As the green movement grows and ages, we are finding more and more little things we can do that impact the environment. For example, despite the jokes about tire inflation, careful monitoring of pressure–and adding air when needed–will not only improve fuel economy but extend the tire’s life, cutting back on fossil fuel consumption and rubber usage. As another example, let’s look in depth at the value of a water softener in the home. Water softeners have a fairly straightforward purpose: they remove excess minerals in residential water supplies, improving the flavor and reducing wear on washing machines, dishwashers, and other water-using home appliances.

Those are positive benefits, to be sure. But do they really add up to a positive impact on the environment? The answer is yes, and how they do so is a lesson in how almost anything can leave a green footprint.

Have you ever filled a glass at the kitchen sink only to find the flavor unpleasant? Many consumers typically pour it out and get another glass, hoping that the source of the off-flavor flushes out.

The same is true of ice. Since most of the ice we use is made right in our house, the same funny water at the sink is making funny ice in the freezer. Each tray or bin of bad-tasting ice gets the same treatment as unpleasant water: it’s dumped.

What’s the impact? Of course, we are wasting water. A glass here and there from millions of consumers adds up, especially with a heap of ice going out with it. But the negative effects don’t end there. When a batch of ice gets thrown out, the freezer must consume electricity to make a fresh batch.

 water softener from Iris by Lowe's

These negative impacts are amplified when the water doesn’t improve. We keep dumping out glasses, emptying ice trays, and replacing their contents. All in hopes the next batch will restore the quality flavor.

Hard water is also damaging to appliances and can shorten their lives, generating bulky and potentially hazardous solid waste.

Their performance is often affected before they are discarded, leading to washing problems that cause us to repeat loads of laundry. The overworked machines also demand more electricity due to their inefficient operation.

When tap water isn’t appealing, we may try again or simply reach for a bottled drink. Water or another beverage in a package may generate extra trips to the store. More importantly, it creates more solid waste. Our oceans are filling with mountains of plastic, including empty bottles, that are killing wildlife and releasing toxins into the water.

We may also substitute homemade ice by grabbing a bag of ice at the store. The demand for this product creates energy-hungry ice plants and point-of-sale coolers. Not to mention it also gets diesel-thirsty trucks on the road to deliver it. After consumption, the empty bags end up going to the landfill. That’s along with the empty water bottles and all the other pointless waste.

Please note that Iris by Lowe’s has a water softener Smart Home product perfect for helping you manage it. Efficient use of water in the home is a necessity; our bodies require it. But when we utilize a water softener, we also positively impact the environment. As well it’s a WiFi-connected unit that works with the Iris home management system. This allows you to remotely monitor and receive alerts about water usage via your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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