Many are unaware of the differences between hard water and soft water, and some may not even realize that there is a difference between certain kinds of water at all. Hard water is considered to be water with high levels of calcium and magnesium minerals, and soft water is water that has had those minerals removed.
Water softeners have become important additions to many people’s homes because they help to soften the water and remove the minerals. This is essential because hard water can cause many different problems in your home, such as clogging pipes, creating build up, reducing the efficiency of your water heater, and leaving behind water spots on plates, dishes, and glass.
Here is a list of some additional benefits of using a water softener in your home:
- Reduced soap scum on your bathtub, sinks, shower, and dishes.
- Your silverware, glassware, mirrors, tiles, windows, plumbing fixtures, and other metal objects in your home will not only become much shinier, but also cleaner.
- You will notice a different in the smoothness of your hair, the softness of your skin, and even the softness of your clothes. Your white clothes will stay whiter longer and your fabrics will last longer in general.
- You’ll be able to save money on your monthly water bill, energy costs, and potential damages to pipes or appliances caused by hard water.
With benefits like these, it’s difficult to understand why everyone wouldn’t have a water softener in their home. In some cases, homeowners may not be dealing with hard water in their homes to begin with—therefore eliminating the need for a water softener. On the other hand, there are those who will immediately notice a difference in their water and see the effects of hard water in their home. So, how can you tell if you have hard water or soft water in your home?
The clearest indication that you have hard water in your home is if you notice that your water leaves soap scum residue in your bathroom or kitchen areas, and if there is scale buildups in your pipes. If you’re still not 100% sure, there are also water analysis kits that you can obtain that make it easy to tell if you have hard or soft water by just using a simple test strip. Some water softener unit manufacturers will provide these test kits for free, or you can purchase the kits from a local hardware store for anywhere between $5-20.
If you’d rather not obtain the kit, you can also perform a DIY test that will determine the hardness as well. To perform the in-home test, fill a clean water bottle one-third of the way full with cold water from your tap. Then, add a few drops of basic dish soap—be sure that the soap is free of dyes, perfumes, and detergents. Finally, shake the bottle for a few seconds. If your bottle looks cloudy or milky and has no bubbles, then you have hard water. If the bottle is clear with a lot of bubbles, then you have soft water.