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The high concentration of minerals in the water is also responsible for spotty dishes, stiff laundry, icky soap scum and eroded tea kettles, not to mention dry skin and limp hair.

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Are water softeners worth it?

Luckily, hard water isn’t unhealthy, but it can be a drain on the pocketbook.

“Calcium builds up in dishwashers and washing machines, choking the portals and hoses — every place water has to squirt through. Soft water will prolong the life of all plumbing equipment and fixtures,” says Pete Archdiken, known in Calgary as Pete the Plumber.

“The longevity of your appliances will be 10 to 12 years compared to the five or seven years if you don’t have soft water.”

Laundering with soft water will help fabrics last longer.

“Your whites will be whiter, your brights brighter. You’ll also use a lot less detergent, so that will save money,” he says.