Softeners are among the “very best” household energy savers, says a new independent study released by the Battelle Institute, commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation.

Released yesterday, the study found that softeners help preserve the efficiency of water heaters and major appliances and keep showers and faucets unclogged.

Among some of the key findings of the study:

  • Gas storage tank household water heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. On the other hand, hard water can lead to as much as a 48 per cent loss of efficiency in water heaters.
  • Up to 30 pounds of calcium carbonate rocklike scale can accumulate in electric water heaters over time. The life of the heating element will be shortened due to scale buildup because of increased operating temperature of the heating element.
  • Tankless water heaters failed to function because of scale plugging in the downstream plumbing after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water use on 26 grains per gallon (gpg) hard water, and softened water saves 34 per cent of costs compared to operating on 20 gpg and saves 47 per cent compared to operation on 30 gpg hard water.
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