Choosing a Water Conditioner or Water Softener
Water is essential to our lives. In fact, humans’ bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where water is plentiful and abundant. Yet, even with such easy access to supply, it is important to consider the quality of water coming into our homes. If you live in a urban area, it’s very likely your water comes from a treatment plant that does a majority of cleaning it. But even the quality of the water they produce is not as pure is you may want.
When evaluating your home’s water quality, you should consider a water filtration system. When doing research, most people decide between a water softener or a water conditioner – and it’s important to understand the advantages and benefits of both and how they could satisfy your household needs.
Water Conditioner or Water Softener?
You have very likely heard that water can be “hard” – but what does that term mean? Because water is mostly clear, people often assume it is free of contaminants or particles. That is not necessarily a fact. Even the sanitized water coming into our homes by way of water treatment plants often contain dissolved minerals. They are so small they are not visible to the human eye, yet they exist in our water supply, and can contribute to plumbing issues in our homes.
These hard water minerals can build up in our pipes and appliances and reduce their efficiency and lifespan. The deposits, called “scaling,” can often be seen around your faucets. If you find it there, it’s very likely to be collecting in your pipes, appliances, and water heaters.
The harshness of hard water and its potential contaminants are also another reason for dry hair and skin – or even the water appearing discolored or tasting metallic. Fortunately, there are proven methods for resolving these problems.
Both water softeners and water conditioners help remove contaminants like water hardness.
When we think of filtering something, we often imagine it as blocking and trapping particles so they cannot pass through. Water softeners take it a step further in that they actually attract hard water minerals through a process known as “ion exchange”.
The main tank of a water softener contains small resin beads which are positively charged. Hardness minerals (magnesium and calcium) are naturally negatively charged particles. As your hard water flows through the tank and passes the resin beads, the hardness is attracted to the resin beads, trapped and pulled out of the water, so it cannot continue through your home.
At the point when the resin beads have captured as much calcium as they can hold, the softener’s secondary tank (called the “brine tank”) goes to work. This tank holds pellets of salt, which are dissolved by water. At night, a salt/water solution washes over the resin beads in the main tank and releases and removes the calcium so they are prepared to collect more the following day.
For households with high water use of multiple people, this method can effectively keep up with demands.
Water conditioners provide the same benefits as water softeners, but with additional features and benefits. In addition to softening the water by removing calcium and magnesium, they also offer true filtration of additional contaminants.
Within the conditioner there is engineered media called Crystal-Right, designed to capture hardness as well as high levels of manganese and iron. Typically, if you have hard water and water with high levels of iron in it, you will need to use both a water softener and a water filter. But, through the innovative power of Crystal-Right’s CR-100 media, a water conditioner alone does the job.
Water naturally has a pH level of 7, which is considered neutral. In various parts of the country, the pH of the water is significantly less than 7, making it acidic. Acidic water is damaging in the fact that it can eat away at your plumbing, appliances, and fixtures. Crystal-Right’s CR-200 softens water, filters out iron, AND raises the pH level of acidic water to bring it back to neutral.
More than 90% of homes in the United States have hard water. This is very common in Nebraska and Iowa. In rural areas where people get their water from wells, iron, manganese, and acidic water are commonly found problems. If left untreated, iron and manganese can lead to rust stains and cause damaging build-up in both pipes and appliances.
Water with a low pH level can also lead to staining. This staining you may find in sinks and showers turning a blue/green color from the copper and other metals that is stripped from the inside of your plumbing throughout the house. Stains are a cosmetic issue, but many people don’t realize that acidic water can eat away at pipes and cause leaks, which potentially could lead to expensive water damage around your house.
Having both acidic water and iron in your water can lead to your water having a very bitter or metallic taste. As we mentioned before, water is essential to the hydration of our bodies – if it is unpleasant to drink, makes it difficult to want to stay hydrated and healthy.
Water Conditioning or Softening: The Pros & Cons
When deciding on what type of system to have in your home is to determine what is in your water and what benefits are important to you and your family. Consider how hard your water is and how it could affect your home’s plumbing and appliances that require water to function. Deposits of minerals can accumulate in pipes, which may lead to expensive repairs. Your water-using appliances like hot water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers’ efficiency can be reduced because of a of scaling buildup. All are expensive to replace.
An unpleasant smell, taste, and/or color of your home’s water may inspire you to invest in a water conditioning system. Speaking of investing, consider how having such a system can protect your appliances and plumbing system. A water conditioner (one single product instead of two) may help you avoid expensive repairs throughout your home.
Both a water softener and a water conditioning system are effective, but they are different in purpose, installation, and maintenance.
Contact the clean water experts at Futuramic’s to come out to assess the needs of you and your family and any issues regarding your home’s plumbing. We offer complimentary water tests and consultation to see what type of minerals (or contaminants) are present in your water. If we find any problems, we can show you can resolve them with a water treatment system that will meet your and your family’s needs.