Water is an essential commodity in every household and ensuring that you have enough supply of the same is critical. Most probably, you have sufficient water in your home, but you may realize that your skin gets dry and itchy after taking a shower, your glassware has a cloudy film even after cleaning, and that your freshly laundered clothes appear dingy.
If you experience any of the challenges in that list, it is an indication that you have a hard water problem that you should address as soon as possible. Investing in a water softener for your home is a wise idea because it will help you solve the existing hard water problem.
Types of Water Softeners and How They Work
Before you go shopping for a water softener for your home, you need to understand that both salt-based ion exchange water softeners and salt-free conditioners are available in the market. Note that the salt-free variety is a conditioner and not a water softener. The reason is that salt-free conditioners do not get rid of hard minerals from water, but instead they prevent these minerals from sticking to surfaces and forming deposits in pipes and appliances.
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Systems
The most common method of softening water for most households is the use of a salt-based ion exchange system that eliminates magnesium and calcium ions as well as iron and other unwanted elements from water and replaces them with sodium or in some rare cases potassium.
A salt-based ion exchange water softening system works by feeding it into a softening tank that contains resin media and small charged beads with sodium that make up the bed of this tank. When water passes through the softening tank with the salt-based ion exchange system, calcium and magnesium ions replace the sodium ions in it, which softens your home water making it ready for use.
Hard water causes minerals to stick to surfaces, and the forming of deposits in pipes and appliances is also as a result of the former and salt-free conditioners can solve this problem. Salt-free conditioners work through the use of polyphosphate or citric acid as chelating agents that bind hard water ions, thus making such ions soluble. The other descaling alternative is opting for conditioners that make use of catalytic media that causes calcium carbonate to form large crystals with weak surface affinity.
Home Water Softener Buying Guide
If you are planning to acquire a water softener for your home, there are several considerations you should make, which will help you identify the ideal option and here are some of them.
Size of Your Home
The water softener you opt for should be appropriate for the size of your home, which suggests that the water you use should not exhaust ahead of schedule. In that case, you should consider the number of inhabitants within your house as well as the number of bathrooms within your home.
The Contents in Your Home Water Supply
One critical exercise you should consider before purchasing a water softener for your house is getting an expert to test your home water supply, especially if you do not know what it contains. A government laboratory water test will be a suitable option for those seeking to understand the contents of their home water.
Once you identify the contents in your home water supply, you will be able to establish the water softener capable of eliminating the impurities in it so your home water can be safe for use.
The other determinant of the water softener you should opt for is the space available or where you expect to install the same. For instance, a dual tank system may not be the ideal option for households with limited space while a portable water softener may require less space, but it may not supply enough water for an entire house.
Also, remodeling a section of your home to accommodate a specific water softening system may be an option, but you should consider the cost implication of such a decision first.
One of the elements you cannot overlook when shopping for a water softener is what you expect to pay for a particular option. For example, dual tank water softeners are more costly than the portable variety because the former require much space and their flow rate, as well as capacity, is higher than that of the point-of-use (POU) systems.
The implication, in this case, is that if you want a point-of-entry (POE) water softener for your home water supply, you should prepare to spend more than those who are looking for a portable one.
Apart from leaving a cloudy film on glassware and causing your fresh laundry to appear dingy, hard water reacts poorly with soap and detergents, which results in the formation of scum. In that case, you will need to use extra cleansing agents when cleaning with hard water, which becomes an additional expense on your part.
Water softeners will not only make your home water fit for human consumption, but they also save you a significant amount of money. If you need more information on identifying the ideal water softener for your home, contact us today!