Do You Need a Water Softener? Here’s How to Tell

Utah water softeners

If you have hard water, you should seriously consider installing a water softener. Without one, mineral buildup can create plumbing issues, reduce the lifespan of your appliances and increase your home energy costs.

So, how do you know if you have hard water? Here are the telltale signs that you could benefit from water softener installation.

Scale Residue

Take a look at your faucets, fixtures and showerheads. If you see limescale or mineral deposits, you probably have hard water. The same is true if you notice rust-colored stains in your sinks or toilets, and in either case, the solution lies in a softening system.

Appliance Problems

If your dishwasher isn’t getting your dishes as clean as it used to – or if your washing machine seems to be leaving a residue on your clothing — hard water is the likely culprit. Install a softening system, and you can have cleaner dishes and clothes.

Itchy Dry Skin

If anyone in your household has noticed their skin getting dry and itchy, you could be in need of a water softener. Bathing or showering in hard water can cause skin irritation, particularly in those with eczema and other skin issues.

Dull or Dingy Hair

Using water that contains a high mineral content to wash and condition your hair makes thoroughly rinsing away the products quite difficult. And when residue is left behind, the result is limp, dull-looking hair.

Higher Energy Bills

As your appliances become less efficient and your pipes have to work harder, your water bills rise. If you’ve noticed that your monthly bill is rising, installing a water softener can help bring your costs down. And if you get yours from Kinetico, you’ll see even greater energy savings, as our softening systems don’t use electricity.

If you live in northern Utah and want to learn more about the benefits of installing a water softener – or if you ready to explore your softening system options – turn to the professional team at Kinetico Utah.

Kinetico has been an industry leader for decades, known for innovative and affordable solutions to hard water problems. And, we’re always happy to answer questions, offer advice and help home and business owners find effective ways to meet their treatment needs. For more information on our products, or to schedule a free professional consultation to discuss water softener installation with the Kinetico Utah team, contact our Draper office today.

Key Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a New Water Softener

question marks

Water softeners can be a great addition to many homes in Utah, especially since most municipal water systems in the area have “hard” water, a term that describes water containing minerals like calcium and magnesium, that can cause problems with scale build up and dry skin. Before you get one, though, there are a few questions you should ask.

Does My Home Have Hard Water?

Most water in Utah is considered hard, but before you purchase a water softener it’s best to have your water tested. Not only will this let you know exactly how hard your water is, it’s important in selecting the correct size of water softener. This test is simple to do and any reputable water softening company can do it right in your home.  Also ask if there are other elements in your water you should be concerned about, such as iron or chlorine.

What Kind of Water Softener Do I Need?

There are dozens of options to choose from when you’re shopping for a water softener, and the right one for your home will depend on different factors. First, determine the capacity you need for your water softener. Next, check for third-party certifications such as those from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the Water Quality Association (WQA) to make sure its performance matches up to the claims they are making.

Is This a Reputable Company?

There are a lot of companies to choose from when purchasing a water softener, so before you buy, make sure you do a little research. Not all companies will be reputable, and purchasing from a fly-by-night company that might do a poor installation, or might not be around when something goes wrong and the system requires maintenance or repairs. Choose a company that has been in business installing water softeners in Utah for many years. Ratings in publications like Consumer’s Digest and Consumer Reports can also be a good resource.

What Kind of Customer Service Do They Offer?

In addition to finding a company that provides quality products at an affordable price, you want to make sure the one you’re working with offers great customer service. Read reviews from previous customers, or ask for a phone number to check referrals and ensure you’re working with a quality company.

To find out more about water softeners in Utah and have one installed in your home, call Kinetico today.

Four Benefits of a Kinetico Water Softener System

water softeners

You may already know about the benefits that a water softener can provide for your home—everything from protection against faded clothing to softer skin and, not to mention, money savings from using less detergent and soap—but not all water softeners are created equal. If you have considered purchasing one, you probably know that there are a lot of different choices out there, but how do you know which is the best? Here are four reasons that you should put Kinetico in Utah at the top of your list.

