What is water “hardness?”
Good question. We’re all familiar with water softeners, or at least that they’re in every house, but what do they do? Let’s do a brief overview of this poorly understood–but essential–appliance.
Water hardness is a measurement of minerals
Primarily calcium and magnesium, based on information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS mentions two simple tests to check if your water may be insufficiently softened.
- Wash your hands. If you notice that after washing (yes, with soap) you have a slimy feeling on your hands, or you tend to use extra soap to try to get rid of this, your water softener may not be doing its job. This is due to a reaction between soap and calcium which results in soap scum.
- Run the dishwasher. Does your glassware tend to be cloudy after a wash? This cloudiness is a result of another reaction: this time between minerals and heat, which leaves behind a residue especially visible on glass items.
Water softeners use oppositely charged ions to isolate minerals and prevent them from entering your plumbing beyond the softener, protecting your pipes and appliances from damaging corrosion and buildup.
This section could also be called, “Why you may not want to do this one on your own.” While many individuals are capable of installing a water softener, getting an expert on your side can save time and money.
Knowing local code can even prevent damage or re-do’s down the road. What’s more, if a softener’s settings aren’t correct you may end up running through salt too fast or not noticing any change at all.
Does your home have a water loop already? If not, you may want to consider installing one while working on the softener. A water loop will decrease the amount of water you waste by rerouting softened water back through your system. These can be tricky to install, so we can help.
Location, location, location! It’s true in home-buying and home-plumbing. Where you place your water softener is crucial to the installation process and the performance of your softener. Your softener should be placed as close as possible to the main line but remain accessible for regular maintenance.
Do I really need a plumber?
Yes. While the basics are pretty straightforward, especially if you have experience cutting and modifying piping, missing just one detail can be disastrous. Get it done right, the first time, with a Top Notch plumber.
Knowledge of softeners is helpful, but knowledge of local water sources can make the difference between a functioning softener and a wasted one. At Top Notch Plumbing, our team is all too familiar with water hardness in Northern Colorado towns like Windsor, Evans, and Loveland.
Putting our expertise to work for you will maximize efficiency by reducing time playing around with settings on your softener. Further, we take your whole-house plumbing into account during installation and can advise you one which type of softener you might need. If pipe repairs are an issue, we do that too.
Ready to talk about installing a water softener for your home? We’ll take the time to get to know you and your home.
Give us a call at (970) 404-7586