Water softeners are great household energy savers
The limescale that gathers in your kettle everyday is veritable evidence of the hardness of the water supply in your area. Most people tend to ignore this as a nuisance and simply descale their kettle once in a while. But have you considered the cost of the impact of limescale in your hot water supply, radiators and showers to your household budget?
In an independent report commissioned from the Battelle Memorial Institute by the Water Quality Research Foundation that came out a couple of years ago, it is claimed that: “Water Softeners are among the ‘very best’ household energy savers.” It is a shame that the facts put forward in this report have not been given a great deal of circulation and attention, much less allowed to permeate our attitudes as to what actions to take to save money on household energy use.
Of course, there are people who support environmental causes from an ethical or philosophical perspective, which is all very good. But where we all are hit most by inefficient use of energy is our pockets: our household budgets. Educating people about all the different elements which impact the overall environment will be a step in the right direction, as it will help people make wise choices in what they do to save money at the same time as they help the green cause.
Here are a few facts and figures from the report we’ve mentioned, specifically in relation to hard and soft water, which impact household energy use:
On gas water heaters
- Did you know that hard water can lead to as much as a 48% loss of efficiency in water heaters?
- By contrast, gas storage tank household water heaters operated on softened water can maintain the original factory efficiency over a 15-year lifetime.
On electric water heaters
- Up to 30 pounds of calcium carbonate rocklike scale can accumulate in electric water heaters over time. As a result, the life of the heating element will be shortened due to scale build up as higher operating temperatures are required of the heating element.
- Indoor tankless heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. This contrasts with the finding in the research report that “tankless water heaters completely failed to function because of scale plugging in the downstream plumbing after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water use on 26gph hard water.”
Showerheads and faucets
- Shower heads on hard water lost 75% of the flow rate in less than 18 months.
- This compares to showerheads on soft water which maintained a brilliant lustre and full flow.
- Similarly, faucets on softened water performed well throughout the study, nearly as well as the day they were installed.
Although the figures quoted above may seem a little dismaying to people living in areas with hard water supplies, the facts are not a surprise at all – as they have all directly experienced the build up of limescale in kettles, showers and other household equipment. Time then to consider installing water softeners for a more efficient household energy use.
(photo by cabrantes)