When Will a Home Benefit From a Water Softener?

Understanding Hard Water 

Hard water is a problem that plagues the majority of US households. Most people don’t even realize that the problems they have with their water are caused by hardness. Despite the widespread problems that hard water can cause, most people don’t know what hard water is or how to recognize the signs. 

Hard water is a term used to describe the amount of dissolved ions in drinking water sources. The ions come from minerals found in the subsoil of a region that water leeches out and carries with it through the treatment process and into the home. Removing these minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium, is expensive on a municipal scale. Still, it can be easily and cheaply done in the home to avoid the problems that hard water can cause. 

How Does a Water Softener Work? 

water softenerWater softeners work by removing hard minerals from water. Owners can install a few different types of water softeners to deal with their hard water. The most common choices are: 

  • Salt-Based Water Softeners: These are the most common and time-tested soft water solutions. They use a special resin that attracts ions to remove them from incoming water. Once the resin is full of hardness ions, a strong brine is washed over the water-softener resin to regenerate it, and the cycle starts again. 
  • Template-Assisted Crystallization: “TAC” devices use a special matrix to encourage ions to crystalize together. This causes the ions to clump together, reducing their effects on the hardness of water. 
  • Point-of-Use Water Softeners: Water softening devices can be installed on shower heads or faucets to provide soft water to single-use points. 

How to Tell a Home Has Hard Water 

Since most homes deal with hard water, but only a few install water softeners, there is a deficit of knowledge regarding hard water. If people knew the signs of hard water and the benefits of soft water, more people would take advantage of cheap technology to fix the problem. Some of the common signs of hard water are: 

  • The unsightly buildup of mineral scale on fixtures
  • Constant water pressure problems
  • Short-lived water heaters
  • Plumbing problems
  • High water heating bills
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Poor tasting water

Reasons to Install Whole-Home Water Softeners 

save money One of the biggest barriers to entry regarding water softeners is that people are reluctant to spend money on a problem when they don’t have a firm grasp of how the solution will help them. This is especially true with water softeners since most people haven’t experienced how effective their water can be when it is softened. Some of the reasons to install whole-home water softeners are: 

  • Water rinses away grime more effectively, leaving dishes spotless and laundry brighter
  • Soaps are more effectively removed from skin and hair, leaving them radiant and smooth
  • Fewer ions in the water means better-tasting water
  • Having fewer corrosion-causing ions allows plumbing fixtures to last longer and reduces the cost of plumbing bills 

About Bedell Home Services

Bedell Home Services helps owners achieve better water and plumbing every day. Their licensed experts handle water softener installation and various plumbing services. Call today for expert water softening in Carmel, IN. 

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Is the Water Heater Saying It's at the End of Its Life?

Indicators That a Home’s Water Heater Needs Help

Water heaters are something people tend to take for granted in this country. For the most part, they sit in their little nook in the laundry room or bathroom and just do their job, but as with all appliances, there will come a time, even with proper maintenance, that a hot water heater will need to be replaced. If the model has been working for more than ten years, it will likely be more expensive to find and replace the parts than replacing the whole thing. Likewise, inconsistent water temperatures can result from a faulty water heater that has just exceeded its ability to function. These are not the only indicators of a need for water heater replacement; here are three major issues in detail.

Rumbles, Bangs, and Popssounds

If a home’s water heater starts making noises such as gurgling, rumbling, or popping, it can indicate that the water heater has sediment build-up. This can be caused by hard water, a corroded pipe or tank, or a bad anode rod. Regular water heater maintenance may be able to clear these issues up without a complete replacement. Here are some of the strategies that a professional plumber might employ:
  • Flushing the Tank: This cleaning method empties the hot water tank and uses chemical solvents or cleaners to dissolve the sediment in the tank and flush it out through the sewer system. This can improve noise and make temperatures more consistent and longer-lasting.
  • Replacing or Coating Old Pipe or Damaged Tank: If the sediment is coming from the pipes themselves or corrosion in the tank, the pipes and tank can be coated with sealant, or the pipes can be replaced. 
  • Replacing the Anode Rod: Since the anode rod attracts corrosive materials and corrosion like a magnet, if it is not working properly, these materials will settle into the tank and cause noises or temperature inconsistencies. Replacing the anode rod can often clear things up without completely replacing the water heater.

