Water Softeners for Small or Rental Spaces
Your new apartment has a great view, friendly neighbors, and a grocery store just down the street. You feel great about your rental choice. The only thing is, you hadn’t noticed at first that the water from the tap is “different” than what you’re used to. After a few weeks, you realize it’s not your imagination. You’re spending more on detergents, and your soap hasn’t been making you feel clean. Even your hair and skin are rebelling. You’ve heard of hard water before, but it wasn’t something you had to deal with in your previous place, so you don’t even know what it is exactly…or how to fix it.
The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals the water contains. Hard water has a high mineral content and can occur with well water or city water. It’s generally safe to drink and wash with, but over time, it leads to inconvenient, costly, and even embarrassing problems. Showering with hard water reduces moisture and leaves behind a film that can make your skin and hair feel dry, often causing dandruff or prompting a flare up of skin problems like eczema.
Doing laundry with hard water causes fabric to break down more quickly and can make your whites look dingy. Washing dishes with hard water leaves spots or residue, and mineral build-up can clog your plumbing, sinks, and showerheads when hard water runs through your appliances. Utility bills skyrocket when appliances work harder, and the ugly stains in your sinks and tubs can be frustrating.
85% of Americans have hard water; it’s likely that your friends or neighbors have experienced the same struggles. Some of them may have ended their hard water problems with the installation of a whole home water softening system. The advantages of owning a water treatment device doesn’t have to be limited to homeowners. If you’re in a rental home, apartment, or even a mobile home—anywhere soft water is desired, space is limited, and a permanent connection isn’t needed, there are plenty of water filtration options available to you.
Point of Use vs Point of Entry Water Treatment
If you rent your living space and want to improve your water quality with a water purification system, you should understand the difference between point of use (POU) and point of entry (POE) methods. POE systems are installed directly at the point where water enters your home. They are also called whole house water treatment systems because it treats all water that comes into the home. This type of filtration is placed at the main water line and it may not be feasible to set up if you live in an apartment or condo because the connection needed to install is impossible to find, and/or requires permission from the landlord.
A POU water treatment device is just what is sounds like- it’s installed at the point where water is being used and attaches directly to a faucet or shower, filtering only the water that comes from that source. These systems can deliver high-quality, great-tasting water by removing impurities, much the same way as a POE. If you live in an apartment or condo, a point of use water treatment device is the easiest to install. Smaller, compact systems can easily fit in closets, under sinks, in mobile homes or apartments, where space is often an issue.
Naturally, the size of a water filtration device is a factor when considering the space available. POU water softeners are small, and easily installed at a single water connection, typically under the sink of your kitchen or bathroom, treating the portion of water you’re using for cleaning, bathing, or drinking. The little space you sacrifice for a filtration system is well worth the results. Your water will be odor-free, taste great, and eliminate limescale, hard water, and rust stains.
Portable Water Softeners
If your living situation isn’t a permanent one, or you own an RV or boat, it doesn’t mean you have to endure hard water. For those who are on the road or want to be able to take their investment with them when they move, a portable water softener makes it easy to filter water on the go.
Families with RVs often have a tough time with hard water because of the variation in mineral levels from place to place. A portable water softener will keep water quality standards level anywhere you roam. Travel-friendly options in portable softeners can include features such as: quick regeneration, space-saving compact designs, carry handles, easy connections, little to no pressure drop, full flow heads, high-efficiency, low-maintenance, and most require no electricity.
Portable softeners work much like standard water softeners by replacing calcium and magnesium ions with potassium and sodium ions. Portable softeners also help avoid scale buildup and rust stains and prolong the life of your fixtures. Often, this type of softening equipment offers excellent warranties: a lifetime warranty on your tank, and 5 years on other components.
The physical size of a water softener isn’t always a factor when it comes to your average single-family home, but size and weight of equipment is a big deal when you’re on the go or when space is limited. Every water softener has a certain grain capacity. This refers to the maximum grains of hardness that the softener can remove before the need for regeneration. The ideal grain capacity will depend on the hardness of the water and the number of people who will be served by your softener. A portable water softener with a grain capacity of between 10,000 and 15,000, for example, is usually sufficient for 3 people.
Some portable water softeners have basic regeneration cycles that require you to add salt to the brine tank and initiate the regeneration process manually. Other advanced models will do this automatically. Most portable softeners don’t require electricity, though some may include smart features with meters for total dissolved solids that could require power through batteries.
Whole house water softeners are often the answer to hard water problems, but a standard water softener isn’t the solution for most apartment dwellers simply because of how a building is plumbed. Installing a point of entry water softening system is not likely allowed or feasible. Even if you’ve gotten permission from your landlord for an installation, that pricey system likely becomes his property should you move.
If hard water is an issue for you, it’s probably a nuisance for your neighbors throughout the apartment complex, as well as the landlord. Service calls for appliance repairs, and plumbing problems can be expensive for the building owner; it’s possible that your landlord will eventually realize the benefits of making the investment into a POE system for the entire building. But if your landlord isn’t quite convinced, and you’re sick of living with hard water, you can still easily improve the quality of the water inside your own living space.