Better Together: Tankless Heaters and Soft Water

Jan 26, 2021

“Teamwork makes the dream work” says the title of a book by John C. Maxwell. In the book, Maxwell describes how working together as a team can help achieve a goal. If your goal is to have endless hot water plus softer, healthier water this winter, you can start by putting together a dream team to reach your goal! 

Your Dream Team

The first team member to put in place is a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters give you an endless stream of hot water on demand – perfect for cold morning showers.  They also save you money, take up less space and last longer than traditional tank water heaters. Tankless water heaters are generally low maintenance. But there is the problem of hard water.

Many experts think that hard water is the number one enemy of tankless water heaters.  The level of hard water is determined by the number of dissolved minerals in the water supply. Different geographical areas have different levels of water hardness. If you live in San Diego, chances are you have extremely hard water (if you’ve noticed a film buildup in your shower or bathtub, you most likely have hard water). 

When hard water enters our homes, a scaly build-up begins to form as some of the minerals attach to the surfaces that come in contact with the water. Over time, the build-up of minerals becomes a hard, scaly layer called limescale.  

Manufacturers of tankless water heaters recommend flushing a descaling solution through the system to get rid of hard water buildup on the heat exchangers at least annually. If not flushed, this hard water buildup can decrease the efficiency of your tankless water heater and corrode and break down the components inside. 

Enter team member number two – a whole-house water softener. Water softeners treat all water, cold and hot that enters your home by trapping the damaging minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium, found in hard water. You’ll also reap the benefits of healthier and softer skin, shiny hair, softer clothes, and better-tasting drinking water.

How a Water Softener Works

A water softener is a mechanical device that is installed with your main water supply.  All softeners work by removing minerals with sodium. This process is called ion exchange. A softener holds a small amount of polystyrene beads and salt. The beads have a negative charge. Both calcium and magnesium have a positive charge. When incoming water passes through the beads, the calcium and magnesium cling to the beads. 

Eventually, the beads become saturated with calcium. The unit does a regeneration cycle where the beads are soaked in sodium chloride which causes the calcium to lose its connection, creating a brine. The brine is then flushed through a drainpipe, and the process starts over. 

how a water softener works

How Tankless Water Heaters and Water Softeners Work Together

By installing a water softener, you are preventing the buildup of hard water and protecting your water heater. You are also protecting your other appliances, faucets, and plumbing. If you already have a tankless water heater or are considering switching to tankless, a water softener is a great idea. Remember that regular maintenance should still be performed on your tankless unit.

From Team to Dream

Are you ready to create your team and go for your dream of endless hot, healthy water?  Make an appointment for a free consultation and estimate on a tankless water heater and a water softening system.