No Electricity

All other water softeners use electricity, but combining salt, water and electricity is usually not a very good idea.  Kinetico systems are different because they are non-electric and use the force of water to power the unit, which means you won’t have to plug it in (and pay for electricity), plus there aren’t any electrical components that might go haywire or need repair in the future. According to Consumer Reports Magazine “servicepersons report that microprocessors are among the most frequently broken components of these systems” and “the damp often salty environment is hard on electric circuitry.” A non-electric Kinetico water softener eliminates all of these concerns and never requires you to program or reset it.  When water is used it simply measures the usage and regenerates whenever it needs to.

Automatically Adjusts to Water Usage

Regular water softener systems determine when to regenerate based on an average of your past daily water usage. Therefore, you get the same treatment interval when you are on vacation and using no water, as you would when you have your entire extended family in town for the holidays using 10 times your normal volume of water. Kinetico systems monitor your water use so it processes whenever it’s needed—not sooner, not later—which means you always get quality soft water and never have excess waste.

Long-Lasting and Dependable

Kinetico has been making water softeners for more than 40 years, so when you get tired of another water softener that is causing you all sorts of problems, constantly requiring repairs or needing parts replaced, call us and we’ll replace it with a Kinetico system. Our non-electric, dual softening tank water softeners are engineered to provide 20-30 years of reliable service and are backed by an industry-leading ten year warranty. 

Uses 70% Less Salt 

Yes, that is correct; a Kinetico water softener will use an average of 70% less salt than a traditional water softener.  Imagine how nice it would be to significantly reduce the number of trips you make to the store to pick up salt! That’s less times you have to haul those heavy 40 lb. bags from the garage down to the basement and then empty them into the salt tank.

It may sound too good to be true but, a Kinetico water softener really does operate without electricity, it automatically adjusts to your water usage so, you always have soft water, it uses an average of 70% less salt and provides many decades of reliable, trouble-free service.  

To find out more, contact your local Kinetico professional.

Signs Your Water Softener Needs Service or Repair

technician

Water softeners are a great addition to many homes, and when they are working properly they provide plenty of benefits, ranging from cleaner, more comfortable clothing and towels to healthier skin and hair. When they are not working, though, you want to get repairs done quickly so you can get back to enjoying that nice soft water every day. Here are a few early signs that there might be a problem so you can stay on top of the repairs.

Dishes Appear Cloudy

If you notice that your dishes are not as bright and clean as they have normally been, you should check your water softener first. The minerals in hard water often leave water spots or deposits on your glass dishes, so this is a quick way you can spot a problem.

Soap Isn’t Lathering as Well

You may also notice that when you’re soaping up in the shower you have to use a lot more soap and you’re not getting those luxurious, sudsy bubbles that you were before. That could be a result of hard water, which makes soaps more difficult to lather.

Skin Feels Itchy and Dry

Another time you might feel the water softener not working is when you shower or bathe and get out feeling itchy and dry. Soft water is better at moisturizing your skin, so that itchy, dry feeling is not something you would normally experience.

You’re Not Replacing the Salt as Often

This is one that you may not notice right away, but something you will see gradually over time. If you normally replace a bag of salt about once a month, then you go for two or three months without needing to replace it (and with no substantial change in your water usage habits), that means the tank isn’t using up the salt correctly, and it likely means that your water softener has malfunctioned.

Troubleshooting the Issues

The easiest way to find out if something is wrong with your water softener is to call a professional to come and inspect it, but there are also a couple of things you can do on your own to check the system. Simply making sure your system is plugged in and the clock is properly timed for the backwash cycles can save you a lot of headache in the long run. You can also check hardness settings if your unit comes with those to make sure that they are still on your preferred level.

You may also need to clean out the resin bed if your water softener requires it, but in many cases it’s better to call a professional for this. They can also inspect for problems in the supply tank that feeds salt to the unit. Other issues might include a malfunctioning resin rinsing system that has clogged the intake. In the absence of an obvious way to fix it yourself (such as plugging it back in if it came unplugged), it’s often best to leave it to the professionals so you don’t risk injury to yourself or others, or the chance that you will cause even more damage.

