Hard Water and Soft Water – What’s the Difference?

Utah soft water systems

You could have hard or soft water in your home – and chances are, it’s the former. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 85 percent of the country has hard water, and in Utah, the percentage is certainly much higher.

If you’re not sure how hard and soft water differ, you’re not alone. Here, the Kinetico Utah team shares the answer and explains how to know what type of water is flowing through your taps.

Hard Water

When rain falls from the sky, it’s naturally soft. As it works its way through the earth and into our groundwater, it picks up minerals like magnesium and calcium – and this turns it from soft to hard water.

The higher the concentration of minerals, the higher the ranking on the hardness scale. And while hard water isn’t harmful to ingest, using it for showering can lead to dry skin and hair. It can also affect your faucets, fixtures, pipes and water-using appliances.

Soft Water

Soft water doesn’t have a high concentration of harsh minerals. As such, it’s gentler on your body. And, using it won’t result in issues with your plumbing or household appliances.

Most Utah homeowners aren’t lucky enough to have naturally soft water. Fortunately, hardness is easily dealt with – a water softening system works to remove the magnesium and calcium, thereby making the household supply soft.

What Type of Water Do You Have?

You can’t tell whether you have hard or soft water by looking at it. But, you can watch for the telltale signs of hardness. These include:

  • Cloudy spots or film on your dishes
  • Scale buildup on your faucets and fixtures
  • White or cream colored stains in the toilets and sinks
  • Dull, flat hair and dry, itchy skin
  • Clothes that feel rough or look dingy after a few washes

If you’ve noticed any of the above, checking with the professional team at Kinetico Utah is your next step. We’ll come out to your home, complete a customized analysis of your household supply and suggest treatment options to meet your needs.

When hardness is a problem, installing a softener is the solution. However, softening systems don’t remove impurities, pollutants or contaminants – and if you have any of those, installing a reverse osmosis system is the best way to get clean, safe and delicious drinking water. Many Utah homeowners choose to install both types of systems, and you may benefit by doing the same.

Kinetico is a trusted industry leader, known for manufacturing top-quality water softeners and reverse osmosis systems. And here at Kinetico Utah, we have a solid reputation as well as many loyal customers. To arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation and find out if you have hard or soft water, contact us online or give our office in Draper, Utah, a call today.

The Basics of Drinking Water Testing

Do you need water testing in Utah?

Does your drinking water come from the tap? It may look pretty clear, and the taste may be acceptable – which might lead you to assume that it’s safe for consumption. This could be true, but the only way to make sure of that is to get it tested.

What Does Drinking Water Testing Involve?

Do-it-yourself test kits are widely available, but their accuracy isn’t guaranteed. Experts recommend leaving the task to a professional instead – and if you get your water from a municipal source, they should provide an annual quality report. In addition, some water treatment specialists, including the Kinetico Utah team, offers professional testing.

Testing your household supply involves taking a sample and sending it out for analysis. The results will reveal impurities that are present, and you’ll see a breakdown of the specific contaminants in your water. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to find a treatment system that makes what’s coming from your taps safe to drink.

How Can You Improve Your Water Quality?

If your household water supply contains harmful contaminants, a filtration system can remove them. Under-sink and faucet filters are available, some of which target pollutants common in Utah.

However, installing a reverse osmosis filtration system may be your best bet. High-quality RO systems can eliminate a vast array of impurities from your drinking water – your family will be safe from many biological, chemical and physical contaminants and from byproducts of the water disinfection process.

Why Worry About Testing When You Can Buy Bottled Water?

Bottled water is safe, and it isn’t hard to find. You could opt to keep a supply of bottles on-hand instead of installing a filtration system – but going that route could mean spending hundreds of dollars every year just to keep your family hydrated.

Reverse osmosis filtration system installation requires an upfront investment, but advanced models – like the K5 Drinking Water Station designed by Kinetico – can function for decades. Plus, because these systems produce safe, great-tasting water for pennies a gallon, they pay for themselves in a very short time.

What Is The Best Water Treatment Option For My Family? 

