Appliances don’t need to be replaced that often, so we tend to forget the stress and wear and tear they undergo and how it can shorten their lifespan. Just like your car, your appliances perform best with proper care and maintenance.
For appliances that use water, however, they could be suffering damage from your home’s hard water. While hard water isn’t harmful, it does leave mineral deposits that can impede the performance and limit the lifespan of your appliances.
Find out how to get the best performance out of your appliances and protect your investment with a home water softener system.
What Is Hard Water?
As water travels from its source, it passes through soil and collects mineral deposits along the way. The most common of these deposits are calcium and magnesium, which are what make your home’s water “hard.” They also cause scale buildup and mineral deposits on your skin, clothing, dishes and appliances.
Scale can clog your pipes and damage the lines in your appliances that use water. Over time, they become less and less effective, eventually breaking down before they should.
Hard Water and High-Efficiency Appliances
Many homeowners choose high-efficiency appliances to save money on utility bills and help out the environment. Unfortunately, high-efficiency appliances can be more expensive than other models, so you want to get as much time as possible from them.
If hard water travels through these appliances, it not only ruins the efficiency that made them so desirable in the first place, but it also causes wear and tear from scale buildup over time. As a result, you won’t get the energy savings you paid for, and you may end up having to replace your appliance prematurely.
With soft water, high-efficiency appliances are more likely to maintain their level of peak performance for an extended period of time, ensuring they were worth the initial investment.
In fact, you may even find that your appliance’s warranty is voided if you have hard water.
Water Heaters and Hard Water
According to the Department of Energy, heating water accounts for 14 to 18 percent of a home’s energy use, and it could even be as high as 25 percent. Whether you’re using high-efficiency appliances or not, this is a significant amount of wasted money each year.
Water heating has one of the highest energy uses in your home, second to heating your home itself. Because of this, it’s important to ensure your water heater is running as efficiently as possible.
Unfortunately, hard water is a huge strain on your water heater. Regardless of whether you have a gas, tankless or electric water heater, constant flows of hard water can significantly reduce their efficiency rating and lifespan, even as much as 15 years.
Automatic Washing Machines and Hard Water
Hard water scale can affect your detergent or soap’s ability to lather up properly, meaning that you must use more of it to get your clothes or yourself clean. It also leaves behind a residue that’s impossible to completely rinse out, and it builds up over time.
Similarly, hard water scale builds up in the washing tub, lint screen, pump mechanism and other components of your automatic washing machine. This not only makes it harder for your washing machine to clean your clothing, which is already struggling with scale residue, but it can also cause a premature failure of the appliance. This can either be as a direct result of the scale buildup, or indirectly from the added strain of struggling to clean laundry.
Dishwashers and Hard Water
As with washing machines, hard water scale makes your dishwasher struggle to clean your dishes properly and requires a lot more dish detergent than normal. On top of that, the mineral deposits on dishes can etch the surface of your dishes, pots, pans and glasses, permanently dulling them.
Hard water is also running through your dishwasher each time you use it and leaving scale buildup behind, putting extra wear and stress on its components. The mechanisms may also become clogged with calcium and magnesium, which can cause it to fail.
Smaller Appliances and Hard Water
Aside from the large and expensive appliances, any of your smaller appliances that use or process water can be negatively impacted by hard water. Though you may not think of it, your electric iron, automatic coffee maker, ice maker, espresso machine and many more appliances use water to work properly, so hard water scale buildup can affect their operation and efficiency.
In addition, hard water has a taste that comes from the mineral deposits. When you use hard water to make coffee or cook food, it can leave that taste behind in your food or drink.
What Is a Water Softener?
Correcting hard water starts with removing the mineral deposits that cause it. Water softeners are designed to remove calcium and magnesium through ion exchange, which is when the mineral ions are captured by the softener’s resin beads and exchanged for sodium or potassium ions. These ions don’t result in scale buildup.
This is how it works:
- First, the tank of the water softener is filled with resin beads covered with sodium ions. As the hard water passes through, these resin beads act as a magnet to attract the mineral ions.
- Over time, the resin beads become saturated with mineral ions and need to be recharged.
- During recharging, a brine solution is flushed through the resin tank, leaving sodium ions behind on the beads. These sodium ions then replace the accumulated calcium and magnesium ions.
- Once this process is complete, the resin is rinsed to remove excess sodium.
This is a quick and simple process that can protect the life of your appliances and help you save money on your home’s energy use.
Visit EcoWater Systems
If you’re considering a water softener system for your home, EcoWater Systems can help. Whether you need a home water softener or are looking for a full home water system upgrade, we have a variety of solutions to suit your needs. Contact us today to find out more!