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What is a water softener and why do I need one?

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New residents quickly find out that Arizona has hard water, due to high levels of calcium and magnesium naturally occurring in the water.

These minerals can cause scale to build up on faucets, shower doors and inside plumbing and appliances. The life of dishwashers and water heaters can be shortened by this and, the harder the water, the harder it is to get laundry clean.

The most effective solution is to install an ion exchange water softener. It will remove the scale-forming calcium and magnesium by replacing them with sodium chloride or potassium chloride. Water treated this way will help you cut back on soap, detergent and shampoos and will extend appliance life.

As part of the softening process, a regeneration step takes place in which effluent is discharged into drainpipes as the trapped calcium and/or magnesium is flushed away in a brine solution.

There are some companies that claim that they can suspend or remove hardness without using sodium chloride or potassium chloride as water softeners do. They try to use magnetic, catalytic or other types of equipment to treat water.

But according to the Arizona Water Quality Association, these companies can offer no independent confirmation that they can remove calcium or magnesium ions from water or reduce scale formation.

Some Arizona residents would also like to improve the taste of their water. If that’s important to you, consider installing a reverse osmosis drinking water system. These units can fit under the kitchen sink to supply water to a holiday tank.

Here are a few tips on how to hire a water treatment contractor:

  • Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. Check his or her license on the state website for registered Arizona contractors.
  • Make sure your contractor’s business is stable. Has he or she been in the business for five years or more and does he or she have an actual business location? Does he or she have at least some staff certified by the Water Quality Association?
  • Did your contractor test your water before recommending a system, even if you are on a municipal water source?
  • Did the contractor look at your plumbing and properly size equipment before quoting a price?
  • Watch out for companies that try to scare you about the quality of your municipal drinking water supply or who try to confuse you about the salt content in the softened water that you may drink.
  • Above all, make sure the contractor is a Rosie-certified water treatment contractor.

For more DIY tips and information for all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at www.Rosieonthehouse.com.

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com –- Arizona’s most trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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