Do I Really Need A Water Softener With City Water?

The answer depends on the hardness of your city water. Generally, if your city water has a hardness level of 7 grains per gallon (gpg) or higher, then you should consider installing a water softener. Hard water can damage plumbing fixtures and appliances, reduce their lifespan, and make it difficult to lather soap. It also leaves behind deposits of scale in the water heater, dishwasher, and other appliances.

On the other hand, if your city water has a hardness level of less than 7 gpg, then there is no need to install a water softener. Even though softening the water would still provide some benefits such as better-tasting water and softer clothes after washing, they are generally not worth the cost.

Is City Water Hard Or Soft?

Is City Water Hard Or Soft
City Water Hard Or Soft

The answer to this question depends on the geographic region your city is located in. Generally, if your city has hard water, it contains high levels of calcium and magnesium ions that can lead to build up in appliances, stains on dishes, and a host of other issues. Soft water, on the other hand, is low in minerals and won’t cause the same issues.

In order to determine if your city water is hard or soft, you can contact your local water department and request a copy of their most recent water analysis report. This will include information about the mineral content in your water, which can help you make an informed decision about whether a water softener might be beneficial.

Why Is City Water Hard?

Why Is City Water Hard
City Water Hard

City water is generally hard because it has a high mineral content. These minerals are primarily calcium and magnesium, which are found in the soil and bedrock that make up your city’s water supply. The more of these minerals present, the harder the water will be. Hard water can cause a number of issues including buildup in pipes and appliances, dry skin and hair, poor lathering of soap, and dingy laundry. A water softener can be an effective solution to address these issues.

How Do I Know if My Water Is Hard?

How Do I Know if My Water Is Hard
Hard Water

YOU HAVE A FILM ON YOUR HANDS: Water with a high mineral content often leaves a filmy residue on dishes, glasses and shower doors. This film is difficult to remove and requires more detergent than normal to clean effectively.

YOUR WATER PRESSURE IS A BIT LOW: If you are experiencing low water pressure, then it could be a sign that you need to invest in a water softener. Hard water can reduce the flow of your pipes and this can lead to lower water pressure. A water softener will help restore the normal flow of your pipes and improve your water pressure.

YOU SEE SPOTS ON YOUR PLUMBING FIXTURES: ** If you notice spots on your plumbing fixtures, it could be a sign that your water hardness is too high and would be easily resolved by installing a water softener. Hard water leaves mineral deposits behind after it evaporates, which are known as limescale and can build up over time. This not only causes aesthetic problems but also affects the performance and efficiency of your plumbing fixtures.

YOU ARE GETTING SOAP SCUM IN YOUR TUB OR SHOWER: Soap scum is the result of hard water reacting with soap, creating a residue that can build up over time. Installing a water softener will help prevent the formation of soap scum in bathrooms.

YOU SEE SPOTS ON YOUR DISHES: One of the telltale signs that you need a water softener is spots on your dishes. Hard water leaves behind calcium and magnesium deposits after it evaporates from dishes, and these are what create the spots. If you notice spots or a white film on your dishes, then it’s likely that you need to install a water softener in your home.

Benefits Of Installing Water Softeners

1. Healthier, Softer Skin: Hard water can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Because soft water does not contain minerals, it provides a gentler, more nourishing form of hydration for your skin.2. Increased Cleanliness: Softened water helps to reduce the amount of soap scum that accumulates on surfaces throughout your home. This makes it easier to keep countertops, sinks, and showers clean.3. Longer Lasting Clothing: Hard water contains minerals that can adhere to fabrics and cause them to wear down more quickly over time. Soft water helps protect clothing from damage and fading, making it last longer.4. Improved Taste: With soft water, you’ll notice an improved taste in both food and drinks. This makes it a great choice if you enjoy cooking or entertaining with water-based beverages.5. Energy Savings: Installing a water softener can help reduce your energy costs by eliminating the need to use hot water for cleaning and washing clothes. By using softened water, you can save money on your energy bills.

