Types of water softener systems
Of the four forms of water softening systems, salt-based systems are the most popular. The other three systems are, salt-free, dual-tank, and magnetic water softeners.
Salt-Based Water Softeners
A salt-based water softener is a device that is used to remove heavy minerals from water, like calcium and magnesium. These minerals can damage appliances, faucets, and skin. The salt-based water softener works through an ion exchange system in which the heavy minerals are drawn into a resin and then exchanged for sodium ions (salt). The sodium ions help to neutralize the water and prevent damage to appliances, faucets, and skin.
While water softeners are effective at removing hardness from water, they do have some drawbacks. The most significant downside is that the resin beads used to remove hardness can eventually become saturated with sodium ions. Once this happens, the softener will need to be recharged with salt, which is a time-consuming and somewhat messy process. In addition, water softeners are usually much larger than other types of softeners, making them less than ideal for small homes or apartments. Given their size and maintenance requirements, water softeners may not be the best choice for everyone.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
As their name suggests, salt-free water softeners don’t rely on salt to remove heavy minerals from your water. Instead, they use a process called template assisted crystallization (TAC). In TAC, polymeric beads are used to create microscopic nucleation sites. These sites act as templates for the formation of mineral crystals.
The minerals then begin to form into crystals, which detach from the water and are flushed away. This process helps to prevent mineral buildup and scaling, and does not require electricity or recharging. However, salt-free water softeners may be more expensive initially and may not work as well in very hard water. Households with high water usage may also find that salt-free water softeners struggle to keep up.
Dual-Tank Water Softeners
A dual-tank water softener is similar to a salt based softener but has two tanks, which provides a continuous supply of softened water, even when one tank is in the regeneration cycle. This makes it the best choice for homes with large families or homes with well water.
Dual-tank softeners are significantly larger than their single-tank counterparts, making them more challenging to install. They also come with a higher price tag. However, they have the advantage of being able to handle more water per regeneration cycle, and they never run out of softened water.
Magnetic Water Softeners
If you have a small home or are tight on space, then a magnetic or electric water softener might be the best option for you. These types of water softeners sit on your water pipe and are very compact. You don’t need to cut into the water line to install it, but certain models do have to be hard wired into your home’s electrical system.
Magnetic softeners do not remove heavy minerals from the water but they work by stripping negative and positive ions from heavy minerals to neutralize them. The minerals cannot bond to each other once they have been stripped of ions. Instead, they remain soluble in the water.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Water Softener System
The hardness or softness of water is measured using grains per gallon (gpg). Water is considered soft if it has a gpg of 0-3. If the water has a gpg of 3.5-7, it is considered moderate and ideal. If the water has a gpg of 7.5 or higher, it is considered hard water and you should treat it with a water softener. A water softener’s capacity is the measurement of grains per week that the unit can handle before needing to be replenished. If you have hard water, it is important to treat it with a water softener to prevent damage to your plumbing and appliances and to improve the quality of your water.
Available Installation Area
If you are concerned about the amount of space a water softener will take up in your home, there are a few things you can do. First, measure the area where the water softener will be installed and compare it to the manufacturer’s installation specifications. Most water softeners need to be installed in a larger space than you might think, so it is important to make sure you have enough room. Another option is to choose a salt-based or dual-tank water softener. These types of water softeners are larger than traditional models, but they are also more efficient and can handle a higher volume of water. Finally, some salt-free water softeners are also available that take up less space. These models use a different type of technology to soften water, so they may not be as effective as salt-based models, but they can still be a good option for people who are limited on space.
A valve is a device that controls the flow of water through a pipe. It can be opened to allow water to flow through, or closed to prevent water from flowing. A bypass valve is a type of valve that is used with a water softener. When the softener is turned off, the bypass valve diverts the flow of water around the softener, so that you can have access to hard water running into the home.
When not in use, the bypass valve allows water to bypass the softener, which prevents the unit from wasting salt or energy. In addition, the bypass valve can be used to isolate the softener from the rest of the plumbing system if maintenance is ever needed. As a result, the bypass valve is a crucial component of any water softening system.
King can help
The experts at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help you choose the right water softener for your needs. We will take into account the hardness of your water as well as the size and layout of your home to find a water softener that will work efficiently and effectively. We also offer a wide range of water softeners to choose from, so you can be sure to find one that fits your budget and your lifestyle. Contact us today to learn more about our water softening services.