Water is life. But when it becomes dirty and contaminated, it may be a poison. That is why your home needs the best water softener to ensure that your loved ones are full of life, healthy, and happy. But how do you choose a water softener?
With the many brands in the market and a range of options at your disposal, it may be a little hard to know which one is the best option. Also remember that what may be best for your friend or colleague, may not be the best for you. You first need to determine some factors before you even ask for a reference. Here are some of the things to consider;
The first thing you want to figure out is what your requirements are, the purpose you need the softener for, and what level of hard water you are dealing with. You can buy water testing tools to test your water and determine the softener system you need.
You can also take a sample of your water to a testing lab near you. Once you know what you are dealing with you will be in a better position to ask for recommendations and even buy the most suitable softener unit for your requirement; you know what questions to ask and what answers to expect.
Different water softeners come in different sizes and each size has the capacity to deal with different levels of hard water. This again calls for you to figure out how hard your water is. You also need to consider the number of people who will be relying on the water softener. Some sizes have more capacity than others.
Budget is also something you keep in your books always, after everything else. This is because, even if you want to save some money on your new water softener purchase, you also want to make sure you get the best quality.
Remember, cheap can also be expensive. And different softeners come at different prices. Make sure whatever you choose fits both your needs and your budget.
Types of Hard Water Softeners
There are different types of water softeners. Not all of them are going to be best for your hard water situation. Here are the 5 different types you should look into;
1. Salt-Based Water Softeners (Ion-Exchange)
These are the traditional types most people are used to. They are also whole house water softeners, which means they supply water in the whole house, and feature high flow rates. They use sodium ions to displace calcium and magnesium in a process known as ion exchange.
Salt-based water systems remove all the hard water-causing minerals but not chemicals or bacteria. This makes it a good option if you are just looking to remove hard water minerals. They are also long-lasting and have a low maintenance cost. You can also replace the resin at a very low cost when it runs out.
2. Salt-Free Water Softeners
Just like the name suggests, this does not require the upkeep, ion-exchange units require. This is because they do not need regeneration or salt. Unlike their salt-based counterparts, they don’t remove hard minerals, instead, they neutralize them to prevent build-ups, which causes hard water.
In the beginning, salt-free systems seem to be more expensive, but in the long run, you realize they are cheaper since you don’t have to keep adding salt as opposed to salt-based, or doing the weekly upkeep. They are also compact and take up less space, neutralize minerals, and remove impurities like harmful chemicals and bacteria.
3. Showerhead Water Softeners
Just like the name suggests, these are installed in a showerhead and are only useful in your bathroom. If you are not looking to install a whole house water softener, or don’t have the budget for it, or your only concern is the shower, then this is your best option.
It still works wonders and makes all the difference when it comes to your hair and skin. Unlike hard water that leaves your hair dry and frizzy, and your skin dry and itchy, these softeners help produce freshwater that rejuvenates your hair and skin, leaving them fresh, soft, and vibrant.
4. Reverse Osmosis Water Softeners
Generally, these cannot be thought of as particularly water softeners. But they strip all substances from your water including minerals causing hard water. They are also at the front line in providing the healthiest water for consumption as they add other healthy minerals to the water.
Typically, they are installed under the sink and usually have their faucet, where you can always purify your water on the tap. Because they force water through the reverse osmosis membrane, they use high pressure to filter it down to microscopic levels. On the downside, they can be quite pricey.
5. Portable Water Softener
This is a great option if you are looking to have purified, softer water on the go. Just like the name suggests, they are easily portable and you can use them just about wherever. They don’t need any electricity to function and can go for a couple of weeks in between regenerations.
It just takes a pinch of table salt to complete the process of regeneration and have your clean water. They may not have the same flow as a full-sized softener but can always supply enough drinking water for several people or even a single bathroom. They are small and compact, great for travelers, and much less expensive.