Apr 092012
 

Most people in the United States have hard water, whether they’re on municipal water or their own well water. The difference is, cities are required to regularly test the water supply and provide a report to citizens, whereas well owners are responsible for their own water quality. Because of this extra responsibility, you may look for different features in a well water softener than you would in one for standard residential use. In other words, the best water softener for well water may not be the same as the best water softener for city water.

Well Water Treatment

According to the not-for-profit organization NSF International, over 20 million Americans get their water from their own privately owned wells. Most well water is safe for drinking and general use. However, like all groundwater, it can become contaminated by pollutants in the environment, such as fertilizers and pesticides, runoff from nearby cities, and failed septic systems.

Contaminated water can contain bacteria, arsenic, and other substances that can make you sick. More often, the problems of well water are less serious, including foul taste, discoloration, and hardness. Just like city water, well water often contains high levels of hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can cause a lot of problems with your plumbing and fixtures. However, unlike city water that is regularly tested by local water authorities, you can’t find out your own water’s level of hardness without testing it yourself.

If you’re on well water, you may be required by law to test it periodically. However, in many cases, testing is only required when the property changes hands. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have your water tested regularly and treat it accordingly. That includes getting a water softener for hard water that may be damaging your home.

What is the Best Water Softener for Well Water?

Finding the best water softener for well water is a lot like finding the best water softener for city water. You’ll want to weigh the softening capacity, durability, maintenance requirements, and extra features of the softeners you’re considering. And of course, there’s the little matter of cost, which can vary quite a bit from system to system.

However, there are special concerns with well water softeners that you may need to address when buying a system. For example, well water may fall into the “extremely hard” range on the water hardness scale, which limits the types of softeners you should choose from. Specifically, you should consider only traditional ion exchange water softeners, as opposed to alternative systems, which aren’t recommended for high levels of water hardness.

Depending on how your water tests, you may want a system that also filters out other contaminants. For example, some water softeners also include an iron filter. Also, companies that sell water softeners may also carry systems for handling other contaminants. If you have to install multiple filtration units, there are advantages to buying them through the same company. You can often get a package deal, and having all the systems installed at the same time is convenient.

Choosing a Well Water Softener

Unfortunately, no one system is going to be able to solve all well water problems. However, if hard water is one of the issues you’re dealing with, then a water softener can help, while potentially also filtering out other unwanted substances. The first step in finding the best water softener for well water is to have your water tested. That way, you can look for systems that meet your particular needs.