If you live in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in northern Utah, the Kinetico Utah team will explain your treatment options. At Kinetico Utah, we offer innovative, efficient and effective filtration, purification and softening systems – all of which are backed by an industry-leading warranty. To learn more, or to arrange for no-cost, no-obligation drinking water testing, contact our Draper, Utah, office today.

Water Filters vs. Water Softeners – What’s the Difference?

Should you get a water softener or a water filter?

If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, you could invest in a high-tech water filter – reverse osmosis filtration systems are quite effective for Utah homes. But is installing a water softener a better idea?

To figure out the answer to that question, you need to understand how the two treatment options differ.

Water Filter Systems

Water filters, as you might expect, filter out harmful pollutants and contaminants from your household supply.

Carbon filters capture large particulates, and they can be formulated to address specific contamination concerns like arsenic or chlorine. High-quality reverse osmosis purification systems – like those made by Kinetico — can efficiently eliminate these along with a wide range of other impurities. As such, a reverse osmosis filtration system is likely to improve the quality of what’s flowing from your tap more than a carbon filtration system.

Water Softener Systems

Water softeners are filters – but instead of removing harmful contaminants, they filter out minerals that create hard water.

Hardness may not be hazardous to your health, but the effects can be problematic. The calcium and magnesium ions hard water contains cause soap scum buildup, dingy laundry and dry, itchy skin. Plus, the minerals leave limescale deposits in your pipes –which not only wreaks havoc on your plumbing system, but also shortens the lifespan of your washing machine, dishwasher and any other household appliance that uses water. Softeners do away with these issues, and Kinetico’s non-electric, on-demand softening systems feature a compact twin-tank design and use much less salt than softeners made by other brands.

Do You Need a Water Filter or Water Softener?

Depending upon where you live in Utah, you may have a number of contaminants threatening your household water supply. And while mineral composition differs from region to region, hardness is also a problem throughout much of the state.

The easiest way to decide on a treatment solution is to get your supply tested for impurities and minerals. After a thorough analysis, you’ll know exactly what it contains – and a treatment specialist can recommend a cost-effective system that solves your quality problems.

That may be a reverse osmosis filtration system, a softening system – or both. Homeowners don’t have to choose one or the other, and installing a reverse osmosis system in addition to a softener is often the ideal solution.

At Kinetico Utah, a decade-long industry leader serving Salt Lake City and the surrounding northern Utah area offers a selection of innovative filtration and softening systems. We’re known for providing advanced treatment solutions at affordable prices, and our commitment to customer service is second to none.

The Kinetico Utah team is always happy to answer questions, and we’d love to help make sure you and your family have a steady supply of safe, soft water. For more information on the products and services we offer, or to schedule a free, no-obligation quality test and consultation to determine if you need a water filter, water softener or both, contact our office in Draper, Utah, today.

How Water Softeners Work

water going down drain

What makes water hard?

Water has a nasty habit of picking up magnesium, calcium, and other metal particles. If it picks up enough of them, as 85 percent of the nation’s water does, it becomes hard.  Water is defined as “hard” when it contains 121 or more milligrams of those particles per gallon.  If 121 milligrams doesn’t sound like much, consider that the average family of four goes through 146,000 gallons of water every year. Every three years, that’s over a half-ton of metal particles dragged through plumbing, with some of it staying behind, building up, and causing extensive (and expensive) damage. Although hard water can be safe to drink, it’s murder on water heaters, other appliances, and plumbing. That’s because those metal particles love to gather into rock-hard piles of gunk in the worst possible places, where sooner or later they’ll cost you money.

 How a water softener softens water

For those who are into physics, suffice it to say that water softeners remove hard water particles by means of an ion exchange. For those not into physics, here’s the plain English version. Inside every water softener tank are tiny beads made from specially treated resins. When the resin beads and hard water meet, a trade takes place. The water trades its calcium and magnesium particles for a small amount of salt from the resin beads. Unlike hard water particles, the tiny amount of salt in soft water is friendly to your water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, other appliances, plumbing, showerheads, shower walls, dishes, laundry, and skin and hair. It causes no problems because it stays dissolved and doesn’t pile up. Once the resin beads have given up all of their salt and collected all of the hard water particles they can hold, the water softener flushes them clean. That’s why you need to add salt from time to time to your water softener.

