Every homeowner has experienced hard water in their households, from itchy skin after a hot shower to noticing mineral deposits on their clothes after doing laundry. At first, people may not be aware that Calgary’s hard water is to blame and might think that something could be wrong with their appliances instead. While that is also possible, it’s more likely that water hardness is the culprit.
Hard water doesn’t just irritate our skins or stain our dishes after a cycle; it causes severe calcification inside our washing machines, dishwashers, shower heads and faucets over time. If you ever peek into your drain openings and notice the calcium deposits and sediment buildup, how much worse do you think it looks deeper down the line?
Calgary has a clean water supply that comes from the Rocky Mountains and even supplies neighbouring provinces with that. Thanks to our healthy watersheds, we have access to clean water, which, however, has one downside—mineral buildup. Due to the high level of minerals originating from rocks like limestone, it all gets washed down into our rivers.
While the city thoroughly disinfects and cleans our supply before distributing it to us, it still has hard minerals that we will have to filter out ourselves if we need to. North Calgary and South Calgary each have a primary treatment plant that receives supply from different rivers. The northern part’s main supply comes from the Bow River, whereas the southern part receives the majority of its supply from the Elbow River. The hardness level varies, and it seems that the Elbow River contains more minerals than the Bow River. The hardness level is the lowest in the spring during snowmelt but highest during the colder winter months.
Homeowners are aware of that, which explains why our Calgary plumbers receive many water softener system installation requests in the winter. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary, we provide preventative measures to keep your plumbing systems healthy, which includes your appliances. Trust our uniformed experts who are licensed and insured, bringing many years of experience in water filtration and purification services to help improve its quality.
What Is A Water Softener?
Calgary residents rely on these water softener systems to protect their appliances and the quality of their belongings. A water softener installation will help remove hard mineral content like calcium and magnesium via ion exchange. It’s a process where mineral ions are trapped in a resin and exchanged for sodium and potassium ions. This is the common traditional option that you will find in most homes that opt for softening systems. It has a long lifespan and is generally easy to maintain but requires you to regularly buy salt to keep it going. Over the years, aqua specialists have come up with more options that are more suitable for people who are sensitive to sodium. Other types of water softeners and alternatives include:
- Salt free: This type is designed to neutralize mineral ions so they don’t create buildup too easily. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the ability to actually remove hard minerals, but it’s reliable at filtering out impurities.
- Portable softeners: Portables have the same functions as the traditional sodium-based types and are convenient for road trips or camping. Be sure to bring a bag of salt.
- Shower head softener: This is ideal for those who have dry skin and want soft water only in the shower. It’s cheap and easy to install, leading to softer skin in the long run.
- Reverse Osmosis System: This is a popular purification system that your Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary offers. Its biggest strength is filtering out contaminants and impurities, which also include most hard minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. As its purpose is to primarily provide clean drinking water, it only operates via one faucet.
- Magnetic Softeners: This is a newer system that operates similarly to salt-free systems where it neutralizes hard minerals rather than removing them. It requires no pipework, just electricity.
How Does Water Softener Installation Work?
Before you consider an installation, it’s important to understand sizing that incorporates salt efficiency. Many Calgary homeowners overlook this step and end up overusing salt. Doing the necessary calculation will help you make cost-effective choices, such as estimating your daily or weekly water usage and knowing your water hardness rating, expressed as calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This is measured in milligrams per litre (mg/L) and grains per imperial gallon.
For example, the average rating for water hardness in North Calgary for January is 194 milligrams per litre or 13.6 grains per gallon. Your local Calgary plumber will do a more detailed measurement of your hard mineral level before the installation process.
While it’s possible to install a softer system yourself, we recommend hiring a certified plumbing technician to get the job done fast and efficiently to rule out any potential issues in the future, especially if you want to supply your entire home with a Calgary water softener unit. Otherwise, it will require some plumbing knowledge and necessary tools and materials to carry out the installation, from finding the right size NPT connectors to connecting tubing to drain lines. It also requires power to function, which means that you must ensure it has circuit breaker protection.
What Are The Signs I Need Calgary Water Softener?
Calgary homeowners that have a good cleaning habit will often create a baking soda paste with white vinegar to scrub their drain openings, faucet spout and aerator. Calcium deposits combined with soap scum and other debris is probably one of your least favourite things—not only do they add up to your routine cleaning requirements, but over time, they can lead to clogged drains where you will constantly find yourself dealing with a clogged kitchen sink. You might experience other signs that are bothersome, but you just deal with them. What if we tell you that you can do something about them? Here are the common signs that you need a Calgary water softener:
- Calcium deposit on faucet spout
Do you notice recurring watermarks, lime or scale buildup? Sometimes it seems that our aerator isn’t controlling the stream all that well. If we look closely, we will see stubborn mineral deposits stuck around our spout.