How to Choose the Right Type and Size Water Softener

water softeners

A water softener can have many benefits for your home, your appliances, and your personal comfort, but before you just head out and purchase the first water softener you see, it’s important to know about the different types and sizes out there so you can find the one that is best for your home and your budget.

The Role of Water Softeners

All water softeners, regardless of brand, type, or size, are designed to remove minerals that are making your water “hard”, which generally includes calcium, magnesium, and iron. They replace the minerals with sodium so you don’t have to deal with mineral deposits and buildup in your appliances, scratchy clothing, and dry, itchy skin.

Why Size Matters?

 A properly sized water softener will last longer, ensure the water is soft all of the time and maintain proper water pressure.  A water softener that is to small will have to regenerate more often to try and keep up, will wear out sooner and you will probably not be very satisfied with the quality of water it’s providing.  If your water softener is undersized it isn’t able to regenerate often enough to keep your water soft.  Also, when you are using a lot of water at one time, say 2 or 3 showers are being used, the water softener may not be able to soften the water fast enough to keep up with your demand and it will reduce your water pressure.

We have people contact us regularly who are frustrated with a water softener they purchased from another company because it just isn’t working properly. The most common complaint is the water softener is using salt but the water isn’t soft.  One cause is they didn’t install a properly sized water softener, usually because the wanted to save a few extra dollars instead of doing it right the first time.

3 Important items to Consider When Sizing a Water Softener

 It’s really easy to become confused when looking for a water softener. Here are three major criteria that will help in choosing a properly sized water softener.

  1. Water Quality: It’s really important to have the water tested for hardness. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg), soft water is less than 1gpg, 3.5gpg is hard, 7gpg is very hard anything over 10.5gpg is extremely hard.
  1. Peak Flow Rate: The number of gallons of water that can be used at any given time is determined by the number of bathrooms, kitchens etc that are in the home. The size of the main water line is also important.  If you have a 1” water line and the water softener has 3/4 “ internal plumbing than you may have times when the water softener isn’t able to soften the water as fast as you want to use it and will then notice a reduction in your water flow.
  2. Gallons of water used per day: For many water softeners this the most important factor in sizing. If you have a large family or use a lot of water, such as regularly using a big garden bathtub, the water softener can’t keep up with your demand and the water becomes hard.

As part of doing your research we recommend inviting any water softening company you are considering to test the hardness of the water and perform a plumbing audit, before making a recommendation and providing you with a quote.  The plumbing audit will allow them to not only examine the plumbing size and determine the number of gallons of water per minute (gpm) needed but they can also determine what is necessary to properly install the system, should you choose to work with them.

The Basics on How Water Softeners Work

water softener

You might have heard about all the potential benefits of a water softener, and if you live in an area with high levels of minerals in the water, this device can definitely improve your quality of life and the longevity of things like clothing and appliances. There are a lot of different options to choose from when you do get water softeners, so it’s important to understand the basics on how they work.

What’s in the Water

The vast majority of homes throughout the U.S. have water that is considered “hard”; what that means is that it has a high mineral content picked up when the water travels through deposit-rich areas on its journey to your home. These deposits often have things like limestone, calcium, and magnesium that get into the water and impact the quality of that water. While they won’t necessarily harm you, these hard water minerals can take a toll on your quality of life.

The Ion Exchange

The best way to eliminate these minerals from your water is with a water softener. These devices utilize a process called ion exchange, employing electrical attraction and chemistry to remove minerals and provide your home with cleaner, better water. When ions are injected into the water, they look for other ions that have either a positive or negative charge to which they can attach. The resin inside the softener tank is designed to attract minerals that are attracted to it, releasing salt into the water in exchange.

The Regeneration Process

Over time the softener will run out of salt that can be exchanged for hardness minerals, and the appliance must go through regeneration. During this process the tank will expel the minerals it collected through a drainage system, then refill with the sodium so it can continue the ion exchange process. Depending on the system, this process might be triggered by a timer (it happens at regular intervals) or by a meter (it happens only when the appliance reaches a certain level of minerals).

