A Guide to the Best Water Softening Solutions in Central Indiana

If you live in Central Indiana, then you’re probably no stranger to hard water. Water is considered “hard” because it contains minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals are dissolved in your water. They have unpleasant and unwanted effects.

What are the effects of hard water?

Hard water causes stains on your sinks, tubs, and toilets as well as scaling and buildup on your appliances and dishes. Also, iron, calcium, and magnesium react with soaps and detergents to form insoluble cleaning solutions which have almost no cleaning power, requiring you to use an excessive amount. These hardness minerals will also cause boiler scaling in your water heater. At high temperatures the calcium, magnesium, and iron form solid mineral matter coating the boiler or heater. Scale is a poor conductor of heat and energy is wasted to heat the water. Hard water can create extra costs for energy, cleaning supplies, and untimely appliance replacement or service.

Why is water in Central Indiana hard?

The water in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas is considered hard due to its natural levels of the minerals iron, calcium, and magnesium. The water hardness—expressed as calcium carbonate—typically ranges from around 200 to 350 milligrams per liter or parts per million (ppm). This equates to 12 to 20 grains per gallon—the measure often referred to in determining water softener settings.

City water hardness can vary depending on the hardness of the source water that is used to supply different treatment plants. Homeowners on both city water and well water will experience hard water.

This guide will help you determine the best way to mitigate the hardness minerals in your water.

1. Diagnose the Hardness Minerals in Your Water

It is your responsibility to monitor the water quality in your home and the first step of any solution to water problems is comprehensive testing and diagnosis. Hardness minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium are measured in grains per gallon. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes standards for drinking water which fall into two categories—Primary Standards and Secondary Standards.

Primary Standards are based on health considerations and Secondary Standards are based on taste, odor, color, corrosivity, foaming, and staining properties of water. There is no Primary or Secondary standard for water hardness. Water hardness is classified by the Water Quality Association as follows:

  • Soft — 0-1 grains/gal
  • Slightly Hard — 1-3.5 grains/gal
  • Moderately Hard — 3.5-7 grains/gal
  • Hard — 7-10.5 grains/gal
  • Very Hard — 10.5 & over grains/gal

There are a few factors that will impact the levels of calcium carbonate in your water such as water source and your geographical location.

hard water solution

The Source of Your Water Impacts Its Hardness

Well Water

If your water comes from a private water well, it is usually drawn from groundwater. When rainwater or melting snow seeps into the ground, it collects in underground pockets called aquifers, which store the groundwater and form the water table —another name for the highest level of water that an aquifer can hold. Water levels can reach the water table or fall well below it depending on factors like rainfall, drought, or the rate at which the water is being used. Groundwater usually comes from aquifers through a drilled well or natural spring. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in a solution. A well is a strategically placed access point drilled into an aquifer, combined with a pump to draw the water and a basic filtering or screening system.

Approximately 15% of the US population relies on individually owned sources of drinking water, such as wells, cisterns, and springs. The majority of household wells are found in rural areas. Indiana DNR estimates there are over 400,000 water wells in Indiana. Although this water is somewhat naturally filtered, it can still contain hardness minerals and, perhaps, other contaminants if left untreated. Groundwater in Indiana is considered very hard — with an average of around 10.5 grains per gallon.

City Water

As mentioned above, the EPA has standards for bacteria, pathogens, metals, and other contaminants, but it doesn’t require municipalities to soften water. Consequently, most only add chemicals such as chlorine or chloramines to treat living organisms in the water. This means that often your city water is just as hard as well water because it is not cost-effective to soften the water before it is sent to your home. City water in Central Indiana is obtained from several sources.

For example, White River, Fall Creek, Morse Reservoir, Geist Reservoir, and Eagle Creek supply the city water for the Indianapolis area and Morgan County. Noblesville residents on city water are supplied by treated water from three well fields, while Westfield city water comes from groundwater sources. City water in southern Madison County—Pendleton, Markleville, Ingalls, and parts of Anderson—comes from groundwater and rock wells, drawn from the White and West Fork White aquifers. This water is among some of the hardest in Central Indiana on average—almost 24 gpg.

