If you are experiencing disgusting mineral buildup in your plumbing fixtures and faucets, you might have a hard water problem.
Hard water can also cause dingy laundry, a feeling of not being completely clean after a shower, and can even ruin the pipes in your home.
Luckily, there are many types of water softeners on the market that will help with your hard water issues. If you are in the market for water softeners, read on to find out more!
What Is A Water Softener?
A water softener is a device that is installed in the water line of your home, usually at the main line. It uses resin beads to filter hard minerals such as carbon and magnesium, which are the culprits of mineral stains and deposits.
Different Types of Water Softeners
There are several types of water softeners on the market, and each is designed to meet a specific need. Water softeners mainly vary on how they handle regeneration.
During regeneration, salt water from a separate tank is pumped through the resin beads that filter the water, pulling the hard minerals out and flushing them down the sewer line. Water softeners typically come in three types.
1. Ion Exchange Water Softeners
These are the traditional style of water softener. These are a single-tank design that ionizes carbon and magnesium in hard water, removing them from the water that enters your home.
In an ion exchange water softener, one tank contains the resin beads that filter the water itself. A second, smaller tank holds salt pellets. This is called the brine tank.
The brine tank water is flushed through the main tank periodically to remove the ionized minerals. This process usually happens at night.
2. Dual Tank Water Softeners
Dual tank water softeners are basically an upgrade on the ion exchange water softener. Instead of a single tank with a brine tank attached, these contain two full-sized ion tanks and two brine tanks.
The benefit of a dual tank water softener over the traditional ion exchange softener is that the dual tank can move a lot more water through it at once.
This makes dual tank water softeners perfect for households with high water usage or anyone who uses water at night and doesn’t want to wait on the regeneration phase.
3. Salt-Free Water Softener
Salt-free water softeners are similar in design to the traditional ion exchange water softener. The main difference is that instead of utilizing sodium chloride (salt) in the brine tank, they use a different ionizing compound such as potassium chloride.
These are beneficial for people who may be watching their sodium intake, or for anyone who lives in an area that bans the use of salt-based water softeners.
The downside to salt-free water softeners is that the ionizing compounds are more expensive, but they are also usually more environmentally friendly. Read more about salt-free water softeners.
Which Water Softener Is Right For Me?
There is no one water softener for everyone. Make sure to evaluate your household’s water needs, health concerns, and bone up on your local or state legislation regarding the different types of water softeners.
For more informative home improvement articles, make sure to check out our other “For The Home” articles on our blog!