Answers to the Top 10 Questions About Using a Water Softener

Water softener salt pellets in water softener tank

Here at Garden Spot Mechanical in Manheim, Pa., we know that hard water can be problematic for many households. If you are struggling with hard water in your home, or just purchased a house that has hard water, this is a blog post for you! Here are the answers to the top ten questions homeowners have about using a water softener.

1. Why Use a Water Softener?

Understanding why you should use a house water softener in your home really should begin by discussing what hard water is and why it’s a problem. Hard water contains an excessive amount of dissolved minerals—primarily lime, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals wreak havoc on plumbing, faucets and showerheads, your drinkware, and cookware. They also negatively affect your soap or detergents, making them unable to lather.

Using a softener for your incoming household water supply can help alleviate the problems that hard water causes.  Water cloudiness, mineral buildup on faucets and showerheads, the “scummy” feeling from showering in hard water, and the lack of suds created in your washing machine are just a few of the problems caused by hard water.

2. How Do Water Softeners Work?

Water softener systems work by removing or reducing the number of hard water minerals in your household water supplies. This system works by having mineral-rich water flow through your water softener tank that is full of oppositely-charged resin beads. These resin beads attract the minerals to stick to their surfaces, and the “soft” water is then released into your home’s plumbing.

Your resin beads need regenerating periodically, and this is where your brine tank comes into play. Once your resin beads are no longer able to remove minerals from your water, brine water flows into the softener tank and cleanses the resin beads.

When you have hard water, it is best to speak with your local plumbing expert about water softener systems that are available for your home. They can walk you through the steps of what you’ll need for a water treatment system, and you’ll know that you have the most accurate information.

3. How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

With proper repair and maintenance, your water softener system should last for many years. However, you will need to replace the salt supply in the brining tank regularly. Depending on the size and how much water your household uses will determine how often you need to replace the salt in the brining tank.

4. What Does Grain Mean in Water Softeners?

“Grain” relates to the hardness of your water supply. The term grain also refers to the number of minerals a water softener system can remove from your household water supply. Speak with your local plumbing expert to find out what system will most benefit your household.

5. How Often Do Water Softeners Regenerate?

Water softeners regenerate based on the flow rate of water and the level of hardness that runs through your water softener system. The amount of time between regeneration may also depend on the specific water softener you purchase.

6. Are Water Softeners Safe?

Water softeners are safe but may conflict with specific dietary restrictions. For instance, if you regularly try to limit your sodium intake for health reasons, water softeners may undermine your goals. Research how much salt you may absorb from the specific water softener system you are looking to purchase.

7. Can Water Softeners Remove Iron?

Water softener systems function best when trying to remedy hard water. They can remove some iron, but you may be better off talking to an expert plumber about a water treatment system if iron richness is a specific problem with your water supply.

8. Will Water Softeners Remove Nitrates?

Water softener systems will not remove nitrates. Water treatment or water filter systems—such as reverse osmosis—is recommended when dealing with excessive nitrates in your water supply. At Garden Spot Mechanical, we handle water treatment and water softener systems and can help you figure out what your home needs.

9. Which Water Softener Do I Need?

The type of water softener system and the type of brining agent you use depends on your household size, water flow rate, and personal needs. If your home also has excessive minerals, you may need to consider integrating more than one water softener or filtration system into your home.

10. How Much Are Water Softeners?

Water softener systems vary in size and capabilities and therefore vary in price for the actual system and installation. Some households may be able to install a smaller water softener system themselves, but with any DIY project, you run the risk of something going wrong.

Since water softener systems last for many years with proper maintenance and care, they are a valuable investment for any home.

Contact Us to Schedule a Water Test for Your Home

Not sure if you have hard water or any other harmful particles that could be causing problems for your household plumbing or family? Reach out to us at Garden Spot Mechanical and schedule a water test for your home!