Hard water can impact more than just your home. It likely also will affect you and your family, especially when it comes to bathing. Hard water contains high amounts of dissolved calcium and magnesium – two minerals that can cause limescale buildup not only on appliances and faucets but also on hair and skin. You might be facing hard water problems if you notice:
Dry skin: A lack of moisture may cause breakouts or irritation, and it can worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Brittle hair: Hard water may leave your hair feeling dull and dry. It might also lead to breakage or thinning, and it can cause color treatments to fade faster than expected.
Spotty dishes: White, chalky residue on washed dishes could be due to magnesium and calcium remaining on surfaces after the rest of the hard water has evaporated.
Scale buildup: Unsightly soap scum left on shower doors, bathtubs, faucets and fixtures is often a result of hard water.
Bubbleless soap: Hard water minerals don’t react with detergent salt as easily as soft water, which can leave soap scum on your hair and skin as well as shower doors and appliances.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your home, it might be time to consider a water softening system.
A water softening system can help to reduce the amount of calcium and magnesium that may be in your water. As a result, you may experience:
A Culligan water softener can help prolong the lifespan of your water-using appliances. The Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) found that hard water can lead to as much as a 48% loss of efficiency in water heaters. Removing hard water minerals eliminates scale buildup, which results in fewer repairs and more efficient performance.
A water softener also can translate into greater savings elsewhere in the home: Using soft water can save 50% on dish and laundry detergent costs, according to WQRF research. Not having to scrub scale buildup off your faucet, showerhead and doors will also save you time and energy that would otherwise be spent on cleaning. You’ll save even more money by not having to replace fixtures that have corroded due to the buildup.
Softening hard water is typically accomplished through the use of resin beads that carry a negative charge. Since the molecules of common hardness minerals are positively charged, sending hard water through a water softening system that contains negatively charged resin beads causes the hardness minerals to become attracted to the beads, allowing only soft water to exit the system. By minimizing the concentration of calcium and magnesium present in your household water supply, your water will be effectively softened, making it better suited to cleaning, bathing and other uses.
Periodically, the softener will need to regenerate. During this process, saltwater rinses the saturated resin beads, removing the hardness mineral molecules they’ve attracted and allowing the softener to continue functioning as intended.
How long do water softeners last?
With proper maintenance, a water softener can often last for 10 to 15 years, sometimes longer. There are several factors that may influence how long your system remains in operation, though. Well water users and households that have especially hard water may find that they have to replace their appliance sooner. Culligan water softeners are known for their longevity, and you can benefit from the expert maintenance and support of an experienced supplier in your area.
You may also decide that it’s time to replace your water softener early if you want to upgrade to a more efficient model with advanced features like usage-based regeneration and smart controls that you can manage from your cellphone.
There are some steps you can take to soften water for specific uses around your home without installing and maintaining a water softener. For example, some additives for water-using appliances, like your washing machine, can help you avoid the hard water issues that leave your laundry stiff and make it difficult for detergents to work. However, you’ll have to spend money regularly on these workarounds – and you’ll still have hard water running throughout your house, causing buildup on fixtures and in pipes. You’ll continue to have many of the same concerns as you used to. Since hard water affects so many different aspects of daily life, a more long-term solution like a water softener is typically the best way to proceed.
Another option is to use a portable water softener exchange service. This way, you can still benefit from all of the advantages of soft water throughout your home without the installation and maintenance required for a traditional water softener. This solution is also often permitted in areas where softeners or water usage are restricted.
Another alternative to renting or purchasing a water softener is to use a salt-free water conditioner. These units don’t technically soften water; they focus on neutralizing the hardness instead of actually removing it. You’ll still enjoy some of the same benefits as you could achieve with a water softener, including reduced scaling throughout your house and an improved life span and better efficiency for water-using appliances.
A salt-free water conditioner is an eco-friendly solution for those living in brine-restricted areas. These devices preserve beneficial minerals in your water, reduce scale buildup on your appliances and make it easier to remove water spots and scale on your shower doors. Culligan’s salt-free water conditioners are virtually maintenance-free because there are no moving parts. If you live in an area with hard water and low levels of iron, a salt-free water conditioning system may be a good option for you.
