Good water quality in your home is easy to take for granted. But nearly 85% of the U.S. is a hard water area. Texas has some of the hardest water in the U.S., and hard water can damage pipes, appliances, or even our bodies.
Have you noticed any of these signs when washing dishes, doing laundry or showering?
- Do your faucets have watermarks, even though you just cleaned them?
- Is there excessive lime and chalk buildup on the walls of sinks and showers in your home?
- Are your white clothes dingy or your colors fading unusually fast?
- Does your water taste or smell wrong?
- Do your skin and hair feel dry or itchy after a shower?
- Do you have low water pressure?
- Do your appliances break quicker than they should?
- Do your dishes have watermarks and residue on them when they dry?
By installing a water softener, you and your family could benefit if you’re experiencing any of these hard water issues in your home. Contacting Stan’s Heating, Air and Plumbing will help you get important information about the installation process. We have expert plumbers available to help you achieve healthier water that’s better for your home, your appliances, and your family.
How It Works
The term “hard water” refers to groundwater that contains high levels of minerals. While rainwater is “soft” when it falls from the sky, as it flows into aquifers it can absorb minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and trace metals.
When minerals like these are present in your water, your home, appliances, and family may suffer – and you will benefit when you install a water softener system. Hard water can damage your clothes, and leave your hair and skin feeling rough. While safe to drink, hard water can inhibit the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, resulting in bathtub rings, spots on glasses and dishes, less effective clothes washing, and less effective rinsing of soaps and shampoos.
In addition, deposits from hard water can leave scale deposits and mineral build-up in coffee makers, water supply pipes, ceramic tile, and water heaters. This can reduce water flow, shorten the lifespan of a water heater, and cause long-term damage to your home’s plumbing and fixtures.
These devices are designed to reduce the amount or effects of minerals in your home’s water system. In a water softener installation, you remove the “hard” elements from your home’s water by filtering it through a mineral tank containing a bed of plastic beads or resin beads with negative electrical charge.
The damaging mineral ions are trapped by the resin and exchanged for sodium and potassium ions. The negative charge of the water softener resin attracts the positive charge of the “hard” mineral particles, leaving them on the beads and removing them from the water.
Over time, the system runs a regeneration cycle to clear the hardness particles from the beads, sending a mixture of salt and water from the brine tank into the resin bed. The salt attracts the minerals from the beads, and the excess debris is flushed from the system and down the drain.
Regeneration cycles occur at least once a week, but often more. The frequency of regeneration cycles depends on numerous factors. The harder your water, and the more water used, the more frequent regeneration cycles will need to be. Regeneration cycles use about 50 gallons of water on average, but this will depend on the softening system you choose.
Resin beads do not need to be replaced. However, to maintain your system’s effectiveness, you should be regularly maintaining your water softener with a trusted maintenance provider. During this process, the brine tank will be checked, and it should be periodically refilled with salt. The frequency depends on your system’s salt tank size and how often regeneration cycles occur.
What are the Benefits?
After you have had a system installed, you will see immediate benefits in your home.
When hard minerals are filtered out of your home’s water supply your family benefits from better-tasting water, which improves the taste of ice, coffee, and homemade juices and eliminates the need to buy expensive bottled water. In addition to tasting better, softened water will also allow your family to step out of the shower with smoother skin and softer, more manageable hair.
Longer-Lasting Pipes and Appliances
When you make the decision to include a water softener in your home, you can then eliminate the minerals in your home’s water. This system will help you eliminate the limescale deposits that hard water can leave behind in your pipes, restricting water flow. Your water-based appliances, such as laundry machines, dishwashers, coffee machines, water heaters, and ice makers can work more efficiently, will have a longer lifespan, and can reduce your energy consumption.
They can even extend the life of your water heater, as Johnny, one of our Austin plumbers, explains in this video:
Cleaner Dishes and Laundry
Hard water can prevent soap and detergent from dissolving properly. When upgrading your home to add a water softening system, you can eliminate soap build-up and ensure your dishes and silverware are spot-free. You’ll also notice that laundry is cleaner, brighter, softer, and lasts longer than when using hard water. In addition to benefiting your kitchen and your laundry room, a water softener can also benefit your bathroom by reducing soap scum and residue on your sinks, tubs, and showers, as well as their fixtures.
More Money Saved
Soft water can help reduce energy bills and prevent repair costs. Mineral buildup in a pipe narrows the area water can move through, which requires a higher pump pressure. It will also increase the amount of energy needed to keep water hot or cold. The buildup can damage your appliances, which means more frequent repair or replacement costs. Installing a system that softens your home’s water can eliminate spending on bottled water and coffee shops while extending the life of your clothes and linens. You can also reduce the amount of soap and laundry detergent needed by up to 50%.
Repair or Replace?
If your home has a system currently in place, you already know all about the benefits it can provide. Because most home systems are “out of sight, out of mind,” it may be difficult to determine when they’ve stopped working. There are many signs your home may need either repair or replace your water softener such as:
- Cloudy water
- Salty or metallic-tasting water
- Changes in water pressure and quality
- Stiff clothing and linens after doing laundry
- Spots on dishes, glassware, or silverware
- Residue on tubs, showers, and sinks
If you notice any of these issues, your system may have stopped working. You would need to give our Austin plumbing team a call before limescale deposits begin to build up in your pipes and damage your appliances.
At Stan’s Heating, Air and Plumbing, we offer a wide variety of systems. We’re an official vendor of the Nugen Fusion XT Series, which can extend the life of your Austin home’s water heater by several years while increasing its efficiency by up to 30%. Other water fixtures, such as your dishwasher and washing machine, will also see an extended lifespan and require nearly 50% less soap and detergent to get the job done. The Nugen Fusion XT is WQA/NSF-44 Certified, made in the USA, and has a limited lifetime warranty on the mineral tank, brine tank, and control valve body.
To inquire about options for your home, contact Stan’s Heating, Air and Plumbing. As your reliable, expert plumbing service provider in Austin, we would love to talk shop and answer any questions our customers may have.