Is your kitchen sink splattered with stains? Does the tap water taste weird? Do the soap scums linger behind despite the rigorous washing? These are clear signs of hard water that needs to be addressed with a water softener for the sake of your health and your home.
These classic signs indicate that your water still contains mineral deposits (calcium and magnesium) inside it. That means, sooner or later, you’re going to be facing lots of plumbing problems. Not to mention the fact that hard water causes skin dryness and hair fall issues.
While it’s not a health concern, hard water brings it with a list of difficulties that’ll increase if you don’t install a water softener soon. The water conditioner helps remove the ‘hardness’ out of the water. Subsequently, it eliminates the issues that crop up when you use hard water at home.
It’s a nifty device that comes with a variety of features that help resolve your water situation.
Super-efficient filtering system with double backwash mode
Made from fiberglass-lined polyethylene to prevent corrosion
Multiple cleaning and regeneration options for flexibility
5 year warranty
The programming guide should be more comprehensive
More expensive than GE brand but features higher grain count
Here’s everything you need to know to purchase the right water softener for your home:
The Basics: What Is a Water Softener?
Water softeners are a type of water conditioner that gets rid of hard water minerals present inside your tap water. It’s equipped with a filtration system that eradicated these impurities whenever the hard water flows into the tank.
As a result, the water flowing out of the system doesn’t have any mineral deposits inside. Some water softeners are fitted with a fluoride filter and dechlorinator too. It ensures that the water you get from the tap is free from all anomalies.
Moreover, there are different water conditioners present out there. For example salt based water conditioners, citric acid water conditioners, and salt free water conditioners.
Should Everyone Buy a Water Softener?
First, you should look for clues that indicate that you’ve got hard water in the plumbing lines. Then you should test it for mineral content. This will help you figure out how big the issue is and what countermeasures you’ll have to take to fix it.
Here are some common signs of the presence of hard water:
- Tap water has a metallic taste.
- Limescale build-up in your pipes and around your faucets.
- Traces of soapsuds present near the drains and shower walls.
- It’s difficult to wash off the soapy residue from your hands.
- Your skin feels dry and irritated after a shower.
- Your hair starts looking dull and limp.
Homeowners should conduct a hard water test once they start noticing these signs. There are two ways to go about this:
- Use a DIY water hardness test kit to check for abnormalities.
- Send a sample of your tap water to a laboratory to test for mineral content.
The first option is pretty basic; the change in strip color will only confirm that the plumbing supply has hard water present. Whereas, the laboratory test will give you a detailed overview of all the impurities present inside the water.
In both cases, if the results are positive then you should install a water conditioner.
Best Water Softener on the Market
Aquasure Harmony Series is a popular choice for homeowners. The AS-HS48D is a highly efficient unit that manages to treat up to 48000 grains of hardness. The small water softener comes with all the features required to handle 2-4 bathrooms.
For starters, the filtration system is top-notch and has a 12 GPM flow rate. It manages to get rid of the mineral deposits quite easily. Additionally, the corrosion-free design made from fiber-glass and polyethylene ensures durability.
It’s got a digital console that helps you to control the backwash cycle. It’s got numerous options that tackle cleaning, regeneration, and a lot more. The programming is a bit complex, but the device works like a dream once you get the hang of it. Plus, the versatility ensures that the system minimizes wastage of water.
It’s precise, accurate, and doable–which makes it a perfect fit for a medium-sized household.
- A sleek and stylish design.
- Super-efficient filtering system with double backwash mode.
- An adequate flow rate of 12 GPM.
- The digital control helps conserve water.
- Made from fiberglass-lined polyethylene to prevent corrosion.
- Multiple cleaning and regeneration options for flexibility.
- 5 year warranty
- The programming guide should be more comprehensive.
- Slightly pricey ($549)
A salt free water softener, Fleck 5600SXT is another best seller. The device is quite similar to the Aquasure Harmony Series in terms of features.
The unit has got a flow rate of 12 GPM, and a digitally monitored filtration system. You can easily change the filtration setting as per your needs and monitor the water consumption accurately. The characteristic makes it easier for homeowners to conserve water by controlling the process.