For more on how water softeners work, or to schedule water softener installation, speak to the pros at Kinetico today.

What to Look for Before Buying a Water Softener

Hot steaming running tap water is pouring out of a stainless steel kitchen faucet.

If you are beginning to notice the detrimental signs of hard water in your home—everything from soap scum buildup on your shower walls to dry, itchy skin, spots or film on glasses and dishware and faded clothing, a water softener is a great idea to improve the quality of your water. Today there are so many choices when it comes to water softeners, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your family. Use these criteria to figure out which one you want in your home.

 

1: Know What You Need to Fix

 

Before you can figure out which water softener to purchase, you need to determine what exactly is in your water. Getting the water tested for common contaminants can ensure that you get the right solution for the problems that you have.

 

2: Pay Attention to the Details

 

The efficiency of your system often depends on more than just a brand name. Check to make sure that your water softener includes quality components, which will last a lot longer and require less frequent replacement or repair,  saving  a lot of money over the life of your water softener. When you have poor quality components, it often results in wasted water and salt, which increase your operating costs.

 

3: Purchase the Correct Size

 

Water softeners, like water heaters, come in different sizes. The correct size is generally dependent on the number of people that are living in your home, how much water you use, and the level of water hardness. Purchasing a too-small system will cause excess wear and tear and you’ll have to replace it sooner.

 

4: Think About Price and Quality

 

Everyone wants to get a great deal on a water softener, but going with the cheapest option isn’t always best. Consider both the price and the quality of the water softener to ensure that you get one that fits your budget, but will also last a long time and provide you with the right level of soft water, as well as a good warranty. A quality softener will also keep maintenance costs down, reducing costs over the life of your water softener.

 

Purchasing the right water softener means doing your research and getting the one that fits your needs perfectly, while removing all the minerals and other deposits in your water. Talk to Kinetico in Utah to find out more.

4 Signs You Have Hard Water

water spicket

The vast majority of homes in Utah have hard water flowing from their taps, showerheads, and faucets. Without some type of water softening system, the hard water can cause significant damage to your home and your personal belongings. If you currently have hard water, here are four signs you can look for to determine whether you need a water softener in Utah.

1: Spotting or Film on Dishes

When dishes are washed in hard water, which is water containing high amounts of calcium and magnesium, you notice they are covered with little white spots or with a white film.   This can be frustrating and embarrassing when you’re serving friends or family.  Many people add products like jet dry to their dishwasher to chemically soften the water and this can provide limited benefits .  A water softener removes the calcium and magnesium from the water so when the dishes dry the minerals aren’t in the water to leave a residue and they are clear, shiny, and look clean.

2: Dry and Itchy Skin

Just like hard water leaves a film on your glasses and dishware, it also effects your skin and hair in a similar way causing skin to feel dry, tight and itchy after bathing or showering.  Men also notice that their skin is more irritated when shaving, a customer recently stated that when he shaves in hard water it feels like he’s “ripping the skin off his face.”  Soft water will even feel different when rinsing off.  Many describe their skin as feeling “squeaky” when they shower in hard water and “silky” when showering in soft water.

3: Damage to Appliances

There are several appliances in your home that are impacted by hard water, including your water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine. Just like your clothing and skin, these appliances are susceptible to the problems associated with hard water. The minerals  will often build up inside the appliances and can ruin it prematurely by clogging pipes and damaging internal parts.

4: Scale Build up on Faucets and Shower Stalls.

The hard water build up in appliances is difficult to see because it’s in the internal components but we do see it on faucets, shower stalls and as rings in the toilet.  We didn’t have a water softener in the home I grew up in and my mother would insist that the last thing we did when doing the dishes was wipe down the faucet with a dry towel.  If we didn’t it was very easy to see the white residue that would be left behind when the water evaporated.  When we installed a water softener the faucets stayed looking nice, without wiping them off all of the time, the rings in the toilet stopped accumulating and the showers didn’t required the regular extensive scrubbing to remove the hard water spots.

