There are many water softeners on the market, and it can be hard to make an informed decision. Evaluating the makes and models is extremely difficult if you don’t take certain details into consideration, including the hardness of your water, the daily water use, and the number of people regularly living in your home. When you know the answer to these three fundamental questions it will be easier to narrow your search for a new water softener system.

1.  How Hard is Your Water Supply?

Around 85% of American homes are supplied with water that’s categorized as “hard” This means that the water contains an elevated concentration of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron (in certain regions). The presence of these minerals is expressed in grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm). Although it is true that private well water is more likely to be harder, this is not a hard and fast rule. Public water treatment plants do not remove the dissolved minerals that make water hard. Before you purchase and install a new water softener, it’s important to test your water hardness to fully understand the scale of the problem. Water softeners are designed to treat a certain range of water hardness, and the softening capacity must be sufficient to meet your needs. Water testing kits are readily available, and the results can be compared to a water hardness map for your area.

2.  What is the Daily Water Use?

A water softener has a grain capacity which is expressed as a number in the 20,000-80,000 range for domestic systems. If this number is exceeded, there will not be enough soft water to meet the needs of your entire home. If you use more water, you need a higher capacity water softener and vice versa. There are a couple of simple guidelines to consider:

A small to mid sized water softener with a grain capacity of 20,000+ should be sufficient for a home with three people or less and two bathrooms or less.

A mid sized to large water softener with a grain capacity of 30,000+ should be sufficient for a home with four people or more and three bathrooms or more.

Although it may seem tempting to simply go with the largest water softener you can afford, this is a bad idea. It is true that there may be more people living in the home when kids are back for the summer or during the holiday season. This is a key consideration, but if your water softener is way too large for your home, it will be inefficient. During the regeneration process, the ion-exchange media is cleaned, and this uses a significant volume of water. The higher the capacity, the higher the volume of water used, and if you want to avoid higher water bills you need to focus on efficiency. So, it’s important to carefully match the water softening system to meet your needs.

3.  Which Water Softener?

When people choose a water softener, the budget is usually the primary consideration, followed by the functionality and the features they need. As an example: if you’re living in an area with high concentrations of iron you may want a hybrid iron filter system. If you’re considering a water softener installation, contact your local water treatment specialist 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.