What to Look For When Buying a Water Softener
Hard water is not all that friendly to your drainage lines. Having a water softener in your household should be prioritized if you want to cut the cost of plumbing repairs and maintenance. Choosing the right water softener requires you to consider some factors.
Salt-based or Salt-free Systems?
There are two classes of water softeners: salt-based and salt-free systems. Understanding the differences in their functioning will guide you to making the right decision when buying a water softener. Salt water softeners have a resin bed that “sucks out” minerals from water. The removal of minerals leaves a smooth texture in the water. When the resin bed is saturated with minerals, it is regenerated by passing brine which gets rid of the accumulated minerals.
Salt-free water softening systems do not take out the minerals but instead convert them to inert forms through catalytic reactions. The resultant water still has the minerals responsible for hardness, but it will not cause scale buildup.
Salt-free systems are cheaper to maintain because you will only have to do occasional filter replacements.
Softening Capacity of the System
If you haven’t used water softeners before, you will be worried more about the size. However, it is better to consider the softening capacity of the system rather than the physical size; although the latter still matters. The units for measuring water hardness are grains per gallon. Soft water will have a gpg value of 1 or below. Water is termed hard water if its gpg is above 7. Some manufacturers indicate the water softening capacity of their systems. However. For some softeners, you will have to calculate the hardness eliminated by subtracting the final hardness from the initial value. With salt-free systems, the minerals are not removed but are converted to inert forms.
Dual-tank or Single Tank Water Softener?
The salt-based softeners have a regeneration period during which they do not supply water. Most appliances for softening water are set to regenerate at night when the use of water is lower. The need for soft water may be high in some homes at all times for many reasons, and therefore, a dual-tank system comes in handy. In dual-tank water softeners, one resin tank remains active as the other one regenerates and, therefore, there is a continuous supply of water. The size of dual-tank systems can be smaller than singe-tank systems because the former mainly operates on the need for soft water.
The Cost of Installation and Maintenance
When buying a water softener, you have to consider the costs that you will incur. Buying within your budget is prudent. You don’t have to overstretch when you can find a water softening system that matches your finances. Salt-based water softeners are more expensive to maintain than salt-free systems.
When making the choice, include your personal preferences such as the design and a convenient size. Some dietary factors like salt intake restriction should also be kept in mind.
Remember the water that flows out of your faucets determines your health status and the durability of your drainage pipes. Check out our Water Softener Reviews to help you choose the best system that suits your needs.