While water is known to have no color and no taste, the hardness levels of the elixir of life can vary a lot. Suppose your water has a hardness level greater than 7 grains/gallon. In that case, you should consider getting a softener that will bring the water back to its original levels.
This liquid can also be contaminated with metals such as iron. This material will make the water significantly harder, and you must adjust it manually to your preference. If you are curious about the softener and which hardness it should be set at, continue reading as we explain everything in detail.
The water softener hardness will need to be set so that the hardness level is roughly 7 to 10 grains per gallon. However, it’s a good idea to check the TDS in PPM to ensure the water falls in the right range.
When we tested out various products, we thought the best water softener to address hardness was the system by Yarna. In this article, we’ll also discuss the following topics:
- Signs of hard water
- Installation cost
What should my water softener hardness be set at?
It is widely accepted that the hardness level ranges between 7 to 10 grains/gallon. With this information, you can set the softener to this range. These softeners can remove iron and other minerals from the liquid, but they are not intended for high concentrations.
You will have to adjust the hardness setting by following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Remember the ideal range and aim for a specific hardness level within it.
Water softener hardness setting chart
|TDS in Parts Per Million (PPM) Range||Classification|
|300 – 499||Very Hard|
|150 – 350||Moderate to Hard – Average Tap Water Range|
|50 – 199||Soft to Moderate|
|0 – 49||Soft|
Table of Contents
- What should my water softener hardness be set at?
- Water softener hardness setting chart
- What is water hardness?
- Why do I need a water softener?
- Signs of hard water on hair?
- How does a water softener work?
- Does WD40 work for hard water stains on windows?
- Best water softener salt
- Water softener system installation cost
- Best water softener systems
- What size water softener do I need?
- Alternatives to water softener
What is water hardness?
Suppose we stick to scientific terms and look at the definition of water hardness. In that case, we will find that this term refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the liquid. However, not everyone has access to a lab to conduct complex experiments on this liquid.
In most cases, you will notice the water’s hardness when you wash your hands. If your hands feel sticky, you are dealing with increased hardness levels. The same thing can be noticed in the kitchen, where your crystal-clear glasses will become less transparent over time. You will notice stains on the glass.
Why do I need a water softener?
Before getting a softener, knowing what advantages such an addition offers is important. Only scientists have access to special test kits to test the hardness. You can contact the company that supplies the water to your home and ask them about these specific levels.
You need a softener to prevent the minerals from damaging your pipes and water heaters. Some appliances in your house will also have an increased lifespan when the liquid is softer. Lastly, the glassware in your kitchen will be clear again, and you will also benefit from drinking healthy water.
Signs of hard water on hair?
If you shower with water that has a high hardness level, you will notice the effects yourself. If your hair is very dry, you might want to blame the new shampoo and conditioner that you bought. But you should also consider the liquid a problem since its hardness can leave your hair dry.
Additionally, your hair strands might be weakened over time with continuous exposure to hard water. Your hair will be more likely to get damaged and break. The simple task of brushing your hair will be extremely difficult, and you will not be able to identify the cause until you measure the hardness levels.
How does a water softener work?
Because hard water has too many heavy minerals in its composition, they need to be removed before using or consuming it. A softener is a perfect solution for this task. It works by removing both magnesium and calcium particles in this liquid.
A complex ion exchange process allows the hard water to become softened. Soft water is opposite to hard as it does not damage your home’s pipes or your skin. Appliances are also protected, and their lifespan is significantly increased.
Does WD40 work for hard water stains on windows?
The WD-40 is a popular cleaning product that does wonders for any dirty surface. You can find this spray at any store similar to Home Depot. While this product is ideal for removing stains from kitchen cabinets and tables, it is also exceptional in water spot removals.
You must spray this solution on the affected area and let it react for a couple of seconds. Wipe the solution with a dry piece of cloth, and you will see how the hard water stains disappear from your windows.
Operating a water softener is not difficult, but you should know some things beforehand. If you are struggling with getting the settings of this product right, consult the owner’s manual. The manufacturer should answer all your questions there.
All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
How to set water softener
- Measure the hardness of your liquid.
- Adjust the softener to the “Hardness” setting
- Set the softener to “Capacity.”
- Find out the softener treatment tank size
- Read the recommended salt doses
- Set the salt doses
Depending on your model, the buttons’ labels and settings might differ.
Best water softener salt
You will need a specific type of salt to reduce the hardness levels in the liquid. Luckily, we found the best product for you so you don’t have to spend hours researching the market.
Dishwasher Water Softener Salt
This product is recommended for your dishwasher and is intended to reduce the hardness levels in the liquid. If your glasses are cloudy after you get them out of the dishwasher, this salt will help make them more clearly.
While it is compatible with more than 800 models of dishwashers, you should only use it in those that feature a softener container. The water is softened starting from the first use, and your dishes will also come out cleaner.
|Item Form||Liquid, Grain|
- Easy to use
- Works great in a Bosch dishwasher.
- Helps keep the machine smelling good.
- The packaging wasn’t great.
- You may want to open it outside.
Water softener system installation cost
On average, you should expect to pay around $1,500 for a professional softener. This price includes all the materials and the installation fees. But there are many models available for you to choose from, and they vary depending on your budget and its limits.
The cheapest options can cost as little as $500, while more sophisticated ones sell for $6,000 and above. Besides these initial costs, you also have to consider the maintenance for these systems. It will take around $30 out of your pocket every month.
