Wondering how installing a water softener might affect your appliances and plumbing, for good and for bad?
Here, we’ve listed all the possible beneficial and negative effects of soft water on your home’s plumbing system.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- Positive impacts of a water softener on your appliances and plumbing include improved appliance efficiency and longer appliance lifespan, faster flow of water through your pipes, improved fixture appearance, better laundry results, and lower energy bills.
- The only potential negative effect of soft water in your home’s plumbing is increased corrosion risk, but this is thought to only apply to naturally soft water, not ion exchange softened water.
Table of Contents
✅ Positive Impacts Of Water Softening On Appliances And Plumbing
Here are all of the positive impacts that water softening might have on your plumbing and appliances:
Improved Appliance Efficiency
To understand how water softeners can improve your appliance efficiency, we need to look at how hard water causes decreased efficiency in your appliances.
Hard water forms scale buildup that reduces water flow and clogs holes, so your water-using appliances have to work harder and for longer to achieve the same results.
Water softeners remove the minerals responsible for scale formation, so appliances can run efficiently throughout their lifespans.
Longer Appliance Lifespan
Installing a whole-home water softener can also encourage appliance longevity.
We know that water with a high mineral content can leave deposits that reduce an appliance’s efficiency and require it to work harder. This can eventually lead to early appliance failure.
Using only soft water in your appliances means they can operate as intended by the manufacturer, enabling them to continue to achieve their purpose for years to come.
Faster Water Flow
The same mineral deposits in your appliances may also build up in your pipes and plumbing. Over time, these deposits will create resistance, slowing the flow of water through the pipes and reducing water pressure (also called frictional loss).
After you’ve installed a water softener, your water will no longer be able to form hard water scale buildup. So, your home’s flow rate will stay consistent regardless of the age of your plumbing system.
Improved Fixture Appearance
Hard water scale build-up looks unpleasant – it’s grey/white in color and has a rough, chalky texture that makes it difficult to easily remove.
With hard water, you might notice these ugly scale deposits on various fixtures in your home, including your shower head, your sinks and faucets, and your toilets.
You can eliminate these mineral deposits by installing a water softener. The softer water in your home will leave no traces of its presence, so your appliances look cleaner and you have fewer cleaning responsibilities.
Continue Reading: Water softeners and their impact on plumbing fixtures
Better Laundry Results
The performance of washing machines is hindered by hard water. When water has a high calcium and magnesium content, it’s unable to lather properly with soap, so you need more soaps and detergents to achieve the same results. Hard water build-up might also reduce the lifespan of your washing machine.
Using only soft water in your washing machine is the more cost-effective solution because you can cut down on the expense of soaps, and your appliance should last longer with fewer clogs and leaks.
Lower Energy Bills
Hot water heaters work best with soft water. Why? For the same reason why all other appliances are more efficient after installing a water softener: there’s no scale build-up to impact the system’s performance.
Limescale in a hot water heater tank acts as a layer of insulation between the heating elements and the water. As a result, the water heater has to work for longer to heat water, resulting in an increase in your energy bills.
Soft water is free from calcium and magnesium minerals and won’t form scale, so you can save money on heating water and keep your energy bills low.
🚱 Potential Negative Effects Of Water Softening On Appliances And Plumbing
The one potential negative impact of water softening on appliances and plumbing is:
Softened water has a low pH and is potentially corrosive, which could be harmful to your pipes and appliances.
When water is softened in a water softener, the calcium and magnesium ions (which contribute to water hardness and increase its alkalinity), are removed. Without these alkaline minerals, softened water has an average pH of 6-7.
That’s not a massive difference from the average pH of hard water, which is around 7-8 – but some sources say that the water’s lack of minerals means it’s more likely to pull metals such as copper from your pipes as it travels through your home’s plumbing system.
However, one report by the ETWA noted that only naturally soft water has the potential to be corrosive, while water that has been softened by ion exchange water hasn’t undergone any changes that could increase corrosivity by affecting parameters like conductivity, temperature, chloride level, dissolved oxygen, pH, and sulfate level.
Importantly, ion exchange water softening doesn’t massively decrease water’s dissolved solids concentration. For this reason, the water shouldn’t be “hungry” and shouldn’t pull metals and minerals from its surroundings.
So, to conclude, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that salt-softened water will corrode your pipes as naturally soft water might.
📑 Final Word
Our research tells us that softened water has far more positive effects than negative effects on your appliances and plumbing.
There isn’t enough research or evidence to suggest that the only possible negative effect of soft water – corrosion – applies specifically to water softened with ion exchange.
So, if you’re concerned about the negative impacts of softened water on your plumbing and appliances, we found nothing to report.
There are plenty of positive impacts of water softeners on your home’s plumbing system. They were invented to provide a solution to some of the common problems with your pipes and appliances, after all.
If you want to enjoy the best benefits from a water softener, make sure to choose a best-selling system that has plenty of positive feedback and is recommended by experts in the water treatment industry.