How To Choose the Ideal Water Softener
Water softeners are a commonly overlooked addition to any home. Many people aren’t even sure what they are and what exactly they do. They have a significant amount of benefits if installed and used correctly, though.
In this article, plumbing experts would like to share information about those benefits and some basic information about the most commonly installed water softeners - salt-based and salt-free systems.
Why Use a Water Softener?
Before learning about which water softener is best, it’s important to discuss just why they are used in the first place.
Water softeners help with what is known as “hard” water. Hard water is essentially just water that is too full of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. The more of these dissolved minerals that are in the water supply, the more potential problems it can cause in the home.
For instance, hard water is one of the major reasons homeowners notice “spots” on their glassware and dishes. It can also affect how long clothes stay bright in the wash, and may even shorten the lifespan of common home appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines.
Those living in the home may notice the benefits of using a water softener as well. Many people say that their skin is softer and their hair is less dry with one installed.
The Pros and Cons of a Salt-Based Water Softener
One of the options out there for a water softener is a salt-based system. Like everything, this type of system comes with pros and cons.
- Completely dissolves minerals like calcium and magnesium before the faucet is even turned on
- Extends the life of any appliances that use water
- Creates better feeling water, which is especially noticeable in the shower or bath
- Helps prevent mineral build-up that may leave noticeable rings
- Can be more expensive to purchase and have installed
- Needs more maintenance than other water softeners
- Additional expenses caused by having to purchase salt
These salt-based water softeners work by essentially swapping the mineral ions for safer, sodium ions. However, this increase in sodium ions does not result in any significant increase in sodium concentration in the water.
The Pros and Cons of a Salt-Free Water Softener
Another water softener option available to homeowners is a salt-free system. There is some controversy regarding these systems, as many people consider them less effective than salt-based water softeners. Often salt-free systems are known simply as water conditioners.
- Less expensive than a salt-based water softening system, without additional maintenance costs
- Neutralizes instead of dissolves minerals, which may be a health benefit (calcium and magnesium are good for bone health, among other things)
- Very easy to instal
- No chemicals required
- Some people consider them to be not as effective as salt-based systems
- Results happen much less quickly without chemicals
- Takes electricity (potentially in significant amounts)
Instead of “swapping” the ions, salt-free water softeners use potassium to crystalize the minerals, so that they remain in the water in a safer, neutral form. However, this does not technically stop hard water.
About Zing Plumbing
Zing Plumbing guarantee friendly service and expert water softener services in Tucson, Arizona. Zing Plumbing is also pet-friendly. Contact them today to learn more about water softener options.