In a recent study by independent research facility Battelle Memorial Institute, water softener systems were shown to be the key to efficiency of water heaters, major appliances, and plumbing fixtures. The study tested efficiency ratings of appliances over their expected lifespan using both hard and soft water.
Here are some interesting test results:
Gas water heaters maintained their original factory efficiency ratings over the 15-year lifespan when heating with softened water. The same gas water heater lost as much as 48% efficiency with 30 gpg hard water.
Electric water heaters had minimal buildup over their lifespan when heating softened water. Those electric water heaters using hard water had increased incidence of heating element replacement because of the buildup within the storage tank.
Tankless water heaters maintained their original factory efficiency ratings when heating with softened water. The same tankless heaters completely failed to function after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water usage with hard water. Additionally, the cost of operation was 34% higher with 20 gpg water and 47% higher with 30 gpg water than with softened water.
Showerheads and faucets maintained their ability to work as well as new for their expected life time when used with softened water. When used with hard water, however, showerheads lost 75% of their flow rate within 18 months, and faucets could not maintain their flow rate and were often completely plugged after 19 equivalent days of testing.
Dishwashers and washing machines showed no wear after 240 wash cycles when using softened water. When used with hard water, the appliances required descaling and extensive cleaning.
While it is important to choose energy-efficient appliances, this study shows that using hard water can quickly and drastically compromise their efficiency to the point where they do not actually save energy at all. The best thing you can do? Invest in a water softener to improve the longevity and efficiency of all of your appliances and plumbing fixtures.
Click here to read the entire press release.