Water softening systems are great investments for many households. However, some believe that such systems aren’t necessary. How can you tell whether it’s better for you or not?
In this article, we’ll discuss how water softening systems work and their pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s better not to have a water softening system. We’ll also talk about the possible health benefits and downsides you can get from soft and hard water.
What are Water Softening Systems?
A water softening system is a filtration system that removes hard excess minerals in your water supply. These minerals are typically calcium and magnesium, and water softening systems target these impurities and remove them from your supply.
A traditional softening system typically consists of:
- Mineral Tank
- Brine Tank
- Control Valve
The mineral tank is where the “softening” of water occurs. Water flows through it and minerals like calcium and magnesium are removed.
Meanwhile, the brine tank is where you put the highly concentrated salt or potassium solution for ion-exchange water softeners. The brine solution must be regularly replenished with salt or potassium.
The control valve controls the water flow into and out of the mineral. It’s also where you can see if you need to replenish the salt supply.
Traditional water softening systems are located near the water source (where the water supply enters your house). They work to make your water more suitable for washing, cooking, and drinking.
There are many brands and products out there that claim to be high-quality systems. To learn more about how water softeners work and which brands are great, you can visit this link: https://filtersmart.com/blogs/article/a-review-of-culligan-whole-house-water-filters
Pros of Water Softening Systems
Water softeners are incredibly beneficial for many people who have hard water supplies. The following are just some of the benefits you can get when you install a water softening system in your house.
It softens the water.
As we’ve mentioned, water softening systems remove hard chemicals from your water supply. Hard water does a lot of damage to many parts of your house and even your health, which we’ll tackle below.
It prevents scale buildup.
When hard water touches your appliances, toilets, dishes, sink, and plumbing, it creates a buildup of scale and stains, which damage them and shorten their lifespan. Soft water prevents those from happening.
It saves your pipes and plumbing.
As we’ve hinted, hard water damages your plumbing, which is not an easy problem to fix. They may cause an irreparable problem that doesn’t only cost you valuable time and energy but also cost a hefty amount of money to fix.
It provides better water quality.
Soft water is incredibly beneficial not only to your pipes and plumbing but also to your cleaning materials. It allows soap and detergent to clean better.
Hard water, on the other hand, reacts chemically with soap and detergent to form scum— it’s resistant to soap, in other words.
In some cases, hard water can irritate your skin and hair. It may also prevent detergent from cleaning clothes as it should.
Cons of Water Softening Systems
On the other hand, water softening systems are not without criticism, and soft water isn’t necessarily always better than hard water. The following are just some of the downsides of using water softening systems in your house.
They make the water too soft.
This is quite subjective; for some people, water softening systems make the water too soft for their liking. Others describe soft water as too slippery or slimy, especially when used as a bath or wash water.
They put too much sodium.
While this may be up for debate as new and improved water softening systems come out in the market, many people still worry about the amount of sodium in salt-based water softening systems.
Soft water from ion-exchange softeners contains salt ions, which, in some cases, may be too much for the person drinking it. Too much sodium in drinking water can cause health problems. It may also cause problems in your septic system if not controlled.
They aren’t good for irrigation.
Softened water contains no calcium or magnesium. And, as it contains sodium, it cannot support the growth of certain substances that support irrigation. So, softened water is not recommended for watering plants.
They are expensive.
To buy a water softening system, you must be willing to invest money. A common water softening system may easily cost $2,000 to install.
At the same time, you will spend money on the system’s regular maintenance; you must buy bags of salt to replenish the ionic charge of the resin beads inside the tanks.
Without this regular maintenance, the system will eventually run out of ionic charge and won’t be able to remove calcium and magnesium in hard water.
They may remove too many minerals.
Some people require dietary supplements, which may include minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Softened water, as you know, doesn’t have these minerals and may cause problems with people requiring them.
For instance, it is not recommended to use softened water for baby feed preparation. Some infants’ kidneys aren’t fully formed yet to handle the amount of sodium and lack of minerals in the water. As a result, the baby may suffer from dehydration.
Should You Install a Water Softening System?
Water softening systems are most common in households where the main source of water is from wells. Well water contains hard minerals that aren’t suitable for drinking.
On the other hand, other areas’ water supply has just the right amount of minerals to be safe for drinking and using.
Overall, the choice will depend on the quality of your water and how much you think it is needed to soften your water.
If the amount of sodium in soft water might cause health problems for your family, or if you think your water supply isn’t that hard, you may choose not to install a water softening system.
But if you don’t mind the sodium amount and want the benefit that soft water can offer, then there’s no reason to not have a water softening system at home.