Do you have a hard water problem in your home? It is a common issue for many homeowners to have to contend with, and it generally means you are going to need to look into getting a water softener system to correct it. If you have started to notice a buildup of minerals such as calcium or magnesium in your faucets or the toilet bowl, or if your skin feels irritated, it could mean that you are dealing with hard water. You need to have a water softener system.
Of course, if you have never had to have one of these systems installed in your home before, or if you haven’t needed to replace your old system in a long time, finding the right option can be difficult. Today, there are many different systems on the market. As you start to peruse the possibilities, you can see that it could be frustratingly difficult to narrow down your choices all on your own.
Fortunately, we’ve taken the initiative to do the hard work for you. We’ve included the top 10 water softener systems that are available today and detailed what each of them can do. It should make it much easier for you to find a system that will work well for your home.
Also, we will be looking deeper into what hard water is, the problems it causes, the signs that you might have a hard water problem, how a water softener system can help, what you should be looking for in a system, and more.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Water Softener: Reviews & Comparisons
- 2 Fleck 5600SXT
- 3 Whirlpool WHES30E
- 4 iSpring ED2000
- 5 Fleck 5600SXT Iron Pro 2
- 6 Tier 1 Digital Water Softener
- 7 Fleck WS48-56SXT10
- 8 Aquasure Harmony Series
- 9 YARNA Whole-house Electronic Water Softener and Descaler
- 10 Hansing Whole-House Water Softener System
- 11 EcoPure EPHS007 Conditioner/Water Softener/Filter System
- 12 What Is Hard Water?
- 13 Signs of Hard Water and the Problems It Causes
- 14 Determine If You Have Hard Water
- 15 What Does a Water Softener System Do?
- 16 What Happens to Trapped Minerals?
- 17 Types of Water Softener Systems
- 18 What You Need to Look for in a Water Softener System
- 19 The Installation of a Water Softener System
- 20 Find Your Water Softener System Today
Best Water Softener: Reviews & Comparisons
|Fleck 5600SXT||48,000 grain||Main Tank and Brine Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Whirlpool WHES30E||30,000 grain||Single Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|iSpring ED2000||N/A||Electronic Descaler||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Fleck 5600SXT Iron Pro 2||64,000 grain||Main Tank and Brine Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Tier 1 Digital Water Softener||48,000 grain||Main Tank and Brine Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Fleck WS48-56SXT10||48,000 grain||Main Tank and Brine Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Aquasure Harmony Series||48,000 grain||Main Tank and Brine Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|YARNA Whole-house Electronic Water Softener and Descaler||N/A||Electronic Descaler||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Hansing Whole-house Water Softener System||280,000 grain (cartridge capacity)||Single Tank||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|EcoPure EPHS007 Conditioner/Water Softener/Filter System||31,000-grain capacity||Conditioner/Water Softener/Filter System in one||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
The Fleck 5600SXT is a popular whole-house water softener system with a dual tank system. It is a complete water softener system that is easy to use and that features an informative display along with digital controls. This system will come with the tank, brine tank, control head, and resin. Once it is added to your plumbing setup in the house, you will then need to add salt periodically. The brine tank measures 15” x 33”, while the main tank measures 10” x 54”, so you will need to make sure that you have space for the system.
The LCD display will show the current status of the system, along with any error codes if there is a problem. The system is easy to read and understand, and the touchpad controls make it easy to use.
This water softener system is highly efficient. It makes use of a flow meter, which will measure the amount of water that used, and it will regenerate as needed. That helps to ensure that you are reducing waste and saving salt. The tank has a 48,000-grain system, which is a substantial amount. It can work quite well for homes that use a lot of water or that have exceptionally hard water.
The system also tends to be quite easy to install. The system has a bypass valve with a 1” yoke connection that will help to make the plumbing and servicing of the system easier. However, you will likely want to have professional help to take care of the installation, especially if this is the first time installation of a water softener system in the home. That is because there will need to be some plumbing work done to the property. It can be installed on your own, as long as you have some plumbing knowledge, but working with professionals is generally the best choice.