The unit converts hard water into soft water by lowering its mineral content. Along with magnesium and calcium, it reduces an adequate amount of iron too. The biggest advantage of this device is that it’s compatible with other filtration tanks. That means you can connect it to other advance filtration systems to enhance the water quality.
It can also reduce an adequate amount of iron deposits found in your water supply. The best part is that this device is compatible with other filtration tanks.
Overall, it’s an efficient unit that manages the needs of a family of four living in a home with 2-3 bathrooms. The 10 year warranty makes it a solid investment for your home despite its high cost ($549).
- Easy to use
- Metered filtration system enhances its accuracy
- Adjustable settings help control water consumption rate.
- Consistent water flow rate of 12 GPM
- Eliminates minerals from your water supply.
- A hardwearing system that lasts for years.
- The installation process is tedious.
- It doesn’t come with a complete kit.
Are you looking for an economical purchase?
Whirlpool WHES30E is the best option for that. The unit is capable of handling 30000 grains of salt before the water regenerates. It’s a sufficient amount for small homes with 1-3 bathrooms that require water conditioning.
What about performance? Despite its low water capacity, this system works efficiently for years. The unit has an innovative digital display that allows you to set the regeneration cycle and monitor the salt levels with ease. Additionally, it has an automatic light that goes off whenever the salt content is low. It allows the system to regenerate only when required. This process helps reduce excessive use of water. Apart from hard water minerals, the water softener deals with water iron too. So that you get clean and safe water all the time.
It’s also easy to maintain when you clean it with a company made cleanser.
The only setback is that the tank capacity is limited as compared to other systems on this list. However, this is a slight inconvenience when you experience these amazing results at a low price.
- Stylish design meets modern aesthetic sense.
- It comes with a DIY installation kit.
- High-tech system minimizes water wastage.
- Manages salt water content.
- Easy to maintain.
- Budget-friendly model.
- Reduces scale-buildup and other hard water issues.
- Small tank size won’t work for large homes.
- Some durability issues.
Tier1 Everyday Water Softener is a great investment for short term needs. It’s a small water softener that performs sufficiently for a few years. It’s super easy to install and doesn’t require professional assistance when you purchase it.
The system is designed to clear away magnesium, calcium, iron, and other sediments found in your water. This, in turn, makes your water safe for drinking and cooking purposes. You’ve also got a DIY water hardness kit to check the unit’s performance.
On the whole, it’s a well-crafted model that comes with a digitized operating system, to allow you to control the regeneration cycle. The process itself is noiseless and manages to reduce all signs of hard water buildup effortlessly. However, you might find that the 22000 grain per cycle is awfully low for a unit that costs as much as the medium-scale products.
Additionally, many users have complained about replacement issues and the presence of salty water. Nonetheless, these are things that can be resolved with the help of their customer support team or a professional plumber.
We were hoping to review the Water Boss 700 Water Softener but unfortunately it wasn’t available for review.
- Digitally programmed regeneration cycle to optimize usage.
- User-friendly interface to make programming simple.
- Includes iron and sediment filter for enhanced water quality.
- Comes with a water hardness kit to track its results.
- Noiseless regeneration cycle.
- Durability issues.
- Some users have complained about getting salty water post-regeneration.
Genesis Premier 96,000 Grain Water Softener offers users a luxury water conditioning experience. The product’s USP is its cutting edge technology that optimizes the filtration process. The best part is that the cleaning cycle is set and adjusted by you. So you can simply ‘set and forget’ the unit once you’ve programmed it for its first cycle.
Why do we like it? For starters, the unit is integrated with advanced technology that makes the whole process far easier than other units. You can program the regeneration cycle according to your needs. After which, the system will work ceaselessly without any input required from you.
It’s also got a permanent memory that protects your original conditioning setting. Plus, the smart system reduces the water wastage and consumption of salt. Therefore, we feel that this is an eco-friendly device.
Despite all this, you may hesitate to buy this product because it costs about $1,500. The high-end price scale will likely be too much for the average household. Plus, poor customer support could be a nuisance for customers who can’t install the unit.
- User-friendly design and programming.
- Easy to install.
- Customized regeneration cycle.
- Smart salt and water effective settings.
- Super reliable water conditioner.
- Includes a memory feature that protects your setting.
- Pricey purchase.
