Do the appliances in your home suffer from a build up of dissolved minerals in the water, such as calcium or manganese? If your dishes come out looking spotty or your clothes are looking less than clean after they come out of the washer, this could be a sign that you have hard water. Hard water, in addition to being a pain to deal with, can also shorten the life of your appliances. Before you head out to the store to buy some water softeners, you should know that all water softeners are not created equal and that you will need some information about your house to make the right choice. Here are a few tips to follow. Get a Test Done Water softeners come in different strengths, and you don’t want to use one that is too weak or too strong for your own situation. You can actually measure a water’s hardness level with a home test kit. You simply dampen a strip or a tablet which will then change color based on the water’s hardness level. Water hardness is usually measured in grains per gallon, or GPG. Get the Right Size Water softeners are sold according to size and capacity, so determine how much water your family will use. One good rule of thumb is take the number of people in your family and multiple that by 75. 75 is a good average number of gallons that the average person uses per day. Then multiply the total gallons your family will use by the GPG you got from the home test kit and you will have a good idea of what capacity your water softener needs to have. Salt Is Usually the Go-To Choice, But Not the Only Option The most common water softeners work by exchanging those unwanted minerals for salt. But this could actually increase your daily sodium intake if you drink the softened water. There are other options available if you don’t want salt in your water supply. Some water softeners use potassium chloride instead of salt. You could also set up the softener so that it only affects the hot water supply and not your drinking water.  Hard water can shorten the life of your appliances and make daily duties like cleaning dishes and clothes a hassle. Before buying water softener, get a test done on your household’s level of water hardness, and then buy the right softener based on this information. If you don’t want salt in your water supply as a result of the softener, take a look around for other options. For more information, contact a business such as Still...