I'm wondering how necessary it is to get a water softener? In the long run, is it worth the expense to prevent pipe damage? Our water hardness is fairly high - rated at 15. Our basement is finished and the closet in which the water heater is installed is very small, so in order to get a softener put in, we were told it needs to go into the adjoining office closet. We want to make certain it's worth the cost and effort. Thank you!