Why Is a Water Softener a Good Idea?

Why Is a Water Softener a Good Idea?

To understand why installing a water softener is a good idea, it helps to understand why hard water is a problem. First, “hard water” is considered “hard” because it contains minerals, generally all or some combination of the following:
Water Softener

  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • copper
  • manganese


Calcium and magnesium are the biggest culprits, with iron being a close third. These minerals bind or react with soap and detergents to cause an insoluble material called “curd.” Hard water makes cleaning difficult because:


  • it wastes soap and/or synthetic detergents; more needs to be used but it still doesn’t clean as well
  • it leaves scum and rings in tubs, toilets, and sinks that are difficult or impossible to remove
  • it creates spots and streaks on dishes in the dishwasher
  • it can stain clothing
  • it makes bathing difficult because soap doesn’t clean or rinse out well; skin conditions may also be aggravated
  • it causes scale build-up in appliances – water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. this generally means higher costs in repair and the need to replace more often

Will Installing a Water Softener Increase My Water Bill?

Will Installing a Water Softener Increase My Water Bill?

The answer to this question is – “yes, yes it will,” but if you want to know how much Water Softene will actually increase your bill – we can’t give you a definite answer on that.

It depends on what kind of system you install, how big it is, the degree of hardness in the water, the size of your pipes, number of bathrooms, types of showerheads, how many people are in your household, how much water they use in a day, and what your water rates are (yes, we know – it isn’t fair, but water rates are different in Scottsdale than they are in Glendale). That said – it isn’t going to be an exorbitant amount, particularly when you consider that it’s generally offset by saving you money on the problems that having hard water would create for you.

Water Softener

The reason why water softeners raise your water bill is because they use additional water to “backwash” or “recharge” the water softening filtration system after a certain number of gallons have been run through and treated. This additional water might be anywhere from 15 gallons to 100 gallons per “recharge;” how often it recharges depends on the usage. The usage depends on how big your family is, how they use water, how many appliances you have, etc.


The reason why water softeners save money is that the minerals in hard water are tough on appliances; dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines will all wear out and need to be replaced sooner. Also – it takes more detergent – and often more water – to get things “clean,” because hard water reduces the cleaning efficiency of any kind of soap.


A very broad, very generalized estimate for additional costs to run a water softener for a family of three per year is approximately $200 – in both salt and additional water bill cost.


All Natural Diy Solution to prevent slow running drains

Here are our best DIY drain-clearing, pre-emptive Solution

How Do I Stop Plumbing Problems Before They’re Problems?

As we’ve previously noted, FOG – fats, oils, and grease are anathema to drains. They will clog up even the highest of high-end, gourmet kitchens with state-of-the-art plumbing. While we’ve previewed what caustic drain cleaners can do to clear your drains, the truth is that the best solution to a clogged up kitchen drain is really to do preventative maintenance. And the first thing to start with is also the simplest – just quit pouring FOG’s down the drain.


The next best solution is what we like to call a “pre-emptive strike.” You periodically “clean out” the drain every month or so, just as a precautionary measure, whether it’s running slowly or not. That way, you never actually have to arrive at the “Oh, no, oh darn it –“ stage.


While slow-running drains are a concern, so is the environment – and saving money. We want to save both for you, so here are our best “DIY” drain-clearing, pre-emptive solutions:


  • Homemade Grease-cutting Solution Recipe # 1: Pour half a cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal, and then add a half to a whole cup of white vinegar. Let it stand for 20 minutes, then run cold water and turn the disposal on for about a minute or so. Baking soda fizzes and helps the vinegar dissolve grease. That should take care of a lot of stuff that might be gumming up your garbage disposal drain.


  • Homemade Grease-cutting Solution Recipe #2: Mix one cup white vinegar with one cup boiling water and pour down your drain. Let it stand for the time it takes to boil another pot or teakettle of water. Pour the boiling water down the drain to rinse it through. The vinegar dissolves grease, the boiling water pushes it through.


  • Homemade Grease-cutting Solution Recipe # 3: This one isn’t quite as environmentally friendly, but it is helpful if you’re dealing with odor coming from your drain or garbage disposal. Mix a cup of bleach with a cup of hot water and pour it down the drain; let stand for a few minutes. Follow this with at lease a couple of quarts of warm, soapy water – mix it with biodegradable, grease cutting, dish soap. The bleach is an anti-bacterial, and the grease cutting dish soap will rinse it through.


  • Home-made Grease-cutting Solution Recipe # 4: This is a great weekly measure for all drains: mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt, and 1 cup cream of tartar together (if you want to mix up a bigger batch, this powder will store forever, btw). Every week pour about half to ¾ of a cup down your drain, then follow it with 2 cups of boiling water. The cream of tartar is a natural pipe cleaner (especially for metal pipes), and the boiling water will fizz the baking soda, causing the salts to scour away the buildup.


How Do I Stop Plumbing Problems Before They’re Problems?

What’s “FOG” you may ask? FOG is a your plumbing system pipe’s worst nightmare – fats, oils, and grease! Hot grease is liquid when it’s hot, but when you pour it down your drain, it hardens, turning into the kind of sludge you see in a cooled pan after you’ve cooked a pound of bacon. The same is true of butter, lard, and shortening. They all harden, and they all turn into sludge. And that sludge sticks to the inside of your pipes, and narrows them considerably.


What about oils and fats? They’re liquid aren’t they? Well, yes, they may look liquid, but they’re thick and tacky, and they coat the inside of your pipes, and that will narrow them as well. All of these substances will stick, clump, cling, glob, and/or lodge inside your pipes, and collect food particles and all the other debris that goes down your drain, no matter how careful you try to be.


What to do?

We’ve previewed caustic chemical drain cleaners and what they can do after you’ve got a big problem, but there’s plenty you can do before you have a partial or completely clogged drain problem to keep it from happening. The first is really the most simple, and though we feel like a broken record, the fact is that the #1 best solution to a clogged drain is not to clog it up in the first place. And our expert advice on this is simply to stop pouring any kind of slick substance down your drain (we know, that can be kind of an irritating answer, but we need to cover all the bases for you). Whatever it is – a plate or a bowl or a pan – take a paper towel and wipe up the scraps/grease/oil and put it into the garbage.


Then second best #1 solution is never use hot water to rinse the dishes and pans off in the sink either. After you’ve scraped everything off all the dishes, but before you wash or put them in the dishwasher, soak them first in a tub of hot, hot water mixed with one of the new, biodegradable, anti-grease/grease-cutting dish soaps now on the market. These dish soaps won’t remove the grease build-up inside your drains, but they do a fine job of keeping grease from building up, because they break down the fat particles and dissolve them.