Do I Need a Water Softener?
When you turn on a faucet, you expect fresh, clean water to come pouring out. However, did you know that your pipes carry more than just H2O? Hard water also contains dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and more. While these are not inherently dangerous to drink, they can wreak havoc on your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Here are the top signs that you need a water softener.
Limescale Buildup on Your Appliances
Hard water leaves a white, spotty film on dishwashers, washing machines, tea kettles, and coffee pots. This limescale buildup is made of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate, which gives it a chalky substance. You can clean these deposits with limescale remover—or you can prevent them from occurring in the first place with a water softener.
Stains on Sinks and Bathtubs
Hard water spots are incredibly common on showerheads, bathtubs, glass shower doors, faucets, and sinks. They appear when minerals in hard water are left behind after the water evaporates. Hard water spots are notoriously difficult to remove, and they make your fixtures appear dirty, even if you just cleaned them.
Spotty or Etched Glasses and Silverware
It’s disconcerting to use “clean” glasses and silverware that are covered in white stains. What’s worse is when your dishes become etched after running through the dishwasher. To help prevent this, use liquid detergent rather than powdered soap, which is more abrasive and may not dissolve completely in hard water. Soaking dishes in vinegar may remove hard water stains, but using a water softener can prevent them altogether.
Frequent Plumbing Repairs
Limescale doesn’t just appear on appliances, fixtures, and dishes—it also occurs inside the pipes where you can’t see it. This may limit water flow and lead to plumbing defects, especially if you have steel pipes, which are highly susceptible to damage from calcium and magnesium. The most common problems associated with hard water include decreased water pressure and malfunctioning washing machine and dishwasher valves.
Dry Skin and Dull Hair
The excess minerals in hard water can linger on your skin and hair after each shower, drying them out and sapping them of their usual luster. The residue can also cause itching and irritation, leaving your skin and hair feeling rough to the touch. Hard water even blocks your pores, making you more prone to breakouts.
Gray, Faded Clothes
If it seems as though your clothing and bedsheets lose more and more of their color with each wash, you’re not imagining things. Hard water fades fabric dye and may even make your textiles feel scratchy because of the extra mineral content. Using water softening detergent or adding vinegar to the wash can help counteract these problems, though a whole-house water softener is the most effective method.
Water softeners are a simple solution that can solve all of these problems associated with hard water. Ready to install one in your San Jose home? Contact Mike Counsil Plumbing at 408-618-8002 for all your home plumbing needs.