Safe water is the key to life and definitely important in everyday life. In fact, water has so many health benefits that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day.

But did you know good water is also essential to the health of your home – and your wallet?

You might be wondering, “How does soft water save money?” High quality water is good for your appliances. Studies have revealed that dish and laundry detergent usage can be cut by 50 percent when using soft water. This can help you save money by keeping your appliances efficient and able to last longer.

A 2009 study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation and conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute found that using soft water in the home helps water heaters and major appliances operate as efficiently as possible, while preventing clogs in showerheads, faucets and drains.

These researchers ran dishwashers and washing machines for 30 days and 240 wash cycles. They ran softened water through half of the units, while using a hard water source for the others.

At the end of the month, the washers using softened water were nearly free of scale buildup, but the washers using hard water required scale removal to work at or near their original efficiency.

For water heaters, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years. Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent.

Scale buildup shortened the lifespan of the heating elements inside electric water heaters, and some tankless water heaters using hard water failed in under two years.

Additionally, shower heads performed well with soft water, but those running with hard water lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 months. When running hard water through faucets, the strainers on the faucets clogged within 19 days.

You might not notice these issues at first, but over time, hard water is costing you money. Take a look in your own home to see what kind of build up might be happening in your appliances.

Chris Lane is owner of Culligan Water Conditioning of the Low Country, serving Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.