Is a Water Softener Worth It?
Like all questions about value for money or worth, answers can be very subjective and very much depend on what the individual holds worthwhile.
When we have talked to clients who have made the change, the thing that most people comment on is the difference when bathing in soft water (compared to hard) has on their skin. Whether you prefer to take a bath or shower, your water will feel different on your skin and hair. Instead of feeling ‘sticky’ it feels smooth and that’s before you have used any shower or bathing products. You will instantly feel the difference and over a period of time you will notice an improvement in both hair and skin appearance and feel. The benefits continue if you suffer from dermatitis or other skin conditions. A recent study of the effects of hard water on skin with eczema showed a clear link between the two. For some people, this can be lifechanging and therefore the question ‘Is a water softener worth it?’ becomes a resounding YES!
If the appearance of your bathroom, kitchen taps and beautiful worksurfaces are important to you and you live in a hard water area, you will know the amount of cleaning products and sheer elbow grease you need in order to keep on top of the limescale build up. Imagine only giving your bathroom and kitchen a swift wipe over and a quick buff? Well, you can with soft water, Again if this is really important to you the answer to the question again will be a YES! Water that is free of hard minerals will save on your annual spend on soaps and detergents. They lather more efficiently and more easily and last much longer because you use far less.
Kinder to the environment. Without a doubt, if you have a water softener in a hard water area, the amount of cleaning and personal products that you use will be significantly reduced. This has a major impact on not only the cost but also the amount of product that is transferring into our waste water systems and the amount of bottles and sprays and other non recyclable plastics that are ending up in landfill.
Household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, (expensive) hot taps, kettles, coffee machines and your hot water heating system will all benefit from having soft water running through them. In some cases, lasting at least twice as long and sometimes even longer. I have neighbours who fitted a water softener 15 years ago after a major house renovation. Their bathrooms and kitchen look as smart as the day they were installed and their dishwasher and washing machine are still running perfectly with only a couple of minor maintenance issues in 15 years. The savings alone on appliances and the whole of the house plumbing system must again answer the question with a resounding YES!
Check out the advantages/disadvantages table and weigh up whether you think a water softener will be worth it when considering your household and what you want.
Fitting a water softener will change your hard water to soft water, eliminating limescale build up on showers, screens, baths, toilets, taps, sinks, basins, kettles, coffee machines etc
A water softener will need some space. Ideally located as near to your rising main as possible. This may impact on cupboard space near to your kitchen sink.
You will need fewer (and less powerful) cleaning products and less space in kitchen cupboards given over to these items.
Additional plumbing requirements. Your water softener will need plumbing connections similar to that of your washing machine. You will also need to fit a bypass valve so that the softener can be isolated, if need be.
Cleaning becomes easier and less time consuming.
You may need to retain a hard water tee to a drinking water tap. You can drink softened water but there are some exceptions based on medical requirements. Many people do not like the taste of softened water.
Household appliances will have a longer life as they no longer have to cope with the ravages of limescale preventing them from working efficiently and resulting in early replacement.
Additional water usage. A water softener needs to ‘regenerate’ on a regular basis. This simple cleaning procedure uses water to rinse the unit. The water used will depend on the hardness of your water and the number of people in the household using water.
Improved skin health, particularly when suffering from eczema and similar skin problems
Cost of softener salt. Your softener will require softener salt in order to run a regeneration, the cleaning process. Softener tablet salt costs in the region of 73pence per kilo. Block salt is more expensive at around £3.50 per block
Use of fewer/less personal hygiene products – soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner – saving you money and less negative impact on the environment.
Cost of electricity to run a small transformer if your softener needs a power supply. A negligible amount of electricity is needed to run an electric water softener.
Kinder to the environment – fewer chemicals in our waste water systems. Fewer non recyclable plastic cleaning containers in landfill
Your water softener may need servicing, depending on the manufacturers recommendations. Check with your softener supplier
Towels, bedding and clothes appear and feel softer without the need for additional fabric conditioners.