Water hardness is a sneaky culprit that often goes unnoticed, silently affecting the efficiency and longevity of your appliances and plumbing. 

Have you ever found yourself questioning why your water heater doesn’t have the longevity it should, or why your appliances seem to wear out faster than anticipated? Have you had trouble with poor water pressure in your plumbing system? Hard water might be the culprit.

This invisible problem can have significant consequences on your home, causing damage to your plumbing system. In this blog, we’ll uncover the hard truth about hard water, the problems it can cause, and the solution you need to protect your home.

Is Your Water Hard Enough to Cause These Problems?

Water Heater Damage

One of the most common issues from hard water is its damage to your water heater. The minerals in hard water, like calcium and magnesium, gradually accumulate inside the water heater tank, forming a stubborn layer known as limescale. This buildup occurs more rapidly due to the elevated temperature within the tank, creating a perfect environment for mineral dissolution.

As this limescale thickens, it acts as an insulating barrier that prevents heat from escaping the tank. The result? An overheated tank, increased pressure, leaks, and potential damage to the pressure expansion tank. The life of your water heater can be significantly shortened by this process, leading to untimely replacements and avoidable expenses.

Furthermore, hard water leaves behind a sediment layer at the bottom of the tank, lowering the efficiency of your water heater. The more sediment accumulates, the harder your water heater has to work to provide hot water, leading to higher energy bills. While periodic tank flushing helps, it’s not a long-term solution. You deserve a water heater that performs efficiently and doesn’t strain your finances.

Appliance Damage and Failure

Hard water isn’t just hard on your water heater—it also wreaks havoc on other appliances. For instance, ever wondered why your washing machine sometimes fails to deliver clean, soft laundry? It’s the minerals in hard water interfering with the cleaning action of soaps and detergents. You might find yourself using excessive detergent to combat this issue, only to be disappointed with the results.

The hard minerals also react with detergents, leaving clothes stiff, rough, and prone to fading colors. If that wasn’t enough, scale buildup in washing machines reduces performance and efficiency over time. Critical components, such as the pump and other moving parts, are not immune to the damage caused by mineral buildup, leading to early appliance failure.

Dishwashers don’t escape this issue either. The presence of hard water is a primary culprit behind the lack of cleanliness in your tableware. The effectiveness of dishwasher detergents takes a hit when faced with the minerals in hard water, leading to unsightly spots, persistent stains, and an overall subpar cleaning outcome. This chemical interaction, coupled with the drying water droplets, has the potential to etch lasting hard water marks onto glassware, leaving behind a lackluster, cloudy look that defies correction. And the long-term consequences? You might have to replace your expensive dishwasher much sooner than expected.

Plumbing Issues

Hard water might not make you sick, but it can certainly make your plumbing system feel unwell. If you’ve noticed white or yellow flaky buildup on your faucets, sinks, and showerheads, you’ve seen the visible consequences of calcium deposits left behind by hard water. It’s unsightly and a constant hassle to clean as the buildup returns rapidly.

Now, consider what’s happening inside your plumbing system, where you can’t see or easily clean. Those calcium deposits accumulate within the pipes, slowly narrowing the openings and reducing water flow. While it may not fully block a pipe, it decreases water pressure and increases the likelihood of developing clogs over time.

Hard water can even cause corrosion in your water heater tank, leading to the ultimate failure of this essential appliance. The minerals present in hard water contribute to this corrosion, effectively shortening the lifespan of your water heater. 

Call Custom Plumbing to Find a Solution

When it comes to dealing with the troublesome effects of hard water, trust the experts at Custom Plumbing of Arizona. Our skilled emergency plumbers are ready to help you, no matter where you are—whether it’s Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, or any nearby area. Our top-notch services are designed to fit your unique needs. Reach out to us today at 602-866-2665, and let us restore your plumbing system’s full functionality.

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Having a water softener in your home can be a great way to improve your water quality. But in order for a water softener to work properly, it’s important to set it to the right hardness level. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what should your water softener hardness should be set at and why it’s important to get it right.


What Should My Water Softener Hardness Be Set At?

