If you want to save money on detergent and give your appliances a new lease on life, buying a water softener system may be a good choice. Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium from your water, replacing it with softer minerals such as potassium or sodium. By softening your water, you can enjoy healthier-looking skin and hair, and your plumbing fixtures will last longer.

How Water Softeners Work

Your home's water softener system eliminates scale inside appliances and pipes by reducing magnesium and calcium deposits that cause corrosion and clogging. A softener system can cost up to $2000, but it can double the lifespan of some of your appliances – and the system itself can last up to fifteen years. Another good option is a water conditioning system, which is salt free and removes calcium from your water through other methods.

Should I Install a Softener?

The answer to that question depends on your needs and your situation. Consider the pros and cons of softened water when making your decision.

Pros—A softener reduces the hardness of your water, which means you'll use less detergent. You will have reduced spotting on your glassware, and you'll use less energy to heat your water.

Cons—Water is the universal solvent, and most materials (including metals) dissolve in water to some extent. When water is softened, it becomes more effective at leaching materials from water lines, especially lead and copper. You should never use warm softened tap water for drinking or cooking due to its high metal content. However, softened water is good for bathing, laundry, cleaning, car washing and other tasks.

Before You Hire a Company

Before hiring a Plumbing Service to soften or condition your water, be sure to research the company thoroughly and ask for references. Find out whether the company you've chosen offers a money back guarantee should you not be satisfied with the system's results, and take the time to do some research on the water in your area. Learn about your water softening options, and choose a reliable company that offers a guarantee and has Water Quality Association-certified installers.