MISTAKE #1-BUYING A SYSTEM WITHOUT GETTING PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
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.
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. 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.
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 non AIWSE registered company that doesn’t have professional installers, 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 AIWSE member have 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.
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 AIWSE member and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.