Plumbing Services

Whole House Water Softener and Descaler

All sources of water are potentially contaminated. Whether it’s bacteria, pesticides, toxic metals or just high levels of naturally-occurring minerals, there is probably something in your water that is making it less than the best it can be.

Thankfully, not all contaminants are harmful to your health. If you’ve been told you have hard water, the extra calcium and magnesium it harbors may even be good for you, but it’s not good for your clothing, pipes, appliances and water heater.

If your whites are dingy, the toilet bowl is stained, or your hot water heater needs to be replaced — again — hard water may be the problem and a whole house water softener may be the solution.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. It’s a natural result of water filtering through ground that is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium before it reaches your tap. The more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, the harder the water becomes and more you may notice the effects.

Although hard water can encourage the growth of some types of bacteria, it is generally considered safe to drink and bathe with, but over time it can lead to distinct problems.

What are the signs of hard water?

According to the United States Geological Survey, more than 80 percent of homes in the United States have some degree of hard water. If a test shows your water has more than 7 grains of hardness per gallon, you may be seeing these effects:

• Stubborn, discolored rings in the toilet bowl that can’t be scrubbed away

• White spots or chalky residue on your dishes and in the dishwasher

• Higher power bills because of loss of efficiency in your water heater or ice maker

• Persistent buildup of soap scum in the tub or shower

• Low water flow from faucets and showerheads

• Water heaters that corrode and wear out quickly

• White clothes that grow gray and colors that dull after only a few washes

• Dry, itchy skin and dull hair from sticky soap residue that won’t wash away in hard water

If you are not sure if you have hard water and drink from a municipal supply, ask the water company to share their quality report. If you have a well, testing can be done through an independent laboratory or a DIY test kit can be purchased at most home stores for as little at $10.

Typically, seeing one or more of these signs is enough to know you likely have hard water, but it’s not the complete picture. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend testing wells annually and any water if you suspect possible contamination.

Do I need a water filter or water softener?

Filters address a wide range of issues from water that just tastes bad to contamination with bacteria, parasites, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and more. Water softeners only remove hardness-causing minerals like magnesium and calcium. All-in-one systems perform both functions, but a whole house softener is an effective, economical solution to a simple hard water problem.

How do water softeners work?

Most home water softeners work by ion exchange. Water flows through a tank lined with negatively-charged resin beads that attract and bind with the positively-charged calcium and magnesium ions in your water. The minerals stay trapped in a salty brine solution and are flushed away before they ever reach the tap. This type of system requires a steady supply of water softener salt, but it effectively removes unwanted hard water minerals.

Salt-free systems use magnetism or electricity to prevent the buildup of lime scale by keeping minerals suspended in water. Because they don’t actually remove the minerals, these systems may be referred to as water conditioners. No salt or filters are ever required.

Before choosing a softener, check local regulations to find out if salt-based systems are restricted in your area. Some municipalities limit the use of these because of potential environmental concerns in ecologically sensitive areas.

Why do I need a whole house softening system?

Small countertop models are made to work with single water inlets such those that feed the dishwasher or washing machine. They are inexpensive and can be used to soften water where it matters the most, but they’re not a comprehensive solution.

Only whole house softeners treat the water throughout your home and give you the high-quality results you need from every faucet and showerhead without worry and without using valuable counter space to house a portable unit.

How does whole house water softener installation work?

Installing a water softener yourself can save a few dollars, but a new installation requires understanding your softening needs as well as a certain amount of know-how with plumbing and tools. If you are unsure of the process and complications arise, it can mean water to your home will be turned off for an extended period.

A professional has the tools, supplies and knowledge needed to get the job done, hassle-free, with just a few hours of water interruption. You’ll get the help you need choosing the right size and type of water softening system and will receive expert instruction on how to properly maintain it.

Hard water won’t harm your health, but it can cost you time and money. The cost of clogged pipes, overworked appliances and clothes that need to replaced add up and an investment today in a whole house water softener or descaler could you save you hundreds.

Some of the other benefits of installing a whole house water softening system  include:

Contact us today to learn more or get a quote on a whole house water softener system from Hiller!

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