Water Softeners: The What’s and How’s

A review of the different types of water softeners and how they work. These are the four most common types of water softener.

A Salt-based Softener

These salt-based softeners employ an ion exchange process for the removal of harder minerals from the water Salt-based water softeners work by replacing magnesium and calcium ions that are in the water. The ions are replaced with sodium ions that are moored with resin beads, and these are flushed out of the system using a regeneration process.


  • A more affordable long-term situation
  • Can deliver rapid results
  • Complete removal of hard minerals
  • Useful in the prevention of limescale buildup
  • Eliminates spots and stains


  • Can increase your sodium intake
  • The Risen bed needs to be cleaned and the salt refilled

By far, the most common type of softener used in everyday households. Primarily due to its effectiveness in terminating mineral residues from the water. Even though you have to change the resin bed regularly, the salt-based softener systems are still the most affordable option for most households. When the proxy is to cover the cost of repair from long-term hard water usage, the choice is a no-brainer.

Even though you will have an additional amount of sodium chloride left in your water, this addition is generally not going to cause problems for the majority of healthy people. If your health practitioner endorsed you stay on a strict low-salt diet, this type of water softener is not recommended. If you want to remove the additional salt, there is a proportionately simple fix available when you have to install an under-sink or countertop RO filtration system.

These can remove the additional salt, and they offer the added benefit of removing any heavy metals, contaminants, or other chemicals that the water softener may have missed.

A Dual Tank Softener

During the regeneration process, the assault beast machine is not capable of producing soft water; these are usually set to work at night to minimize the impact of handwashing and cleaning activities around your house. This type of softener is particularly attractive for larger families who utilize vast amounts of water during the day.


  • Faster
  • Capable of producing larger
  • It’s never turned off
  • Produces good results


  • Potential increase
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Is a more expensive option

These machines are slightly more complicated and more expensive versions of the same water softener. The dissimilitude being is that they come with 2x instead of one; this does not comprise the salt container. The model structure of the system allows one tank to process water, while the other one supplies water, securing that the supply remains stable regardless of the time of day.

Home Water De-scaler (Salt-free Water Softener)

These water softeners are designed to operate using a softening medium, the most popular being polysaccharide. This works by deactivating the factors that form scale and hard water. The process makes it difficult for scale causing minerals to form on the surface of the water. These salt fewer softeners do not remove any minerals, so in theory, and then feet don’t soften the water; instead, they provide conditions that prevent the water from forming scale.


  • Are more affordable
  • Less maintenance required
  • Prevent staining on fixtures and limescale buildup in pipes


  • They operate slower than salt-based machines
  • They’re not designed to prevent buildup in an appliance

If you want to avoid introducing excess sodium travel through should consider these salt-free softeners as they can bey effective at descaling. They’re also recommended for anyone who lives in an area where saltwater softeners have been banned because of environmental considerations on the downside because they don’t effectively remove minerals they’re not very useful comes to preventing staining on your glassware, faucets, car, steelware or other surfaces

A Magnetic, Electronic De-scaler

These are also referred to as electronic water softeners, a small device that is designed to attach to your main water pipe. Another salt-free system, so it doesn’t remove minerals. Instead, they operate a gathering of minerals older than to prevent from sticking onto any services.

In contrast to the other three options, this isn’t presumably the most effectual water softener on the market, but it remains a popular choice. Primarily because they are affordable, easy to maintain, and easy to install.


  • An affordable option
  • Low maintenance
  • Prevents a buildup of limescale and stains
  • Easy to install


  • It is slower to deliver
  • It’s not suitable to prevent the buildup in your appliance

Salt-free vs. Salt-based Softener

The most significant difference between a salt-free softener is that the former has been designed to effectively remove minerals, which are the primary cause of hard water; the latter doesn’t remove the minerals but alters their structure to prevent them from sticking to surfaces.

