Maximum Value Mechanical Projects: Water Systems

Water systems do more for the overall livability and enjoyment of your home than you might think. Thanks to water softener and filtration systems, you can enjoy cleaner, softer clothes and towels, clean water for drinking, bathing and cooking and an extended life for appliances, faucets and pipes.

Although certain homes don't need water system capabilities -- because of the area their home is located in -- for those who are stuck with hard water or if you are concerned with the safety of your water source, softeners and filters are your best bet to make the water in your home more purposeful and enjoyable.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Water softener. Water softeners are a big trend in areas that truly need it. Softeners come in salt and no-salt systems which allow you to find a system that works with your desired price point. Thanks to softeners, dishes can be free of water spots, clothes can get cleaner and plumbing can operate more efficiently. This small system can upgrade the quality of life in your home in a big way.
  • Water filtration. Water filters come in a wide range of systems. From a faucet or under-sink mounted filter that delivers straight from the designated tap to a whole-house filtration system, there are options that fit every price point. Installing a water filtration system is also an excellent selling strategy. The system will alleviate any concern to the buyer about the safety of the water.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

According to appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to water systems is investing in a water softener or filter when there is no apparent need.

In areas where hard water doesn't exist, or where a filtration device has already cleaned the water you use before it enters the home, spending the time and money on such projects is unnecessary. Although it might be nice to think that an extra precaution has been taken to assure the cleanliness of your drinking water -- if you really feel the need -- a simple pitcher filter that keeps in the refrigerator or a faucet-mounted filter will do just fine.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: If you live in an area -- like the Southwest -- where water tends to run a little dry, then a water softener system is your best bet. Luckily, they come at all price points and start at about $500 for a salt-based softener. To save even more money, there are a lot of helpful websites that show you exactly how to install a water softener system on your own. A great investment because it will prolong the life of your plumbing system, a quality water softener is well worth the money spent up front and will pay you back with all the plumbing problems and dry skin you won't have.
  • Mid/ High-Range: More costly than a water softener system, water filtration systems can serve the entire home if you find the water quality to be poor and you want filtration for all uses, not just drinking and cooking. A point of entry (POE) system, whole-house water filtration is installed at the initial water source and delivers treated water to all taps in the home.  There are different methods of filtration, such as ceramic carbon systems, reverse osmosis or combination systems and Alkaline systems that range in price but can all be beneficial depending on your needs. For instance, a ceramic carbon filter is the standard and lasts for about a year -- a great option for a home that just needs the basics -- but take a step or two up from that and you will find the reverse osmosis filters and Alkaline systems, which are recommended for extremely poor quality water or people with certain illnesses.

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