Water Softeners

Most drinking water in Waterloo Region comes from groundwater wells. Groundwater is typically considered "hard" water due to the minerals the water picks up while it travels underground. Although it is safe to drink, the minerals contribute to scale buildup in pipes and appliances. Many residences use water softeners that replace the minerals with salt, resulting in softened water.

The Water Softener Facts website is a great resource on water softeners. Learn how water softeners work, research the water softener that is right for you and find the water hardness for where you live.

Environmental impacts of water softeners

  • Water softeners flush salty backwash water down the drain that eventually ends up in our waterways. This salty water can be harmful to fresh water plants and animals
  • Water softeners use and dispense water every time they recharge and from leaks that go undetected

Did you know?

  • About 142,000 homes in Waterloo Region have water softeners that create an estimated 1.5 billion litres of backwash water each year
  • Water softener backwashing accounts for about 7 per cent of a household's water use in Waterloo Region
  • Water softeners in Waterloo Region contribute an estimated 4,860 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year from water, salt and electricity use

Programs and resources for:

Single, semi and townhomes

Changes to your water softener can help reduce costs from salt and water use.

Commercial, industrial and institutional companies

The Water Efficient Technology (W.E.T.) program provides commercial, industrial and institutional-sector companies with resources and funding to reduce water use including upgrading water softeners to water efficient models.

Licensed plumbers and retailers

Include your business on the Region of Waterloo's list of licensed plumbers and water softener retailers supporting residents changing their plumbing to soften hot water only.

How to add your business to the list

  1. Watch the Efficient Water Softening for Plumbers video
  2. Complete the Plumbers and Dealers list form

Promote the program to your customers

  1. Display the Water Softener Plumbing Rebate Program poster
  2. Email the Region of Waterloo to request printed copies

Salt-free water conditioning study

This study looks at salt-free water conditioning units in 18 households. The study includes performance information and owner satisfaction after a year of use.

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