2. Shiny, Strong Hair: Have you ever noticed that your hair is much shinier and stronger after a swim in the ocean? This is because ocean water contains natural minerals such as magnesium and calcium, which can improve the strength and luster of your hair. Unfortunately, if you get your water from a city supply it’s almost certainly devoid of these beneficial minerals. Installing a water softener can help reverse this problem by using specialized resin beads to trap calcium and magnesium ions and replace them with sodium ions. This process helps keep your hair looking shiny, healthy, and strong.

3. Clothes Are Softer and Look Cleaner: If you’ve ever seen a piece of clothing that was washed in hard water, you know firsthand how dingy and stiff it can look. By installing a water softener in your home, you’ll be amazed at the difference that softer water makes for your clothes and other fabrics. Not only will they appear brighter and cleaner, but they’ll also feel softer and last longer.

4. Removes Any Unwanted Tastes from Your Drinking Water:

City water is treated to remove any bacteria or other health hazards, but it can still contain trace amounts of chemicals that may cause the water to have an unpleasant taste. A water softener can help reduce these unwanted tastes and odors by removing dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. It also helps improve the taste of beverages like coffee and tea, as well as other cooking needs. If you want to enjoy the best-tasting drinking water from your tap, a water softener is a great way to achieve this.

5. Soft Water Is Easier on Your Pipes and Appliances: Hard water can be especially damaging to your plumbing system and appliances. Over time, hard water minerals can build up in the pipes, reducing their efficiency and leading to clogs which require expensive repairs. Additionally, when heated, these minerals can create a scale buildup inside of water heaters and other appliances that use hot water. This can lead to short lifespan and costly repairs or replacement of your appliances. Soft water helps to prevent these costly issues by removing hard water minerals which can help to prolong the life of your plumbing system and hot water appliances.

6. Softer Water Will Save You Money: The benefits of softened water can go beyond the impact on your household appliances. Softening hard water reduces energy costs associated with heating it, as you need to use less energy when dealing with softer water. Additionally, having a softener means that you will use less soap and detergents while washing dishes or clothes because they create more suds in softer water. As a result, you can save money on detergent costs and reduce the amount of waste produced from empty detergent containers. Softened water also provides your home with better tasting food and drinks! Finally, softened water is gentler on your plumbing system, helping to prevent corrosion that could lead to costly repairs down the line.

Cleaner Dishes: One of the main advantages of having a water softener is cleaner dishes. Hard water deposits leave unsightly spots and streaks on your dishes, glasses, and silverware. A water softener reduces these hard-water stains by removing minerals from the water before it reaches your dishwasher.

Are Water Softeners Legal in Your Area?

Before deciding whether you need a water softener, it is important to verify if they are legal in your area. Some municipalities have ordinances against them because of their potential to overload the sewage system with sodium chloride. Additionally, some water softeners require a backwashing cycle that can also cause problems for the local wastewater treatment plant. Before purchasing a water softener, check with your local municipality and your water provider to make sure it is allowed.

Types Of Water Softeners

Ion exchange water softeners
Ion Exchange Water Softener

Ion Exchange Water Softener: An ion exchange softener is the most common type of water softening system. It works by replacing calcium and magnesium ions in hard water with sodium ions. This process leaves you with softer, more pleasant-tasting water for your home or business.

Salt-Free Water Softener:

Salt-free water softeners
Salt-Free Water Softener

If you live in an area with hard city water, you may want to consider a salt-free water softener. These systems are much smaller and more affordable compared to traditional salt-based systems, and they can provide many of the same benefits without using any chemicals or additives. Salt-free softeners work by converting calcium and magnesium ions into harmless crystals which are then flushed out of your plumbing. This process ensures that you get clean, soft water without any additional salt or chemicals added to the water supply. These systems can also reduce chlorine levels in city water, making your tap water taste better and reducing odors from the tap.

Do I Need A Water Filter If I Have A Water Softener?