The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (GPG), parts per million (PPM), or milligrams per liter (MG/L). The average hardness of the water in the United States is about 60 GPG, but the range can be from 0 to over 400 GPG. Water is considered “hard” when it has a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. 


You can find your water’s hardness level by looking at the concentration levels:

  • Anything less than 75 mg/L is considered soft;
  • Anything between 76 and 150 mg/L indicates that the water is moderately hard; 
  • Anything between 151 and 300 mg/L indicates that the water is hard; 
  • And anything above 300 mg/L indicates that the water is very hard.


A basic rule of thumb is that the hardness level of water should not exceed 120 to 170 mg/L, which equates to around 7-10 grains per gallon of water. Whether you get a lab test or do it yourself at home, the hardness level can be determined by an accurate water analysis report. You can request this information from your city’s water department or purchase one independently.

What Happens If You Incorrectly Set a Water Softener?

A water softener will work more efficiently when properly set. For example, if the water comes from a municipality, it might already be softened. There is no need to apply a water softener in this case. If the hardness level is too high, the softener will waste a lot of water and consume more energy. 


The four parameters for setting up a water softener are frequency, time, length, and salt dose. A fundamental step in setting up a water softener is regeneration (typically where you center settings).

Regeneration cycle

A water softener regenerates cycles at different frequencies. For example, it might regenerate once or seven times per week if the water doesn’t harden after a cycle. A general understanding of how much water your softener can process, the cause of your mineral buildup, and the size of your tank can help you select the right frequency for you.

Regeneration cycle time

Water softening systems are designed to cycle in batches, so setting the regeneration time is essential. Because the system will not produce softened water during the scheduled regeneration period, select a time when water is not being used. Moreover, the process might be noisy and go on for hours. For best results, set a regeneration cycle at a time when demand for water usage during that time is low.

Regeneration cycle length 

You can set the length of your water softener’s regeneration cycle. The default cycles take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. That time frame is reasonable for most households and leaves you with soft water while also taking up a small amount of your time each day. 

Salt Dose

There are a few steps when finding the correct salt dose for your water softener. First, refer to the specifications from the manufacturer. Then, once you have a recommended setting, run the softener through a manual regeneration cycle. 


Then, measure the hardness of your water. Once you set a new salt dose to reach your desired hardness level, run an additional cycle and measure the hardness once more to make sure it is at your desired levels. Remember that extremely hard water may require extra salt to maintain sufficient softening levels. 

How to Change Your Water Softener Settings

Make sure the “hardness” setting on your water softener is the same number as the hardness measured in your supply of water. For example, if your water hardness reading were 12 GPG, the “hardness” setting would be “12”. Therefore, it’s best to set the hardness setting on your water softener 4 points above the amount of hardness in your water (plus 4 for every ppm of dissolved iron).


The hardness number measures the number of minerals your water contains. The higher this number, the more you have to adjust your water softener’s settings.  For example, if you already have 1 PPM of iron in your water and need to increase the hardness number by 2, set it to 4. Also, an older water softener might require a slightly higher hardness setting as its resin degrades over time. 


Electric water softeners typically work by regenerating the number of times a specific resin needs to regenerate. This resin can automatically or manually set the number on more basic water softeners.

Need a Plumber in Phoenix Today?

If you live in Arizona and are still determining what your water softener’s hardness should be set at, contact Custom Plumbing of Arizona for expert advice and assistance. Our experienced plumbers can help you choose the optimal hardness setting for your water softener to ensure that your water is free of hard minerals and impurities. 

Reach out to us today at 602-866-2665 to learn more and get your water softener set up correctly.

Posted on Categories Commercial Plumbing Service, Hard Water, Residential Plumbing ServicesTags Leave a comment on What Should My Water Softener Hardness Be Set At?

If you notice your water softener leaking, you don’t need to panic, but you should fix it as soon as possible. In this article, I talk about some of the most common scenarios as well as some solutions that you can try on your own before contacting a plumber.

Important note: before trying to figure out where the water is coming from, disconnect the water softener’s power supply. Always remember, safety first!

