Would you also like to know if the city water is soft or hard?
Are you also debating whether or not you should get a water softener with city water?
Some experts say you should, while some doctors say you shouldn’t!
So what should one exactly do?
In this article, I will answer the above questions and let you know how to understand the hardness of your city water.
Read until the end to learn about installing a water softener’s pros, cons, and health effects.
Let’s get started!
Is City Water Hard or Soft?
It’s your first week in your new place. There’s a municipal water system in the development, so you know the water will be great for drinking, and there’ll be plenty for you and your family. Does a water softener still make sense?
Can you tell if municipal water is hard or soft? Like any other water supply, municipal water can be hard or soft. Water from city sources is treated to make it safe to drink, but it’s up to the homeowner to make it soft.
You can only be sure if your water is soft or hard by testing it with a hardness test kit. A water softener can fix several key symptoms caused by hard water.
REMEMBER – Most often than not, the city water turns out to be hard, meaning it would greatly benefit you and your family to install a water softener.
Understanding the Hardness of your City Water
If you want a quick and cheap estimate of your water’s hardness, try one of these methods.
#1 Water bottle test with Soapsuds
A soapsuds test is one of the easiest and quickest ways to test hard water. This test requires a clear, clean, empty glass or plastic bottle with a tight-fitting cap. Take a bottle, fill it about a third with water, add a few drops of pure liquid soap, and shake it for about 15 seconds. Watch the solution as you set the bottle down.
You’ve got hard water if you don’t see any fluffy bubbles in your water or if it’s foggy or foamy. In soft water, bubbles would quickly rise and rest at the bottom, and the water would be clear. TIP – Keep in mind that some soaps are formulated with detergents, so they lather no matter what type of water you use. Use a basic soap, like Castile, for the best results. Unlike many soaps, this one is dye-free, detergent-free, and perfume-free.
#2 You can check with your city or water provider
Ask your local water provider for their latest water quality report if you get your water from a municipal line. Many of these utilities post their reports online so that you can do a quick search. It’s important to know how to read and understand water quality reports because some of them can be technical.
The only downside is that the reports might not reflect the water quality directly at your tap since the water is tested at a treatment facility and can pick up impurities on its way to your house. Despite that, water quality reports can give you a good idea of your area’s water hardness.
Most utilities measure water hardness in milligrams per Liter (mg/L).
#3 Buy a hard water test kit that’s high-quality
If you want to know if your water is hard (or not), a water test kit is probably the easiest way. You’ll usually get a color chart and water test strips in a regular kit. Test kits are available at local home improvement stores and online retailers.
Water test strips, color disks, and digital kits are the three common types of water testing kits. The most popular one is a water test kit. They are single-use strips that change color based on contaminants.
You must fill a container with water from your faucet, then soak the test strip. Using the color chart included with the kit, compare the resulting color to the strip. On the chart, each color represents how hard your water is, measured in grains per gallon (GPG). Based on the result, you’ll know how hard your water is.
TIP – A water hardness test kit is the quickest and easiest way to find out if your municipal water is hard or soft, but there are other signs you can also find out.
Why do we recommend Water Softener even if you have City Water?
The city water is treated to meet U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards for healthy and safe drinking. Even so, minerals in your water can still damage your plumbing. If you have hard water, you could pay more for plumbing repairs.
Besides, minerals in your tap water could stop you from enjoying the benefits of clean, soft water. Dry skin, calcium and scale buildup on sinks and tubs, faded clothes, and higher water bills are all problems caused by these minerals.
To avoid all these health and money-spending issues, I would still recommend you to install a water softener that meets your needs even if you have city water supplied at your house.
So whether you are using city water or well water, your home will benefit greatly from a water softener.
Chlorine Added to your City Water
Another problem with city water is that it tastes like swimming pool water. The reason for that is that chlorine is most of the time added to municipal water treatment. This makes the water safe to drink since it’s free of bacteria. City water, however, only needs chlorine once it gets to your house. Leftover chlorine can make your water taste like soap and dry your skin.
