Have you ever heard about water softener systems? Never heard of one? What about filtration systems?
Living in a home with a sufficient amount of water is not enough. Tap water or unfiltered water is not as clean as how you usually consume it.
You need to know that most of the water coming from a local water supply is hard water.
And when we say “hard water”, this means water can make your cleaning efforts into waste. Plus, it can also be harmful to your home.
This is why you need a filtration system or properly known as a “water softener”.
A water softener system removes the calcium and magnesium minerals. These hard minerals are the reason for the hardness of the water.
Want to learn more about water softeners? Continue reading this article to learn more details about the two types of this system and how they work.
No time to read the whole article?
Here’s a quick preview of the difference between a salt-based softener and a salt-free system:
|Type of SoftenerAdvantagesDisadvantagesSalt-BasedCan completely remove the minerals from hard water prevents the dishes from becoming cloudy Prevents the plumbing from clogging. Sinks, toilets, and showerheads will no longer accumulate spots and residues prevents clothes from discoloring or getting damagedLowers bills related to heating a longer lifespan protect appliances protects the skin and hair from drying||Uses more space for two-tank system replaces the calcium and magnesium minerals with sodium cost additional electricity and salt wastes more watertight Maintenance|
|Salt-Free||Do not use any salt, potassium, or chemicals. In other words, it is a chemical-free filter system that Prevents the plumbing from getting clogged transforms the water to be non-sticky to different surfaces sinks, toilets, and showerheads will no longer accumulate spots and residues removed the negative impact of the minerals which means the crystal structures of the minerals stay environment-friendliness expensive and does not need electricity less maintenance needs less space||Does not actually soften water but conditions it. Does not really eliminate minerals.Can be a disadvantage to those with highly sensitive skin and hair.|
How do the salt-based and saltless water softeners work
Also of Interest: How to drain tank on brine water softener
Also of Interest: How to drain tank on brine water softener? Do you know how they are maintained? What else are their features?
How about their pros and cons? Which of them is best for the location of my home?
These are some of the common questions to answer when choosing whether to opt for salt-based or not.
Salt-Free Versus Salt-Based Water Softener
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is a term used for water with high mineral contents.
Hard water contains Calcium, Magnesium, and trace amounts of other minerals. These are minerals in which the water cycle naturally accumulates.
Take note that water becomes hard when these calcium and magnesium minerals dissolve in the water.
Thus, indicating that the more minerals dissolve in the water, the harder it becomes.
While the hard water is safe for drinking and other consumption, it is the reason for the ugly stains you might observe in sinks and the discoloration of your clothes.
Grains per gallon (GPG) is the measurement that is used to know the water hardness.
Hard Water Levels:
- Less than 1.0- Soft Water
- 1.0-3.5 GPG- Slightly Hard Water
- 3.5-7.0 GPG- Moderately Hard Water
- 7.0-10.0 GPG- Hard Water
- 10.0-14.0 GPG- Very Hard Water
- 14.0- above- Extremely Hard Water
What is Soft Water?
Soft water is the opposite of hard water. It’s simply water with a very low amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals.
Homes need to use a softener system because of the various help soft water can offer.
This includes its efficiency when it comes to using heat-related appliances like a water heater.
Soft water also has the ability to effectively clean your body and the dishes.
There will also be no clogs, no stains, no discoloration. Most importantly, it’s chemical-free, which conveys that it’s free of danger.
Now that you know why we need soft water, we can now decide to buy water softeners. Water systems are not just simply salt-based and salt-free water softener systems as their names suggest.
Each type is different from the other. Each system has several features that you must consider before purchasing.
Salt-Based Water Softener
How does it work?
A salt-based water softening system works through ion exchange.
A brief description of ion exchange water softeners states that sodium ion replaces the mineral ions from hard water.
An ion exchange system generally uses two tanks. Negatively charged resin beads are contained in the resin tank.
The brine tank contains a solution of salt in water or a brine solution.
The water treatment starts when the hard water passes the resin tank. This hard water flows around the resin beads covered with sodium ions.
Mineral ions are positively-charged, which is why it swaps with the negatively charged resin beads coated with sodium.
