Your water may feel “soft,” but don’t let that trick you. It’s still full of dirt, chlorine and chloramines. Water softeners do not filter your water. In a process called ion exchange, water softeners strip water of naturally occurring minerals and replace them with sodium (or SALT).
More trick than treat, right?
Salt-based water softeners have hidden costs. Traditional water softeners require that you constantly add more salt - costing the average household $500-$700 in annual maintenance. But don’t forget, your water is still dirty. So, if you want clean drinking water, you’ll need a reverse osmosis system to filter out the salt, chlorine and organic contaminants. A reverse osmosis (R.O.) system can cost $300-$500 and only filters water at a single location in your home. Replacing the filter cartridges and membranes of an R.O. system adds an average of $200 annually. Plus they waste 3-5 gallons of water for every filtered gallon.
As you can see, the cost adds up. Not to mention, the time and energy spent manually adding salt to your tank. I told you this article was scary.
Water softeners not only drain your wallet, they also put a strain on our city water systems. Hundreds of gallons of sodium end up in our wastewater streams each year as a result of water softeners. The average household will end up dumping 1,920 pounds of salt each year.
Water treatment plants aren’t capable of removing that much salt, which means the water can’t be recycled or reused. Many areas depend on recycled water for agriculture and industrial utilization. This is causing an increasing number of cities to ban the use of water softeners.