Hard water can trigger numerous problems around your house, from spots on glassware and a movie on shower doors to pipes issues and inefficient operation of water-using appliances. Installing a water softener can help.
What Is Hard Water?
The term “difficult water” refers to ground water that contains high levels of such minerals as magnesium or calcium. The severity of solidity is determined by grains (of mineral) per gallon (GPG) or, sometimes, by parts per countless mineral (PPM). One GPG equates to 17.1 PPM.
Water softeners are devices developed to lower the amount of results of minerals in your home’s water system. This guide reviews the various kinds of water softeners and how they can protect your pipes and enhance your supply of water.
Technically, any water which contains more than 1 GPG of liquified firmness minerals is considered hard, however, realistically, water with approximately 3.5 GPG is reasonably soft. Water with more than 10.5 GPG is extremely difficult. Between these extremes is typical, reasonably tough water. You can purchase a water test set on Amazon.
How Do Water Softeners Work
Water conditioners work by filtering tough water through a mineral tank. The tank contains a bed of plastic beads or resin beads that have an unfavorable electrical charge. The negative charge of the water conditioner resin brings in the positive charge of such “tough” particles as calcium and magnesium, leaving them on the beads and eliminating them from the water.
Gradually, the water softener runs a regrowth cycle to clear the solidity particles from the beads. The system’s control valve sends a mixture of salt and water from the brine tank into the resin bed. The salt brings in the minerals from the beads, and the excess debris is flushed from the system and down the drain.
The frequency of regeneration cycles depends on many aspects, including how hard your water is and how much water you utilize. Regrowth cycles use about 50 gallons of water on average, however, this will depend on the water conditioner system.
Resin beads do not need to be changed. Nevertheless, to keep your water softening effectiveness, regularly refill the brine tank with water softener salt. The frequency with which you will require to replace the salt depends on your water softener system’s salt tank size and how frequently regrowth cycles happen.
Water Softener Types
By far the most popular and commonly utilized kind of whole-house water conditioner is an ion-exchange or “cation exchange” system, however, a couple of other innovations are likewise available. The following will discuss the differences.
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Softener
This kind of water conditioner cycles family water through 2 tanks: one with special resin beads and the other filled with salt water. It deals with the concept of ion exchange, softening difficult water by replacing salt (salt) for hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Salt-Free Water Softener
A salt-free water softener regenerates with a potassium-chloride salt alternative instead of sodium. This type of unit may be a much better alternative for individuals who are concerned about salt consumption. This type of water softener is a descaler– it doesn’t lower the difficult water minerals but rather prevents minerals from being transferred as a scale to the surfaces of water-using home appliances and pipelines.
The basic consensus is that this type of water treatment is better than no water conditioner at all, however not as effective as conventional water softening.
Dual-Tank Water Softener Systems
When a water conditioner is recharging, it is developed to detach from the water system, so it is generally out of commission. For this reason, the regeneration cycle is normally set to happen during the night. If softened water is needed during the regeneration cycle, this can be problematic.
If the downtime of the water softener is an issue, or if a family is big or lives where water is especially hard, it might be smart to think about a dual-tank water-softening system with two resin tanks. As an outcome, softened water is being provided constantly, without any break in service.
When the water softener starts backwashing one tank, its control switches the water supply to the other tank, using a constant flow rate of 21 gallons per minute. With this model, you can purchase numerous tank capacities- 24,000-, 32,000-, 40,000-, 48,000-, 64,000-, 80,000-, and 110,000-grain capability per tank.
When shopping for a dual-tank water conditioner, keep in mind the space it will need. Install it where it can serve the primary incoming water line so it can provide the whole house.
Look for features such as NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification and a solid warranty on the control valve and mineral tanks such as 3 years for the valve and 10 years for the mineral tank. A great water conditioner ought to last at least 20 years.
Magnetic Water Softener vs. Water Descaler
In the Salt-Free Water Softeners article, you’ll additionally find a dialogue of a more debatable alternative- the electronic or magnetic water conditioner or descaler. According to producers, this plug-in unit, which clips onto the inbound pipe, sets up a magnetic field that transforms the electromagnetic properties of the calcium-carbonate minerals so they are actually pushed back by pipelines and also each other.
Water Softener Size & Features
What separates one standard water softener from yet another? Basically: Size and attributes.
Exactly How to Choose Water Softener Size
A fast way to figure out the greatest dimension water conditioner for your house is to compute the common amount of quarts your family utilizes in a time. You can identify this number by multiplying the variety of people in your home by the common number of quarts utilized daily (commonly around 75.) Then grow that amount by the firmness level in gpg you found when you tested your water.
As an example, if you possess four folks in your household making use of an average of 75 quarts a day, as well as your water test, reveals that your water solidity amount is 7 gpg, your arithmetic would certainly look like this: 4 x 75 x 7 = 2,100. Seek water softeners that can process a minimum of 2,100 gpg daily.
Water Softener Features & Controls
Just before purchasing a water conditioner, become familiarized along with its functions and also managements. Examine out what manages the regeneration patterns, exactly how long each cycle takes, and also the volume of water and also sodium required for reenergizing. Be aware that even entirely automatic kinds require periodic replenishing along with sodium. Many different procedures are used to handle the cycles, however, the 2 primary types are:
– Water conditioner cooking timer commands. They also lose sodium and also water since they regrow whether or certainly not recharging is necessary.
– Conditioner DIR handles. A more innovative procedure, phoned demand-initiated regeneration (DIR), feelings when the material needs reenergizing, either online or with a meter that determines as well as figures out utilization. A demand-initiated regrowth device minimizes salt as well as regrowth water because it carries out certainly not charge unless needed. Additionally, it attends to abnormally large water consumption.
Water Softener Buying & Renting Tips
Should I purchase or rent a water softener?
In the quick operate, renting out a water conditioner is frequently the absolute most eye-catching choice because there are no notable ahead of time costs. Depending on the degree of service and also products the provider delivers, you may pay for coming from $15 to $50 each month or even more on a lease. If you acquire, you will certainly pay regarding $150 annually for materials. And also, obviously, you’ll have to purchase the device. Depending upon the features, costs vary coming from about $400 to $2,500 or even more.
Discovering the Right Water Softener Company
Reach the very least two quotes from various water softener companies. And also be sure the quotes are based on specifically the same type of factors to consider: regrowth pattern, type of commands, level of service, and also, naturally, manufacturer’s warranty on both the command shutoff as well as the substance storage tank.
It is generally best to partner with a recognized company. This way, you’ll acquire a top-quality product backed by a firm likely to remain in business for some time.
Learn whether you are going to require plumbing for installment or even whether the work needs to be performed by a special manufacturing facility service person. As well as focus on the month-to-month fee for keeping the conditioner.
Water Softener Certification
The water sector’s trade association, the Water Quality Association, likewise certifies equipment, therefore look for the WQA Gold Seal. Neither of these qualifications guarantees functionality, they indicate that the equipment has actually successfully passed testing for business requirements, and also the producer’s cases have been validated- an essential step towards ensuring that the unit you acquire or even lease will offer years of the trouble-free company.