How to Choose the Right Water Softener for Your HomeOn November 21, 2023 by Sean Towery Standard
Millions of households benefit from the use of home water softeners. They eliminate daily irritations like dry skin and hair, use low-lathering soap, and prolong the life of costly hot-water-using appliances.
However, not all water softeners are created equal. You must consider several factors to make the best choice for your home.
Know Your Water Hardness
Water hardness describes the amount of calcium and magnesium minerals in your home’s water. While these minerals aren’t a health threat, they can cause problems for your plumbing and appliances. This includes leaving mineral residue on your sinks and reducing the lifespan of your washing machine and dishwasher.
A simple soap test can help you determine your home’s water hardness. Take a clean plastic bottle, a tap water sample, and pure liquid dish soap. Pour one-third of the water into the bottle, add a few drops of soap, and shake the bottle ferociously for a couple of seconds. Then, examine the bottom of the bottle for bubbles. If the bubbles disappear, water is hard, whereas clear bubbles indicate soft water.
You can also purchase water hardness test strips from some water treatment companies. They are easy to use – dip the strip in your water and watch for color-changing indicators. These strips typically produce grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM). They can also check your water for other chemicals like chlorine and alkalinity.
Once you know your home’s water hardness, finding a professional in New Braunfels water softener installation with the correct grain capacity for your family’s needs is essential. This means finding out how much water your household uses daily and using this number and your hardness level to calculate how big of a softener you need. A too-small system will quickly run out of softened water, while an oversized system may over-regenerate and waste salt over time.
Know Your Water Use
Knowing how much water is used in your home every day is essential. This will help you determine what size water softener system to purchase. Determining this is as easy as multiplying the number of people in your household by the gallons of water they use daily.
The most common and effective type of water softener is a salt-based system. These systems work by drawing the heavy minerals, like calcium and magnesium, into a resin within the softener and exchanging them for sodium (salt). Removing these heavy minerals returns your water to a healthier, neutral state.
A quality water softener will also remove harmful pollutants like radium 226/228 and barium. This will help protect your family’s health and that of your appliances and fixtures. If you’re worried about radium contamination in your water, consult a professional plumbing company or local government for assistance.
If you purchase a salt-free water softener, look into its grain capacity. The more grains it can hold, the less salt you must add. Also, consider how close your home is to the water meter and where the hose drains the water after regeneration will be located. You’ll want to ensure your softener can drain close enough to avoid overflowing or flooding.
Know Your Budget
Several factors determine the overall cost of a water softener system. Besides the initial system price, homeowners must also consider how much they use the softened water and any additional features they may want.
Depending on your water’s hardness and household size, you will need to choose a correctly sized water softener. For example, a more prominent grain capacity will be necessary if you have a large family and use soap and detergent.
It’s important to remember that although a home water softener can save you money in the long run, you will still have to pay for the installation and the salt required. The location of your home also affects the total costs of the project. Urban areas typically have higher labor and material rates than rural locations.
In addition, if you ever decide to move to a new home, the system must be removed and reinstalled at the new house. This can add a substantial amount to the overall project costs. It’s a good idea to consult a professional before making this decision. You can also learn about the prices of different makes and models by searching for “water softener installers near me.” Some systems even have extra features, such as UV filters, to remove bacteria.
Know Your Options
Water softeners can eliminate many problems related to hard water in your home. These include dry skin and hair, low-lathering soaps, stains and scum, funny taste and smell, and expensive hot-water-using appliances that don’t last as long as they should.
The right size water softener for your household will ensure you never run out of soft water. The most straightforward sizing calculation involves multiplying your household’s daily water usage by the grains per gallon (GPG) figure of your hardness test results. You should also factor in the period needed to regenerate your softener. For example, if you’re using your softener for washing clothes, you’ll need to add a few hours to the estimated regeneration times.
Most salt-based systems are available in various sizes to accommodate most households. They draw heavy minerals like calcium and magnesium into a resin and exchange them for sodium. Once the resin is saturated, it needs to be regenerated, typically taking about 50 gallons of water from the home.
Salt-free water softeners don’t use salt to remove the heavy minerals from the water, but they do put them through a conditioning process that keeps the minerals from causing trouble. These systems are generally more expensive upfront but less likely to cost you in the long run because they don’t require the ongoing purchase of salt and electricity.
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