Scenario #1: Rotor Valve

The rotor valve on your water softener is usually located at the top of the unit. As the source of water into the water softener, the rotor valve is often the source of leaks. Over time, it can develop cracks and need to be replaced.

If you do not notice any cracks or breakage around the rotor valve but you can see water coming from it, the problem could be the seal located on the inside of the valve. In either case, you will need to contact a professional plumber to fix the issue.

Scenario #2: Punctured Brine Tank

The brine tank is where you place the salt. In case you didn’t know, water softeners work by replacing calcium and magnesium ions in your water with sodium ions. A puncture in the brine tank usually means that you need to replace the tank altogether. In some cases, certain sealants might work, but be careful what you use—picking the wrong one could seriously damage your water softener system.

Scenario #3: Loose Hose Connection

In this third scenario, the solution is often straightforward. If you notice your water softener leaking from the supply hose, try tightening the connection. The problem could be that simple.

If tightening the connection does not stop the leak, the hose could be punctured. When this happens, you will need to replace the hose.


Scenario #4: Defective Bypass Valve O-Rings

Some water softeners have a valve that allows the water to bypass the system. The bypass valve is a convenience in case you need to repair or replace part of the water softener without cutting off water to your home, but if you notice your water softener leaking, it could be the cause, too.

On the bypass valve are located what are called O-rings. As your system gets older, these O-rings may need to be replaced if you do not maintain them. Replacing the O-rings requires special tools and skills, so it is best to contact a plumber with experience fixing water softener systems.

Water Softener Bypass Valve Leaking? Here’s What You Should Know

What is a water softener bypass valve?

In place of a drain valve, there is the bypass valve on the water softener. The switch opens the bypass by introducing water from the main system to the water softening system. The water goes through and flows into two or more lines, creating unique flushes for every single household connected to this household unit.

It is possible that you’ll face a water line disruption in your home, which might require replacing the water softener. During this time the displaced water needs to be cleaned and flushed through the system. This can normally take at least 90 minutes of continuous activity to complete.

If you want to avoid the situation where you have to drain the softener first and then clean it, you can use something called a bypass valve. When using a bypass valve, you utilize it before getting water from the softener by opening a valve before bringing in the water.

The bypass valve gives you full control over the water flow system. You can turn the valves on or off in accordance with your needs.

Do not be confused while looking at the valve, though complicated it looks. The pipes fixed to the wall might have a variety of control tabs, which indicate how the water goes through them and gets to your plumbing system. Examine each tab so you can understand what’s going on at each point in the pipe, but pay attention to the flow of water all throughout!

Once you understand how the whole structure works, it’s easy to bypass the water softener by changing the valves themselves.

Learn the basics of what a bypass valve does

The bypass valve is used to change the water flow from the water softener to the mainline connection to the home.

However, your home has a backup system in place to give you the reassurance of never having to go without water.

A bypass valve is used to help better control the water flow in and out of your faucets. Shut off your water valves and use this valve to free up the system so you can continue using water.

How to replace your water softener bypass valve

Know where the water softener valve starts, where it ends, and the location of the bypass valve before you start

1. Cut the connection of the water softener system from the main water line.

2. Remove the bypass valve from the connection.

3. You can first use another pipe to serve as a valve and then connect the two pipes at the connection or use other pipes to assemble the water.

You should be sure that both the inward and outward flow of the water softener system are properly sealed. If they are not, you could risk a leak.

4. When complete, turn the water on to allow the water to flow into the softener.


Water softener resin tank leaking from bottom? Here’s how to fix it.

One of the most common problems that homeowners run into with their water softener is a leaking resin tank, which can be caused by a variety of different factors. Luckily for you, this blog post has an easy fix for any leaking water softener resin tank!

Softener resin tank leaks from the bottom

Resin tanks are designed to be watertight to prevent leaks, but in some cases, resin tanks will leak from the bottom. When a leak occurs, the tank must be patched or replaced. When installing a new resin tank, it is important to use the same brand and model of resin tank as before.

