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What to look for before buying a water softener.

Posted by Discount Water Softeners on Mar 17th 2020

Investing in Your Home

Homes in a neighborhood - What to look for before buying a water softener

As a savvy consumer, you’ve always done your homework before making big decisions regarding household appliances--before buying a water softener is no different. Major appliances are significant investments worth comparing price tags and warranties, as well as factoring in energy efficiency and common repairs. Water softeners are used daily and expected to last a long time. A system best suited for your household will run efficiently for years to come. Before choosing any water treatment system, it’s best to have your water analyzed to confirm you’re selecting the proper system for your home’s water conditions. A good water softener with high-quality components may cost more up front, but works to your advantage as the most economical and long-lasting. Cheaply made softeners require frequent repairs or replacement, and waste large amounts of salt and water, causing operating costs to skyrocket.

You’ll need to verify that the softening system you install is the appropriate size for your home. Properly sizing a softener depends on the flow rate of your water, as well as water hardness levels. Too small a capacity forces equipment to work harder, reducing its lifespan. In turn, too large of a capacity wastes salt and backwashing water, raising utility costs and can even cause your system to stop softening.

Selecting the perfect system for your home isn’t as easy as getting the best deal, or the latest technology. There’s a lot to consider before making this investment. Accurately sizing the system to your home, establishing how much water your home uses, on average, and determining the hardness level of your water, establishes the type of softening system you’ll need to minimize salt and water usage, and maximize soft water capacity.

What To Know

Most commonly used for softening a home’s water is an ion-exchange unit. A salt-based ion-exchange unit cycles household water through two tanks: one with resin beads and the other filled with brine. It works on the principle of ion exchange, softening hard water by substituting sodium (salt) for hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. In your research you will also find salt-free water softeners that do not regenerate and only “modify the minerals” without the use of sodium. Salt-free softeners are not true water softeners, they are considered de-scalers or water softener alternatives. They do not remove hard water minerals, protect piping or critical appliances (water heaters and dishwashers) and do not prevent spotting or buildup around fixtures such as faucets, showerheads or shower doors. Without the use of salt, this type of water treatment is not an effective process for water softening. Water softening equipment also comes in single or dual tank systems. Dual tank systems have two cylinders that work independently to soften your water. While one tank is regenerating, the other takes over. This offers homeowners access to continuously softened water, as there is no lapse in soft water during a system regeneration. Single tank softeners have one resin tank and one brine tank. Single tank systems only lack the capability of supplying softened water during regeneration in the middle of the night about once a week. These units enter bypass mode during cleaning, and no soft water is available. These systems are more widely used and are now more efficient with the introduction of upflow water softeners. The benefits of owning a single tank upflow system include a smaller footprint and lower price tag. It’s hard to predict how much water we will use each day, so getting an upflow on demand system is imperative to accurately soften the precise amount of water daily. If you prefer an upflow high efficiency, on demand water softener you will never run out of softened water. In turn you will also create less wasted salt and water. If you are interested in using less salt and water, then an upflow high efficiency water softener system might be right for you.

More Than A Water Softener

Water softening systems are designed to remove hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that often leave deposits on dishes and in plumbing. Water filtration systems are used to eliminate contaminants like chlorine and chloramine, and foul odors or tastes in water. To make an informed choice between these two methods of water treatment, it’s necessary to understand the function of both. While a water softener is also a water filter, the term “water filter” covers more than just softening. A good water softener eliminates the hard minerals that cause rust, erosion, and the eventual destruction of your home’s plumbing system. To prevent ill health effects or bad tasting water, sometimes your treatment system needs to include more than a water softener. For this reason, homeowners often choose to complement their softening system with an additional water filtration device. Installing a treatment system that includes this initially can save on money and functionality. The choice you make depends largely on your water treatment needs. In exploring water filtering methods, you’ll find endless possibilities. Nowadays, most of us do our research online before purchasing an appliance, especially when we’re not sure where to begin with price point, brand, size, or features. Having a water analysis done beforehand will guide you in making a smart decision-- whether you need a  whole home filtration system or stand-alone water softener. Water is not always as pure as it appears; contaminants come in many forms. Luckily, with the help of advancements in water treatment technology, it’s easier than ever to rid your water of pollutants before they can do harm to your home or your body.