As plumbing contractors, we are asked quite often if purchasing and installing a water softener is a wise investment. Answering this question isn't as straight forward as you would think since many people have grown up with hard water and having hard water doesn't bother them. However, some people aren't used to the hardness in the water because they have moved from a location where water softening isn't something they've ever had to consider.
First, some numbers...
The chart on the right shows water hardness in relation to the amount of calcium carbonate measured in grains per gallon (gpg), and milligrams per liter (mg/l). Since Calgary gets it's water from 2 different locations (Bearspaw and Glenmore treatment plants), the amount will depend on your location. Calgary averages between 11.7 gpg and 14.7 gpg depending on which plant, but as you can see, that amount is well past the "very hard" part on the chart. If you live outside Calgary, you can get this information from the local municipality.
Water Hardness Chart
Having a high concentration of calcium, along with other minerals can have several effects both on plumbing fixtures, and human comfort, however, hard water is not harmful, unhealthy or dangerous.
Most water softeners work by using a medium that serves to exchange ions of calcium or magnesium with sodium and potassium. Which usually requires adding salt to a tank on a regular basis, and they also require a regeneration and backwash cycle. However, there is new technology which uses citric acid and a filter cartridge which is gaining popularity as they require no salt, maintenance, or isolation to other parts of your plumbing system.
If you're thinking about installing a water softener, Happy Pipes Plumbing can install a water softener purchased by you, or we would be more than happy to supply one for you. Call 403-988-4411 today.