If you notice crusty mineral deposits around your faucets, showerheads, washing machine interior, and even the inside of your tea kettle, there is a good chance that your home has a hard water issue.
One of the easiest ways to address this problem and stop the irritating scaling resulting from hard water is to install a water softener, but many homeowners wonder if installing a water softener is worth it.
If you are unsure if a water softener is a good investment, we are here to help! Not only do we explain the benefits a high-quality water softener can provide, but we also go over some of their potential downsides to help you weigh the pros and cons to determine if a water softener is right for you!
Why Would Someone Need a Water Softener?
As mentioned, water softeners address hard water issues in homes and businesses. To understand what this means, you first need to understand what hard water is.
Essentially, hard water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals. In most cases, the water contains calcium, magnesium, and trace amounts of other types of hard water minerals, like silica.
Hard water is more common with well water, but it can occur with water that flows through a traditional urban water supply system. In simple terms, the more calcium and magnesium dissolved in your water, the worse the water hardness is.
What are the Common Signs of Hard Water?
If you are unsure if your home has hard water, ask yourself if the following characteristics apply to your home:
- There is a white, chalk-like residue on dishes, glasses, and silverware or a buildup of this residue inside your dishwasher.
- Your clothes have a rough texture and fade and wear out quickly.
- You see scaling and buildup on faucets, showerheads, and anywhere else water flows from in your home.
- Your skin feels dry and itchy, and your hair has a flat and dull appearance.
- Rinsing soap and shampoo off of your body when you are in the shower is difficult.
- You have reduced water pressure from your showerheads and faucets, which could be due to mineral deposits building up within your pipes and fixtures.
As you can tell from the common signs of hard water, dealing with it can be annoying. Not only does hard water scale and stains look ugly, but they can also actually damage your skin, clothes, appliances, and more.
So, Is a Water Softener Worth the Price?
Since the best water softener system typically costs around $2,000 and can be hundreds to thousands of dollars to install, they are a fairly significant investment.
If you have the budget and find that hard water is becoming a significant annoyance, you may want to install a water softener right away to correct your hard water issue. With that said, installing a water softener has some financial benefits. Depending on your situation, these benefits could reduce the blow of the upfront costs associated with installing a water softener.
Water Softener Financial Benefits
If your hard water issue is severe, it can cost you a significant amount of money by wearing out your appliances faster than if the water was treated with a water softener. For example, dishwashers and washing machines wear out much faster if their internal components are encrusted with mineral deposits from the hard water minerals flowing through them.
Your pipes and fixtures can clog much faster as the calcium and magnesium in the water build up inside the pipes and faucets over time. This buildup is expensive to fix, and in some cases, you may even need to replace the pipes, which is incredibly costly.
Then there is the fact that hard water wreaks havoc on your clothes, towels, bedding, and any other fabrics that you wash with it. The mineral deposits in the water can cause your fabrics to fade and feel much less soft than when you first bought them. If you spend a significant amount on your wardrobe, having your clothes wear out much faster than they would if you had soft water is a fairly significant expense, especially if you replace your clothing more often.
Non-Financial Benefits of Installing a Water Softener
Even if you do not believe a water softener will save you money by preserving your clothes, appliances, and pipes, there are other reasons they can be beneficial.
For starters, hard water is very harsh on your skin and hair. If you notice that your skin feels dry and itchy throughout the year, there is a chance that the hard water is drying out your skin. It also makes it difficult to wash soaps and shampoos off of your body and hair, which is very uncomfortable.
As mentioned, hard water also leaves ugly mineral stains on everything it touches. If you are tired of white spots and streaks on your dishware and glassware, you might want to install a water softener. Doing so will immediately address the issue by removing the mineral deposits from your water supply.
Potential Drawbacks of Installing a Water Softener
Besides the upfront costs associated with purchasing and installing a water softener, there are reasons why homeowners choose to deal with hard water rather than install a water softener.
For starters, a water softening system is somewhat expensive to operate. Not only do they drain electricity, but you also have to replace the specialized salt in the brine tank regularly.
Some people do not like the taste and feel of softened water. While this is a personal preference issue, it is certainly worth considering.
Final Verdict – Is a Water Softener Worth it?
If your water does not contain an unsafe concentration of hard minerals, you do not necessarily need to install a water softener. Many homes with hard water leave the water untreated and deal with the downsides.
With that said, if you can cover the water softener cost or are sick of dealing with unclean dishes and dry skin, getting one is a worthwhile investment. A water softener could save you money if it extends the lifespan of your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater by many years.
Another point worth considering is that an average water softener lasts for somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 years, so you can view it as a long-term investment. If you plan to move and sell your home, a water softening system could also add value to your home.
The decision is up to you. A water softener is rarely a requirement, but it can improve the quality of life for you and the other residents of your home. If you believe the benefits add value to your life and will save you money in the long run, then a salt-based water softener is worth it for you!
We put together a list of the best water softeners for your home.