Benefits of Water Softening

There are many different reasons that homeowners choose to get a water softening system installed in their home. Some of the primary benefits that these systems can provide include:

  • Clothing that retains its color and softness better than in hard water
  • Hair and skin that feel softer and healthier, rather than feeling dried out
  • Longer-lasting appliances that are not damaged by buildup of minerals
  • Money savings, since you will use less detergent and soap
  • Dishes that are cleaner and do not have hard water spots
  • Ease in cleaning surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen
  • No soap scum buildup in the shower, bathtub, and in sinks

If you would like to find out more about how affordable these benefits can be, talk to a water softener company in Utah today to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions about Water Softeners

water softener

Water softening is one of the surest ways of having clean water in your home.  As water comes in contact with the earth calcium and magnesium dissolve into the water making it hard.  A water softener removes these minerals from the water  which makes the water soft.  Hard water can cause skin to be dry and itchy.  It also leaves white spots or a film on dishes, faucets and toilets and builds up in plumbing and appliances causing them to not work as effective and shortens their life.

Here are some of the most frequently asked question about water softeners:

How Does A Water Softener Work?

The process a water softener uses to remove the minerals from water is known as ion exchange.  Calcium and magnesium are removed and replaced, or exchanged, for sodium ions The most important component of water softeners is a tank containing small polystyrene beads.  As water flows past the beads the calcium and magnesium are attracted to and attach themselves to the beads and in place of the minerals a very small amount of sodium is added to the water.  This process is instantaneous, so the water is softened as you use it in your home.

After several hundred gallons of water have been softener, the polystyrene beads become coated with  minerals and the water softener will regenerate them. This process involves running a salt brine solution across the beads and the minerals are removed and flushed down the drain. 

How much salt is added to my water?

The amount of salt added by the water softening process is very minimal and is dependent on how hard the water is.  The harder the water the more salt the water softener adds to the water.   For most of the water in the Salt Lake area there will be about 25mg of sodium added to an 8oz glass of water.  As a comparison, an 8oz glass of milk contains 125mg of sodium.  

Does Soft Water Really Feel Soft?

The “soft” in soft water doesn’t actually mean soft; it means that all the hard minerals, calcium, magnesium, etc., have been removed. If you want to know how it feels, put baking soda into hard water. It will make the water softer to touch, or more accurately, slicker.

Here’s a fun fact: You can save on bath and laundry products when using soft water. It reduces soap use, which is why many Laundromats and Hotels have water-softening systems.

Water softening is one of the most effective ways you can experience better water in your home.

Contact us for more information about quality water softeners and water filtration units in Utah.

How Soft Water and Hard Water Behave Differently

Hard & Soft Water

Some people think that all water is the same regardless of where it comes from. The truth is that water quality varies widely throughout the country. Some water may be deemed ‘hard’ or ‘soft,’ and that can have a significant impact on your daily life. Read on and discover the difference between hard and soft water.

Hard vs. Soft Water

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 85 percent of water in the United States is “hard,” meaning it contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium because it comes in contact with rock and soil. Soft water, on the other hand, contains relatively few elements, and in some cases none at all. Soft water can occur naturally or be produced with treatment devices that reduce elements of water hardness.

Bathing

Certain minerals in hard water make soap and other cleaning products less effective, hampering their ability to properly lather. Hard water also creates soap and buildup in the showers, requiring more intense cleaning effort and increased use of chemicals to clean the bath.  Soap lathers easily when you have soft water, meaning you can use less (and save money on personal hygiene products), plus you won’t have to spend all your free time scrubbing hard water stains from your bath fixtures.

Cleaning

Similar to your bath soap, minerals in hard water interact with detergents that you use to clean your home and your laundry. This impacts its ability to clean dirt and stains, and requires that you use more detergent to clean your clothing. With no minerals to interact with your detergents, soft water can decrease the need for detergent by up to 50 percent.

Energy Usage

Gas water heaters using only hard water will consume more energy than those that use soft water, lowering the system’s energy efficiency and increasing water heating costs. In addition hard water residue can build up in a water heater over time and lead to deterioration sooner than if you had soft water. Soft water cuts overall energy cost and helps preserve the life of your home appliances.