The simple answer is yes. While a water softener removes minerals such as calcium and magnesium that cause hard water, the process does not remove other contaminants like chlorine, sediment, lead, or nitrate. These impurities can still be found in softened water and may have an effect on its taste or smell. A quality water filter will address these issues and leave you with clean, safe drinking water.

A water softener is designed to remove the hard minerals from your water supply but does not address other impurities that can be found in city water supplies. An activated carbon filter is the most common type of filter used to reduce chlorine and other contaminants from the water. Reverse osmosis systems can also be used to remove contaminants such as lead, sediment and nitrates.

What Happens If You Don’T Use A Water Softener?

Without a water softener, the hard minerals in your city water can accumulate over time and form scale on pipes, fixtures, and appliances. This scale build-up can reduce the efficiency of appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. It can also lead to higher energy bills due to decreased water pressure. As the scale builds up inside plumbing it can cause plumbing issues, blockages, and even burst pipes. Additionally, scale build-up on faucets and showerheads can reduce water flow and lead to premature wear of these parts. Lastly, hard water can leave deposits on dishes and clothes making them look dull or spotty.

Are Water Softeners A Waste Of Money?

The answer to this is not necessarily so. Hard water can contain minerals that can build up in your pipes, leading to clogs and plumbing issues. If you’re already experiencing hard water problems like these, then a water softener could be the solution. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin or hair, using a softener on your city water can help to reduce any irritation caused by hard water.

In the end, it depends on your individual needs. If you live in an area with very hard water, and you’re worried about plumbing problems or sensitive skin/hair issues, a water softener may be the answer for you. However, if you have no problems with your city water, it may be better to save the money and skip a water softener.


How often should I replace the resin in my water softener?

Typically, the resin in your water softener should be replaced every 5 to 8 years. Over time, resin can become clogged with dirt and sediment that reduce its effectiveness. Before replacing it, you should also have your water tested for hardness levels to make sure the resin is still necessary.

Can I drink softened water?

Yes, you can definitely drink softened water. Since city water is usually treated with chlorine to make it safe for drinking, softening the water will not make it any less safe to consume. However, you may find that softened water does have a different taste than untreated city water due to the removal of certain minerals like calcium and magnesium that can affect the taste of the water. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you want to drink softened water.

Do I need a pre-filter with my water softener?

Yes, it is highly recommended to install a pre-filter before your water softener. A pre-filter helps remove sediment and other impurities from your water supply before it enters the softener. This will help extend the life of the unit by trapping particles that could clog or damage the system over time. It can also reduce operational noise and help improve the quality of softened water. Pre-filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to install so it is worth considering adding one to your system if you don’t already have one.

How much does a water softener cost?

The cost of a water softener will depend on the type of system you purchase. Generally, prices can range from $400 to $3,000 or more. It is important to research different systems and get quotes prior to purchasing a system in order to ensure you receive the best deal for your budget.

Can a water softener remove bacteria from my water?

No, water softeners do not have the capacity to filter or remove any bacteria from your water. If you are concerned about bacteria in your city water supply, then a whole-house filtration system would be a better option for you than a water softener. These systems can help reduce the presence of bacteria by using various types of filtration such as activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light. In addition to bacteria, these systems can be used to remove other contaminants from the water supply like chlorine, lead, and sediment.

Do I need a separate water softener for my outdoor hose bibs?

Generally, no. As long as your outdoor hose bibs connect to the same water supply that you have running through the house, then the water softener should be able to soften it as well. It is also important to note that depending on how your plumbing is setup, there may be an additional filtration system installed before the water reaches the outdoor hose bibs. This could protect against sediment and debris, but it would not be able to soften the water.


City water has hardened minerals in it, and a water softener can help improve the taste of drinking water. It also helps protect your pipes and appliances from damage caused by these minerals. While you may not need to install one right away if your city water is hard, it could be worth investing in later down the line. Some cities even offer rebates for installing a water softener for your home.

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