Water softeners are exceedingly popular among homeowners who receive their supply from the government through their community.
After all, even while previously treated, it can still be prone to mineral buildup, which can potentially damage appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.
However, what does a water softener do to well water? Does well water have the same hardness as tap water? Do you need to get it tested from a facility, such as Simple Water?
Minerals in Well Water
Well water is exceptionally prone to mineral buildup and hardness, not only because it hasn’t undergone treatment but also since it comes directly from the ground.
It’s prone to slide off underground rocks, which then lend their minerals to the water.
The pressure that water undergoes beneath may also lead it to break down smaller and softer rocks along the way, leading to even more minerals getting mixed in with it.
Don’t We Need These Minerals?
The most common minerals found in hard water are calcium and magnesium. This leads people to think that using hard water is fine, as our body needs these minerals for a healthier life.
However, that’s not necessarily the case.
In truth, it is always ideal to obtain these minerals from a well-balanced diet rather than depending on your hard water.
The Problem With Too Many Minerals in Water
There is no immediate and serious health concern related to the ingestion of minerals through your drinking water, especially if you use a filtration system that can sift out most minerals.
The problem, though, is when you use hard water for other tasks.
1. It’s hard on your skin.
Hard water can make your skin dry and prone to more allergic reactions, for instance, when it is used for bathing and washing.
According to an article published by the University of Sheffield, hard water can damage our skin’s protective barrier against various elements and sunburn.
Our skin is naturally acidic, but exposing it to water with high alkalinity, which is the case in hard water, can disturb this natural state.
As a result, it causes our pores to open and be prone to infection and other dermatological issues.
It can even lead to eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. This is a skin condition that leads to reddening, itchiness, and rashes.
2. It’s hard on your hair.
Hard water has also been found to contribute to increased hair breakage.
In a study published in the International Journal of Trichology, the amounts of calcium carbonate and magnesium sulfate present in hard water affect the tensile strength of hair.
The interaction between soap and hard water needs to be considered, as well.
Since minerals can prevent soap particles from dissolving properly. This can lead to various hair products not being rinsed off completely, resulting in either dry or sticky hair.
3. It’s hard on your clothes.
Not only is there a possibility of soap buildup on your clothes, but the minerals present in the water can also embed itself into the natural fibers of the fabric.
This can result in a natural reaction that causes your clothes to stiffen up, look lifeless, and get damaged easily.
Just consider the effect of minerals on your hair, which is also a natural fiber. The same can happen to wool, silk, and other similar materials.
4. It’s hard on your appliances.
Hard water can cause both mineral and soap residue buildup that can damage your appliances.
Some minerals are also highly corrosive, which can further pose issues for your appliances in the long run.
Getting Your Water Tested
While groundwater is naturally prone to have higher mineral levels, it is in your best interest to have your well water tested.
As an added benefit, this will also help you determine if there are other components in your water that can pose health hazards for you and your family.
Young children, pregnant women, and the elderly are particularly prone to suffering from various health issues caused by drinking untested well water, especially after an extended period.
To do so, you can work with a trusted water testing facility, such as Simple Water, in order to test your own water at home.
This company offers a send-away testing kit. This kit contains collecting implements that you’ll use to obtain water samples from your water source.
You are then required to send these samples back to their lab for testing.
Simple Water offers three well water testing kits, and all of them include results for hardness and alkalinity.
While it’s understandably practical to choose the most affordable option, we recommend considering other factors and potential contaminants that might be present in your well water.
In this way, you will only have to get your water tested once instead of multiple times.
What Does a Water Softener Do to Well Water?
Once proven that your well water is in need of softening, you can then move on to install a water softener to do so.
A water softener is a piece of equipment that includes multiple components: a resin tank, a brine tank, and a control panel composed of a timer and a control valve.
It is installed on your main water system to treat well water before it enters your home.
Water softening systems use a process called ion exchange. This process works to replace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron with sodium ions.
If properly installed, your well water passes through the water softener first, undergoes the treatment, and enters your home free from these minerals.
While you can always try to install your water softener yourself, we still recommend getting the job done professionally.
This task requires midlevel plumbing skills, especially if your home wasn’t pre-plumbed to have a water softener installed.
The installation process may require cutting pipelines to align your water softener with your existing water system, so you’d want to contact a professional to do it.
The Benefits of Using Water Softener for Your Well Water
The benefits of using a water softener are apparent, given the consequences of exposure to hard water.
Aside from a decreased risk of hair breakage and developing eczema, a paper published by the World Health Organization also points out other benefits.
Soft water can definitely help people who are suffering from health conditions brought about by increased calcium and magnesium levels.
One may argue that the use of sodium in a water softener can then increase the sodium levels in one’s drinking water, which can affect people required to practice a low-sodium diet.
If that’s the case, then you can consider replacing sodium with potassium chloride. Better yet, you can opt to get your water from a separate source for your drinking and cooking needs.
One of the most prevalent concerns that people relying on wells as their primary source of water is its hardness.
Hard water is water that contains a higher level of minerals. Well water typically contains more minerals compared to treated water.
This is because it is sourced directly from the ground, where it interacts with various rocks containing these substances.
You can always get your well water tested by a facility, like Simple Water, to get a detailed report on the specific components in your water.
While drinking hard water has no significant negative impact on one’s health, it can wreak havoc to your skin, hair, and appliances when used for washing and other chores.
It is for this reason that installing a water softener can prove beneficial.
So, what does a water softener do to well water? It “softens” it up and makes it better for your skin, hair, clothes, and appliances.