- 1 Types of Water Softeners
- 2 What Size Should I get? Well, there are few things to look up.
- 3 Conclusion
Have you ever wondered about different types of water softeners and where each one of it is used? Have you been noticing a scale forming inside your coffee maker? Perhaps in the washing machine too? This white scale is calcium and magnesium salts- the main ingredients of hard water. Hard water coming through the household water system is a huge problem for many places. The minerals in the water can severely damage the appliances.
To get rid of this problem, you can use a water softener. A water softener does what the name suggests-softens water to reduce the effect of the hard water minerals. These are very useful equipment ensuring clean water. However, there are many types of water softeners in the market. Each one has a different mechanism and suitability.
So, which one suits your needs? Let’s find out.
Types of Water Softeners
Ion-exchange Water Softeners
Also known as salt-based water softeners, these are the most common types used in home and offices. Ion-exchange softeners have resins inside, which can attract ions such as Calcium, Magnesium- the culprits behind the hard water.
The resins absorb the salt cations and exchange them for sodium ions- hence the name ion-exchange. These resins need to be replaced time to time. Ion-exchange water softeners are the most affordable option and remains effective for a long time.
- Lasts for a long time
- Removed hard water minerals with 90% efficiency
- Needs to be changed frequently
Salt-Free Water Softeners
As the name suggests, these softeners do not exchange ions because they are not made from salt based resin. Instead, salt-free softeners neutralize the hard minerals through a chemical reaction and prevent them from forming any build-ups. They show higher efficiency in performance but it comes with a downside-they are pricey.
Since salt-free water softeners are quite compact and has a multi-stage filtration system, the price is justified. If you want a water softener with high uptake and low maintenance, this is perfect option for you.
- Great for large scale applications
- High efficiency
- Compact and low maintenance
- Price is higher
- System may become clogged
Portable Water Softeners
Perfect for travelling, these relatively smaller water softeners are quite new in the market compare to other types of softeners. These portable water softeners are equipped with removable batteries as they run on electricity. You need to apply a bit of regular salt to add to the water, so the ion-exchange can take place.
The mechanism is pretty similar to ion exchange softeners, only that this has no resin bed and the process is simply an electrolysis. These are small scale softeners, so the water output is very little. However, it is designed for small scale appliances and would come in handy during trips.
- Compact and easy operation
- Not suitable for bigger scale, such as a house.
- Not designed to be very efficient
Reverse Osmosis Softeners
You must have seen this one at many places nowadays. RO softeners are different from the conventional water softeners. All the other softeners mentioned before either used salts or applied some chemical reaction-this one in the other hand has nothing to do with chemicals.
Reverse Osmosis softeners apply physical separation through a membrane and applying a pressure difference. There are debated as to whether RO softeners should be considered water softeners. However, since they are equipped to remove hard water minerals by 99% , so we can keep it in the list.
- Very high efficiency.
- Can handle a high uptake of water.
- Tend to be quite expensive
Magnetic Water Softeners
Magnetic water softeners are the newest addition in the market. They are salt-free system and applies magnetic field to separate the hard minerals from the water. By keeping them completely soluble, magnetic softeners do not let the ions bond and form any deposit. These are very easy to install and affordable as well.
- Very affordable
- Installation is easy
- Doesn’t remove the minerals, neutralization takes place.
- Needs supply of electricity
Showerhead Water Softeners
Showerhead softeners has specific location to be used-the showerhead. This is a very handy appliance to have in your home. These affordable water softeners are designed to be attached with the showerhead to instantly remove the salt from the spraying water.
These are very easy to set up as well, using cartridge filters to treat the water. The new models have a function called the vitamin filters- which can apparently fortify the water with extra vitamins. Sounds bizarre? Well, it kind of is. Beware of the smell due to the additives, especially if you are sensitive to smells.
- Very affordable
- Easy to set up
- Takes small space
- Only applicable for showerhead use
- Contains additives
Dual Tank water softeners
Dual tank water softeners are for large scale uses. If you are looking for a water softener for a large facility, this is an option to consider. Usually, dual tank reservoirs do not vary in function, they are defined by the size.
When you are choosing a softener, scale and size of the appliance will matter a lot. These dual-tanks have two resin beds and one brine tank. They regenerate fast and runs uninterrupted for a long time.
- Applies for large scale application
- Less equipment needed for set up
- Delivers an even water quality
- Very expensive
- Not for small houses
What Size Should I get? Well, there are few things to look up.
There is bit of research you need to do before you go and buy a water softener for your home or office. Firstly, the place you live in and the water hardness at that area should be known. You can easily get this information online.
The size will differ according your need-whether you are buying for a small home or a large facility. Try not to fall for the oversized softeners, as they would be very expensive but provide same performance. An ideal softener should produce water for three days being uninterrupted.
A perfect water softener for your home can change the way you live- saving your tools as well as saving your health. So, choose the one that fits your needs!