get a No Salt Water Softener?

Salt-free water softeners do not use an ion exchange process to remove hardness minerals as salt-based water softeners do. Instead, the water is processed through a catalytic media using a physical process called Template Assisted Crystallization. The main advantage of buying a salt-free water softener is that there is less maintenance and they can save you money.

However, there are some disadvantages to buying a salt-free water softener. Salt-free softeners do not remove the dissolved rock and minerals from your water, they alter the chemical structure of water minerals through the descaling process to prevent solids from building up around your home, making it slower to operate. Regardless of which you choose, both have benefits and drawbacks.

#7. Do All Water Softeners Use the Same Salt?

No. Not all water softening systems use the same salt. You’ll want to make sure you know whether you need block salt or granules. You’ll also want to avoid grabbing the cheapest bag of salt you see unless it matches the quality level of your water softener. There are different quality levels to choose from, and in most cases, the higher the quality, the better the water. Depending on how hard your water is, you may need a higher quality salt, to begin with.

someone pouring salt into a water softener

#8. What’s the Difference Between Water Purifying and Water Softening?

While both help enhance the flavor of your water, each serves a different purpose. Water purifiers remove a variety of harmful contaminants from your water and water softeners remove calcium and magnesium from your water but also add trace amounts of sodium.

Even after water has been purified, it still leaves a variety of minerals making your water hard still. So, you’ll continue to experience hard water build-up in your plumbing system.

#9. Does a Water Softener Save Money?

Compared to other household appliances, a water softener actually does save you money. Not only can it save you money on your water bill, but it can also save you money in the long run. Some ways a water softener can save you money is by:

  • Increased Lifespan of Appliances
  • Reduced Energy Bill
  • Less Soap and Detergent is Needed
  • Increased Home Value

Not only is a water softener a great addition to your home, but it could easily add upwards of $10,000 in equity to the value of your home once it is installed.

#10. Does My Water Softener Need to Be Serviced?

Just like any appliance, your water softener can also experience some problems, especially if you’ve had it for a while. Water softeners are not built to last forever and there may come a time when you might need to get it serviced or even replaced. Some signs that water softener needs to be serviced include:

  • It’s not using all the salt
  • There are signs of hard water
  • Your water tastes or smells weird
  • Your skin or hair feel dry and itchy
  • Your water pressure feels off

If your water softener needs to be serviced, then you’ll need to call a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem that might be happening. Once you feel that you are consistently servicing your water softener, that is when you might have to consider replacing it.

Ready to Install Your Water Softener?

Now that we’ve gone through some of the most common water softening questions we get asked, are you ready to install your water softener? If yes, the experts at Shamrock Plumbing can help! Contact us by filling out the form on our page or by calling us at 801-505-9505.

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