Water is the world's universal solvent, a necessity for animals and nature. It can dissolve sediment and rocks, which resulted in some of the world's most beautiful landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon! And because of the fact water has dissolved limestone and rocks result in high concentrations of magnesium and calcium in the water. This then turns into hard water, which simply means it has a high mineral count.
And sure, minerals in your water is a regular thing. But when is it too much? Having water that is too hard can result in encrusted pipes and difficulty in washing your dishes or clothes (we'll get to the consequences of using water that's too hard later on). That's why it's essential to have the hardness of your water checked and get a water softener if needed. But what are water softeners anyway and how do you know which is best water softener for you?
I'll be talking about the two main types of water softeners to help you out: The Salt-Based and Salt Free Water Softener. Read on!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Salt-Based Water Softeners?
- 2 What Are Salt-Free Water Softeners?
- 3 Benefits Of Using a Salt-Based Water System
- 4 Salt vs. Salt-Free Water Softener System
- 5 Choosing The Best Water Softener For You
- 6 Wrapping It Up
What Are Salt-Based Water Softeners?
Before we get into comparing different water softeners, let's first discuss them individually, starting off with salt based water softeners!
A salt based water softener works through ion exchange or replacement process. Through using ions, minerals like calcium and magnesium found in water will be exchanged and replaced by sodium ions.
The ion exchange takes place in the tank, with the sodium ions going down a resin bed and out of the softener drain. The softener will then produce soft water, which has sodium rather than mineral ions. This water softener system would use salt to remove the unwanted minerals in your water to make it "soft," either through replacing or removing the ions from a reversible process.
The salt based water softener system is a traditional piece of equipment, which requires you to purchase and replace its salt from time to time.
What Are Salt-Free Water Softeners?
Now that you know about the salt-based water softener, what about the salt free water softener? How does this system work?
Like mentioned, salt based water softeners use an ion exchange process. With a salt free water softener, it doesn't remove the hard water minerals but transforms them chemically. This is done so the minerals won't cling on to the surface and precipitate to scale. Take note that the hard water minerals aren't destroyed or replaced, so there are NO salt or regeneration cycles that happen to purge the minerals.
So with that being said, the minerals aren't removed but simply changed. They remain in the water and are simply conditioned. The process is done through electricity and not through replacing the tank with anything (such as salt).
Benefits Of Using a Salt-Based Water System
Comparing both, I believe that the salt-based is more efficient than the salt free water softener system. Why? Here are the benefits you can reap!
No More Limescale
With a salt-based water softener, you will be able to enjoy scale reduction. We all know that mineral buildup from hard water can clog and damage your pipes, including your water-using appliances! Because of this, the water affects the plumbing system and decrease the water pressure and efficiency in drainage. With a good water softener, you won't have to worry about clogs or hassling yourself with expensive plumbing problems anymore.
When you bathe with hard water, you may end up being uncomfortable with the curd made by hard water and soap. It sticks to your body! Plus, soap and shampoo won't lather well, leaving you feel sticky and your hair brittle. That will change when you use soft water to bathe!
Easier To Clean and Wash
Lastly, you will have a better time washing with purely soft water. This is because hard water will be creating the weird, sticky curd that sticks to your faucets, sinks, or even your shower stalls, plates, and other things washed! With soft water, you'll be saving time having to clean AND spend on cleaning products. Another huge plus is that you'll be able to wash clothes efficiently and increase your clothes and beddings' lifespans.
Salt vs. Salt-Free Water Softener System
Still a bit confused with what type of system to use? Here are the similarities and differences of both a salt based and salt free water softener system to take note of:
Installation and Maintenance
Regarding installing and maintaining, the salt free water softener takes the advantage. They are incredibly easy to install, and you can do it yourself with some help at home. You also won't need to spend on maintenance besides replacing cartridges or other parts, if needed. As for a salt-based water softener, you'll need to take care when maintaining it because it goes through a more complicated process.
The quality of water is why I'm here reviewing the best, which goes to the salt-based water softener ! When using a salt-based water softener, you are ensured that all minerals like calcium and magnesium are COMPLETELY removed even before you turn on your faucets or use water That means you won't have any limes came buildups, your dishwasher or washing machines will last longer, and your water has a slicker feel when washing or drinking. You have the best quality of water!A salt free water softener system foes neutralize contaminants but it isn't as effective and still puts your appliances at risk of limescale. Plus, salt-based systems will have quicker results regarding filtration and softening because it doesn't use electricity, compared to the salt free water softener.
Cost and Expenses
This is where the salt free water softener wins. They are less expensive than its salt-based counterparts when bought, AND you won't have to worry about any added expenses because you won't need to purchase salt or resins to replenish the system.
So if you are looking for something that will give you water without any contaminants or minerals for efficient washing, then I would recommend the salt-based water softener. But if your household doesn't have "too hard" water and you're on a budget, then a salt free water softener system is still a good choice.
Choosing The Best Water Softener For You
Feel like you've made a choice on whether you should get a salt based or saltless water softener? There's more to it than choosing the main type you need! To help you out, here are tips and factors to consider when selecting an efficient water softener for your home:
Size and Water Usage
You will need to calculate and figure out the right size of your chosen water softener, which is based on your household's needs. To get accurate information, you can check out your latest water bill to get exact measurements. For those without that info, multiple the amount of people living at home by 75 gallons of water a day.
Now, you're going to need to measure your water's hardness from the local water utility or test it yourself. After you get that information, multiple how much water you use daily with your water's hardness. You'll then get the number of grains you'll need per day.
Ease Of Installation And Use
Lastly, I would recommend that you get a water softener that's easy to install and adjust according to your needs. If you are plumbing-savvy, then look for with easy-to-follow instructions and informative manuals so you can save money and set it up yourself. It's also best to find a water softener that's easy to adjust and replenish (if you choose a salt-based water softener and need resins).
Additionally, make sure that you buy a water softener system that's certified to the NSF/ANSI 44 Performance Standard. That way, you know that what you are getting is efficient.
Wrapping It Up
If you have hard water at home, then it's best to start making the right investment, getting a good water softener suitable for your household. Through learning about the different types of water softener systems and brands, you'll be able to find the best one the whole family can benefit from.
I hope that this article on the salt based and best salt free water softener system helped you know more about how soft water can benefit your home today. So don't wait any longer and check out more salt based or salt free water softener reviews to find the best system you're looking for!
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences with water softeners, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think!