Where Can I Buy A Water Softener
Technically, any water that contains more than 1 GPG of dissolved hardness minerals is considered hard, but, realistically, water with up to 3.5 GPG is relatively soft. Water with more than 10.5 GPG is very hard. Between these extremes is typical, moderately hard water. You can buy a water test kit on Amazon.
where can i buy a water softener
Worse yet, scale cakes onto interior surfaces of water heaters, making them more likely to fail. According to a study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Council at New Mexico State University, water heaters operate 22 percent to 30 percent less efficiently when plagued with hard-water scale.
This type of water softener cycles household water through two tanks: one with special resin beads and the other filled with brine. It works on the principle of ion exchange, softening hard water by substituting sodium (salt) for hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. For a complete explanation of how a conventional water softener works, please see How a Water Softener Works.
The general consensus is that this type of water treatment is better than no water softener at all, but not as effective as conventional water softening. For more, please see the article Salt-Free Water Softeners.
When a water softener is recharging, it is designed to disconnect from the water system, so it is basically out of commission. For this reason, the regeneration cycle is usually set to occur at night. If softened water is needed during the regeneration cycle, this can be problematic.
If the down time of the water softener is an issue, or if a family is large or lives where water is particularly hard, it may be smart to consider a dual-tank water-softening unit with two resin tanks. With a dual-tank unit, when one tank is in use, the other is regenerating. As a result, softened water is being supplied continuously, without any break in service. And because these units operate on demand, they can be sized smaller than single-tank units.
When shopping for a dual-tank water softener, keep in mind the space it will require. Install it where it can serve the main inbound water line so it can supply the entire house. It will also require a drain for backwashing. If you choose a model that requires electrical power, be sure a circuit is located nearby. For more about placing your water softener, see How to Install a Water Softener.
Also look for features such as NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification and a solid warranty on the control valve and mineral tank such as three years for the valve and 10 years for the mineral tank. A good water softener should last at least 20 years.
Water softeners are sold in several sizes, each rated by the number of grains of hardness they can remove from water between regenerations. The idea is to get a unit that will go at least three days between recharges. Ideally, the water softener can also handle periods of larger-than-normal water usage.
Before leasing or buying a water softener, become acquainted with its features and controls. For example, check out what controls the regeneration cycles, how long each cycle takes, and the amount of water and salt needed for recharging. Be aware that even fully automatic types require occasional refilling with salt. Several different methods are used to control the cycles, but the two main types are:
Water softener timer controls. Clocks or electronic timers automatically recharge the unit at a preset time and day, based on your average usage. This type may fall short if you have unusually large water usage on a particular day. They also waste sodium and water because they regenerate whether or not recharging is necessary. They usually do this in the early morning hours.
Softener DIR controls. A more sophisticated method, called demand-initiated regeneration (DIR), senses when the resin needs recharging, either electronically or with a meter that measures and calculates usage. A demand-initiated regeneration system saves on salt and regeneration water because it does not recharge unless necessary. In addition, it provides for abnormally large water usage.
Get at least two quotes from different water softener companies. And be sure the quotes are based on exactly the same type of considerations: regeneration cycle, type of controls, level of service, and, of course, warranty on both the control valve and the resin tank.
Some softener firms provide a service where they regularly exchange exhausted with charged units. This type of service is a good bet if you live in an area where waste water from sewers is recycled for municipal watering because sodium may be considered a pollutant.
Water softeners work by removing or neutralizing these minerals from your home water. An ion exchange water softener uses a water filtration system with magnetically charged resin beads to attract minerals. Alternatively, some systems use conditioners, magnets, or reverse osmosis to create soft water.
The most significant price factor is the type of water softener you choose. The most popular type is an ion exchange system, which can have one or two tanks and must periodically be refilled with sodium or potassium salts.
There are also salt-free water softeners that can service a whole home. Reverse osmosis systems and distillers are typically only used to create drinking water, but proponents say they dramatically improve the taste of tap water. Below, you will find price ranges for the units themselves, minus the installation cost.
The larger the system, the greater the volume of hard water it can soften and the higher the price. Capacity is measured in the number of grains of hard minerals that the system can remove. The capacity of the system you need will depend on how many people live in your home, how much water they use, and the hardness of your water.
The brand of water softener system you choose also plays a role in your total cost. Most brands offer a range of sizes, with larger units being more expensive. High-end water softeners with large capacities or sophisticated technology are also pricier than smaller, traditional models.
The labor costs to install a water softener depends heavily on the type of system you select, the accessibility of your plumbing, and the complexity of the installation. Point-of-use water softeners that attach to a single appliance or faucet may only cost $100 to $300 to install. Whole-home systems usually start at $300 and can cost as much as $1,000 or more.
Simple DIY water test kits are inexpensive, usually costing less than $50. However, if your home has its own well or you have concerns about water quality, you might want to hire a water treatment specialist to perform a more in-depth test. Water testing can cost up to $500.
There are various types of water softener systems that each address water hardness in a different way. Nearly all commercially available water softeners fall into one of the five following categories:
Ion exchange systems, which are by far the most popular, are also called salt-based water softeners because they require the input of sodium or potassium pellets to work. They may have one or two tanks depending on the capacity of the system. Dual-tank systems can handle a greater volume of water but are more expensive than systems with a single tank. In ion exchange systems, water flows into a mineral tank full of negatively charged resin beads. These beads attract calcium and magnesium and trap them, softening the water.
A control valve will determine when the resin beads in the first tank are fully saturated with minerals. When this happens, the first tank is backflushed of debris. Next, the salty water from the second tank, called the brine tank, is released and recharges the resin. The brine tank must be stocked with sodium or potassium, which coats the resin beads and restores their negative charge. In a single-tank water softener, both of these tanks are housed in one cabinet.
Reverse osmosis systems are the most effective, the most complex, and the most expensive of the water softener systems listed here. As it travels, water passes through several pre-filters to remove contaminants like chlorine, VOCs, and sediment. Then, these systems force water at high pressure through a very tight water filter called a semi-permeable membrane.
One downside of an ion exchange water softener system is that it adds sodium to drinking water. This can be a problem for people who are restricting their sodium intake. Thankfully, this problem can be avoided by using potassium salts instead of sodium.
A water softener has many benefits are an excellent option for homes with light to heavy hard water. Because it reduces water hardness by removing of heavy minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium from the water supply coming into the home, a water softener prevents common water problems including mineral deposits and scale buildup on leading to leaky faucets and clogged pipes, damage to water-based appliances, chalky films on dishwasher cleaned glasses, dry skin and hair after showering, and faded colored clothing from the washing machine.
Water softeners work by either drawing heavy minerals out of the water using a process called ion exchange or by neutralizing these minerals so that they are unable to bind together and remain soluble in the water.
Salt-based water softeners are the most commonly used and effective softener types. Most water softener systems are salt-based systems, so there are a high number of salt-based options available. They come in a variety of sizes and are appropriate for just about every dwelling.
A salt-based water softener typically works by drawing heavy minerals in the water, like calcium and magnesium, into a resin within the softener and exchanging them for sodium (salt). By removing the heavy minerals, the water returns to a healthy neutral state.
The downside to these softeners is that the resin then needs to be recharged with salt. For most homes, this will need to be done about once a week. These water softeners are also much larger than salt-free or magnetic softeners, making them not the best choice for smaller spaces. 041b061a72