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Study illustrates benefits of water softeners
Results of the Battelle study on benefits of removal of water hardness from a water supply can be found at www.wqa.org/battellereport.
The U.S. Department of Energy said water heating can account for 14 to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. It is the second highest energy consuming area of a home, next to heating and cooling. Monthly water heating bills can be reduced substantially by softening hard water supplies, according to the Water Quality Research Foundation’s (WQRF) Battelle Study. This study shows water softeners to be one of the very highest energy-saving and best green technology appliances that a homeowner can own.
In 2009 the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, was retained by the WQRF to develop and run tests to determine how much energy savings household water softeners can provide. The independent Battelle Institute evaluated the energy and costs in heating hard water versus the savings with softened water. It also examined effects on clothes washers, faucet fixtures, showerheads and dishwashers using hard water versus softened water.
Results of the study demonstrated that untreated hard water can cause significant efficiency losses and added costs in water heating--up to 24% in some cases. Battelle also found hard water to rapidly lead to clogged showerheads, in as soon as a year-and-a-half of regular use. After just one week of constant testing with hard water, more than three-fourths of showerhead nozzles became clogged, according to laboratory results. All appliances and fixtures using softened water, meanwhile, per¬formed nearly as well throughout the testing as on the day they were installed.
Residential point-of-entry water purification systems, specifically water softeners, have come under increasing scrutiny and criticism from local environmental groups and wastewater agencies over the high levels of total dissolved solids and concentrated brine in the discharges. Given these developments, WQRF feels that research should be conducted across the water softener life cycle to better understand the potential cost and energy benefits of softened water to a single family home or a household. WQA believes communicating these benefits to the general public would be helpful in addressing the scrutiny and criticism and potentially improve the product sustainability.