Where You Live Impacts Water Hardness

Whether your water is supplied by a private well or local municipality, water hardness can vary greatly—even in Central Indiana. For example, Indianapolis residents have an average of 16 gpg, while Noblesville has an average of just over 20 gpg. Boone County is just above 9 gpg, while Carmel averages are closer to 11 gpg. No matter where you live, you will need proper testing and analysis to diagnose the hardness in your area. c and j water offers a Free Water Analysis to ascertain the hardness levels of your water. This testing is for city or well water supplies and will diagnose your water hardness in about 30-45 minutes. We will then explain your results and treatment equipment options.

2. Decide to Take Control of Your Water Quality

WisetrackOnce your water has been tested and analyzed, and you’ve been presented with equipment options, it’s time to decide whether or not you will move forward with taking responsibility of the water quality in your home. This duty is no small matter—it can literally be the difference between life and death. You may want to start small with a single-tank water softener and regular bacteria testing, and then decide you need chlorine removal or an ultraviolet light for disinfection. Also, be sure to check your area’s Consumer Confidence Report that your local water supplier must provide.

No doubt, water equipment can come with initial costs that aren’t in the budget of many homeowners. In an effort to provide quality water for families in Central Indiana, c and j water has teamed up with Wisetack to offer flexible financing options. It’s a short application—takes just a minute to see your options does not affect your credit score. They offer reasonable terms from 3 to 60 months with an APR from 0% to 29.9%. There are no prepayment penalties, origination fees, or compounding interest. This is a great option to spread out the initial cost while still controlling the water that your family uses for bathing, cooking, and drinking.

3. Determine What Water Treatment Equipment You Need

The water treatment equipment you will need is based on hardness in your area, water usage, water source, water problems—like odor or bad taste. Also, additional equipment may be needed if you have any special health considerations—like immunocompromised people undergoing chemotherapy, people who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, and some elderly and infants who can be particularly at risk from infections. No matter what your needs are, c and j water has the treatment equipment solutions for all water problems around Central Indiana.

4. Develop a Mindset of Preventative Maintenance

Make sure you don’t neglect preventative maintenance measures for your water treatment equipment.

change water filtersWater softeners regularly require salt to properly deionize and remove the hardness minerals. Depending on usage, they usually need 40-50 lbs a month. If you don’t have adequate salt in the brine tank, the softener will malfunction and won’t do much good. Also, if properly maintained, water softeners only need the media replaced every 7-10 years and dechlorinators every 7 years. Many owners of private water wells have a point-of-entry sediment filter. These filters need to be changed at least once a month, sometimes even as often as once a week. Forgetting to monitor and change a sediment filter will reduce water flow and quality while causing unnecessary wear and tear to other water treatment equipment you may have.

If you have a reverse osmosis drinking water system, it is recommended that you change the filters at least every year and the RO membrane at least every five years. Failing to change the filters and membrane drastically reduces the effectiveness of the RO system.

It is also important to change the bulb in your UV light bacteria removal system every year. UV lamps have a lifespan of approximately 9,000 hours. Calculated out, this means the lamp can operate for about 375 days before requiring a replacement. Since technically the lamp is good for about a year and a week, this does provide you with a little wiggle room in the event you forget to order a replacement lamp in time. However, it is always wise to keep an extra lamp on hand or set a reminder to order a new lamp a month before your old one expires. After the 9,000 hours, disinfection will no longer occur and you will no longer be protected from any microbiological unsafe content present in your water. After the UV lamp burns out, you are simply passing water through a tube of glass inside a pipe.

The good news is you can set up filters or bulbs for your equipment to be delivered automatically, whenever they are scheduled to be replaced, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to order replacements.

Furthermore, private water well owners should also invest in preventative maintenance with a water well cleaning and a pressure tank replacement every
10 years. Yearly inspections are also recommended to make sure your well system components are functioning properly.

If you’re ready to take control of your water quality or have more questions contact us today!

Quality Water Solutions for Central Indiana Residents

  • Indianapolis
  • Speedway
  • Broadripple
  • Beech Grove
  • Lawrence
  • Castleton
  • Brownsburg
  • Plainfield
  • Avon
  • Fishers
  • Carmel
  • Cicero
  • Noblesville
  • Bargersville
  • Greenwood
  • Pendleton
  • Anderson
  • Crawfordsville
  • Lebanon
  • Zionsville
  • Moorseville
  • Fortville
  • Greenfield
  • Shelbyville

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