The salt-based on actions remains the most popular self in existence; this is not down to the fact that salt- free systems aren’t effectual because they can condition the water to effectively reduce the chance of scale structure they also deliver compared the results tooth are more popular salt-based counterparts.

Especially when you aren’t explicitly targeting limestone. there require little or no maintenance, and you don’t have to worry about the addition of salt to the water

Why Are Salt-based Systems More Popular?

When it comes to preventative measures, salt base softening systems still hold the upper hand. When compared to salt-free systems are effective at preventing mineral buildup in your appliances, especially in the ones where water does not run continuously, such as water heaters coffee makers dishwashers and other such appliances. Putting it simply, they removed the unwanted minerals from your water.

This is not the same age as salt-based water softening systems are perfect; they still use sodium residue in the water, but as we pointed out earlier, this is customarily insufficient to cause any health problems in the majority of healthy people. The commended daily dose of sodium in your diet is 2300 mg, according to the American heart association.

After the water is filtered through a salt-based softening system, it generally leaves about 550 mg of salt and every two liters of water. If you’re drinking this amount of water on the daily, it translates to about 25% of the recommended daily allowance. One thing you need to be knowledgable of is that the harder your water is, the more songs your system uses when using the softening process.

So if you’re in an area with a specialty hard water, a salt-based softening system could constitute a health risk to anyone who’s supposed to be on a strict low sodium diet. Experts recommend you use potassium instead of salt as it works just as effectively. You could also install an extra reverse osmosis filter under the sink. These remove salt and other adulterants from the water.

How to Correctly Install a Water Softener

Water softeners are pretty easy to install, but you need to have a basic level of experience and knowledge in plumbing. This is down to the fact that these systems are usually connected to your main water supply. To Install one correctly, you would have to understand how to cut piping, salder, connect pipe and sometimes installation involves some digging to allow the correct placement of these pipes.

If this is not something that you’re comfortable doing,, employing a professional plumber or handyman is probably the right move.

What Will You Need to Tackle The Job Yourself?

If you’re going to take on the task yourself, it shouldn’t take any more than an hour. Only if your chosen installation site is easily accessible, and the pipes in the area are still in good condition. If this isn’t the case, you could take three or four hours more to complete the job. The easiest way to reduce your work time is to prepare all the necessary equipment and tools in advance.

Here is a list of what you need to install a salt-based water softener safely

  • Tape measure
  • Teflon tape
  • Solder and torch
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Tubing to allow you to connect the whole system to your water supply
  • Pipe wrench
  • Drain tubing
  • Extra valves and fittings, sometimes the package only comes with the bare minimum
  • A Pipe cutter

Installation Instructions

For at least 10 steps and you should be able to install your water softener system

Step 1: Make sure your water is shut off at the mainline. Drain off the excess water by opening the faucets and disconnect the heater.
Step 2: Install the softener’s bypass valve.
Step 3: The unit should be placed in the intended position. Choose a position where the system safe from freezing, flooding, and other harsh weather conditions.
Step 4: Find the two elbow fittings, install them to the outlet and inlet ports on the bypass valve. Cut into the main pipe and create a connection from the pipe to the ports. ensure that the outgoing water remains connected to the outlet port and the incoming water are connected to the inlet port.
Skip 5: locate the drain valve fitting on the unit and connect the drain tube to it
Step 6: The Brine valve needs to be installed on the overflowing valve located on your brine tank. Each manufacturer’s instruction manual tells you where to locate the brine valve and whether or not an air gap may be necessary.
Step 7: Place the distributor tube in the brine tank, filling the tank to 2/3 capacity with salt.
Step 8: Switch into bypass mode, then slowly turn the water on. Waiting until a steady flow can be seen in the drain line and then open it completely. You can then reconnect and turn your heater back on.
Step 9: Open the bypass valve slowly, waiting a few minutes for any trapped air to push through the system. Once the air has been pushed through, open the valve entirely, and run your first backwash cycle.
Step 10: Once your installation is complete you can configure to the unit by following the manufacturer’s instructions

Please note that different brands of water softeners have different features. To ensure that your installation is correct you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions point-by-point.