Whirlpool is a famous brand name, and they make a range of products. It includes high-quality water softener systems such as this single tank option that can process 30,000 grains before regenerating. This system is an excellent choice for homes that have up to four people. It can remove up to 8 ppm (parts per million) of clear water iron and 95 grains per gallon of other minerals to reduce the hardness of the water. The overall height of the tank is 43 5/16”, while the width is 19” from front to back and 18” from side to side.
It is a reliable water softener system from a well-known brand. It works hard to remove hard water problems that could be affecting your pipes, washing machine, and more.
The system utilizes demand initiated regeneration, which means that the system is only going to regenerate based on how much water you use and the hardness level of the water. It ensures that you are not wasting water and that you are not continually adding salt to the tank. That will also ensure that you are not wasting water through regeneration when you and the family aren’t even in the home and using water. For example, some systems will regenerate based on a schedule, so they will regenerate even when you are on vacation and not using any water.
The system is simple to set up and use, and there is a low salt indicator light, so you know when you will need to add salt to the system. Also, you will find that these come with a typical Whirlpool warranty, which features a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty for parts and labor, a 3-year limited electronics warranty, and a 10-year limited warranty on the tanks. The systems include the installation kit and the bypass valve. They are ready to connect to a 1” male pipe thread. If you have the plumbing already set up for this type of system, you could install it on your own. As always – and as will apply to all of the systems on the list – if you are not comfortable or capable of taking care of this on your own, you will want to work with a professional plumber.
One of the first things that you will notice about this system is that it looks very different from the water softener systems that we have looked at thus far. That is because it is quite a bit different. Instead of having tanks or similar systems, this is an electronic descaler. It does not use any chemical or salt, and it does not require any maintenance after you have installed it. It can still help to prevent the formation of scaled deposits. Also, you will find that this does not add any sodium to the water, which the other systems do.
Not only are systems like this virtually maintenance-free, but you will not need to make any plumbing changes to your setup either. It can help to save energy and eliminate wasted water. You do not have to use a brine tank; you do not have to worry about regeneration or any of the typical maintenance and care needs of a standard water softener system. For those who are looking for a simple solution, this could be a great option to consider. The system is designed to work in areas that have very hard water (10 to 19 grains per gallon).
This system uses a computer chip that emits an electromagnetic wave that matches the wave frequencies in the clusters of water molecules. The clusters will then break down into “active twin molecules,” which allows them to bind with mineral ions, which reduces the risk of them creating scale or adhering to scale that is already there. This can help the existing scale to break down.
However, as helpful as this is and as beneficial as it can be, it might not be the best option for everyone. That is because if there is a high iron content in the water, it reduces the effectiveness of this particular system. You will need to use an iron removal filter in conjunction with this system. Additionally, this type of treatment is considered to be temporary, meaning that after about 50’, the mineral clusters will bind and reform. Therefore, you will likely need to have several of these types of systems in larger homes.
Fleck 5600SXT Iron Pro 2
Fleck is on the list again with an option similar to the regular 5600SXT. The main difference is that this is the Iron Pro 2, and it is 64,000 grain. The whole-house dual tank system includes an iron filter, which can be a huge benefit to those who happen to live in areas that have a large amount of iron in the water. The main tank for the system measures 12” x 48”.
This system also has a digital, metered valve that is highly efficient and very easy to use. It includes a 5-year warranty, and it can remove up to 75 grains per gallon and iron up to 6 – 8 parts per million. It can also remove manganese, sediment, sulfur, rust, and sand. The system comes with the main tank, the brine tank, DIY instructions and free tech support, and everything that is needed to get the system up and running in your home.
This system also uses a metered regeneration system, so the water you use will be measured. The system will only go through the regeneration process when it is needed, which means that you will be able to save some water and salt. The digital system is like that on the previous Fleck system on the list, so it will be easy to use.
Why might you want to choose this system instead of the first Fleck water softener system on the list? If you need a system that can remove iron from the water, and that is large enough for your entire home, this could be an excellent option to consider. It is durable, simple to use, and you can get set up and running quickly.
This system does have DIY instructions that come with it, as mentioned. However, this does not mean that you need to do it on your own. As discussed earlier, hire a professional if you feel it will make things easier for you.
