Have you ever wonder why a thin film of hard yellowish enamel appears on the surface of your sink or bath tub and makes those appliances appear ugly? If you do, you should know that the water that flows through your faucets and shower heads must be hard. Hard water contains mineral salts that will coat the surface of any household appliances, making them look ugly and causing their physical structure to deteriorate. If you don’t want this mishap to occur, you should soften the hard water by using the best water softener that you can buy from any home appliances shops, online or offline.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
Water softener purifies water from mineral salts that make it hard. When water is extracted from the ground, it may carry minerals that may cause problem when it is dispensed through home appliances, such as faucets and shower heads. Minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium, and iron will crystallize and stick to various household appliances, such as sink and bath tub. Cleaning them is not an easy task and if they are left untreated, they will cause expensive troubles. Water softener is necessary to soften the water and to prevent those mineral salts from contaminating water that flows through and to household appliances.
Types of Water Softener System
There are several types of water softener system according to the way they work: reverse osmosis system, salt-based system, salt-free system, and magnetic system. Each type of water softener system has its own pros and cons. By understanding how each works and the advantages it offers, you should be able to choose the right water softener system for your home.
Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse osmosis system purifies water by allowing it to pass through a semipermeable membrane that will catch any impurities. Reverse osmosis system works almost similar with traditional home filtration system. The difference is that home filtration system, unlike reverse osmosis system, doesn’t catch minerals. Reverse osmosis system is still under development. Therefore, there might be shortcomings that have not yet been foreseeable. Reverse osmosis system also tends to work slower and the appliance used for it is still deemed expensive.
Salt-based system will trap metal ions in the hard water, which are positively charged, using salt resin containing negatively-charged ions. There are three types of salt-based water softener according to the type of salt they use: sodium, hydrogen and potassium. When metal ions pass through the resin, it will trap those ions by releasing its sodium, hydrogen or potassium ion. Because it constantly has to release its ions, its salt will gradually deplete and the resin will gradually thin. To restore it, brine containing sodium chloride, hydrochloric acid, or potassium chloride (respective to the type of salt used), must be passed through the resin. This is where the problem lies because all of those brine chemicals may pollute the environment if released in bulk.
Salt-free system is considered an innovative system that uses certain chemical procedure to bind the ions of hard minerals without using resin. One procedure that is often used is called chelation, in which the metal atoms are bound with nonmetal ones. Most of the time, the atoms used to bind the metal atoms are organic atoms. Because this system doesn’t use resin, regeneration is barely necessary.
Magnetic water softener is another system that prevents the salts from forming scales on appliance’s surface. Just like potassium water softener, it is thus also called a descaler. Magnetic system is attached to the pipe and works by changing the electromagnetic properties of calcium carbonate minerals so that they no longer stick to anything they pass by.
The Right Water Softener Size that You Need
Determining the right water softener size is important because you need a water softener that sufficiently fulfills your household needs but is not too large and too expensive to buy. To choose a water softener with the right size, you should do a little calculation that involves multiplying the number of people in the family, the amount of water each person uses every day (typically 75 gallons/person/day), and the number of grains per gallon (GPG) of hardness minerals. A family that consists of 3 people using water with 10 GPG thus require a water softener that can handle 2,250 (3x75x10) GPG of hardness minerals.
5 Best Water Softeners
The Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Water Softener System
Fleck 5600SXT is a whole-house salt-based water softener with long lasting resin that guarantees effective purifying of house water. It features meter-based regeneration system that controls how the system is regenerated. If water usage is not too extensive, the softener will adjust itself by performing regeneration procedure less often. It will automatically increase its regeneration rate if more water is used by the family. This feature makes the entire system more durable and efficient as well as friendlier to the environment. The warranty, which lasts for 5 years for the valve and 10 years for the tank gives customers peace and mind when they decide to buy this water softener. In addition to being durable, this water softener also offers some modern features, including touch control and LCD display. Being an easy water softener to control and to operate and durable appliance with long-term warranty coverage, this water softener should be among customers’ best picks.
The Fleck 7000 64 000 Grain Metered Water Softener
With 64,000 grain capacity, Fleck 7000 is obviously one of the most reliable water softeners to deal with extremely hard water (30 GPG and above), grain requirement at 6800 to 9200 grains per day, or a household with five family members. If salt scales have polluted your dishwashers and sinks and caused your shower heads and faucets to be clogged, it might be the right time for you to buy this water softener. This water softener uses heavy-duty 7000 valve that is capable to handle a peak service flow rate of 28 GPM. If you are worried about the installation of this bulky appliance, you should be relieved to hear that the installation procedure is pretty straightforward, though you may need a help to hold the tank and to pour the brine from heavy medium bags to the tank. Other than that, everything about the installation should not be a concern.
The Watts RV PRO-1000 Portable Water Softener
Two great features that tempt you into buying The Watts RV PRO-1000 are its cheap price and portability. With price that is only about $200, it is a cheap water softener with performance that is comparable to that of much more expensive models, including those above $1,000. It is also a favored choice because of its portability. It doesn’t have to be installed on a fixed position because it can be moved to any places where water softening is necessary. For travelers, this water softener is a necessary appliance that they must have in their car or RV because it is often the only softener available when they visit places with hard water. The only problem related to this water softener is that almost everything that is done automatically with fixed water softener must be done manually using this RV-type system. You have to regenerate it manually and more frequently.
The Eddy Electric Water Descaler
Eddy Electric Water Descaler offers some appealing features that make it attractive to buyers. To start with, it doesn’t require salt feeding. It is not a salt-based water softener with resin that must be regenerated periodically. It is also cheap with price that is only $200. It is much less bulky than conventional salt-based water softener. There is no tank that needs to be installed and filled regularly to keep the system operating. Its installation procedure is also straightforward: you only need to loop its coils around the input water pipe. It will deliver electromagnetic current to the water, causing hard materials to lose their adhesiveness. It is worthy of notice, though, that this device is a desclare and not a water softener. It doesn’t remove all hard materials from the water. It simply causes them to not stick to the surface of your appliances. While this seems to be a weakness, it actually gives you a perk because, thanks to the way it operates, beneficial materials will not be removed from water.
The NuvoH2O Manor Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System
NuvoH2O water softener might be one of the most expensive water softeners you can buy today; however, its high-end features and its small size certainly make it a worthy choice and a perfect investment to keep your household water salt-free. This water softener itself is salt-free. It uses a process called chelation to prevent hard minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, from forming clumps. Although it doesn’t use resin and salt, it is guaranteed to be capable not only to prevent hard minerals from sticking to household appliances, just like what a descaler does, but also to get rid of all of those minerals from the water.