What exactly is hard water? It is best described as a water source that is filled with too many solids, such as heavy metals and the like. This can be a problem and can be clearly seen when doing laundry or other chores around the house, as it can leave some manner of stains in your fixtures, such as faucets.
Why Is Hard Water Bad?
- 0.1 Why Is Hard Water Bad?
- 0.2 Why Do You Need a Water Softener?
- 0.3 Types Of Water Softeners
- 0.4 How To Choose The Best Water Softeners
- 0.5 How Water Softeners Work
- 0.6 How To Install The Water Softeners
- 0.7 Best Water Softener
- 0.8 PENTAIR Fleck 5600sxt
- 0.9 Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener
- 0.10 Watts Water M7002 Flow-Pur Water Softener
- 0.11 Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain
- 0.12 Iron Pro 2 Combination
- 0.13 ABC waters Built Fleck 5600sxt 48,000
- 0.14 Tier1 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital
- 1 Water Softener Alternative
- 2 Conclusion
Hard water becomes a problem when it comes to the following:
- Limescale buildup – this is usually seen in your pipes and it can possibly make the pipes more prone to corrosion and leaking. It can also possibly make some of your appliances last shorter than their intended lifespan. Because of the limescale buildup, it makes most of these appliances work less reliably and thus, it can also be a risk for corrosion.
- Lathering becomes less effective – whether you are using soap, shampoo, conditioners, or even doing laundry with detergents, you will find that it takes a longer time to lather. This is because the hard water comes with various minerals and heavy metals that may hinder the effective formula of these soaps, shampoos, and detergents. Therefore, it takes a little bit longer to lather with it so it can cost you some time and money for buying soap and shampoo again and again.
- Damage to appliances – as we mentioned above, the limescale buildup can damage not only to the pipes around your house but also to the different appliances at home, particularly those that use water from your water source. For example, your coffee maker, your dishwasher, your water heating kettle, and the like can all have limescale build-up which may hinder its operation.
Why Do You Need a Water Softener?
A water softener can be beneficial if you are experiencing any of the following problems:
- Dry skin and hair – hard water can actually dry your skin due to the presence of too many minerals that are blocking out the effectiveness of your soap and shampoo. These minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are good for the body, but they may also make your skin dry because they are leaving a residue on your skin instead of letting the soap and shampoo take over.
- Appliances have limescale buildup – you can see this if you see some white film substances on your water heater kettles, coffee pots, and the like. It is a sign that your water is hard and it can also possibly disrupt the durability of your plumbing system such as your pipes.
- Faded clothes – when you have hard water as your water source, any detergent also doesn’t work well for it. Detergents, whether in powder or liquid form, are also blocked by the minerals that are present in hard water, in a similar fashion to when you use soap and shampoo while taking a bath. The result is that it dries out the clothes that you have and the colors get faded in time due to the mineral buildup. This is when you might want to consider a water softener, especially if you have a lot of vibrantly-colored clothes.
- Excessive pipe repairs – if you ever find yourself always repairing your plumbing system due to leaking pipes, it might be the cause of the limescale buildup due to the hard water source. Hard water minerals can accumulate on your piping and it can be the source of corrosion or failure and it is especially dangerous to pipes that are not durable. If your pipes are made from PVC or copper then you may have a better chance, though.
- Stains on your tub and sink – if you ever take a bath or wash your face and see some mineral residue or stains on your tub and sink, that can be a sign of hard water as well. While they can be easily treated with the use of regular household bleach, it can be cumbersome to do it again and again, and a water softener may help you lessen the problem.
- Expensive water bills – because of possible leaks and plumbing failures, your water bill may get higher than your regular consumption. You can ask your local water utility company to do a water test whether or not you need to buy a water softener to address the problem.
- Glassware stains – did you know that headwater may also damage your glassware and cause stains on them? This also makes them less durable even if you buy the most expensive glassware in the market. Soaking them in vinegar can help eliminate the stains but it won’t always do the trick when the stain is too hard.
Types Of Water Softeners
These are the most common types of water softeners:
- Ion Exchange – this is also known as a salt-based softener and substitutes salt for hard minerals. The result is a high-sodium water source that you should not drink due to its excessive salt content. Magnesium, iron, and calcium get replaced by sodium in this process.
- Dual Tank – this type of water softener is ideal for large families due to its continuous operation. Its dual tank system helps you to process water even when the other tank is filling so that you have no downtime at all. This is probably the best for you if there is often a lot to launder or many people are using water all the time in the house (or business establishment). This may be useful if you have a laundry shop.
- Salt-Free – if you don’t like something that has a lot of sodium, you can go for this softener type. It substitutes potassium-chloride instead of sodium so it is probably the best for those who are trying to get away from salt. It may not be as effective as other water treatments but it gets the job done and are usually more portable in terms of their design.
How To Choose The Best Water Softeners
To know which water softener is the best for you, it’s ideal to consider the following:
- Size – you should know how much water you consume a day. If you consume more than 300 gallons per day (which is the average for families of four or five) then you may want something that has a higher GPG or grains per gallon in removing the hard minerals on your water.
- Controls – some of the most common controls you can find in a water softener include the timer and the demand-initiated regeneration. Timers can help lessen your electric bill while the DIR controls help a lot for people who need a lot of water usage.
How Water Softeners Work
There are three major steps in water softeners: backwash, recharge, and rinse. Water softeners exchange whatever kind of mineral to the minerals that are present in your water. They usually exchange sodium but there are also potassium-based ones like we mentioned above.
