Water s0ftener systems remove calcium from the water (sometimes referenced as ‘hard water’), which does have a direct impact on utility bills, especially if you have a gas or electric water heater. When you heat hard water, the calcium solidifies (becomes solid) and it can settle, build up, and create scale on the element. That’s where the energy factor comes into play.
Battelle Memorial Institute recently made a report while doing research for the Department of Energy. They figured out the effect that hard water has on household energy usage, and they found that one of the most common causes of failure in traditional gas and electric water heaters is lime scale buildup. They also found that over time, scale deposits will act as an insulator to the actual heating element or the tank on a gas heater. The heater has to work much harder to heat the water, and as a result, the energy efficiency and useful life of the water heater is reduced by up to 50%.
According to Battelle Memorial Institute’s findings, ½ millimeter of hard scale increases fuel costs by 9½%. Hard water and poor water quality can also cause premature breakdowns. Aside from affecting the water heater itself, scale buildup can reduce the life of a humidifier that might be part of your heating system. (Humidifiers use a small amount of electric current to heat the water and create steam.) Dishwashers, appliances, and plumbing fixtures can also be affected by scale buildup. These items are very costly to replace or repair.
The return on investment for water softeners is significant. You’ll typically find that the investment in a water softener can be returned within only two to three years. If you have any questions about the benefits of putting in a water softener in your home, contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382.