If you’ve noticed that your skin and hair are drier and duller than usual, or your dishes and laundry just don’t seem clean after a wash, you could have a hard water problem in your home. There are many DIY solutions out there that can help with some of your issues, but if you want a permanent solution to all of your hard water troubles, what you really need is a water softener system. However, there are several types of water softeners with all sorts of features. How do you choose the best water softener for you? Below, Advanced Water Solutions will take a look at several types of water softener systems to help you make the right decision for your home and family or business.
Types of Water Softener Systems
There are several water softeners available to choose from, based on what your needs are and how you want your water softened. If you think you have hard water, the first thing you should do is get a testing kit to see just what level of hard water you’re dealing with. (You can also contact Advanced Water Solutions for a free water evaluation at 805-793-1224, if you’re within our service areas). Once you know your hard water levels, it will be easier for you to determine what type of water softener system you need. Using a whole house water softening system is by far the most popular option, as it removes the problem from your entire home, including the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. Here is a closer look at the 4 best water softener system types for your home or business:
Salt-Based Softener System – This is a popular system that uses salt to remove other minerals from the water. There are 2 ways this is done: with resin beads or with brine. Both ways use ion exchange by replacing the hard minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium) with sodium (salt).
Salt-Free Softener System (Descaler) – This system uses no salt, and it doesn’t actually soften the water. It de-scales the pipes and conditions them, so that the hard minerals don’t stick. Since this system doesn’t actually soften your water, if you have a severe hard water problem, you may need a different type of system.
Magnetic Water Softener (Descaler) – This is another salt-free option that doesn’t actually soften the water, but rather descales the pipes. This is done by using a magnetic field to make it harder for the minerals to stick to your pipes and help prevent them from clogging up. This system allows you to use chemical- and sodium-free water but will not fix the problem if you have a severe hard water problem.
Dual-Tank Softener System – If you need a water softener that never has to recharge or have any down time, then this is the type of system for you. With a dual-tank system, one tank will always be working while the other one recharges. Most other softener systems will recharge a single tank overnight, but the dual-tank system is great if you have a large family with odd waking hours, a business that works overnight, or otherwise need softened water around the clock.
Water Softener Sizes and Features
Making sure you get the right size of water softener for your home is important for a couple of reasons. A water softener takes up space. This includes the machine itself and the space around it that you will need for maintenance. If you’re tight on space, you can look into getting a smaller softener system or even a portable one. However, if you need to soften a large amount of water, the smaller portable options might not be enough for you.
Water softeners can be confusing, because they come in various sizes, capacities, and speeds. The one thing to keep in mind as you shop for the best water softener system is that the larger the capacity of the system, the higher the water hardness level it can fix. So if there is any doubt (and you have the space), it’s best to go with the higher spec, larger softener system.
The features of your water softening system can vary, and you will want to become familiar with them once your system is set up. Some water softeners feature a timer that you can set to recharge your system after a certain amount of time goes by. While this sounds great, it can sometimes take you by surprise if you suddenly use a larger amount of water that usual and run out of softened water. These can also be a waste of resources, since the automated recharge will waste the water and salt, even when it doesn’t need to be recharged.
Another option for automated recharge controls is a system that uses what is called DIR controls. This stands for demand-initiated regeneration. This means that the system can sense when the resin needs to be recharged, either by using a meter that calculates and measures usage or with an electronic sensor that does the same. This is more precise than a timer, and keeps you from wasting resources.
No matter what your situation, there are many options that can work for the level of hard water in your home or business and the amount of water that you’ll be using. Before you choose, make sure you know the level of hard water you need to soften in the first place. This will help in the process of choosing the right system for you, especially when it comes to softener size. Fixing your hard water problem as quickly as possible will ensure that your home or business water supply will be the best it can be, for you and also for your plumbing, appliances, and clothing!