This professional, objective water softeners report will help you pick the right size water softener, comprehend salt-free and dual-tank softeners, and more.
Hard water is merely water that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium carbonate, and manganese. If you find that soap and hair shampoo do not lather well, dishes are spotted, the tub has a ring, laundry is drab, and the coffee maker has scale deposits, your home most likely has a hard water issue.
Though these minerals are natural and not generally dangerous to health, they can create deposits in your plumbing, hot water heater, and other water-using appliances, and make washing meals, clothes, skin, and hair more difficult.
Hard water is a familiar truth for countless Americans. Inning accordance with the United States Geological Survey, 85 percent of American homes have problems with hard water.
Solving Hard Water Problems
Hard water comes from aquifers and other underground sources that gather dissolved minerals from rock–particularly calcium, magnesium carbonate, and manganese. These minerals give water unwanted qualities that collectively are called “hardness.” The seriousness of firmness is determined by grains (of mineral) per gallon (GPG) or, sometimes, by parts per million of mineral (PPM). One GPG equals 17.1 PPM.
Technically, any water which contains more than 1 GPG of liquified firmness minerals is thought about hard, but, reasonably, water with up to 3.5 GPG is reasonably soft. Water with more than 10.5 GPG is extremely hard. In between these extremes is normal, moderately hard water. You can buy a water test set online.
Hard water is less a concern of health than of prospective cost. A number of the problems produced by hard water are concealed up until some type of malfunction takes place in your home’s plumbing system or in a water-using appliance. When warmed, dissolved hard-water minerals recrystallize and form scale that ultimately obstructs pipes, minimizing water circulation. Scale and lime deposits also take their toll on water-heating home appliances such as dishwashing machines and coffee machine, increasing the requirement for repair works.
Worse yet, scale cakes onto interior surface areas of water heaters, making them more likely to stop working. Inning accordance with a study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Council at New Mexico State University, water heaters operate 22 percent to 30 percent less effectively when pestered with hard-water scale.
Hard-water problems are more obvious as a nuisance when you bathe and prepare, do laundry and tidy house. Calcium and magnesium respond with many soaps, shampoos, cleansers, and detergents, diminishing their lathering and cleansing capability so you need to use more and wash longer. They likewise form a residue on tile and what appears as tub ring that is challenging to wash away. In the kitchen, this “soap curd” equates into spotted meals and scale on pots and pans. Additionally, specific hard-water minerals, such as iron and manganese, can give water an unfavorable appearance, smell, or taste.
Hard water does get in the health arena in one area: People who have hard water are more prone to rashes and skin problems due to the fact that it changes the skin’s pH so that soap remains on the skin, obstructing pores.
Types of Water Softeners
Without a doubt the most popular and frequently used type of whole-house water softener is an ion-exchange or “cation exchange” system, but a number of other innovations are likewise available. It’s essential to understand the distinctions.
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Softener
This type of water softener cycles home water through two tanks: one with unique resin beads and the other filled with salt water. It deals with the concept of ion exchange, softening hard water by substituting sodium (salt) for hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Salt-Free Water Softener
A salt-free water softener regenerates with a potassium-chloride salt alternative rather than sodium. This type of unit may be a much better option for people who are concerned about salt consumption. This type of water softener is in fact a descaler– it does not reduce the hard water minerals but rather avoids minerals from being transferred as scale to the surfaces of water-using devices and pipes.
The basic agreement is that this type of water treatment is much better than no water softener at all, but not as effective as traditional water softening.
Dual-Tank Water Softener
When a water softener is recharging, it is created to detach from the water supply, so it is essentially out of commission. For this reason, the regeneration cycle is generally set to occur at night. If softened water is required during the regeneration cycle, this can be problematic.
If the down time of the water softener is an issue, or if a family is large or lives where water is particularly hard, it might be smart to think about a dual-tank water-softening system with two resin tanks. With a dual-tank unit, when one tank remains in use, the other is restoring. As a result, softened water is being provided constantly, without any break in service. And due to the fact that these units run on demand, they can be sized smaller than single-tank systems.
Several models are offered. One popular item, the Fleck 9000, has a completely adjustable valve that is controlled by a meter. When the water conditioner starts backwashing one tank, its control switches the water system to the other tank, providing a continuous circulation rate of 21 gallons per minute. With this design, you can buy different tank capabilities– 24,000-, 32,000-, 40,000-, 48,000-, 64,000-, 80,000-, and 110,000-grain capacity per tank. These range in price from $950 to $2,000.