Tier 1 Digital Water Softener
The Tier 1 Water Softener is a 48,000-grain water softener system that makes use of an LCD display system. The mineral tank measures 10” x 54”, while the brine tank is 14” 42”. You will also find that there are two different colors available for the system – black or blue. While color will probably not be much of a factor when it comes to choosing a system for many people, you might like being able to have options, so you can find one that will work better for your setup location.
You will receive a traditional system that includes the mineral tank and the brine tank, along with the digital display. When the system is being set up, you will be able to add information about your family size and the water hardness for your location. This is what will determine the regeneration cycle with the system. You will note that this is different from some of the other options on the list. In this case, you are determining how often the tank will regenerate rather than having the tank take care of the calculations for you. The system regen is demand initiated rather than timed, though.
As with many systems, the regeneration process will take up to two hours or so to complete. During regeneration, there will be an interruption to the water service. Many will schedule the regeneration for the middle of the night to limit disruptions to their lifestyle. One of the other things you will want to note about this system is that it will not have an indicator of when you will need to add salt. It is something that you will have to check and then develop your schedule, so you know when you need to add salt to the system.
The valve head that comes with the water softener system will allow you to adjust the cycle times. The system is easy to operate, and you will find that it is reliable and precise. The display will provide the user with the information they need in easy to understand language rather than using error codes or symbols that will need to be looked up to be understood.
With this model from Fleck, you can expect a quality, commercial-grade system. The water softener system features a quality mineral tank that measures 10” x 54”, a brine tank that measures 14” x 33”, a digital metered control head and high-quality commercial resin. This resin has higher durability, which means it will have a longer life. It comes with the 5600SXT head, which is a very popular option. The 48,000-grain system comes loaded and ready to install.
The system includes installation instruction, including video instruction on the USB. The installation kit provides lubricant, sanitizer, and a test strip. It is possible to set up the system on your own but remember to get help for the installation if you need it.
The LCD display is easy to read and to use, and it features reliable touchpad controls. Both the mineral tank and the brine tank are highly durable. This system also features an on-demand metered system like several of the other options on the list. It will measure the amount of water that you are using and regenerate as needed rather than on a schedule. The system also features a paddlewheel style meter, which works well and tends to have fewer leaks than turbine-style meters.
The system is set up for a 1” connection, but there are other yoke sizes available to buy separately if needed. You could also choose to use a reducer or a coupler to help ensure that it will fit with your plumbing. The valve features a 5-year warranty, but some have been operating continuously for decades without any problem.
This particular system can hold about 250 lbs. of salt, and it comes with a safety float for the tank that will prevent you from overfilling it. It is another quality option from Fleck that could be just what you need.
Aquasure Harmony Series
The system includes everything required for the whole-house water softening system to be up and running quickly and easily in your home. It is capable of treating up to 48,000 grains before needing to regenerate, and it can work well for a home with between two and four bathrooms and up to five people. Also, the company offers similar models that can provide treatment for 32,000 grains and 64,000 grains. It is a tall system, with the mineral tank measuring 10” x 10” x 60”, so you will need to be sure that it will fit in the location where you want to put it.
It includes the control head, premium-grade resin, a durable resin tank, and distributor tube, a 5’ brine line, a 14’ drain line, a bypass valve with 1” in and out yoke. It is possible to request a ¾” yoke if needed.
This system will allow for three different types of regeneration. You will be able to choose time clock delayed control, meter immediate control, and meter delayed control. That will provide you with more control over the system, so you can be sure it is working to meet your needs, whatever they might be. You can even start the regeneration with a single button press. The digital control head can calculate precisely how much water it treats, and it will backwash when needed.
The system is durable and built to last, and you will find that it tends to be easy to install and to use once you have it in the home. It is a popular system, and it could be a good choice for you to bring into your home, as well.
YARNA Whole-house Electronic Water Softener and Descaler
The YARNA system is a whole-house water softener system that works similarly to the iSpring system discussed earlier. It is an electronic water softener and descaler that is made from high-grade aluminum. It is an upgraded version of a previous system, and it now has active coils, which provide a better and stronger effect. That means that the system is now 50% more efficient.
The YARTNA can work with any pipe up to 2” thick. That means that it can work with iron, plastic, PVC, PE-x, compound pipes, iron, copper, and stainless steel. The system will turn the minerals creating the hard water into microcrystals that are not going to build-up scale. Amazingly, it can protect scale for up to 1.2 miles from the point of installation in the pipe system.
