If you’ve noticed signs of hard water in your home or if you are planning to install a well on your rural property, you are likely considering a water softener for your home. If so, you may be wondering if they really work and if they’re worth the money. You may have even heard a few things that have you scared off. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about water softeners, so we’re going to dispel some of those rumors and help you decide if a softener is right for you.
1. Water softeners make your water taste salty.
One of the most common myths about water softeners is that they add salt to your water. It is easy to understand why people have this misconception. After all, you are adding bags of salt into your water softener, right?
While that part is true, the water that you drink doesn’t come into direct contact with the salt. The softening process takes place inside the resin tank, which is sealed off from the brine tank where the salt is added. The salt is only used once the minerals need to be washed off the resin beads and flushed out of the system in a process called regeneration. During this process, the resin tank is sealed off from your water line. While there is a very small amount of sodium added to your water supply, you definitely won’t taste it. If your water tastes salty, your water softener may be malfunctioning.
2. The sodium in soft water is unhealthy.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300mg of sodium per day, and ideally no more than 1500mg a day for most adults. The average American eats more than 3400mg a day. Sometimes we underestimate the amount of sodium in the foods we eat, or we don’t think about it at all!
Fortunately, the amount of sodium in softened water does not make up a significant percentage of our daily intake. You can test your water to get your hard water number (measured in gpg or grains per gallon), and after that it is an easy calculation to figure out how much sodium is in your water. In fact, there are online calculators that will even do it for you!
3. Soft water makes your skin slimy.
This is one of the most common myths about water softeners, but it is simply not true. Soft water does not make your skin slimy or cause any other adverse effects. In fact, it is hard water that leaves a film on your skin, and many people find that their skin feels softer and smoother after switching to soft water.
4. Water softeners use a lot of energy.
Other than the control system being on standby, water softeners really only use energy during the regeneration cycle, which typically happens in the middle of the night every 5-10 days. The rest of the time, water is just passively flowing through the system without any power being used.
Water softeners also help other appliances save energy. Scale buildup can cause your appliances to run inefficiently and wear out faster. Using a water softener helps to extend the lifespan of your water-using appliances and can help you save money on your electricity bill overall.
5. Water softeners are expensive to maintain.
Of course, buying a water softener is an initial investment. However, if you haven’t realized by now, it will save you quite a bit of money in the long run with how it protects your appliances from the effects of hard water.
Maintaining your water softener itself isn’t a big deal at all – you really only need to buy salt for it and have it serviced on occasion. We buy 4-5 bags of salt at a time (because really – who likes hauling around 44lb bags of salt), and that usually lasts us for most of the year. If you have hard water, you’ll be glad you got yourself a water softener in the long term!
There are a few other things that you can do to extend the life of your water softener. Overall, maintaining your water softener doesn’t require a lot of time or money, and you will be satisfied in feeling like you are getting the most out of your machine.
6. Salt-free water softeners are a good option.
In this article , we went over the pros and cons of salt-based water softeners and salt-free “water softeners.” Spoiler alert: salt-free “water softeners” are actually water conditioners or descalers, and the term “salt-free water softener” is a misnomer. These devices simply prevent scale from forming on your plumbing but do not actually soften the water. If you’re on well water, these devices are essentially useless and you should not waste your money on one!
7. Water softeners purify water.
While water softeners are great for removing hard water minerals from your water, they do not filter out contaminants like bacteria or viruses. You may want to look into a water filtration system if you are looking to purify your water.
Depending on your circumstances, you may not necessarily need a water filtration system. It is important to test your water regularly for contaminants, especially if you are on well water. Most municipalities have a health unit that will test your water for you and provide you with a report to determine if it’s safe to drink. Luckily for us, our well water is perfectly fine to drink as it is!
8. It is healthier to drink soft water.
This isn’t as much of a myth as it is a neutral statement: whether you prefer to drink hard water vs. soft water, it doesn’t really make a difference to your overall health. Some people are concerned about the sodium in soft water, but we just learned that the amount of sodium present in soft water is such a small amount that it is perfectly fine for most people. On the other hand, some say that the minerals in hard water are not easily absorbed by the body because they are in a form that is different from what we would consume in our diets.
This article states that hard water may have a slight positive effect on the health of its drinkers.
Either way, one does not have a significant benefit over the other, and this should not be a deciding factor in whether or not you need a water softener for your home.
So, are water softeners a good investment for your home? There is no easy answer – it depends on your specific needs and what you’re hoping to get out of a softener. Now that we’ve debunked some of the myths and misconceptions about water softeners, we hope we have eased your mind a bit and helped you in your decision on whether or not to get a water softener.
If you’re still unsure after reading this post, be sure to check out our related posts below!