- Limescale around sink and tile
It may be natural for you to scrub your bathtub, sinks and tile walls, but does it feel uncomfortably chalky when you touch it? That buildup of limescale gives your home an overall feeling of discomfort, and it can be reduced with an effective water softener.
- Colours fading on clothes
Is someone in the family complaining about you washing their clothes too much, which has led to fading colours? Perhaps they knew the water quality and had noticed stiff laundry before. This is when Calgary water softener services from your local plumber will make a huge difference.
- Strong tastes and smells
Luckily, the municipality ensures there are no harmful heavy metals in our drinking water, but the actual hardness of minerals gives off a metallic taste, not to mention a strong smell of chlorine.
Note: If you ever smell rotten eggs, you should call 311 to check whether the city has detected bacteria during supply distribution. If not, it’s like your supply line or bacteria in your heater tank. Water heaters can harbour bacteria if not maintained well.
- Low water pressure
This is when scale and other hard minerals accumulate in your supply lines and interfere with your pressure system. Your local Calgary plumber can gas the tools to effectively inspect your pipes.
- Itchy skin and scalp after shower
We have touched upon this one before, but it’s important to know that minerals can clog pores and cause breakouts and flaky skin. If you suffer from skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, we highly recommend a Calgary water softener installation, even if it’s only for the shower head.
- Appliances not reaching life expectancy
Before you blame the manufacturers for your broken dishwasher or washing machine, you must consider that hard water deposits could also cause severe damage. Sediment buildup and scale are very aggressive, even for the best appliances in the market, causing them to be less efficient over time with frequent clogs and malfunctioning parts.
- Watermarks on glasses
You may notice mineral residues on your glasses once they dry after cleaning. Although this nuisance is minimal, it should make you wonder how it might affect your entire household and your quality of life.
Benefits of Calgary Water Softener
Calgary homeowners have praised this system for helping them preserve their appliances and overall results after running a cycle of laundry or dishwashing. Some benefits include:
- Healthier skin and hair
- Cleaner clothes
- Clean dishes
- Promotes longevity of appliances
- Healthier for pipes and overall plumbing system
- Less soap required for cleaning and bathing
- Saves money
- No more calcium deposits!
Frequently Asked Questions About Calgary Water Softener:
After covering the signs and benefits and other facts, it’s essential to note that softened water doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone. We want to be transparent about any pros and cons to ensure that we have considered every individual’s circumstances. This way, you will know if an installation is right for your household. Here are some of the frequently asked questions from our customers.
I’m on a Sodium-Reduced Diet. Will Soft Water Be OK For Me?
Although hard water doesn’t pose any health risks, salt-based softening systems do. A glass of soft water could contain up to 12.5 mg of sodium, which could add up drastically if you’re on a low-sodium diet. The good news is that there are salt-free options. You might benefit the most from a reverse osmosis system.
Is Soft Water Safe To Drink?
It’s safe to drink for healthy people, but over time, it will increase one’s sodium levels if not careful. If you have high blood pressure, we recommend that you talk to your physician first before considering an installation. We also recommend looking at other suitable options. Our team of customer service reps is happy to help!
What Are The Signs I Need Water Softener Repair:
Calgary homeowners that have an existing softener often forget to set reminders for maintenance or don’t pay enough attention to salt usage. It’s common to add a bag of salt every month, but if you find yourself doing it every other month, chances are something is wrong with the system. If you have a softener but start noticing calcium deposits, it will likely need repair. The issues could be minor, such as the system isn’t properly plugged in or your hardness settings need to be adjusted.
I Heard Softeners Are Bad for Water Heater Tanks. Is That True?
You are not wrong. While softeners are designed to remove hard minerals and prevent calcium buildups, a high sodium level could corrode anode rods, which are metal rods made of magnesium or aluminum. An anode rod extends through your tank's interior, attracting iron and other corrosive particles to protect the steel liner. Ensure that you keep up with your water heater inspection and flushing services.
How Long Do These Systems Last?
They can last anywhere from two to ten years, depending on quality and maintenance. You might consider replacement when you start noticing the return of calcium deposit, although the system appears to be operating fine. Your Calgary plumber can check if a simple repair might fix it.
Do You Need Water Softener? Calgary Homeowners, Call Mr. Rooter Now!
We are your plumbing specialists at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary. Whether you need effective filtration services or consultation, we offer anything from installation to repair to replacement. Our quality plumbing services will leave you satisfied and restore your peace of mind. We serve people in Haysboro, Acadia, Lincoln Park and throughout Calgary and take pride in delivering the highest standards of quality workmanship and excellent service.
For immediate assistance or a convenient appointment, call 403-640-7789 to speak with our team.