Your Wealth

The effects of hard water on your home.

In 365 days, the little things do add up quickly. But hard water also has a big impact on your major water-using appliances. If you have hard water, you can expect to lose 30% to 50% of an appliance’s projected lifespan. Below is a look at the most common appliances and how they’re impacted by hard water.

Appliance Average Lifespan (years) Lifespan with Hard Water (years)
Electric water heater 13 6.5
Gas water heater 11 5.5
Dishwasher 10 7
Washing machine 11 7.7
Toilet 6.5 2
Faucets 9 5.4

According to a study completed by the Water Quality Association, by using soft water in your home, you won’t have to replace major appliances as often or pay for costly maintenance visits nearly as regularly [10].

Dishwasher:

The most visible (and annoying) effect of hard water is actually on your dishes. The cloudy white residue left on your glasses and silverware is actually from those pesky salts, which are left behind when the water evaporates from your dishes [11].

But mineral salts aren't just on your dishes; they also build up on every surface of your dishwasher. Given the amount of metal inside the average dishwasher, those salts can lead to rust and the eventual failure of expensive parts like pumps and heating elements [11].

Water Heater:

WQA study indicates soft water has a very positive impact on the lifespan of water heaters [12].

"As for water heaters, the researchers found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years."

On the other hand, if your home has hard water, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a gas water heater, electric water heater, or a tankless water heater … the results of testing show they won’t last nearly as long or run as efficiently [12].

"Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent. Scale buildup shortened the lifespan of the heating elements inside electric water heaters, and some tankless water heaters using hard water failed after just 1.6 years." [12]

In fact, not a single water heater operating with hard water even made it to the end of the testing before it broke down!

Costs associated with these problems:

According to the Department of Energy, heating water accounts for 14% to 18% of the energy costs in your home, and it could be as high as 25% [12].

That’s a pretty big chunk of your utility bill!

Water heating is second only to heating your actual home when it comes to energy use. So it stands to reason that you’ll want your water heater to be running efficiently [12].

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The best way to do that is to make sure your water heater is on soft water. An efficient water heater can save you as much as 29% per year on water heating costs [12].

The 2009 WQA study indicates soft water has a very positive impact on the lifespan of water heaters.

"As for water heaters, the researchers found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years." [12]

Your monthly bill is not only increased by the inefficiency of your appliances due to hard water, there are many other ways to save by switching to soft water. A few of which are listed below.

Hard water affects your wallet in four main areas. By using a water softener, a household can estimate these approximate savings over the course of a year: [10]

  1. Cleaning and personal care (50% reduction in purchases of soap, lotion, detergent, etc.): $450 saved with soft water
  2. Gas and electric use (heat loss due to scale): $60 saved with soft water
  3. Washable items (clothes, towels, linens): $200 saved with soft water
  4. Plumbing and appliances (repair and replacement): $90 saved with soft water

Total potential savings per year: $800 [10]

References

[1] https://www.institutefornaturalhealing.com/2012/11/the-dirty-truth-about-whats-really-in-bottled-water/

[2] https://dailyhealthpost.com/truth-about-bottled-water/

[3] https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap

[4] http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/01/25/pepsico-finally-comes-clean-and-admits-the-truth-about-their-bottled-water/

[5] https://dailyhealthpost.com/truth-about-bottled-water/

[5a] http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/13/more-than-24500-chemicals-found-in-bottled-water.html

[5b] https://www.nrdc.org/health/bpa.pdf

[5c] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0072472

[6] https://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/

[7] https://thewaterproject.org/bottled-water/bottled_water_wasteful

[8] https://www.nrdc.org/stories/whats-your-drinking-water

[9] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/us/tapwater-drinking-water-study.html

[10] http://homewater101.com/hard-water-really-costing

[11] http://dishwashers.reviewed.com/features/how-hard-water-hurts-your-dishwasher

[12] http://www.water-rightgroup.com/blog/hard-water-appliances/

[13] http://www.water-rightgroup.com/blog/soft-water-hard-water-effects-skin/