Water Conditioning

How to Choose a Water Softener: Buying Guide

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If you have hard water at home, you no doubt understand the importance of having a reliable water softener.

Hard water isn’t harmful to you, but it’s still not ideal. It can shorten the lifespan of your plumbing appliances by up to a third, and your water might not taste as good. Hard water can also dry out your hair and skin. So if you don’t already own one, it’s worth investing in a good water softener.

A quality water softener will generally last you around 10 to 15 years, and if you’re thinking about buying a new one, there are some things you should consider! Our buying guide will explain how to choose the best water softener for your home.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my water softener?

There are a few signs that indicate that you might need a water softener, or at least need to have yours serviced. Common signs are stains on your sinks, toilets, tubs and showers; scale or mineral buildup on your pots, coffee pot, or faucets; foggy glassware; faded laundry; and dry skin.

Different types of water softeners and water conditioners

Standard ion exchange water softeners use resin beads to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium, then release sodium ions. Because the resin needs to be regularly recharged, you’ll want to look for a softener that regenerates after a specific amount of time, or after a certain amount of water has passed through it. Most regenerate once per week.

Water conditioners

You could also opt for a salt-free water conditioner, which treats your water without using salt. Salt-free conditioners use various technologies to alter the state of the hardness molecules in your water. The hardness minerals are neutralized so they won’t stick to each other and will remain water soluble. Two of the most common salt-free conditioners use electromagnet waves and polyphosphate filters to condition your water. Salt-free conditioners may be ideal for a homeowner who doesn’t have a lot of extra space or isn’t experiencing very hard water.

What should I look for when buying a water softener?

When shopping for a new water softener, aside from the price, one of the first things you need to consider is the size. And to calculate that, you need to consider your water hardness and your average daily water consumption.

Water hardness is frequently measured in grains per gallon, and you can get an accurate measurement with a water hardness testing kit. Or give us a call, and we can test the water in your home, plus also inspect your piping systems to see if any other problems are contributing to hard water issues.

The higher your grains per gallon, the harder your water is. That means you’ll need to invest in a water softener with a larger grain capacity. We don’t recommend salt-free water conditioners if you have very high levels of hard water in your household.

3.5 to 7 grains per gallon is considered moderately hard water, with 7-10 being hard and anything more than 10 being very hard.

Then, you’ll need to consider how much water your household uses. Think of how many people live in your house, and how many water-based appliances you use. The more water you use, the bigger you’ll want your water softener to be.

If you’re not sure exactly how much water your household uses, multiply the number of people who live in your house by 75 to find out approximately how many gallons of water you need per day. Multiply that number by 7 to find out how many gallons are used in a week.

Then, take that number and multiply it by the number of grains per gallon. That will tell you just about how much grain capacity your water softener will need.

The second thing to consider when purchasing a softener is the quality of the product. Does the manufacturer use quality resin that will provide you with years of quality water? Does the manufacturer use a quality metering valve that accurately measures and efficiently regenerates your softener.

Finally, consider the warranties behind the product. Does the company stand behind their product? Does it have a strong name in the water industry?

If you’re ready to purchase a water softener and have further questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-888-BEN-1776 or contact us online!

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