Cleaning Hard Water Stains

You have learned how to install your water softening system, this should prevent any new hard water stains from forming, But it will not help remove the stains that already exist. Here are some tips to get rid of these stains:

Removing Hard Water Spots

If you know what to do with them, removing hard water spots is not tricky. These show up on a surface that isn’t regularly submerged in water, such as your car or mirror. A whitish, chalky residue is visible after usually washing when the water is just dried up. If you know this is going to occur and you act quickly, the spots can easily be removed.

The easiest way to tackle these spots is to create a half and half vinegar and water solution. Find an old spray bottle, rinse it out and use it to spritz the solution onto the surface. Leave the solution to really sip in before wiping the area with a clean piece of cloth The area should be wiped dry again with another clean cloth

How to Remove More Stubborn Hard Water Stains

The same vinegar and water mixture is also active on more stubborn stains, but it takes a little bit longer to take effect. Use the following steps as a guide.

  • Create your equal parts vinegar and water mixture.
  • Find a clean cloth and soak it in the solution.
  • After covering the stain with the cloth leave it there for 60 minutes.
  • Once you’re 60 minutes has passed use the cloth to remove the stain, keep a dry cloth handy to wipe the surface afterwards.

What are The Best Water Softener Brands on The Market?

When you’re looking for a water softening system that you can trust here are some of the most effective brands

  • Fleck
  • Whirlpool
  • GE
  • Aquasana
  • Culligan
  • Kinetico


Pentair has a famous brand called black this company was founded in Minnesota over 50 years ago, honestly one of the longest-standing and most trusted brands in the water treatment industry in the US. Pentair’s’ primary focus is making water softening products, and they do this particularly well. Very few brands can produce the same performance.

They are known for manufacturing a highly effectual water softening system, but it’s also very affordable. They offered a wide range of capacities making your choices easier.


Another household name, this Michigan-based business, has been operating for over a century. Renowned for making a home, water appliances, and high-quality water softening systems, they also provide excellent customer service. Whirlpools softener systems are designed with integrated center screens for self-cleaning.

These provide the ideal solution to prevent sediment buildup issues might occur. The company also proposes a reminder system first customers when it is time for you to change the cleanser.


Yet another household name general electric has been making us go appliances across many different categories for decades. Why they aren’t renowned for making water softeners, did they produce systems that are both WQA and NSF certified? Both of these organizations are the most prestigious when it comes to water quality control USA.

GE only manufacturer salt-based systems, but they come with GE’s SmartStop technology pre-installed, which allows your system to automatically regenerate depending on the cycle it is on.


Founded a mere twenty years ago, this company is a baby when compared to the first three. Having said that it has built a solid reputation based on the durability and affordability of their products. While they may only propose a limited range when it comes to water softening solutions.

They’re famous for providing customized systems that are designed to adapt to a variety of water treatment needs. Their systems sterilize using descaling filters suitable for both private and communal well water. The company only provides a limited range of products, but they are mostly effectual and are well worth considering if you’re in the hunt for a salt-free solution.


This Illinois-based company founded in 1936, manufacture products that are now distributed over 90 countries. They specialize in water treatment systems and offer a wide variety of quality salt-based water systems. They have something to meet every budget; households need solutions to water hardness levels and water usage patterns should certainly check out their products.


Based on Ohio, this company was established in 1970 and now has dealers and offices all over Europe and America. Famous for its reverse osmosis water drinking systems, neutralizers, deionizers, and filters, that can now be purchased in over 100 countries around the globe. The company’s water softeners operate by regeneration.

They come with a meter that has been structured to preserve both energy and water. The companies twin tank systems can provide you with a soft water solution around the clock.

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