Because the system can remove the scale and keep it from building up, it can also protect the pipes quite nicely. It will minimize the amount of rust and the bacterial growth that can occur in pipes. For the best results, the manufacturer suggests that you install the system as close to the main water supply or the water meter as possible. Keep in mind that you will need to have access to a power outlet, as it is electric like other units on the list. The power adapter that comes with the system has a cable that is 5’ long.
One of the excellent benefits of these electronic systems is the fact that they install so easily. In fact, with the YARNA, you will not need to have any tools at all to fit the descaler. It should only take about 15 minutes to install. You can attach the system to the wall with screws, or you could use double-sided sticky tape to adhere it to the pipe. Then, you need to connect the impulse bands, create the windings around the pipe, secure them with zip ties, and then turn on the power to the unit. The system comes with all of the instructions you need to get it setup properly.
It is a maintenance-free and straightforward solution that could be an excellent choice for you to consider. Even just a single unit can work for large houses and even small rental complexes of up to 20 units. The cost to operate the device, since it does use electricity, is minimal. It will only cost about $10 per year.
Hansing Whole-House Water Softener System
The Hansing system is unique, as it is a salt-free tank system. It has other features that help to set it apart from the competition, as well. This water softener is simple to use and has an effective rate of up to 98%. You will not need to worry about programming the system, and since it is salt-free, this means that you will not need to worry about adding any salt. The device measures 3.9” x 3.9” x 23.7”
The system is made from 304-grade stainless steel, so you can be sure that it is very durable. The media used with this tank is not the typical resin. Instead, it is made from fruits polysaccharide and coconut activated carbon. It is a good and healthy option that many will find they prefer over resin. It can remove odors, chlorine, and bad taste, and it ensures there will not be any scaling. However, it can still retain the minerals themselves.
The system has a high flow design and a cartridge filter that is capable of 280,000 grains. The cartridge life expectancy will vary based on just how hard the water is, as well as the amount of water usage that flows through the system. Eventually, the cartridge will need to be replaced. Fortunately, the replacement tends to be easy.
The system is compact, and it is easy to use. The filter is a nonwoven membrane that can remove sand, rust, suspended solids, and more. It also has a carbon block that can deactivate the scale-forming factor yet still retain the minerals in the water. It can reduce the amount of chlorine in the water by 99.5%, too.
When you choose this option, make sure you are keeping in mind that the cartridge will need replacement after 280,000 grains. It might be a good idea for you to have several of these on hand, so you can replace them as soon as needed.
EcoPure EPHS007 Conditioner/Water Softener/Filter System
This system claims that it can do just about everything, and that might make it a perfect solution for your needs. This hybrid system can work well for those who are receiving water from the city, as well as those who are receiving water from a private well. The system works well for up to four people, and it can remove iron, as well as other factors that cause hard water. It measures 15 ½” x 19 ¾” x 47 ¾”.
The unit features demand initiated regeneration, as well. As with some of the other systems on the list, it will monitor the amount of water you are using, and it will only go through the regeneration process when it is needed. The system also has a low salt light, so you will know when it is time to add more salt. The digital display system is easy to read and to understand.
The setup is easy for those who have basic plumbing skills. You will need to make sure that you have the required connected, tubing, and a nearby drain, as well as access to a 110V outlet. The system is easy to use and easy to clean. The system has a 1-year manufacturer and parts and labor warranty, a 3-year limited electronics warranty, and a 10-year limited warranty on the tanks.
Those who are looking for a quality, hybrid solution for their water softener system may want to consider this option from EcoPure.
What Is Hard Water?
The term “hard water” is indeed strange, especially to those who are hearing it for the first time. It merely means that the water has a high mineral content, and it is entirely natural, although not at all welcome. Calcium and magnesium will often accumulate during the water cycle, which can accumulate in the pipes, on the faucets, and can cause a host of issues. It will usually occur because groundwater dissolved limestone and because iron and other metals start to travel with the water system into your home. The more minerals that are dissolved into the water, the harder it is said to be, and the sooner it will begin to cause problems.
