Water Softener in Florida

Do I Need a Water Softener in Florida?

If you live in Florida, you may be wondering if a water softener is necessary for your home. Hard water is common throughout much of the state, which can lead to dry skin, hair damage, scale buildup, and other problems. This article will help you determine if a water softener is right for your home in Florida.

What is Hard Water and Why is it a Problem?

Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium minerals that can cause a variety of issues:

  • Dry Skin and Irritation – Hard water prevents soap from lathering properly, leaving behind a film that causes itchy, dry skin. It can worsen conditions like eczema.
  • Hair Damage – Minerals in hard water can damage hair follicles and cause dry, brittle hair that is hard to style and manage.
  • Scale Buildup – Over time, calcium and magnesium accumulate to form hard, chalky deposits on sinks, tubs, appliances and plumbing fixtures. This can reduce efficiency.
  • Stained Fixtures/Appliances – Hard water interacts with soap scum to create stains, film and cloudiness on fixtures, glass shower doors, faucets and appliances.
  • Shorter Appliance Lifespan – Buildup of scale can damage water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances over time, shortening their lifespan.

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Is Water Hard in Florida?

Much of Florida has hard water, with the highest levels found in the central and northern regions of the state.

Here are average water hardness levels for some major Florida cities:

  • Jacksonville – 120-180 ppm (7-10 grains per gallon)
  • Orlando – 150-210 ppm (9-12 grains)
  • Tampa – 135-150 ppm (8-9 grains)
  • Miami – 85-150 ppm (5-9 grains)

Water above 120 ppm or 7 grains per gallon is considered hard. At these levels, the benefits of a water softener become more apparent.

Key Factors in Deciding on a Water Softener

There are a few key factors that determine if a water softener makes sense for your Florida home:

Water Hardness

As shown above, a water test can reveal your exact hardness levels. The harder your water, the more you’ll benefit from softening.

Household Size

Larger households with more water use will get the most value from a water softener. Calculate your average daily water usage.


A water softener prolongs the life of water-based appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and water heaters by reducing scale buildup. Protect your investment with soft water.

Personal Preferences

Some simply prefer softened water for bathing, cleaning and laundry. Soft water provides noticeably increased lathering of soaps and shampoos.

Benefits of a Water Softener in Florida

Installing a water softener provides a range of benefits:

Smoother, Softer Skin and Hair

Soft water creates a silky lather that rinses cleanly without residue. Say goodbye to post-shower dryness and itchiness.

Fewer Spotty Dishes and Laundry Loads

Soft water allows soap to lather properly so dishes, laundry and surfaces clean more easily without spots or film.

Longer Appliance Lifespan

Scale buildup shortens the lifespan of water heaters, washing machines and other appliances. Soft water prevents this.

Improved Lathering and Cleaning Power of Soaps

Hard water reduces sudsing and cleaning ability of soaps and detergents. Soft water maximizes their effectiveness.

Protection of Plumbing

Scale buildup in pipes eventually leads to clogged plumbing and reduced water flow. Soft water protects your plumbing.

Drawbacks of Water Softeners to Consider

While water softeners provide many benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider as well:

  • Cost – Purchasing and installing a water softener costs $500-$2,500 depending on type, size and features.
  • Maintenance – Softening systems require regular maintenance like refilling salt and sanitizing the resin bed.
  • Water Waste – Most units use an automatic regeneration cycle that flushes water down the drain. Newer demand-based models are more efficient.
  • Sodium Intake – People on low-sodium diets should consult a doctor, as softeners increase sodium levels. Alternatives like potassium chloride are available.

Types of Water Softeners

If you decide a water softener is right for your home, you’ll need to choose the right type:

Ion Exchange Softeners

Ion exchange softeners are the most common type. They remove hardness minerals by exchanging them for sodium ions. Models are available in different tank sizes to accommodate different home sizes.

Salt-Free Softeners

Salt-free softeners use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride salt. They help reduce scale and soap scum buildup but are not as effective at softening water as ion exchange models.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis systems force water through a membrane to remove minerals and soften water. They are more expensive but waste less water than ion exchange softeners.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Proper installation and maintenance ensures your softener provides optimal performance:

  • Have a qualified plumber install the softener on your main water supply line.
  • Add salt as needed to keep the brine tank full. Use clean salt only, not pellets.
  • Periodically sanitize the resin bed to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Replace resin beads every 5-10 years depending on water hardness and usage.
  • Program electronic metered models to regenerate based on actual water usage.

Do I Need a Water Softener in Florida?

While parts of Florida have relatively soft water, areas like Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa have hard water that will benefit from softening.

Base your decision on your specific hardness levels, water usage, appliances and personal preference for soft water. Carefully weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks.

If you decide to install a softener, choose a reputable brand sized appropriately for your household. With proper maintenance, a water softener will provide years of scale prevention, soap savings and appliance protection.

Key Takeaways:

  • Much of Florida has hard water requiring treatment. Test your home’s water.
  • Softened water provides benefits like soap savings, cleaner laundry, and appliance protection.
  • Consider cost, maintenance and sodium intake as potential drawbacks.
  • Choose an ion exchange or salt-free softener sized for your household.
  • Installation and maintenance are important for optimal performance.

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