Should My Water Heater Have a Water Softener?

Water heaters typically last for around 8-12 years. But there are some factors, such as corrosion, neglect, and high water pressure, that can shorten the life expectancy of your water heater. The question remains whether adding a water softener to your gas or electric water heater will improve its lifespan.

What is the difference between hard and soft water?

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “well, water is pretty soft already, isn’t it?” Yes, it’s not like the water coming out of your shower head is going to punch you in the face. In this instance, we are talking about the mineral concentration of water. Hard water is simply water that has a high mineral content. When water percolates through deposits of chalk and limestone that are made up of magnesium carbonates and calcium, hard water is formed. Hard water in your water heater can lead to costly breakdowns and an increased power bill.

Soft water is treated water in which the only ion is sodium. Most of the states in the US have hard water, which is why people often need a water softening treatment.

What is water-softening?

A water softener works by using a process called ion exchange to remove things like calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese – replacing them with sodium ions. Hard water minerals stay inside the water heater while soft H20 regulates throughout your home!

Do you need a water softener?

Some believe that water heaters only require a water softener if your water system works off of a private well with extremely hard water. This just isn’t the case. Even if you live in the city, you could be receiving hot water from your tap. A water softener prevents build-up of minerals (scale) on the inside of pipes, fixtures, and hot water heaters. It could also reduce soap films and detergent curds in sinks, bathtubs, and washing machines.

As for your water heater, whether a water softener extends the life span is up for discussion, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of having one. Dealing with hard water in the home can be a nuisance and detrimental to hot water heaters.

Here is an example of calcium buildup due to a lack of water softening in a 80 gallon commercial water heater.

Lime/calcium buildup in hot water heater
Calcium buildup in hot water heater tank due to lack of water softening

Struggling with hot water heater issues is frustrating, call a top-rated plumbing company like 1-Tom-Plumber to help you diagnose and solve your plumbing problem. 1-866-758-6237

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