This will end up resulting in a buildup of scaly material that is typically a white residue. Left unchecked, this will continue to build and grow. You might notice this on your faucets and showerheads, for example.
Even if you are getting your water from the city, you could have hard water. There are certain areas of the country that tend to have more problems with hard water than other location. While hard water is not dangerous and you can drink it without worry, it can and does cause problems over time. If water has more than 7 gpg (grains per gallon), it indicates that there is a hard water problem.
While you can live with hard water, it can make life more difficult. It will mean more cleaning, and it could mean problems with your plumbing and pipes down the line. Let’s look at some of the signs that could indicate that you are dealing with a hard water problem.
Signs of Hard Water and the Problems It Causes
How can you be sure that you have hard water? In addition to testing for hard water, as we will learn about below, you will also find that some signs could be indicators that you have some issues with your water. Whenever you have any problem with your water, it is better to address them sooner rather than later. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest issues that tend to stem from having hard water.
Hard Water Spots and Soap Scum
Having soap scum in the shower can and does happen even when you work hard at keeping things as clean as possible. However, when you have hard water, you will find that these experiences are significantly exacerbated.
The white spots that show up on the faucet in the bathroom and on the glass in the shower could be caused by hard water. When the water is hot and creates steam, it can carry the hard water to other parts of the bathroom, and you are cleaning up soap scum everywhere. If you have shower curtains, it could be an even bigger problem. The soap scum left on the curtains could lead to the spread of disease-causing bacteria.
You will find that if you have spots on your dishes in the kitchen, whether they were run through the dishwasher or you cleaned them by hand, could be a problem with hard water, as well. If you are getting sick and tired of cleaning up all of these spots, it is time that you got a water softener system, which can cut down on the amount of cleaning that will need to be done.
Another potential problem that you could be facing if you have hard water are stains that are on the porcelain of your toilet. These stains can be alarming when they appear, and they can be embarrassing. When iron is present in the water, it can cause what appears to be rust spots in the toilet bowl. Of course, porcelain can’t rust, so the problem likely stems from iron that is coming from rusty pipes in the home.
These stains tend not to go away either, so it will take a lot of cleaning to remove them. Vinegar can help with this. However, you will want to take care of the source of the problem – the hard water – or these stains are going to keep coming back.
The Taste and Scent of the Water Are Unpleasant
Few things are as disgusting as getting a glass of water from the sink and bringing it to your lips only to find that it stinks like sulfur or tastes like iron. Problems with the taste of the drinking water tend to be some of the first indicators that you have a hard water issue at your home. If you have that sulfurous scent in the water, it could mean that bacteria are reacting with the magnesium. This will create sulfates, which cause the smell.
Others have said that when they have a hard water problem, the water has a taste that is similar to dirt. This could be due to having sediment in the water. It might also be due to having algae in the water. In some cases, the algae will also cause the water to taste somewhat moldy.
No one wants to have their drinking water taste or smell bad. Keep in mind that adding a filter to the kitchen sink might help with the problem in the kitchen, but the bathrooms will still have stinky water. The best solution tends to be to have a water softener system for the home that will remove these issues at the source.
Pipes Can Get Clogged
Over time, hard water has the potential to cause some serious problems for your plumbing. The scale can build up so much that it begins to cause clogs in the pipes. As you can imagine, this will cause some severe issues with your plumbing. It will restrict how much water is flowing through all of the pipes, and it can lead to water backing up, which means you will need to have a plumber get out to you to take care of the mess. Those who have steel pipes will find that this type of problem tends to be more common. It might take some time before you start to realize just how clogged the pipes are getting. It is a good idea to take care of this problem as soon as you can.
Fortunately, those who have PVC pipes or copper pipes should not have to worry about the buildup in the pipes. However, that does not mean that they do not have to worry about all of the other issues that can be caused by hard water. Therefore, make it a point to have a water softener system added to your property. It’s not only good for the pipes, but for the family. It could mean fewer calls to the plumber.
Weaker Water Pressure in the Shower
Along the same lines, if you have hard water, you might find that you are not getting as much pressure in the shower. This could be because of the formation of scale in and on the showerhead. This is not only unsightly, but it means that the pressure that is coming from the showerhead is likely to be much lower than it should be. The longer this problem goes on, the worse the pressure will become.
