Home Ownership Lesson #7

Hard water is bad. Soft water is good, but it will cost you.

Every morning of my childhood was a crap shoot. Would there be enough water to finish my shower? Maybe, maybe not. It all depended on how long Sister decided to shower. More than once I was left with shampoo in my hair and no water. The good news, though, was the water from our well was clean, smell free, and bubbly. We may not have had a lot of it, but what we had was pristine. Fortunately, around the time I turned 16 we got county water in the holler and my days of will-there-be-enough-water anxiety was over.

Since that time I have never had water issues. Sure, I have heard people talk about hard water and I’d smile nod. I did need to know anything about that. Right?

Wrong.

When you buy a house and this inside of the dishwasher looks like this, then you have to know something about hard water . . .

Yes. That is the inside of the dishwasher in my new house. The inside of the dishwasher is not supposed to be white and crusty. At the inspection the inspector ran the dishwasher a full cycle. It worked. Yeah, it ran. Turns out, that doesn’t mean it will clean anything. Shortly after moving in I discovered that it won’t clean a thing and no amount of lime-whatever or vinegar will fix it. It is hopeless.

Why? Hard water. Solution? We must soften the water. A call to Culligan, a visit from the salesman, and $1,700 later I have this . . .

The Culligan man informed me that a pound of mineral is being deposited in my pipes and appliances every five days. That is a pretty effective sales pitch. He also laughed aloud and said that Culligan “loves” the service authority in my area because the “water is awful.” I am now wondering if the service authority is in cahoots with Culligan? It seems like they could treat the water? But what do I know.

What he did not tell me is that they automatically set this thing to “regenerate,” whatever that means, at 2:00 a.m. when it is unlikely that I will be using water. Um, it is true that I am not using water at 2:00 a.m., but I am asleep at 2:00 a.m. I was not amused when I was awakened the first night by the growling of this machine. Not cool. It is now set to run at 10:00 a.m. and unless The Queen is doing laundry and I don’t know it there should not be any water running then either.

The final blow, after the confusion, cost, lack of dishwasher (did I mention I’ve been hand washing dishes for months), and early morning disturbance, is that I cannot tell a difference in the water after the softener installation. I can’t. Expectation fail. I guess the best I can do now is to buy a new dishwasher and feel confident it won’t get a permanent calcium coating.

Anyone want to go dishwasher shopping?

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