Pipes and Stains

Hard water can cause buildup in pipes and the heater, which impedes water flow and can eventually block the pipes entirely, leading to potential flooding and/or expensive pipe replacements. It can also cause your small appliances around the house to deteriorate faster, such as your dishwasher and washing machine. In the long run it will cost you a lot more to pay to replace these things more often than if you paid for water softening technology.

A water softener removes the calcium and magnesium from the water and will protect your appliances, reduce cleaning time, and will help skin and hair to be softer and less dry.  A Kinetico water softener also uses no electricity, uses 70% less salt and will provide a couple of decades or reliable, trouble free service.

Kinetico’s Hard Water Vs. Soft Water Science Project Idea

Kinetico Utah - Soft Water Science Project Idea Utah

Have you ever wondered about the science behind a water softener? At Kinetico of Utah we are education advocates and love to have fun while learning! Here is a great way for you and your family to get an inside peek at some of the science behind soft water. The first thing that you will need to have is our Kinetico Utah Water Softener Words and Definitions list.

Water Softener Words and Definitions List

Soft water – water that is free from hard minerals like magnesium and calcium.

Hard water – water that contains magnesium, calcium.

Calcium – a silver-white metal found in limestone and chalk.

Epsom salt – a type of Magnesium.

Ion Exchange-the process of reciprocal transfer of ions between a solution and a resin.

Magnesium– a light silver-white metal used in lightweight alloys, flares, and fireworks.

Salt – a crytalline compound called sodium chloride. An element that gives liveliness and is also a preservative.

Soap – a substance usually made by treating a fat with alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide.

Distilled water – water from which impurities have been removed such as; dissolved salts and colloidal particles; chemically pure water.

Now that you have read and understand each of the above water softener words we will get started! We are going to start with an easy science project that we found on scifun.org that you can do at home with your family. Get ready to experience some of the science behind Hard water vs. Soft Water.

You will need:

Distilled water  (2 cups)

Epsom salts (1 Tsp)

2-liter plastic soda pop containers, with screw caps. (2 containers)

Liquid dish soap (do not use soap intended for dishwashers) (several drops)

Instructions:

1. Empty and clean the 2-liter plastic containers (on 1 bottle use a sharpie and write Hard and on the other container mark it Soft)

2. Pour (1 cup) of distilled water into each of the empty soda-pop containers.

3. Add (1 teaspoon) of Epsom salts only to the bottle marked Hard.

4.   Swirl the bottle until the Epsom salts dissolve.

5.   Add several drops of liquid dish soap to both bottles.

6.   Seal the bottles with their caps.

7.   Shake both bottles.

After following the instructions you will see two different results!

The bottle marked Hard represents hard water. In this experiment, you created hard water by adding a small amount of Epsom salt to distilled water. Hard water is found in your home before it is treated with a water softening system. Calcium and magnesium in water interfere with the cleaning action of soap and detergent by creating a barrier (soap scum). If you have hard water in your home you will use about 50-80% more soaps and detergents to get things clean! Hard water has a hard time creating bubbles, and that means your laundry doesn’t get as clean and you will be taking more expensive bubble baths!

Look at the container marked Soft. This bottle represents Soft water and will have more bubbles! Soft water does not contain hard minerals, allowing the water to work with the soap which increases the cleaning capacity of detergents and creates more bubbles! Home water softening systems help protect plumbing and appliances by decreasing the buildup of lime scale deposits. Laundry cleaned with soft water is softer and cleaner. Bubble baths get bigger and better. A Kinetico Quality Home Water Softener saves you more time and money, time and money that you can spend on the people you love most!

Thank you for your participation! If you enjoyed this post please like us on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

The first thing that you will need to have is our Kinetico Utah Water Softener Words and Definitions list.

Water Softener Words and Definitions List

Soft water – water that is free from hard minerals like magnesium and calcium.

Hard water – water that contains magnesium, calcium.

Calcium – a silver-white metal found in limestone and chalk.

Epsom salt – a type of Magnesium.

Ion Exchange-the process of reciprocal transfer of ions between a solution and a resin.

