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Water Softening

As you may be aware that the water quality here is pretty bad. But are you aware just how bad? Most of the Valley in fact has some of the worst water in the nation. We rank 3rd for the absolute worst water in the nation according to DailyFinance and the Environmental Working Group. Having bad water comes naturally, we do live in a desert after all. In fact the water you shower with, brush your teeth, and even drink has a chlorine level that is ideal for swimming pools. We have 300% more chemicals that exceed national health guidelines, and a even high percentage of pollutants in our water that the national average. On top of that our average water hardness level is between 18-23 grains per gallon of water or for simplicity reasons "very hard water".

Hard Water Classifications
Classifications ppm grains/gallon
Soft 0 - 17 0 -1
Slightly hard 17 - 60 1 - 3.5
Moderately hard 60 - 120 3.5 - 7.0
Hard 120 - 180 7.0 - 10.5
Very hard Above 180 Above 10.5

To Soften or Not To Soften

Water softening is the removal of calcium, magnesium, and certain other metal cations in hard water. The resulting soft water is more compatible with soap and extends the lifetime of some appliances. Water softening is usually achieved using ion-exchange resins.

The Pros
Minerals that cause hard water have a wide impact on the common household. The hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundry and dish washing to personal grooming and bathing effecting your skin making it feel dry and damaging your hair. Clothes washed in hard water may start to look dingy and feel harsh, dishes become spotted as they dry and a film can occur on them, same is true for glass shower doors and walls, those films and spots that are hard to get off are from the hard water. Hard water clogs the ports on your shower head, they also clog the jets on your dishwasher, decreasing its pressure and its ability to heat the water properly. Soft water has less scaling than hard water and will allow appliances such as your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater to be more efficient. Scale is a poor conductor of heat. Using a water softener many common household task become easier and quicker than a home that does not soften the water.

The Cons
Not all good news for softening. Softened water will leach metal from your pipes and faucets, especially when heated, so your water heater is at an increased risk of leaching. This can cause your fixtures, water heater and pipes to leach its metals and cause pin hole leaks. Water heaters have a sacrificial rod called an anode rod that should be checked and replaced more regularly than someone not using a softener to prevent excess leaching of the heating and plumbing system. Despite the FDA considering water from a water softener falls under the criteria for a very low sodium diet, the leaching puts trace amounts of metals into the water. This is why a dedicated water softener loop is recommended. Not only do you not want to drink soft water, you wouldn't want your plants or pets having the water either. Also due to the amount of salty discharge that flows into your drain lines and back to the cities municipalities that are very difficult and costly for the city to clean. Municipalities are beginning to ban water softener installations. None here in the Vegas area but just something to consider.

Nothing can give a home soft water like a water softener. And the benefits of treating that water even with a water softener far out weigh the damages caused by our very hard water. If you like the way the water feels, you don't drink water from it unless you use a reverse osmosis system, and you enjoy all the other benefits of the soft water and don't mind the hassle of salt bags and checking replacing the anode rod more frequently then a traditional water softener is perfect for you.

Sunrise Service Inc. Plumbing is happy to install a traditional water softener or any of our salt alternative products. We are highly trained and will do everything we can to make sure to provide you with a product that is best suited for your needs.