Hard water is usually caused by calcium or magnesium dissolved in the water. The source of your water will usually determine if your water is considered hard or not. For example well water is often hard water since it has many minerals that have been dissolved into it, were as water that is taken from a lake or river and treated is often much softer.
Your local water company can often provide information and advice to you regarding the hardness of your water and the steps you might take to treat it. Consumers should also have their water tested from time to time as well for hardness and other minerals such as sulfur or bacteria, especially if your water is coming from a well on your property. Another way to tell if your water is hard or not is by the following types of symptoms.
- Dish soap and soap in shower does not lather
- Scaly deposits in the sink, your kettle and dishwasher
- Your skin is dry and your hair appears dull
- Your dishwasher leaves spots on the glasses and dishes
Anyone who has these symptoms and does nothing to treat the water will find that the life of their appliances will be reduced due to the scale deposits, over time the water flow in your plumbing will be restricted and it can even increase the cost of heating your water as the water heater becomes coated with calcium deposits inside.
Once you have decided that you need to purchase a water softener based on having your water tested, the next step is to select a water softener with the appropriate capacity for your home and your family. Some of the factors that you need to take into account will be: how hard the water is; how much water will you and your family use; what is the pressure of the water in your system; evaluate different systems for cost, maintenance, warranty and ongoing support provided by the dealer you will purchase your water softener from.
Some of the other factors that you will want to consider before making your purchase include: is installation included, will there be a bypass for your outside water taps; will the unit meet the needs of your growing family, are you buying or leasing, dealer references and local support, have you had your water analyzed, do you need or want a maintenance contract and have you reviewed the warranty.