Does your town have hard water? Likely it does, as more than 85 percent of Americans homes have hard water. Not to worry, there are hard water solutions that can make your water more comfortable to drink, shower in, and use in general. But, they’re not all equal. While getting a water filter might fix your hard water’s taste, it doesn’t give you the benefits that a whole house softener does. Let us explain which option is best for you.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is high in mineral content. The common culprits are calcium and magnesium. They enter your water as it percolates through rock before it is picked up by your water system. As it is safe for us to drink these minerals, your city or well filters don’t bother to remove them.
This mineral content can result in an unpleasant taste in your water, uncomfortable build-up on your skin after showers and serious wear and tear on appliances and plumbing. In fact, hard water minerals can even reduce the effectiveness of your soap, in the shower and the dishwasher.
Option One: Water Filters
You can buy counter-top water filters which remove mineral content from your water. Several types of filters will do the trick:
- Ion exchange softeners
- Caron resin filters
- Reverse osmosis units
- Water distillers
The benefit of these water filters is that they make your water taste much better.
On the other hand, they do nothing to fix the other negative effects of hard water throughout your home. You’ll still be showering in water that is harsher on your skin. Your appliances and fixtures will also still develop calcium or lime build-up.
These water filters also take time to soften your water and often have expensive filters that must be replaced regularly.
Option Two: Whole House Water Softener
Whole house water softeners work on every drop of water in your home. They’re convenient, as you don’t need to fill them and wait. You simply turn on the tap and have soft water.
Whole-home water softener solutions include:
- Ion exchange systems: These softeners actually remove the mineral content from the water, replacing it with a small amount of salt. You won’t taste the salt.
- Salt-free water softeners: No salt-free method actually removes the minerals from the water. Instead, they breakdown the minerals so they are less likely to stick to your plumbing and other surfaces. Your water will taste the same.
- Magnetic softeners: These are new to the market and somewhat controversial. They are not proven to work. We don’t recommend you buy them for the time being.
Why Get a Whole-House Solution?
Dealing with hard water problems is expensive. You’ll need to maintain or replace your fixtures and appliances more often, especially those that use hot water, from your water heater to your shower head. Cleaning up after hard water and repairing your plumbing is expensive and time consuming. You can prevent that with a water softener, and also get the benefits of more pleasant water to drink and shower in.