A reaction between minerals in hard water and sodium in water molecules keeps the equilibrium.
The brine tank will provide sodium for filling the resin tank.
After the resin beads reach the saturation point, regeneration begins again by flushing the trapped minerals out of the system.
Drainage is, therefore, necessary for the ion exchange process.
The cleaning cycle continues until the next regeneration cycle, wherein the owner needs to add salt to the brine tank.
It is in the best interest of the owner to always check the salt level of the brine tank every month.
When the salt level drops, this will affect its ability to soften the hard water.
Remember that the more your system regenerates, the more you need to add salt and maintain it.
The following are the advantages of using salt-based water softeners:
- They can completely remove the minerals from hard water.
- They prevent the dishes from becoming cloudy.
- They also prevent the plumbing, shower doors, faucets and etc. from clogging.
- Sinks, toilets, and showerheads will no longer accumulate hard water spots and residues.
- They prevent clothes from discoloring, becoming dull, or getting damaged.
- They have a longer lifespan and can protect appliances like washing machines.
- They can effectively protect the skin and hair from drying.
The following are the disadvantages of using salt-based water softeners:
- This type of system uses more space for a two-tank system.
- They replace calcium and magnesium minerals with sodium particles.
- They cost additional electricity and money for the salt systems.
- Wastes much water and needs high maintenance.
Salt-Free Water Conditione: How does it work?
It is a common misconception that this system is a salt-free water softener. You must understand that a salt-free system does not soften the hard water. It conditions it.
A water conditioner retains the calcium and magnesium ions and removes only the harmful impacts of these minerals.
Water conditioners use a physical process of filtration known as Template Assisted Crystallization or TAC.
This process transforms the hardness minerals into a hardness crystal that will not bind to the surfaces in your home.
This system does not need an electrical valve since it doesn’t capture ions. Which is a good thing, right?
Aside from that, it does not just remove the effects of the minerals; it also eliminates the microbes living in your water.
The advantage of the salt-free conditioner over the traditional salt-based softener is its lesser maintenance. The only thing you’ll do to maintain it, replacing the sediment filter once a year. It will also cost you less soap.
The following are the advantages of using a salt-free water conditioner:
- Do not use any salt, potassium, or chemicals. In other words, it is a chemical-free filter system.
- It prevents the plumbing, shower doors, or heads from getting clogged.
- It transforms the water to be non-sticky to different surfaces.
- Sinks, toilets, and showerheads will no longer accumulate spots and residues.
- It removes the negative impact of the minerals which means the crystal structures of the minerals stay.
- Water conditioners are environment-friendly.
- It is less expensive and does not need electricity.
- Less maintenance.
- It needs a smaller space.
The following are the disadvantages of using a salt-free water conditioner:
- It does not completely soften the hard water.
- It does not really eliminate minerals.
- Using this can be a disadvantage to those with highly sensitive skin and hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do water softeners make water safe to drink?
No. In the majority of cases, soft water is safe to drink. However, your water must be safe first before you soften it with softeners.
Contact your local water supplier or your local health office to get a lab analysis of your water.
What are the signs of my water if it is hard water?
If you’re asking for signs, all you need is to sight for cloudy spots or chalky residue on your dishes. Or observe if you can’t fully rinse your hair.
Also, if the water you’re using causes you to have dry skin. Look at your faucets and search for crusty scale buildup and clogged pipes.
These are some of the proof that you are using hard water.
What kind of salt or sodium chloride do I need for my water softener?
There are types of salts you can use when it comes to water softeners.
The most common in the market today are solar salt, rock salt, and evaporated salt.
Evaporated salt has a high purity rate and is the best salt we recommend.
Understanding the two different types of systems is a great way to not make mistakes in choosing which is best for you.
Your judgment could be as simple as considering what problems you want to solve.
If you want to prevent the solids from escalating and ensure you won’t get the effects of hard water.
And if you don’t want to spend time maintaining a system. A salt-free system is a better choice for you.
If your goal is to make sure that your hard water softens, a system with salt or potassium is the choice for you.
Whichever you choose, one thing is for sure: you are making the best decision for your home.
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