How to fix a leaking water softener resin tank

A resin tank is one of the most important components of a water softener. The water passes through the resin and becomes softer. Over time, the tank can develop leaks, so it is critical to know how to fix any holes that form. To fix the problem, you will need to drain, clean, and patch the leaking resin tank.

Step 1: Drain the Resin Tank

First, you will need to shut off the water. Wait for as long as it takes for the tank to drain, noting where the leak or crack is located for future reference. Once the tank is drained, you can disassemble it and clean it.

Step 2: Clean the Resin Tank

Once you have disassembled the resin tank and set the resin beads to the side, it’s time to clean the tank. One way to clean the tank is to use a bleach and water solution to soak the resin tank in. After it has soaked, be sure that any salt and iron deposits are removed using a toothbrush. Now that the tank is clean, you can start the repair process.

Step 3: Patch the Resin Tank

Remembering where the crack or leak was located on the resin tank, sand the area around the crack to create an abrasive surface. This allows the epoxy to bind with the resin tank more firmly. Now take some waterproof epoxy and fill any cracks in the tank with a putty knife. Allow the epoxy to dry according to the instructions on the container. Once the epoxy is dry, you can reassemble the water softener.
Be sure to check on the leak as time goes on. Sometimes repairing a leaking resin tank can take a few attempts. If you need to repatch the resin tank because it is still leaking, follow the above steps again.


Is Your Water Softener Leaking? Contact Custom Plumbing of Arizona for Help

In Arizona, having a water softener is critical to protect your home’s plumbing and appliances from hard water buildup. Is your water softener leaking? Don’t wait too long to fix it. It could turn into a much more expensive problem.

Need help with your water softener leaking? That’s why we are here. Contact us today to schedule a visit from one of our expert plumbers.

Posted on Categories Residential Plumbing Services, Hard Water, Water TreatmentTags

Thinking of adding a hard water treatment system to your plumbing? Get more information about why you should in this article.

You have scrubbed the deposits from your sink, felt the residue on your skin, replaced your shower head more times than you can remember—maybe it’s time to install a water softener.

If you are tired of dealing with the effects of hard water, this solution is pretty easy to put into action. Here are five reasons why you should stop putting it off.

5 Reasons to Install Hard Water Treatment

Scale Deposits

A clean home is a happy home, but hard water makes cleaning surfaces a pain. When the water on your shower door or in your kitchen sink evaporates, you’re left with a chalky substance—usually a mixture of calcium and magnesium. It is relatively easy to remove, but if you let even days pass between cleanings, your pristine home won’t look so pristine anymore. Hard water treatment can keep your home looking cleaner for longer.

Dull Laundry

Remember those laundry detergent commercials you watched on TV as a kid? Remember how bright and vibrant the clothes were after they were washed? Many people wonder why their clothing doesn’t stay colorful for long, and the answer is often the hard water running through their pipes. Installing a water softening system may do more to make your dull clothes pop with color than switching to a more expensive detergent brand.

Soap Scum

When minerals like calcium and magnesium mix with soap, the result is something nasty—soap scum. This substance is difficult to clean and can gunk up your drains if you don’t address the root of the problem.

Hair and Skin Health

When you have hard water, you might notice that you never really feel clean after a shower or bath. The residue that ends up on your water fixtures and bathroom tile is prone to clinging to your skin and hair, too, leaving you with dry skin and dull, stringy hair. Hard water treatment is a great way to up your beauty game.

Expensive Appliance and Pipe Failure

When mineral deposits form on your bathroom counter, it’s an annoyance. When it happens inside your pipes and water-using appliances, it can get expensive. Over time, the deposits will build inside your plumbing and any appliances—refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine—that are connected to it. You may need to get your machines serviced to solve the problem, and in some cases, you may even need to replace them completely.

Already have hard water treatment installed? Water softener maintenance is key.

If you have already added a water-softening system to your home’s plumbing, it is critical to keep it working properly. Water softeners sometimes leak, which can cause significant damage if you don’t catch them immediately. You need to check your brine tank every other month and have the system serviced at least once a year by a professional to keep it working at its best.

Want to learn more? Check out our post on how to find and fix leaks in your water softener.

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