Also, because the minerals tend to react with the soap, it means that it can be more challenging to build up a quality lather, and it can make it more difficult to rinse the soap off of the body. It can also leave mineral deposits in your hair, which can cause your hair to look dull. The deposits can build on your scalp, and they could even block moisture from the hair shafts, which can cause your hair to dry out. Also trying to shampoo and rinse can make the problem worse.
It is safe to say that having hard water in the home can put a damper on the showering experience.
Hard water can also affect your laundry, and your clothes may not be getting as clean as you would like. Think for a moment about some of the other issues. If you are washing your clothes with water that stinks like sulfur, for example, there is a chance that the clothing could end up having a faint scent of sulfur. Also, you will find that the clothes washed in hard water will generally end up wearing out faster, and they will have a dingy appearance. In some cases, they might even end up having white residue on them. If you have been blaming that residue on your detergent, hard water might be the actual cause.
If that’s the case, you have a couple of options. You can find a detergent that will soften the water for you as your clothes are being washed. However, this is not an ideal solution. You will likely need to use more of this type of detergent, and you will need to make sure you are using hotter water. Many will advise you to use four times as much laundry detergent of this type if you have hard water. Imagine how much that will cost.
Again, the best solution to the problem is to choose a water softener system. It will make your life easier and your clothes cleaner.
This issue ties in nicely with the previous problem. When you buy appliances for your home, such as your dishwasher and your washing machine, you want them to last for a long time, naturally. They tend to be expensive, so taking good care of them is crucial. However, the scale deposits that are forming on those devices are causing them to wear out faster than they should. This includes the water heater. Even the water you run through coffeemakers could cause a buildup of scale that will cause problems.
When you have a buildup of this type of sediment in your appliances, they will become less efficient. This means that they are going to take more energy to run properly, and you might even need to run them more than once to get the results you need. This will mean increased energy bills.
Hard water can also irritate the skin. Since it leaves soap and residue behind on the skin when people bathe, this can cause the skin to dry out, which then makes the skin itchy. When mineral deposits are left on the skin, the minerals themselves could remove moisture from the skin. Bathing in hard water could even cause the symptoms of eczema to get worse. If you want to make sure that your skin and the skin of your family is safe and cared for properly, take care of your hard water issue.
Now that you have seen some of the biggest problems that tend to stem from having hard water, you can see why it is so important to choose a water softening system. Problems caused by hard water can end up costing hundreds of dollars per year. Fortunately, bringing one into your house and getting it set up is easier than you might think. First, though, you will want to determine whether you have hard water.
Determine If You Have Hard Water
In addition to some of the above signs of having hard water, how else can you tell if you are suffering from this issue? How do you know if you should get a water softener system for your home? You will find several simple ways that you can get this information about your home. First, you will want to observe your home. Does the showerhead or the faucets develop scale quickly? If it does, then you have hard water.
You can also find testing kits that you can use to get a better idea of just how hard the water is in your area. Also, there are maps online that can give you a general indication of the hardness of the water in different areas. For example, in the United States, the water tends to be harder in the Midwest and the Southwest. However, it is hard enough in most parts of the country to warrant the use of a water softening system.
What Does a Water Softener System Do?
So, now that you are sure you have hard water, you need to have a water softener system that will be able to turn the water soft. What does this mean, though? Water softeners will utilize a process called ion exchange, which will help to remove the calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese that is in the water. It then replaces them with sodium ions. To understand how this works in practice, you will need to know what ions are and how they work.
An ion is an atom or molecule that will carry a positive or a negative charge due to an imbalance between the protons and the electrons. The cations will have a positive charge, while the anions have a negative charge. You will find that the items that need to be removed from the water are all positively charged cations. However, sodium is the weakest charge, and that weakness is what allows for the exchange.
How does this exchange happen? While there are different types of devices used to soften water, such as electronic/magnetic devices you will learn more about later, many of the systems utilize select products/granules in the ion exchange. This will be resin beads or zeolite in most cases. Zeolite is an inorganic material that is made of small crystals. Both of these will have sodium ions attached to them. The beads or crystals will also have a negative charge.
