How Softening Hard Water Can Cut Energy Costs

How Softening Hard Water Can Cut Energy Costs

How Softening Hard Water Can Cut Energy Costs

Hard water leaves stains that require chemicals to remove, and its resistance to soap results in the use of more than is necessary for soft water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water everyday, 70 percent of it for indoor purposes.

Unless it is heated, hard water does not clean clothes well. The Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) reported that the use of hot water adds significantly to a homeowner’s utility bill. Dishwashers and washing machines are more expensive to operate when they use hard water, requiring twice as much detergent as appliances that use soft water. Repairs for clogged nozzles in appliances and corrosion in a hot water heater add to maintenance and repair bills as well.

Expense of Removing Hard Water Deposits

The EPA estimates that older toilets use as much as seven gallons per flush, and all of it leaves stains in the bowl. Chemicals that remove deposits are costly, and repeated applications are required to make the bowl look clean. A shower stall provides about 36 square feet of surface for each of its four walls. Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, and it often contains iron as well. The minerals can clog pipes and appliances, adding repair costs to the energy expense of using hard water.

The minerals in hard water leave deposits, and iron leaves a yellowish stain that discolors tile grout. Hours of scrubbing are required each month to make the shower, sinks and toilets look inviting to anyone who wants to use them.

The repeated need to purchase quantities of laundry detergent and chemicals to remove stains creates a steady drain on a household budget. Many of the chemicals are noxious and inappropriate for use where food is prepared. Few are applicable in more than one area, and different types are required for the showers and the toilets. The cumulative cost of purchasing multiple products to cope with hard water and the work involved in applying them creates a burden for the home owner.

Softening Water

A one time investment in a soft water system removes the requirement to scrub and clean fixtures, and it reduces the demand on energy to heat gallons of hot water. Soft water produces a feeling of cleanliness in the bath, often reducing the amount of hot water required. Shampoos clean hair quickly and leave it feeling soft.

The deposits in hard water are harmless, but the time required to remove them is frustratingly slow. Cooking utensils that accumulate layers of deposits are less efficient in transferring heat, requiring longer cooking times and producing uneven results.

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Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas. He recommends that readers who wish to know more about hard water treatments in Austin check out