Posted on: 3 September 2015
When buying or renting a home, one of the questions you'll have to ask yourself involves getting a water softener. You might struggle with this question a bit, since the net benefit of a softener isn't easily observed. On top of that, the monthly expense or purchase price of a new unit isn't all that attractive.
However, in quite a few situations, getting a water softener is one of the smartest choices you can make to ensure that everything in your home works properly. To better understand if you could benefit from one, it helps to know exactly what they provide.
What Does a Water Softener Do?
Even though water from your tap will almost always appear clear, it's a solution--mineral particles and other contaminants are likely present. There's no way around this, even in cities with elaborate water treatment and filtration setups. Fortunately, these minerals aren't going to cause you any significant health problems, and are perfectly normal.
A water softener helps reduce these particles through an exchange process. Typically, the minerals are extracted through a variety of means and replaced with sodium. Since sodium is a soft substance, the result is a softer water solution in your home.
Do You Need One?
Determining whether or not a softener would have a significant impact on your home can be tricky. In basic terms, the hard minerals in your water can cause damage to your home in a variety of ways. When assessing your need, it's a good idea to look for these common signs of hard water:
- Damaged dishes--When dishes and glasses are washed with hard water, they are often damaged. This results in scraping and stains that build up over time. A close inspection of your table settings will tell you if this is happening in your home.
- Scale buildup--Hard water often leaves mineral deposits in the plumbing of your home. At exit points for water, this scale is often visible. Check your sinks and bathtubs for the presence of hard scale buildup to determine the severity of this problem.
- Faded clothing--After a couple of washes, new clothes will lose their color when water is too hard. Whites will transition to gray, and your colors will bleach out rather quickly. If you feel like your clothing is always in bad shape, hard water might be the culprit.
You'll also need to consider personal preference. Most people prefer the taste of soft water, and some folks require additional sodium in their diet. On top of that, showering or bathing in hard water can feel grimy and uncomfortable. If you consider both the common damage signs and your individual tastes, the choice of a water softener or not should be clear.
Rent or Buy?
Once you've made the choice to acquire a water softener, the question of purchase or rental still exists. Fortunately, this one is pretty simple to figure out. All you need is a few minutes and a calculator.
First, know that the average cost to purchase and install a water softener is approximately $1,000. If your home is older or extremely large, this number might be higher for you due to the additional plumbing and capacity requirements. However, getting a quote is an easy process.
Next, call a local rental provider and determine their monthly cost. A good estimate of a water softener's lifespan is about 10 years, though they can possibly last 20 or more. If you multiply your local provider's monthly cost by 120, you'll see the cost to rent. If the purchase price is lower, and you intend to stay in your home for that long, buying is the clear winner. Otherwise, renting might be a good idea.
A water softener is an investment in your home and your comfort. Even if the signs of hard water damage aren't readily apparent, getting one installed is rarely a waste of money. For more information, see a website such as http://johnsonwater.com/.Share