As the hard water passes through the softener tank, the positively charged ions of the minerals will be attracted to those crystals and beads. They will take the place of the sodium ions, which have a weaker charge. The minerals that create hard water will remain trapped in the water softener tank. The water, along with some sodium ions, will then be able to flow throughout your home. This results in soft water, so you do not need to worry about having that scaly buildup in your home any longer.
You might be worried that adding sodium to the water would create saltwater, which would cause issues. However, the amount of sodium added to the water during the exchange process is minuscule.
What Happens to Trapped Minerals?
If a typical water softener system traps the minerals in the tank, you are likely wondering just what happens to all of those minerals. Wouldn’t they end up building up over time and clogging that tank? If the beads are filled with those minerals and they do not have sodium to exchange any longer, you are also wondering how the tank will be able to treat additional water.
There is a process called regeneration. This will allow the system to clean and recharge itself. Water softener systems that work in this manner will come with a second tank for storage. You will need to use a water softener salt in the second tank along with water, which creates a solution that is known as brine, and many people call this second tank the brine tank.
When regeneration occurs, the water softener will bring the brine solution into the softener tank. Another ion transfer happens, but it is the opposite of before. The beads or crystals will be bathed in the brine. The water softener is disinfected and cleaned during this process, as well. The water that contains the hard minerals will then be flushed out of the system. In most cases, the regeneration process will occur in the middle of the night, which is when people tend not to need to use water.
Types of Water Softener Systems
As you have no doubt noticed from the list above, there are several different types of systems available to help soften the water on your property. The one that you choose will often depend on the size of your property and how and where you will need to use it.
First, there are the conventional salt-based softener systems, which are sometimes called ion-exchange softeners. These comprise the bulk of the products discussed here. These are a popular option. These systems have a main mineral tank, as well as the brine tank. Something that you will want to note about these systems, as it can be important when you are making your choice of which system to choose, is the grain rating.
The grain rating is a rating that lets you know how many grains the system will be able to remove before it needs to go through the regeneration process. Those tanks that have a larger grain rating will be able to handle more water passing through the system before the regeneration starts.
To determine how many gallons of water this might be, you would want to learn the grains per gallon of water on your property. If it is 10 grains per gallon, then to find out how many gallons of water can pass through the system before regeneration, you would simply divide. For example, in a 48,000-grain system, it would be able to soften 4,800 gallons of water. If you have a family that goes through 300 gallons of water a day, it could go for 16 days before it needs to regenerate.
You can also find systems that do not contain a brine tank because they do not use salt, such as the Hansing tank above. One of the reasons that these are a popular choice is because some people do not want to have the added sodium in their water. Those who are on salt-restricted diets, for example, will likely want to choose an option that does not add salt to the water.
Another system that is popular, and that does not add salt to the water would be the electronic descalers. These are not as popular as the other options, at least not yet, but they can be a great solution. They tend to be cheaper than the traditional water softener systems, and they are hassle-free and require no maintenance. You do not need to worry about making any massive plumbing changes.
What You Need to Look for in a Water Softener System
When you are choosing a water softener system, you want to be sure you are getting the best for your needs. Many factors will affect the one that you ultimately choose. Make sure that you keep the following tips in mind when you are making your choice. It can help to ensure that you get the one that you need.
● Determine the level of hardness in the water to be sure you are getting a system that will remove those minerals effectively.
● Consider the size of the water softener system based on the amount of water usage and the number of people living in the home.
● Know your budget and be willing to save to buy a better option if needed.
● Understand the size of the unit to make sure it will fit in your space.
● Know the features and benefits of the system.
● Choose an option that will be easy for you to use, and that will work well with your lifestyle.
These tips can help you to narrow down your choices and find a system that works for you.
The Installation of a Water Softener System
The electronic systems tend to be quite easy, and you should be able to figure out how to install those on your own. As we’ve said many times above, some might be best left to the professionals. For the systems that require you to work with your plumbing, and that could require you to cut through the pipes to have the system fitted properly, you might want to leave it to the professionals. However, many of the options on the list have DIY instructions if you would like to try it. Only do what you are comfortable doing.
Find Your Water Softener System Today
Hard water is a real problem, but it is one that you can fix when you add the right system to your home. Now that you have more knowledge on some of the different types of systems, along with some information on the best options on the market today, it is time for you to choose.