Do you have hard water in Calgary? If so, you are probably very familiar with the problems that it causes — damaging mineral scale buildup, hard-to-remove soap scum, and “uglifying” your hair and skin.
Fortunately, water softener installation is an effective treatment method. It will reduce the mineral content in the water supply, leaving the water soft and clean.
Is a water softener right for your home? This article provides the answers you need to make an informed decision.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains a higher than usual amount of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is usually measured in terms of grains per US gallon, equivalent to 3.8 litres; 3 grains per gallon (gpg) or above is unacceptably hard.
Unlike bacteria and similar contaminants, hard water’s excess mineral content cannot be reduced by boiling.
Is Hard Water Bad?
Hard water is not bad in the sense of being harmful to ingest. Calcium and magnesium are both essential minerals that should be included in every healthy person’s diet. So you don’t need to worry about drinking or cooking with hard water.
Hard water does have an undesirable effect in your home, though. It produces a buildup of mineral deposits inside plumbing pipes, kettles, water heaters, washing machines, and other water-using appliances. The mineral sediment, known as limescale, reduces the energy efficiency of appliances and can clog your plumbing. Unfortunately, this same buildup also tends to leave your hair and skin looking dull and dry after being washed.
Does Calgary Have Hard Water?
Calgary’s water and surrounding communities are classed from Hard (7-11 gpg) to Very Hard (higher than 11 gpg). The Bow and Elbow Rivers contribute a high level of calcium and magnesium to our local water supply.
Calgary water’s mineral levels vary throughout the year. For example, they are lowered temporarily in the spring due to the melting snow, but even the lowest-end measurements fall into the Hard category.
Check out the grains per gallon measurements in some Alberta cities below:
Measurement: 11.6 – 15.1 gpg
Rating: Very Hard
Measurement: 11 gpg
Measurement: 11.6 – 15.1
Rating: Very Hard
Rating: Very Hard
How Does A Water Softener Work?
A water softener works to treat your water supply and reduce hardness. It removes minerals through a process of ion exchange, leaving you with soft water for washing and cleaning. (Hard water can safely be used outdoors for watering your lawn and garden.)
The process involves channelling the incoming water supply through a tank lined with a layer of porous polystyrene resin beads. Negatively charged with a sodium ion, the beads are described as anions.
As the water flows over the beads, the positive mineral ions (“cations”) stick to them while the sodium ions are released.
The water softener’s beads must be regenerated with a high-salt (sodium) solution every few days. Usually, this happens in the middle of the night to avoid interfering with the regular operation of the water softener.
According to the manufacturer’s directions, you will have to add sodium chloride to your water softener occasionally to produce the salty brine solution.
Water softener benefits include reducing clogged pipes due to limescale, more energy-efficient and longer-lasting appliances, and softer, more lustrous hair complexion.
Types Of Water Softeners
Salt-based water softeners, which use sodium chloride, are the most common type. However, they add approximately 200 ml of sodium per litre of usable water. If a household member must restrict their sodium intake for medical reasons, you might be advised to look for an alternative type of water softener.
Salt-free water softeners use potassium chloride — instead of sodium chloride — for their regeneration process. This is acceptable even on a low sodium diet. One caveat: Potassium chloride is quite a bit more expensive than sodium chloride.
Dual-tank water softeners are equipped with two resin tanks so that even when one tank is undergoing the regeneration process, the other will be available to use. This will add convenience because you’ll have a constant, uninterrupted flow of softened water at any time of day or night.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Water Softener?
The cost to install a water softener is variable. Your water softener installation cost will depend on several important factors, which include:
- Size of your home
- Number of household members,
- The hardness level of your water supply (how many gpg of minerals you have to remove)
- Other minerals you might wish to remove, for example sulfur or iron
- Your family’s special requirements in terms of dietary issues or water supply preferences
After completion of your home water testing, your plumber will discuss the right type of water softener system for you, according to their findings and your individual situation.
Trusted Water Softeners
Not all water softeners are created equal. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted plumbing company to buy a reliable model for optimal performance.
At Knight Plumbing, our professional recommendation is to install one of the following trusted water softener brands:
Aquamaster whole home water softeners combine high efficiency with convenience. These impressive fixtures soften up to 70-90 gpg hardness, according to the model you choose.
Their fast regeneration process is based on actual usage — rather than a preset schedule — to save you money on water, salt, and energy. They’re also easy maintenance due to their built-in self-cleaning filter (no messy cartridge changes for you!).
The Water Boss is not just a water softener; it’s known as a “water refiner.” Its triple-action utilizes ion exchange resin beads, fine mesh filtration, and activated carbon. This winning design will remove dirt, sediment, and chlorine, in addition to the water hardness minerals — calcium and magnesium.
The WaterBoss refiner’s carbon filter comes complete with an innovative self-cleaning system (unlike other chlorine-removing carbon filters, which require frequent manual cleaning to prevent the growth of microorganisms).
Knight Knows Water Softeners
We’re your Calgary plumbing experts. We know the local hard water problems… and we’re here with solutions.