What Does a Water Softener Do? And How to Know If You Need One

what does a water softener do?

What is hard water? As a homeowner, you’ve probably heard this term, but how do you know what it is or if you have it? Common signs of hard water are a white buildup on your fixtures, dry itchy skin, soap scum lining your tub and spots on your dishes. If you notice these symptoms, the best solution is to consider installing a water softener to improve your day-to-day life.

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Hard Vs Soft Water

Hard water means your water has high mineral content and is in contact with calcium or magnesium during the water cycle — the more minerals your water comes into contact with, the harder the water becomes. Most Americans naturally have hard water where they live. Soft water has few or no added elements, which means no hard buildup, cleaner clothes and dishes and less strain on your appliances.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Water softeners are systems that use an ion exchange process to remove the minerals from the water as it enters your home. By removing the calcium and magnesium from the water and replacing them with other ions like potassium or sodium, the water then becomes soft. The softener collects the minerals in a tank and routinely flushes them through a drain.

How Do I Know If I Need a Water Softener?

how to know if you need a water softener

Do you have town water or well water? Well has a higher chance to require a water softener because it comes right out of the ground and doesn’t go through any filtration system beforehand.

Using town water instead? Don’t be so sure your water doesn’t also need a softening system. While it may be easy to assume that town water will not be hard because of municipal filtration, this isn’t always the case. Municipal filters remove harmful bacteria but not the minerals that make water hard since these aren’t technically harmful. Therefore, using municipal water is no guarantee that the water will be soft.

Another terrific way to evaluate whether your home could benefit from a water softener is to look for the telltale signs of a white scale buildup on your plumbing fixtures, such as your sink faucets. This crusty scale is proof of a hard water problem that you’ll need to treat, and evidence that it’s time to start investigating water softening solutions.

Still not sure if your home could benefit from a water softener? The best way to be sure is to call in a professional to perform a water quality test. With the results of this test in hand, you’ll be far better equipped to answer this question.

Central PA Water Softening Services

Benefits of a Water Softener

If your home has signs of hard water — like scale buildup on your fixtures, residue on your dishes or dry skin —consider installing a water softener. While hard water may not seem like an immediate problem, it can lead to larger, costlier issues. By having a water softener, you can extend the life of your water fixtures and appliances, save money on water bills, reduce embarrassing stains on your sinks and tubs and have brighter clothes from a cleaner wash.

How Do I Know My Water Softener Is Working Properly?

To tell if your water softener is working properly, keep an eye out for the signs of hard versus soft water. Check to see if your skin is dry skin a shower or if your sponge isn’t lathering, even with plenty of soap and water. Also, look for stiff clothes after washing, spots on your dishes and scale buildup around your faucets.

If you suspect your water softener isn’t working properly, check your salt levels. Having too much or too little salt in the system is a common cause for water softeners not working properly. If your water is leaving a film, you have too much salt. If you’re experiencing the effects of hard water, you don’t have enough salt in the brine tank.

To make sure you have enough salt, check your tank monthly. To ensure your water softener is always working properly, have a professional regularly maintain your system.

Friendly and Reliable Water Softener Services in Elizabethtown, PA

To determine if you could benefit from a water softener, contact the experts at Home Climates. Operating out of Elizabethtown, PA, we help the nearby residents with all their plumbing, heating and cooling needs and questions. We pride ourselves on our excellent water softening services, ranging from educating customers on their new installations, free project estimates, and warranties on our parts and labor.

To learn more about water softeners or to schedule an estimate appointment, give us a call today at 717-689-4151 or fill out our online contact form.

Central PA Water Softening Services


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