That is why if you have a whole house water filter installed, you can remove chlorine from your water, leaving it with a much more enjoyable taste.
Why your City Water is not Softened?
Softening hard water can be very expensive when done on a large scale. A small housing development would be expensive because of materials, labor, water, and equipment.
Many homeowners don’t like softened water and want to avoid the extra maintenance of softening the entire development.
Additionally, the amount of water it would take to regenerate the enormous water softeners for an entire development would greatly strain the natural water supply.
Pros & Cons of Installing Water Softener at Home
Pros of Installing Water Softener –
- Cleans and disinfects water for household use and provides you with soft water.
Soft water is safer to drink than hard water. Besides being safe, it’s also friendly to laundry and appliances. Consequently, it makes life easier and extends the lifespan of appliances.
- Gets rid of scale buildup.
There’s no denying that hard water stains appliances, toilets, dishes, sinks, and pipes. Soft water prevents minerals and stains from accumulating on appliances, toilets, sinks, and pipes, extending their lifespan.
- It makes washing easier.
Water that are soft works better for soaps and detergents and feels good on most people’s skin.
Some people feel itchy or dry when they use hard water because it’s resistant to soap and detergent. Laundered clothes also look shiny thanks to soft water.
Besides softening one’s hair, it’s also good for the skin.
- The plumbing system doesn’t have to work as hard
Due to scale build-up, hard water can pressure the whole plumbing system, reducing its life and efficiency.
Additionally, it could reduce water pressure from taps because it impedes water flow. You can prevent this with a water softener.
Cons of Installing Water Softener
- Installation and maintenance are expensive.
It can cost as much as $2,000 to install a water softener.
The resin beads will eventually run out of sodium ions to counteract the calcium and magnesium ions, so routine maintenance is also necessary.
Before reaching the softening unit, the water may need to be filtered or disinfected, depending on its source.
Salt-based softeners require regular maintenance and replenishment, which leads to higher costs.
Your drainage field will be subjected to additional strain during backwashing and regeneration. It is estimated that each regeneration cycle uses about 50 gallons of water. Septic systems may experience hydraulic overload as a result of this.
- It is also expensive to choose an alternative.
Models with special features that do everything except add salt can be purchased, but they will cost more per feature.
Convenience comes at a cost; there is no guarantee that the feature will succeed over time. Potassium chloride pellets can be used instead of sodium or salt pellets in the tank.
These devices eliminate salt, but they are, unfortunately, very expensive.
Comparatively speaking, a bag of potassium chloride costs between $25 and $30, while a bag of salt costs between $4 and $6.
- Harm to the environment
There is also an environmental impact associated with it. When softened water is released into the environment, it flows onto plants, causing the soil to become acidic, thus making plants less productive.
- Interfering with dietary mineral requirements
People on low-sodium diets are at risk from water softening’s potential health risks. For each gpg of hardness removed, sodium is added at a rate of 7.5 milligrams per quart.
Additionally, calcium and magnesium, minerals essential to human health, are removed from the diet of homeowners.
Hard water contains calcium and magnesium, but softened water lacks these minerals. Some individuals may need calcium and magnesium supplements.
Health Effects of Home Water Softening
Water softeners that use sodium chloride (salt) increase sodium levels in your home’s water. When it comes to home softeners, consider the following:
Drinking softened water is not recommended if you have high blood pressure or someone in your household does.
If you want to reduce the amount of sodium you drink, you can do the following:
For cooking and drinking, you should have an unsoftened tap.
Replace sodium chloride (salt) with potassium chloride when regenerating your softener. In most stores that sell softener salt, you can find potassium chloride.
Calcium, iron, and magnesium removed by softening are not harmful but may benefit the body. If you remove them from your water, you may need to consume more of them in your diet.
Before you leave, please read the lines below…
City water is often hard and can be tested in many ways.
Even if your house gets city water, there are reasons for you to buy a water softener.
Analyze the pros and cons on your own. Remember what health effects a water softener can have (on you & your family).
Also, softening water on that large a scale is very expensive.
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