If you’re looking for a holistic water softener then Home Master has got you covered. The company has crafted a house water filtration system that combats all hard water impurities. The multifaceted system contains carbon and sediment filters to achieve this feat.
How does it work? The system removes traces of sediment and known minerals from the water supply. It also cleans out the rust and limescale buildup that’s affecting your plumbing lines. In this way, it gives you a clean and hygienic supply of water.
The best part is that this extensive purification process does not affect the water pressure. In other words, you get clean water at optimum pressure throughout your house.
Overall, it’s a highly-efficient and reliable water conditioning system. The only problem is that it’s designed to treat well water only. That’s because its filtration system isn’t as effective on contaminated city water.
- Purifies water with an extensive 3-step process.
- Keeps the water pressure regulated while cleansing the water.
- Tackles minerals, rust, and sediment.
- Eliminate traces of iron too.
- Provides the whole house with odorless and tasteless water.
- 95% purification guaranteed.
- It’s bulkier than most units.
- Isn’t suitable for city water.
Do you need a small system?
Aquios AQFS220L will be the perfect fit for you. This compact water softener can be easily installed anywhere around the house. The unit is sufficient for small households that have 1-2 bathrooms and minimum outdoor requirements.
What about performance? This is a standard whole water softener that conditions and filters your water simultaneously. The biggest benefit is that it accomplishes this task without using electricity or any chemicals. It uses a carbon block filtration process to provide you with a clean salt free supply of water for a long time. This makes it an environmentally-friendly unit.
In addition to this, the all-one unit doubles up as a dechlorinator too. It ensures that your tap water is odorless and free from metallic taste. This function makes it a great unit for both personal and commercial purposes.
The only setback is that you can’t control water consumption or the regeneration cycle. This could lead to higher water consumption and other problems in its process. It’s also why people have complained that it’s slightly overpriced for a standard unit that doesn’t include an integrated system.
- Small water softener for average households.
- A multipurpose unit that cleans your water from other impurities.
- Removes all salts and other causes of hard water.
- It reduces all signs of water hardness.
- It’s an eco-friendly device.
- FDA approved technology makes it suitable for commercial use.
- It won’t handle more than 3 bathrooms.
- You can’t customize the regeneration settings.
Are you looking for a top-rated salt free water softener?
Then you should get Pelican Natursoft Salt Free Water Softener. This sleek unit comes with a built-in UV filtration system that sterilizes your water while removing its hardness. Unlike most devices, Pelican’s water conditioner doesn’t eliminate all the minerals. It leaves some beneficial minerals behind to make the tap water healthier.
How does it tackle water hardness? The device is designed to remove water hardness without using chemicals or electricity. It uses a physical treatment method that’s much safer. The innovative technology behind this process ensures that you get salt free soft water after every regeneration cycle. This is the reason why it’s a great system for people who are on a low-sodium diet.
After a few weeks of use, you’ll notice a significant decrease in scale buildup in and around your plumbing lines. Plus, you can install the unit outside the house for watering your garden and washing the car.
Lastly, it comes with a hefty price tag ($2,500), but you’ll miss out on a lot of benefits if pricing is an issue. That’s why we suggest interested homeowners save up and buy this wonderful product.
- Easy to install.
- Hassle-free system.
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor uses that require low-salt water.
- Minimum water wastage.
- Eliminates signs of hard water build in affected areas.
- Highly efficient salt-free water softener.
- Integrated with a UV disinfectant to help sterilize your water.
- Costly purchase.
GE 30,000-Grain Water Softener System is a reliable little system for your household. The product is cleverly designed to accommodate city water and well water hardness effectively. This ensures that the system is functional for homeowners everywhere.
What about performance? The system is integrated with cutting edge technology that tracks the family’s water usage patterns. This helps the water conditioning cycle to adapt according to your specific needs. You can enhance this usage by customizing the cleansing cycle.
Overall, the unit presents an eco-friendly way to evade all potential hard water issues. The best part is that it’s a fairly economical purchase that costs less than $400. In comparison to other water softeners in this list, this is the best deal for budget conscious families.
The only setback is that the installation process is tedious and you may face connectivity issues during usage. However, these things can be evaded through professional assistance.
- Simple programming and smart water technology.
- Cost-effective product.