Magnesium– a light silver-white metal used in lightweight alloys, flares, and fireworks.

Salt – a crytalline compound called sodium chloride. An element that gives liveliness and is also a preservative.

Soap – a substance usually made by treating a fat with alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide.

Distilled water – water from which impurities have been removed such as; dissolved salts and colloidal particles; chemically pure water.

Now that you have read and understand each of the above water softener words we will get started! We are going to start with an easy science project that we found on scifun.org that you can do at home with your family. Get ready to experience some of the science behind Hard water vs. Soft Water.

You will need:

Distilled water  (2 cups)

Epsom salts (1 Tsp)

2-liter plastic soda pop containers, with screw caps. (2 containers)

Liquid dish soap (do not use soap intended for dishwashers) (several drops)

Instructions:

1. Empty and clean the 2-liter plastic containers (on 1 bottle use a sharpie and write Hard and on the other container mark it Soft)

2. Pour (1 cup) of distilled water into each of the empty soda-pop containers.

3. Add (1 teaspoon) of Epsom salts only to the bottle marked Hard.

4.   Swirl the bottle until the Epsom salts dissolve.

5.   Add several drops of liquid dish soap to both bottles.

6.   Seal the bottles with their caps.

7.   Shake both bottles.

After following the instructions you will see two different results!

The bottle marked Hard represents hard water. In this experiment, you created hard water by adding a small amount of Epsom salt to distilled water. Hard water is found in your home before it is treated with a water softening system. Calcium and magnesium in water interfere with the cleaning action of soap and detergent by creating a barrier (soap scum). If you have hard water in your home you will use about 50-80% more soaps and detergents to get things clean! Hard water has a hard time creating bubbles, and that means your laundry doesn’t get as clean and you will be taking more expensive bubble baths!

Look at the container marked Soft. This bottle represents Soft water and will have more bubbles! Soft water does not contain hard minerals, allowing the water to work with the soap which increases the cleaning capacity of detergents and creates more bubbles! Home water softening systems help protect plumbing and appliances by decreasing the buildup of lime scale deposits. Laundry cleaned with soft water is softer and cleaner. Bubble baths get bigger and better. A Kinetico Quality Home Water Softener saves you more time and money, time and money that you can spend on the people you love most!

Thank you for your participation! If you enjoyed this post please like us on our Kinectico Utah Facebook page and follow Kinetico Utah on Twitter!

Utah’s Whole House Water Filtration Checklist

simplify

Congratulations on choosing to buy a Kinetico home water filtration system for your home! Purchasing a home filtration system is one of the best choices you make when it comes to taking care of your family and home. You and your loved ones deserve to have safe and clean water without having to invest in products that require you to continually invest more money or more of your precious time, time that you can’t get back.

Below is a simple checklist along with related links to help you understand the undisputed value of a Kinetico Quality Water Filtration System.

  • Warranty –Kinetico is known to have the best warranty in the industry. Don’t let anyone fool you. Make sure you understand that a lifetime warranty doesn’t mean “your lifetime”. If you sell your home and the Kinetico Home Water Filtration System is kept at the original installation sight, it will still be under warranty. If you move and want to take your home filtration system with you, you will still be covered under warranty. Learn more at about the water filtration warranty.
  • Water Test –We take a water sample to determine the best sized water filtration system for your home.  Click here for more information about a free water test.
  • Non-electric– Kinetico is a Non-electric patented home water filtration system that uses natural engineering without taking a toll on the environment. Learn more about the benefits of home filtration today.
  • Dual Tanks– The Kinetico Dual tank water filtration system allows an uninterrupted supply of soft water enabling consistent regeneration of soft water protecting the water filtration system, requiring less salt and the reason why a Kinetico Home Filtration System lasts much longer than any other system on the market!
  • Customization– We offer several different water filtration systems to address a variety of water problems. Some of the less desirable contaminants include: Chlorine, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Hydrogen Sulfide (rotten egg smell) Learn more about a variety of water problems and contaminants here.
  • Certifications– A Kinetico Home Filtration System is certified through the Water Quality Association and also by NSF International. Learn more about the NSF mark and Kinetico certifications.