Key Signs Your Home Has Hard Water


You may have heard the term “hard water” and wondered what it is and whether your home has this type of water. Unless you have experienced hard water before, how would you know if you had it? It’s important for homeowners to understand some of the common signs of hard water to be able to identify it, understand the problems associated with it, and learn the best ways to remove it from your water supply.

Hard Water Causes

Hard water comes from minerals that are present in the soil and are absorbed into the water supply on its way to your home. That usually includes some or all of the following:

  • Calcium carbonate
  • Limestone
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

These minerals, while not generally harmful to your health, can cause problems any time you use water in your home.

Noticeable Hard Water Problems

While you can always call a water softener company, or your local water municipal office for a testing kit to determine if you have hard water, most people notice some of the other effects before they take the step of getting it tested. Things you may have noticed at your own home might include:

  • Water spots or a white film on your dishes and glassware
  • Coarse hair and dry itchy skin
  • Mineral deposits that build up on your faucets and appliances (and in your pipes, although you likely only notice this if it gets bad enough to clog the pipe)
  • Mineral deposits, known as scaling, on your shower and bathtub doors
  • Clothing that looks dull or loses its color quickly
  • Poor lathering from your soap or shampoo

Fixing Hard Water

The easiest way to fix hard water in your home (short of moving somewhere that doesn’t have any naturally-occurring minerals in the water) is to purchase a water softener. These systems remove the minerals and exchange them for salt, leaving you with softer skin and hair, shiny spot free dishes, cleaner clothes that hold their color longer, and pipes that are protected from continual scale buildup.

Another advantage of a water softener is the prolonged life for your appliances. Hard water can quickly damage appliances such as your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater, which means they don’t work as well as you hope and you’ll have to spend money replacing them sooner. When you purchase a water softener, the water that flows through these appliances is free of minerals that could otherwise clog up the system and cause problems.

To get a quote on a new water softener in Utah, or to find out more about what minerals are in your water, call Kinetico of Salt Lake City today.

Signs Your Water Softener Needs Service or Repair


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.