- Metered regeneration to ensure precision and accuracy.
- Reduces scaling, maintenance discrepancies and other water hardness issues.
- Removes both hard water minerals and iron deposits.
- Works well for municipal plumbing lines and well water systems.
- Highly efficient and durable for long time use.
- Issues with the setup.
- Noticeable leaks and connectivity issues after a few cycles.
- Not suitable for larger households.
GE 40,000-Grain Water Softener System is a bigger version of the previous product. The system accommodates the needs for bigger households with its large water capacity. Like the former, this product is feasible for both city and well water.
In terms of performance, you can expect it to deliver soft water to the entire household. You simply have to program the regeneration cycle according to your needs. The digitally enhanced system then adapts to your water usage patterns to optimize its performance.
The salt-based water system efficiently manages water consumption rates too.
On the whole, it’s an inexpensive purchase that provides the best value for your money. The only issue is that the installation process isn’t DIY-friendly. You may also face problems with the system as users have complained about programming issues.
Nonetheless, you can address these issues by calling in an expert for consultation.
- User-friendly programming system.
- Budget-friendly product.
- Digitally customized regeneration for accuracy.
- Smart water technology to conserve electricity and water consumption.
- Eliminates all possible signs of water hardness.
- Tackles iron deposits.
- Doable for city and well water supplies.
- Highly efficient and durable for longtime use.
- Issues with the setup.
- Some users have complained about malfunctioning.
Does your brine tank leak a lot?
Complete Water Softener Brine Tank is the perfect replacement tank for your unit. It’s a cost-effective option that helps increase the longevity of your device. The best part is that it’s compatible with most water conditioners. You’ll find that it’s pretty easy to install in your system.
The tank is designed with safety float and air check features. These characteristics prevent the tank from overfilling and stop the air pressure to buildup. It minimizes leakage and keeps your water softener’s performance in check.
Of course, the drawback here is that you need to find the right system for this brine tank. So make sure to take proper measurements of your water softener before you purchase it.
- Simple installation process.
- Compact design.
- The safety float feature stops the tank from overfilling.
- It comes with an air check fixture that monitors the air pressure.
- We can’t guarantee that it’ll fit your unit.
The Benefits: Why Do You Need One?
Water softeners are an economical way to deal with hard water. They minimize the negative impact of water hardness by converting it into soft water. Additionally, most water conditioners come with chlorine filter and other purification features that make your tap water drinkable.
That’s why we suggest that you install a reliable unit if you wish to deal with a severe hard water problem.
Let’s look at the main benefits of water softeners:
1. Improves Water Quality
The main purpose of a water softener is to get rid of water hardness. This, in turn, carries out a chain of reactions that aid your household chores.
For starters, the enhanced water quality means that your tap water is safe and drinkable. That’s because it’s free from odors and that metallic taste. Since many systems come with chlorine filters and disinfectant features the water conditioner works as a water purifier too. Plus, drinkable water means that it’s safe to use for washing veggies and other cooking chores.
Secondly, washing and cleaning with hard water can cause skin and hair problems. You can avoid those risks when you buy a reliable water conditioning system. The treated water prevents your skin from drying out and makes your hair healthy again.
Moreover, hard water also makes cleaning utensils, bathrooms, and kitchen skin challenging. That’s because it leaves behind mineral residue and soap suds which are difficult to get rid of. On the other hand, your laundered clothes become stiff due to water hardness.
Once you install a water conditioner, these things become more manageable as soft water diminishes these problems.
2. Reduces Plumbing Problems
Did you know? Hard water and its abundant mineral deposits are responsible for most plumbing issues.
Here are a few examples:
- The accumulated minerals cause the pipelines to rust.
- It’s difficult to clean drains and faucets that are coated with mineral deposits.
- Hard water is known to corrode the internal plumbing system.
As a consequence, you have to deal with frequent plumbing issues that rack up a hefty maintenance bill. However, investing in a feasible water softener can effectively reduce the plumbing problems that you face on a regular basis.
3. Minimizes Maintenance Costs
Believe it or not, but plumbing isn’t the only thing that’s affected by hard water. The high mineral content harms your water appliances and kitchen utensils too.
