If you have hard water, you might be thinking of installing a new water softening system. You want to save your pipes and dishware from the scales and damages hard water can cause.
But which type of water softener should you buy? Are there other considerations you should think about?
In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more. Read on!
Water Softener Types
Three main types of water softeners exist. They are:
1)Salt-based ion exchange softeners
3)Dual tank systems
And each of them carries unique benefits and downsides. Therefore, if you’re buying a water softener, you must know which one will benefit you the most.
1. Salt-based Ion Exchange Softeners
Salt-based ion exchange softeners are traditional softeners that rely on a process called “ion exchange” to deal with hard water.
The system gets rid of calcium salts, magnesium ions, and other excess minerals. Then, it replaces them with sodium (and sometimes potassium).
Although ion exchange softeners are by far the most common, they also have serious downsides:
*Salt-based softeners release huge amounts of salt to the environment, which is not good
*The system needs to regenerate regularly, which is costly
*Cooking with or drinking salt water increases your sodium and potassium intake, which can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure
Make sure you consult your doctor and local community first before installing salt-based water softeners.
2. Salt-Free Softeners
Salt-free softeners aren’t strictly “softeners.” Instead, they’re more like conditioners.
Salt-free softeners don’t remove any hard minerals from the water. Rather, they try to stop those minerals from sticking to surfaces and building up.
Although they seem to be less effective than salt-based water softeners, they are also very convenient and maintenance-free. If you worry about your sodium intake, salt-free softeners are perfect for you.
On the flip side, you must get the facts about salt-free water softeners in depth before installing one. You might want to consider some downsides:
*Salt-free softeners may not remove staining and spotting at all
*Some of them use softening agents to function properly, and this is expensive
3. Dual Tank Systems
Traditional water softeners need to recharge now and then. And you can’t use them when they’re regenerating. Dual tank systems solve that problem.
A dual tank system has two resin tanks so that when one tank is regenerating, the other is in use. The setup lets you have a continuous supply of soft water.
The downsides of dual tank systems include the downsides of traditional ion exchange systems. And since two tanks are working, the system will use more space and power.
Special Consideration: Point-of-Entry or Portable?
You must consider point-of-entry (POE) and portable water softeners.
POE systems serve entire houses. All water passes through the softening tank and then goes to different parts of the house. It has a higher capacity and flow rate.
Meanwhile, portable tanks are smaller and often have only a single tank. The pricetag: cheaper. They are compact, so the water they can hold and soften is limited in amount. Also, they require manual maintenance and regeneration.
Whichever water softener type you buy, find the one that works best with the least amount of downsides.