How To Install The Water Softeners
Installing water softening systems vary depending on your type of system. Let’s have a look at the most common way to install a water softener (a salt-based system):
- Shut off the water supply. If you have a water heater, turn it off as well.
- Look for the place where you want to install the water softener, ideally before the hot water heater’s location.
- Use a cutter to cut your desired spot from the line and use a bucket to catch the spilling water.
- Fit in an elbow fitting it to the line and measure the distance from the bypass valve to the pipes.
- Use the compression fittings of the unit to put the pipes together.
- Attach the hose to your water softener and put the end of the hose to where you want it to drain, such as a utility sink or floor drain.
- Put the brine tank and overflow tube together as per instructions in your user’s manual.
- Put your valve into bypass mode and have the water flushed at first use.
- Turn on the unit by plugging it in and make sure that the valve is set in the backwash mode.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on flushing the unit or when to add salt.
Best Water Softener
Here are some of our picks for the best water softener:
As a water softener, this one has an upgraded 10% crosslink resin on its filter system, which can help to soften water more effectively. It comes complete with everything you need to install, such as a brine tank, a valve with a bypass, a mineral tank, and its plumbing adapter or yoke.
Don’t worry about user manuals – the manufacturer will e-mail you on how to install the unit in a very helpful installation video so that you can easily see what’s going on and which part goes where. The unit has a rating of 32,000 and it has a 3/4-inch bypass connector. Setting it up is also easy due to the back-lit LCD screen touchpad. The unit is backed by a 10-year warranty.
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As a unit that is rated 48,000, this one has a flow rate of about 12 to 28 GPM so it is good for most families with up to 6 members or so. It can treat those water sources that are moderate to the very hard water with its high capacity of 8% crosslinked resin (BR8) that spans up to 1.5 cubic feet.
Its brine tank is equipped with a safety float for ease of maintenance and it also includes its male threaded yoke connection (1-inch) and Fleck bypass valve to complete the installation. With its 10 x 54 inches tank and 15 x 33 brine tank, this one only requires you to set it up and then add salt regularly as per instruction.
This unit has a capacity or rating of 10,000 so it is good for small to medium-sized families. It has a built-in drain line flow restrictor so it is good for those who want a better capacity for a water softener. It can take up to 4 GPM of flow rates and it only uses any common table salt in order to soften the water in your home.
It is also secure in its installation due to the full cradle base method. Its flow valves are custom-designed so you don’t have to connect and disconnect just to have it begin its regeneration process. There are also hardness strips for testing included in the kit for your convenience. Because of its compact design, you may want to use it in an RV or camper.
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From a trusted brand, this one is rated for use on families with up to 4 people more or less. It has a smart calculator so that you will easily know how much salt you need to add, as well as the water content, in order to make it work effectively in water softening. It is also NSF-certified to reduce hard water symptoms for those with water stain problems.
The unit is backed by 1-year parts and labor warranty and can be extended to 2 years if you also buy 3 bottles of its water softener cleanser. In addition to that, it is also backed by a 10-year limited warranty on the tanks and a 3-year limited electronics warranty.
This water softener is rated at 64,000 so you can tell that it may be used for heavy-duty purposes and those who have a lot of family members at home. As a whole-house system, it can remove up to 6 PPM of sediments, 6 to 8 PPM of iron and up to 75 GPG (grains per gallon) on the overall rating.
It includes everything you need for setups, such as the brine tank, bypass valve, instructions, and the like. It is backed by a 10-year warranty with a 5-year tank warranty as well.
As a water softener with a 10% cross-linked resin for longer life at 1.5 cubic feet, this one is easy to install with its included components such as the brine line, silicone tube, drain line, mineral tank, brine tank, and much more. It also has freebies such as silicone lube, a sanitizer packet, and a hardness test strip to check on the water hardness.
If the color is an issue for you, the unit is also available in different colors if you request it to the manufacturer. As a WQA-certified water softener, the unit is also backed by a 10-year warranty.
Great for medium-sized families, this one is easy to operate due to the LCD screen display to see the settings of the water softener. Its tank is already filled with 1.5 cubic feet of Cation Resin for easy water softening and it also includes all other stuff needed, such as water line connections, brine connections, drain line, and of course, its brine tank and bypass valve.
Its sizes are 10 x 54 inches for the mineral tank and 14 x 42 inches for the brine tank, so you’ll know whether or not it will fit into your home space. With a rating of 48,000, it easily connects via any 3/4-inch connection.
Water Softener Alternative
If you want a water softener that is a little bit more unique, this water descaler is probably a choice for you. It uses no salt alternative and retains the healthy minerals in your water. It has a rating of 20 GPG and above and it softens the water by preventing the build-up of limescale when you install it on plastic or metal pipes.
It includes all pipe connectors for up to 1.5-inch pipes and it uses a complex electromagnetic wave. It is a good alternative to regular water softeners if you still want to retain some of the calcium and magnesium for drinking. It is backed by a 12-month money-back guarantee.
To conclude, a water softener is greatly needed if your household often consumes water for laundry and for taking a bath. If you ever own a laundry shop or maintain a hotel or inn, it is important that you keep your fixtures safe from limescale buildup with the use of a quality water softener if ever you experience such buildup that can ruin your bathroom fixtures, pipes, and kitchen appliances.