Firstly, the mineral deposits start accumulating in the water heating system, instant hot and cold water systems and other appliance. This inhibits their performance and subsequently increases your electricity bills. That’s because the devices start using more energy to do operate.
Moreover, similar to the pipelines, the metallic parts of these devices start corroding due to frequent exposure to minerals. Therefore, your maintenance costs and electricity bills double up when your systems start performing poorly.
Apart from this, regular contact with hard water decreases the longevity of your kitchen utensils too. You start noticing scaling and mineral deposits present on the inner walls of the utensils. Not only does this make cleaning ineffective but the mineral deposits might seep into your food too. So it’s better to replace the damaged goods before the problem escalates.
Treating the water supply with a water conditioner is the only way to resolve these pestering issues. With soft water, the water-damage is relatively low and you don’t so are the health risks.
Ultimately, soft water improves the quality of your life and prevents costly repairs and maintenance problems.
The Mechanism: How Does It Work?
The science behind a water softener is based on an extensive ion exchange process. Whenever, hard water enters the system, the resin tank inside replaces the hard water minerals with sodium particles derived from the salt inside the tank.
Once the resin bed reaches a saturation point, the system automatically starts a regeneration cycle. This step is a cleansing process where a stream of back flushes washes out the trapped minerals. The water that flows out of the system is free from all hard water minerals.
Next, the sodium particles are refilled in the tank so that the next filtration cycle begins.
In many cases, the filtration tank has other filters (dechlorinator, citric acid water conditioner or salt-free water conditioner). These features help purify the water further and make it suitable for drinking and cleaning purposes.
In short, water conditioning is typically a three-step process that operates on electricity or water pressure depending on the model you’ve bought. The main mechanism works due to the natural ion exchange method. Therefore, this technique is dubbed as an eco-friendly way to combat hard water.
The Installation: How Do You Install a Water Softener?
Installing a water softener is typically easy. Most devices come with a comprehensive guide that shows you how to set up the system.
We’ve broken down the installation process to give you an idea of what needs to be done.
Let’s have a look:
1. Preparing to install your water softener
The first thing you’ve got to do is decide where to install the water softener. Our advice is to set it up near the main supply line, so that it treats the water before it reaches the rest of the household. This ensures that your plumbing lines remain unaffected by hard water and you get clean softened water from all the taps.
Once that’s settled, make sure that the spot is clean and dry. Also, do check the installation kit for missing parts and required tools. You don’t want to stop the installation process midway due to a missing part/tool.
- Turn off the water supply and electric heater to prevent any hindrances.
- Drain out all your plumbing lines before the setup.
These steps ensure that your plumbing lines and appliances don’t cause problems during installation and vice versa.
2. Installation of your water softener
Once you’ve prepared the spot you should:
- Place your water softener and accompanying brine tank (depending on the model you’ve got).
- Ensure that your device is secure and that it doesn’t wobble.
- Cut into the main supply to install the bypass valve (make sure that the O rings are securely fastened to prevent a loose connection).
- Next, connect your inlet and outlet ports. Do make sure that the direction of the water supply is right. Otherwise, the purification process won’t work properly.
- Install a drain connection and overflow connect for salt water systems. These fixtures help prevent leakage and the brine tank from overfilling respectively.
- Install the brine line next to the water conditioner. (This won’t be necessary for systems that have built-in brine tanks)
- Double check all the connections.
3. After installing your water softener
Certain precautionary measures need to be taken once the system is installed.
Here are a few that come into our mind:
- You need to fill the brine tank with salt. Then sanitize the system before starting the cycle.
- Slowly turn the water supply and start a trial round.
- Check for leaks and other connectivity issues.
- Start the regeneration cycle.
In the end, if you’re satisfied with your installation, you should program the system according to your needs. Ensure that the configuration optimizes its performance and conserves water simultaneously.
That’s it! You’re ready to use the system now and get soft mineral-free water throughout the plumbing system.
To sum up water softeners…
In a nutshell, an effective water conditioner can help keep this water quality issue at bay. It’s an excellent way to obtain soft salt-free water from your main supply. You can expect water conditioning to reduce scaling, skin conditions, hair problems, and other hard water problems.
Plus, the additional filtration features give you access to safe and clean water.
So which one of these products will you buy?
Watch this space for more reviews and tips on household water appliances!