If your home is supplied with hard water, you will already know that it can cost a great deal of money. Hard water contains elevated levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and even iron, that make water harder to use. Routine tasks become a chore; it’s hard to achieve a soap lather and water using appliances are less efficient and more prone to failure. Even cleaning away spots of these dried minerals is an annoying task, and the stains always return. For these and other reasons, many people invest in a water softener for their home, and in this article, we will look at three things that you need to know.
- Different Types of Water Softener
When you’re thinking about a water softener system, the first thing that you need to know is that there are three main water softening methods to choose from.
- Ion Exchange: This exchanges the mineral ions that cause water hardness with sodium or salt ions that are much softer.
- Salt Free Water Softening: The ion exchange process does introduce more salt into the water. Most people don’t notice, but others that are sensitive to salt or require a diet very low in salt may use a salt free water softener instead. This method substitutes a potassium chloride salt over sodium.
- Magnetic Softening: This system uses magnets installed in series to literally pull the water hardening minerals out of the water as it passes through them.
All of these methods are effective, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you will need to investigate to find the right method to suit your needs.
- The Water Volume and Regeneration Frequency
Every home uses a certain volume of water each day, so the water softener that you choose needs to be able to handle the volume of water that you need to soften. As a rule of thumb, an average adult would use around 75 gallons of water each day for every activity. The water softener should regenerate every 3-10 days. This is measured by the grains of hard water minerals that the water softener can remove, as shown below.
- A system that removes 20,000-29,000 grains produces 100-200 gallons per day.
- A system that removes 30,000-40,000 grains produces 200-400 gallons per day.
- A system that removes 40,000+ grains produces more than 400 gallons per day.
Pay close attention to your monthly bills for a few months, and you will soon notice a pattern in your water usage habits. But, always bear in mind that we tend to use more water in summer and this should be factored into your calculations.
- The Methods of Regeneration
The regeneration process is needed to flush away the removed water hardening minerals and keep the water softener running efficiently. There are two main regeneration methods used in domestic water softening systems.
- Demand Initiated: This regenerated automatically based on the volume of water that the system has filtered.
- Timer: The system is set by the homeowner, and it will automatically regenerate at a preset time no matter the volume of water filtered.
A demand initiated regeneration system is more efficient in terms of salt use, and this is why many homeowners prefer this option. If you’re not sure about any aspect of choosing your next water softener, contact a local certified professional for expert help and advice.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.