Generally speaking, drinking softened water is fine for your health. Water softeners that use salt during the regeneration process may leave trace amounts of sodium in your drinking water, but these totals typically pale in comparison to the sodium most people get from the rest of their regular diets.
It’s important to keep in mind that water softeners don’t directly treat your household water supply for contaminants or other possible water quality problems.* For this reason, it’s fairly common for individuals to use both a water softener and a configuration consisting of one or more water filtration systems. Whole-house filtration options can help with water quality issues that lead to common issues like a rotten-egg smell in water, rust stains in sinks and toilets, and more. In addition, installing a reverse osmosis (RO) drinking water system under your kitchen sink can prove to be an effective way to broad treat your drinking water against a wide variety of potential contaminants, ensuring that you have an unlimited supply of cleaner, great-tasting water on demand.
The ultimate cost of your water softening system will depend on which model you choose, but the value of soft water can be immense when you consider all of the additional costs incurred due to hard water problems.
For example, if you have hard water, you may find yourself spending extra time bathing or washing your hair hoping to produce an effective lather and a thorough rinse. Those results won’t be forthcoming, however. You’ll simply wind up wasting water, soap and shampoo while still experiencing the same results over and over again.
The same holds true for the extra water, household cleaning products, laundry detergent and dishwashing soap required to deal with the spotting, scaling, buildup and cleaning difficulties that come with hard water. If these issues cause you to have to implement costly repairs or prematurely replace water-using appliances, pipes and fixtures, the expenses can quickly pile up.
However, if you’re not certain you’re quite ready for the initial investment required to install a new water softening system, you have options. In addition to using the portable exchange service, you might also consider renting or financing a water softener, allowing you to follow an affordable payment plan instead of purchasing the system entirely upfront. Working directly with a professional, you can find a solution that provides the greatest value for your budget.
Which type of water softener is best? Culligan’s water softening systems were designed with you – and your home – in mind. Backed by industry-leading warranties and a 30-day money-back guarantee, our high-quality systems deliver better water when, and where, you need it most. Whether you require flexibility, affordability or dependability, you can find a suitable water softener for your home:
The world’s most efficient water softener*, the Aquasential™ Smart High Efficiency HE Water Softener removes hard water minerals to benefit both you and your home. Water-using appliances last longer, dishes get cleaner and your clothes, hair and skin become softer, too. STop of Form
mart technology provides salt refill alerts and insights on product usage and performance through the Culligan ConnectTM App.
Like the Smart HE Water Softener, the Culligan High Efficiency Water Softener optimizes salt, water and electricity usage to decrease operating costs up to 46%.** Besides getting rid of hard-water headaches like spotty dishes and dry hair and skin, it also helps prolong the lifespan and efficiency of your appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine and hot-water heater.
The Select Series Water Softener softens hard water for less wear on pipes and water-using appliances, all while providing cleaner, fresher water. Delivering the quality you need at the price you want, the Aquasential Select Series Water Softener is designed to be durable and efficient. It seamlessly integrates into your plumbing to provide soft water throughout your home.
Water softeners come in various sizes, and making sure that you have the right kind for your needs is important. Getting the right size will allow you to make sure that you can soften your water sufficiently without losing efficiency and wasting extra water and salt by regenerating too often.
The best way to accurately size your water softener is to work directly with a professional to test your water, assess your flow rate and determine how much water your household uses on a regular basis. Generally speaking, harder water, higher water consumption and a greater number of taps running simultaneously mean that you’ll need a larger water softener. You don’t want to overshoot, though. Regular regeneration is also still required for optimal performance. Plus, larger units tend to cost more, meaning that purchasing an oversized softener might result in spending more money upfront than is necessary.
To take the first step toward deciding on the best water softener for your needs, you can schedule a home water test today. This will help you find out just how hard your water is, as well as the size of your plumbing. With this information in hand, you can work with a professional to identify the ideal softening system for your household. They’ll help you explore factors like affordability, efficiency and advanced features, allowing you to decide on the best model for your water and for your family.
*Contaminants may not necessarily be present in your water.