5 Reasons Your Home Needs a Water Softener

Published: 07 Dec 2022 ・ Read time: 6 mins
Anyone living in a hard water area knows what a costly problem limescale and mineral build-up can be.
According to British Water, consumers in hard water areas are spending far more on bills than necessary. 
This is because the heating elements inside boilers, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances use around 12% more electricity when coated with just 1.6mm of limescale from hard water
Increase that to 3mm of limescale, and it’s 24% more electricity.
Over 60% of the UK population lives in a hard water area, and for those 60%, water softeners are becoming an increasingly popular method to battle rising costs and increase household efficiency. Let’s take a look at the main benefits you can expect when buying a water softener for your home. 

What is a Water Softener?

As rain, water is devoid of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. In essence, it is pure water - or soft water
As it travels down streams and flows through the ground, it collects minerals along the way. The more minerals the water collects, the harder the water. The minerals found in harder water are not considered harmful for consumption, but they are considered harmful to your home.
A water softener works to remove the minerals that cause hard water, essentially returning the water to its original purity.
It does this by using a process called ion exchange. Hard water mineral ions are trapped by a special resin in the water softener, and are exchanged for harmless sodium or potassium ions.

Why Buy a Water Softener?

With so much of the UK plagued by hard water, water softeners are becoming increasingly popular across the country - and naturally, most of these water softeners are bought in hard water areas.
You can see if you live in a hard water area by looking at the map - although if you’re not sure, hard water can be identified by a number of other signs present when cleaning, washing, or showering. These signs include:
  • Appliances seizing or breaking quicker than they should 
  • Watermarks and residue on clean glasses and dishes after they’ve dried
  • Low water pressure
  • Watermarks on faucets and fittings after cleaning
  • Dry and itchy skin, hair, or scalp after showering
  • Odd tasting or smelling water
  • White clothes looking dirty after washing, coloured clothes fading faster than normal
  • Chalk or lime build-up in sinks, showers, and bathtubs
A map of hard water areas in the UK
These effects are caused by hard water, and can be easily rectified by a water softener. Let’s take a look at five key ways a water softener can improve your home:

1. Easier Cleaning

It can take around twice as long to clean the bathroom of a house with hard water vs. a house with soft water. 
Anyone currently living in a hard water area knows how time consuming it is to constantly clean and re-clean bathrooms, kitchens, dishes, and laundry. Those in very hard water areas may spend hours each week scrubbing lime, chalk, and soap scum off showers, faucets, and sinks. 
Water softeners vastly reduce the amount of effort needed to spotlessly clean your house, your dishes, and your clothes.
A lady cleaning a bathroom

2. Protect Your Pipes and Appliances

Hard minerals (calcium and magnesium) build up inside pipes and appliances, causing inefficiency and, eventually, serious damage. 
With a water softener installed, mineral build up is a thing of the past - and the soft water flushes away any existing blockages.
Not only does this result in cleaner dishes from your dishwasher and more luxurious feeling fabrics from your washing machine - it also saves you money by vastly reducing the likelihood of any appliance breakdowns.

3. Save Money

As mentioned above, water softeners can save users hundreds of pounds on appliance repair and maintenance - yet they can also make households more efficient, resulting in further savings on day-to-day tasks. 
For example, households with water softeners use up to 50% less soap than households with hard water. This is because soap foams up much better in soft water, creating a greater lather with less soap.
What’s more, a water softener can lower gas and electricity bills by preventing pipe damage. As scale from hard water builds inside a pipe, it reduces the space for water to pass through. As a result, the water pressure must increase for enough water to pass through the pipe. 
Pipe build up means your heating system cannot efficiently transfer heat, forcing it to run at a higher temperature to compensate. This can result in unnecessarily high bills, and can be easily negated with a water softener.

4. Better Tasting Water

One of the most overlooked benefits of a water softener is how it affects the taste of your drinking water.
Much like bottled water, soft water tastes better due to the removal of any minerals, which give hard water a distinctive taste.
This is especially good for those who regularly drink bottled water, or those who don’t like the taste of regular tap water. If you are someone who regularly buys bottled water, a water softener won’t just save you money - it’ll also help the environment, too.

5. Skincare & Haircare

Eczema, dry skin, a dry scalp, and other skin conditions are all alleviated by hard water. Even those who don’t suffer from any diagnosed skin condition may find their scalp feels dry or tight after washing their hair with hard water.
Research shows that soft water is far better to wash with. For starters, soft water requires far less soap - meaning less irritants for those with eczema. Shampoos and conditioners will lather up easily when it comes to hair washing, resulting in soft, shiny, frizz-free hair - and no more dry or flaky skin.
Think a water softener could benefit your household? Why not take a look at our water softener buying guide for a deeper look into the types of water softener available.
Already know what you’re looking for? City Plumbing stocks a wide range of water softeners, ready for next day delivery or same-day collection from one of our many branches nationwide.

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