When searching for a dual-tank water softener, keep in mind the space it will need. It ought to be installed where it can serve the primary incoming water line so it can provide the entire house. It will likewise need a drain for backwashing. If you select a model that requires electrical power, a circuit will be required close by.
Also search for features such as NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) accreditation and a solid service warranty on the control valve and mineral tank such as three years for the valve and 10 years for the mineral tank. A good water softener need to last a minimum of 20 years.
Magnetic Water Softener or Descaler
In the Salt-Free Water Softeners article, you’ll likewise discover a discussion of a more controversial alternative–the electronic or magnetic water softener or descaler. Inning accordance with producers, this plug-in device, which clips onto the inbound pipe, sets up an electromagnetic field that changes the electro-magnetic properties of the calcium-carbonate minerals so they are warded off by pipelines and each other.
If you would like to experiment with among these, please check out and check out the user examines for the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler revealed here–readily available on Amazon. Keep in mind that the maker offers a 12-month money-back guarantee. If you do attempt it out, please send us your feedback.
Water Softener Size & Features
When purchasing or leasing a new water softener, picking one that is the right size is essential. You’ll wish to get one that can handle the demands of your household but is not needlessly large (and pricey). Physical size isn’t the concern– the system’s capability to get rid of “firmness” minerals from water without frequent regrowth is.
Water softeners are sold in a number of sizes, each ranked by the number of grains of hardness they can eliminate from water between regenerations. The concept is to obtain a system that will go at least 3 days in between recharges. Preferably, the water softener can also handle periods of larger-than-normal water usage.
You can compute the size of water softener your family needs by multiplying the number of individuals in your household by 75–the typical number of gallons used per individual daily– to figure out the overall amount of water your family uses daily. Then increase this number by the number of grains per gallon (GPG) of firmness minerals in your water to determine the capacity of whole-house water softener you need.
So, for instance, if you have a family of 5, figure 375 gallons of water are used each day (5 X 75). If your water has 10 GPG, you have 3,750 GPG of firmness minerals (375 X 10) needing elimination each day.
Water Softener Controls
Before renting or purchasing a water softener, end up being familiarized with its features:
Take a look at what controls the regrowth cycles, the length of time each cycle takes, and how much water and salt are used for charging. Understand that even totally automatic types need periodic filling up with salt. Numerous different techniques are used for controlling cycles, however the two main types are:
- Water softener timer controls. Clocks or electronic timers immediately charge the unit at a pre-programmed time and day, based on your average usage. This type might fall short if you have unusually large water usage on a particular day. They likewise squander salt and water since they restore whether recharging is required. They usually do this in the early morning hours.
- Softener DIR manages. A more advanced technique, called demand-initiated regrowth (DIR), senses when the resin need to be charged, either electronically or with a meter that determines and computes usage. A demand-initiated regeneration system saves on salt and regrowth water since it does not recharge unless essential. In addition, it provides for abnormally large water usage.
Softener Buying & Leasing Tips
Should you purchase or rent a water softener? In the brief run, leasing is often the most appealing option since there are no considerable upfront expenses. Depending on the level of service and materials the company uses, you can pay from $15 to $50 per month or more on a lease. If you buy, you will pay about $150 each year for materials. And, naturally, you’ll need to spend for the system. Depending upon the features, prices vary from about $400 to $2,500 or more.
Get at least two quotes. And make sure the quotes are based on exactly the same type of factors to consider: regrowth cycle, type of controls, level of service, and, of course, warranty on both the control valve and the resin tank.
It is generally best to deal with a recognized business. That method, you’ll get a quality product backed by a company that is likely to stay in business for a while.
Discover whether you will require a plumber for installation or whether an unique factory service person is required to do the job. And make certain to take notice of the regular monthly cost for preserving the softener.
Some softener companies supply a service where they frequently exchange exhausted with charged units. This type of service is an excellent bet if you live in an area where waste water from sewage systems is recycled for local watering because salt might be considered a toxin.
Also look for certification. NSF International is an independent screening organization that checks and licenses water-treatment products. The water industry’s trade company, the Water Quality Association, likewise certifies equipment, so try to find the WQA Gold Seal. Although neither of these certifications warranties performance, they signify that the equipment has actually effectively passed screening for market requirements and the producer’s claims have been confirmed–an essential step toward making sure that the unit you buy or rent will provide years of hassle-free service.