We all want clean, clear, fresh-smelling and great tasting water at our faucets and skin-conditioning soft water in our shower and bathtub—but there can be a steep price to pay if you aren’t careful with how you select, install and maintain your home’s water softening system or if you don’t select the right plumbing contractor to install it. This article covers four of the most common money-wasting water softening mistakes, and how to avoid making them.
Buying a system without getting professional advice
With the number of systems available for softening water, you’ll save money (and headaches) by consulting with a reputable professional—preferably one that sells more than one type of system, so you can be sure you’re receiving unbiased advice. Some systems do more than just soften water. Some actually condition your water and remove dangerous chlorine too.
You’ll want advice on whether to purchase a whole-home (or “point of entry”) system or a tap-based (also called “point of use”) system. Then you’ll want to determine the type of system you require. Depending on your water source, the person you’re consulting with should send a sample of your water to a lab for testing, because what’s in your water will dictate, to some degree, the best system for you.
Online research is a great place to start. Some professional plumbers have blogs that offer advice based on years of experience installing various types of systems. (Check out Understanding your need for household water filtration as an example.) By doing your homework ahead of time, you’ll know the questions to ask and will better understand the answers you get when it comes time to consult a professional.
Buying a system that isn’t certified
Health Canada doesn’t recommend any particular brand of water treatment system, but it does strongly recommend that consumers purchase systems that have been certified to meet health-based and performance standards. If you purchase an uncertified system, there’s no telling whether the manufacturer’s claims have been independently validated. Not only is that a potential waste of money, but it could impact your health.
Look for an “ANSI/NSF” standard for the type of unit you’re buying—there are separate standards for water softeners, ultraviolet systems, reverse osmosis systems, drinking water treatment systems and distillation systems.
Knowing what the standards mean can help ensure you’re getting the right system for your needs. ANSI/NSF standard 42, for example, is for “aesthetic effects” only—think colour, taste and smell. A device certified to ANSI/NSF standard 53, in contrast, has been tested to comply with any health effects claims the manufacturer has made.
The Government of Canada provides clear information on water treatment certification.
Not having your system installed by a professional plumber
Water treatment technology can be complex, and it needs to be integrated with your existing plumbing. If you cheap out on the person you choose to install your system, either by hiring a handyman, doing it yourself or using a water company that doesn’t have professional plumbers, you risk wasting money on unnecessary repairs to your existing plumbing and to the water treatment system itself. It’s also possible that the warranty on your system may be void.
A licensed, professional plumber has the training and experience to identify any potential problems with installation, ensure they’re corrected, and install your system so it will work properly for years to come. The difference in price may be very little. The difference in peace of mind? Well, that’s priceless.
We’re licensed plumbers — talk to us about the best water treatment system for your home.
Ignoring your system once it’s been installed
Perhaps the biggest money waster of all is taking a “set it and forget it” approach to your water treatment system after installation. Water treatment systems need to be maintained to ensure they’re working effectively and efficiently. If you don’t perform this regular maintenance, you may as well have kept your money in your wallet.
Every system should come with a user manual that explains the periodic tasks that need to be performed. Some of these tasks, such as replacing the bulb in a UV system, you can do yourself. Others, such as laboratory testing to confirm your treatment system is removing harmful compounds, need to be done by a professional. Still others, such as backwashing systems, replacing membranes and cleaning and maintaining storage tanks, require some time to learn and perform—you can do them yourself, but you may prefer to delegate them to a professional.
In conclusion, a water treatment system is an excellent investment in your family’s health and the planet, since you’ll drink more great tasting, safe water and reduce your use of plastic bottles. Just make sure you get expert advice, confirm the system is certified, have it installed by a professional, licensed plumber and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Do you install water softeners?
Yes. As professional, fully licensed plumbers, we supply and install high quality water softening and water treatment systems customized to your specific water needs, which we determine and explain fully to you. Our dependable Canadian-made softeners are water, salt and hydro saving utilizing state-of-the-art technology to save you $ in hydro. They also remove dangerous chlorine! You can safely drink this gorgeous water from your tap!
Because your softener gets tied into your potable water supply, only a licensed, experienced plumber should install it to ensure your family’s safety.
If you have purchased a softener on your own, yes we would be happy to install it for you. If you are replacing an old one, we can dispose of it as well.
Do you install tankless hot water systems?
Yes we do. We prefer Navien systems. We have done the legwork for you and have determined that the Navien Tankless Hot Water system is the most reliable, efficient system for the money on the market. Parts are readily available for servicing needs and the warranties are the strongest. Pair this with our own Harris Plumbing installation warranty and you have a professional, worry-free hot water solution. Call us today for your installation appointment and enjoy endless hot water and save money as well.