To prevent these damages, call Kinetico Utah and find out all the options available for installing water softeners in your home.

5 Indications That Your Water is Hard

clothes hanging

5 Indications That Your Water is Hard

 

The water that comes through your tap might not be the best water for your skin, clothes, appliances, and pipes. The vast majority of homes in the U.S. have “hard” water filled with minerals that can take its toll on your daily life. Fortunately you don’t have to suffer the negative consequences of hard water because water softeners will reduce or eliminate the minerals that are making that water so hard. Here are five sure signs that you need a water softener system and should call a water softening company.

 

1: White Residue Everywhere

 

If everything that comes in contact with your water has a white residue on it after a while, it’s probably the result of minerals from hard water. Check out your coffee pots, pots and pans for cooking, and even your shower tiles and bathtub for signs of stains, rings, or white filmy residue. While this is generally not harmful to your health, it can make appliances and showers look dingy and dirty and is probably also harming the interior of your water using appliances and home fixtures.

 

2: Clothes that Still Look Dirty

 

If you are examining your whites after they come out of the washer and dryer and you find that they look a little gray and dingy, your washer might not be able to properly do its job because of hard water. You may even notice that stains and dirt are not coming out, despite several washings, or that your colors are starting to look a little dull over time.

 

3: Uncomfortable Linens

 

The minerals in hard water can actually have an impact on the fibers in your clothes and towels. If your previously soft shirts, sheets, and towels are starting to feel itchy and uncomfortable, it could be that they have become damaged from hard water. In many cases this is costing you a lot of money over time because you’re constantly buying new towels, linens, and clothes when your old ones feel uncomfortable and wear out.

 

4: Itchy Skin and Dry Hair

 

When you shower in hard water, soaps and shampoos leave behind what is called “soap scum”, a film that is difficult to rinse out of your hair and off your skin. This residue on your skin and hair often causes excessive dryness and may even harbor bacteria that leads to skin irritations and dry skin conditions.

 

5: High Repair and Water Heating Costs

 

The minerals in hard water vary by location, but generally include some mixture of calcium, magnesium, and iron. As they flow through your appliances and water heater, these minerals build up and can cause clogs or other water flow problems. That often means replacing appliances and fixtures because they don’t work properly, and it could also be impacting the proper operation of your water heater.

 

Learn more about the water filters and water softeners available at Kinetico Utah to eliminate these five problems in your home.

 

How a Kinetico Water Softener Can Help With Eczema

hand

Do you or someone you know have eczema? Eczema is a medical condition also known as atopic dermatitis. Eczema causes healthy skin to become inflamed or irritated, in addition it is usually characterized by sore, itchy and burning skin. According to the National Eczema Association 30 million Americans, both adults and children are afflicted by this chronic skin disease.

Healthy skin appears smooth, soft, and supple but some visible symptoms of skin afflicted by eczema may be a rash, raised, scaled skin, or the skin may ooze or weep. Eczema can appear on the face, wrists, hands, back of the knees and even the feet.

The cause of eczema is unknown but we do know that many people choose to use a water softener to help alleviate some of the painful symptoms and improve the ability of the skin to naturally heal itself.

The science of soft water allows the soap to clean the skin efficiently and effectively. Hard water has calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium love to bind to the ingredients in our soaps. This can create residue. If you have hard water then you probably have had problems with water spots on your dishes.

Water softeners are engineered to remove the hard calcium from the water, therefore, removing the mineral that allows the soap to stick to your skin. When the calcium is removed the water is considered soft. With a water softener you will also use at least 50-80% less cleaning products. For someone who has eczema, less cleaning products can mean less discomfort and a reduction of painful flare ups. With eczema and water softeners, less is more; less flare ups, less cleaning products lead to more enjoyment in life!

If you have eczema, damaged or dry skin, read more about how Kinetico’s efforts to help in the fight against eczema.