Best water softener systems
Many systems will lower the water hardness levels. Depending on your needs, this system can easily bring the water to its ideal state and make it softer. We did some extensive research on the market. Take a look below, where we present you with 3 products that are highly efficient and feature lots of positive customer reviews.
AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter
This shower filter is a blessing for your skin, which will no longer be dry after you wash it. Similar to a softener shower head, this product will show its effects on your skin and hair from the first day. The hard water full of chemicals will damage your skin and is not recommended for showering.
Luckily, this product softens and brings the hardness levels to a stable zone. While other products are efficient just for a short time, this shower filter will deliver the same results even after several months have passed. Customers are particularly satisfied with the efficiency of this product, which offers the best value for its price.
|Name||High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter|
|External Testing Certification||FDA|
|Item Weight||1 pound|
|Product Benefits||Reduces Chlorine|
|Product Dimensions||3.3″D x 3.3″W x 4.7″H|
- We love how it feels on the skin.
- It’s trusted by thousands of customers.
- It helps against dandruff.
- Easy installation
- It feels a bit cheap.
- We wish the material wasn’t plastic.
Capacitive Electronic Descaler System
This descaler system is ideal if you want to soften all the water in your home. It is designed to treat this liquid for the entire house and works by generating pulses from an electronic unit. Impulse bands are charged with the current to change the crystals in the water in real-time, reducing its hardness.
This product can be used for both personal and commercial purposes. All the pipes in your home will benefit from this system which will clean up and soften the hard water. As a result, you will also notice a decreased cost in heating and water bills. The quality and cleanliness of this liquid are also increased, and you will no longer have to deal with stains.
|Name||Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System|
|Power Source||Corded Electric|
|Product Benefits||Reduces limescale|
|Product Dimensions||3.3″D x 3.3″W x 4.7″H|
|Product Dimensions||5.9″L x 1.8″W x 2″H|
- It’s very effective
- It avoids white mineral buildup.
- Great at reducing hard water deposits.
- Great customer service
- It might not be enough for really hard water.
- No other downsides
Maintaining a softener is not a difficult task. Still, it should be done consistently if you want to ensure a long lifespan. You can also hire a plumber or a specialized worker to perform this maintenance, adding additional costs.
If you decide to do this yourself, we recommend you check the salt levels at least once a month. It is the most important material in the process of reducing water hardness levels. You should fill at least half the tank with salt and keep it 3 inches above the specified levels. The product’s manual should provide further instructions for the maintenance of your system.
What size water softener do I need?
Before you purchase a softener, take into consideration your own needs and the capacity that you want to process. For example, it is not ideal for getting an industrial-sized softener for a small house with few family members.
As a general rule, you should multiply the number of people in your home by the gallons of water they consume every day. The resulting number is then multiplied by the grains of hardness and you can find out how many grains you need to remove every single day.
With this information, you can look for a specific softener that will fit your needs. Maybe you will not use the product to its maximum potential. There is no point in purchasing the most expensive or performant one.
Alternatives to water softener
Suppose you want to look for another system that will soften the water in your house. In that case, there are a couple of alternatives to consider. One of them is the reverse osmosis system that removes the contaminants from the drinking water.
A special membrane will use the ionic charge of a particular contaminant to remove it. The higher this charge, the harder it is for the particle to pass through the membrane of this system. You can also consider liquid softeners, which work very well without salt.
They use a non-toxic liquid that prevents the limescale buildup and eliminates all the minerals in the liquid, making it cleaner. There are no reported cases of toxicity from this liquid, which is harmless for humans.
It is not toxic for humans and is safe to drink. However, its taste might be unpleasant due to the mineral excess that can be found in its composition. When consumed, no risks are associated with this type of water. However, it might affect your skin and hair.
If you shower with it, the skin and hair will become dry more easily. You will notice this effect after you get out of the shower, and you might be inclined to blame the shampoo for this effect. Test the hardness before jumping to conclusions.
The water hardness varies across the state. In some regions, the water may be soft, and you will not need to consider any softeners. In other areas, the hardness of the water is at a high level. You will have to apply the measures recommended in this article.
While you can test the water yourself with a special kit or call the supplier and ask for more details, there is an alternative way to find the hardness levels. You can find your area’s hardness levels on this website by entering your zip code.
Hard water is not considered to be dangerous, but it can have some negative effects on your skin and hair. With prolonged exposure, your hair will constantly dry and get more sensitive to damage. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium produce a thin layer on the hair that prevents moisture.
Because the hair will be constantly dry, it is at risk of breaking. If you do not apply a solution to this problem, you might experience hair loss in the future.
The liquid can become hard when it gathers minerals in its composition. Because it moves through the soil, it dissolves, and minerals such as magnesium and calcium can affect the water. It will make it hard, which will cause your skin and hair to be dry and also create water stains on your glasses.
Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals found in water with a high hardness level. They are not harmful to humans. Therefore, hard water can be considered non-toxic and safe to drink. Calcium benefits us because it keeps the bones and our muscles healthy. However, the effect will be negative on our skin and hair.
If you are not sure whether you need a softener or not, remember the hardness level we mentioned at the beginning of this article. Ideally, it should range between 7 to 10 grains/gallon to be considered at a normal level.
Maybe you perform a test, and your water exceeds this level. You might consider getting a softener to reduce the mineral content in the liquid. A softener has various benefits, the most important one being the protection of your skin and hair. Additionally, you will also feel more comfortable after you wash your hands because they will no longer feel sticky.