How Does the Water Look and Smell?water

Another problem that is often created by a faulty anode rod is water discoloration or foul odors. If one cannot remove corrosion from the water, it may end up in the homeowner’s bath, dishwasher, or drinking glass. This is usually repaired by simple maintenance of flushing the tank and replacing the anode rod. Sometimes, however, this does not fix the problem. Why might a homeowner continue to see foul-smelling or rusty-colored water? Here is why:
  • Corrosion in the tank is too extensive
  • Recoating was unsuccessful
  • Older pipes

If the water is not cleared up, this may mean that the entire water heater needs to be replaced. Clients should remember that there are many options for water heater replacement, including tankless water heaters or “instant” water heaters.

Indoor Leaks and Water Damage

A corroded hot water tank is responsible for more than just unappealing water; leaks can be a direct result. If there is a leak in a home’s water heater, then one must consult a professional immediately. Water damage caused by even the slowest of leaks can be extensive and can cause structural problems throughout the house. If the leak is caught and fixed early, then one can avoid more expensive problems. Call in the pros, and the job should be quick and easy. 

About Bedell Home Services

Bedell Home Services has proudly served the people of Carmel, IN and the surrounding areas for over thirty years. Their workmanship is backed up by an A+ BBB rating and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call today for more information on their water heater services.

Head Back To School with Water Heaters 101

Educate Yourself on Water Heater Basics!

With school back in session and the kids out of the house all day, many homeowners find they have a little more time on their hands. And what better way to use some of that time than to learn more about their home’s essential systems and appliances? 

Being aware of the basics of these systems means homeowners are better equipped to maintain them, spot signs of trouble, and make more informed choices about replacing or upgrading them. And since it’s so essential to everyday life, the water heater is the perfect place to begin. This article will go over the key points every homeowner needs to know about their water heater - but don’t worry, there won’t be a test at the end!

The Various Types of Water Heaterswater heater

It’s good to be aware of what kinds of water heaters are out there, particularly when it comes time to replace that clunky old unit. Many homes use gas water heaters, which burn natural gas to provide heat, while other homes feature electric water heaters, which supply heat via electric heating elements. Gas is typically cheaper, so these units tend to cost less to operate, but electric units are generally more energy-efficient and require less upkeep.
Both gas and electric water heaters come in conventional or tankless models. In conventional units, water is stored in a large tank and kept hot around the clock, while tankless units rapidly heat water only as needed as it flows through the unit, making them much more energy-efficient.

Other water heater types are a bit more creative about saving energy. Heat pump water heaters draw thermal energy from the surrounding air and use it to heat the water. Solar water heaters convert energy from the sun’s rays into heating power. Condensing water heaters work like a regular gas-powered unit but utilize the gas exhaust to augment the unit’s heating power.

Water Heater Maintenance Basics

Every water heater needs routine maintenance to continue functioning properly. This is particularly important in regions with very hard water - the minerals in hard water will build up inside the unit and cause a variety of problems, such as clogged pipes and valves, corrosion, and overheating. But normal wear and tear can cause plenty of problems as well.

Annual water heater maintenance should include: 

  • Draining and flushing the unit (whether conventional or tankless) to remove mineral deposits
  • Testing the temperature & pressure relief valve
  • Removing and inspecting the anode rod (which helps prevent tank corrosion)
  • Cleaning all filters

Most basic tasks can be performed by the homeowner per the manufacturer’s instructions. Still, a professional should perform more advanced (and equally necessary) tasks to avoid injury or damage to the unit.

water heater Telltale Signs a Water Heater Needs Repairs

Keeping up on maintenance is the best way to prevent problems, but it’s still important to know how to spot problems when they arise - the earlier, the better. If the unit is leaking, it may just be a loose pipe fitting or a partially open valve, but it could be the T&P release valve or even a cracked tank, both of which should be addressed promptly.

Strange noises coming from the unit (popping, hissing, screeching, clanging) could indicate sediment buildup or even more dangerous issues like a gas leak. Low hot water pressure, no hot water, or frequent temperature fluctuations point to a clog, thermostat issue, faulty limit switch, or a malfunctioning burner or heating element. No matter the issue, homeowners should never delay in calling a professional for water heater repair - some issues can be extremely dangerous or cause irreparable damage to the unit.

About Bedell Home Services

Bedell Home Services has served Carmel, IN with pride for years. Their courteous licensed technicians are available 24/7 for emergencies. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, and a highly beneficial membership plan. Call now for water heater services!