Water softeners are a special type of water filter that are designed to remove dissolved minerals, usually calcium and magnesium, which can dissolve into your water supply – which is called hard water. Water softeners that are not doing their job will leave a high concentration of these minerals in the water, which can cause all sorts of complications for you and your plumbing system. Understanding some of the warning signs associated with a water softener that is no longer properly working can help you determine when you need to get in touch with a plumber to replace or repair your current system.
Dry Skin and Hair
One of the first signs that you will notice that your water softener is not working properly is if you suddenly start to experience dry and scratchy skin, and if your hair becomes drier and flatter. The minerals dissolved within your water supply can be abrasive against your skin and hair, and can leave you feeling uncomfortable and in severe cases even developing dandruff, rashes, and other signs of irritation.
Ineffective Soap and Detergent
In a somewhat similar vein to the above point, you may notice that your water softener has begun to fail if you find that your soaps and detergents, including dish soap, shampoo, and body wash, all fail to lather up and create suds no matter how hard you scrub. This can make it harder for you to clean yourself and your dishes, since you will be basically working with hot water instead of a nice lather.
Stiff and Rough Clothes
Beyond affecting your dishwashing and self-cleaning, you may also find that a failing water softener has an effect on your laundry. This is for the same reason mentioned above: a lack of lather can cause laundry detergent to become ineffective, and the minerals dissolved in the water can be abrasive against the material of your clothes. This will leave your fabrics stiff after washing, and can cause color to begin to rub out and for stains and dirt to remain on your clothing even after multiple washings.
Finally, the last and most obvious sign that your water softener is not working (and probably has not been for a while) is if you spot a buildup of white, chalky materials along your taps and other water fixtures. This is the actual buildup caused by dissolved calcium and magnesium that is in your water supply, and can cause all sorts of plumbing problems, from reduced water pressure to burst pipes if left unaddressed by a professional plumber.
Contact a water conditioning service for more help.