A water softener seems like a frivolous expenditure, especially if you couldn’t feel the hazardous impacts of heavy water. However, various minerals in hard water can damage havoc on skin and plumbing.
The use of water softeners is essential when you recognize by normal symptoms like mineral deposits, a chalky layer on wares just after washing, health impacts such as dry hair and skin after showering, and scale development on showerheads or water faucets.
Water softeners also have multiple advantages like removal of heavy metals i.e. Fe, Mg, and Ca from heavy H2O that is flowing into RV, place of use sites, or your homes.
The best “Water Softeners” can enhance the longevity of kitchen wares, provide good quality water, and efficient water flow to boost cleaning. It even improves the H2O heating ability and skin health.
These water softeners function by removing heavy metals from hard water through an ion-exchange process or neutralizing such minerals to unable their binding or remain water-soluble.
Before we recommend the best water softener regarding your home usage, let’s see issues with hard water, effective ways to cure hard water, advantages of water softeners, buyers guide, installation methods, and types of water softeners.
After analyzing the above facts, then you can see ‘Our Top Picks’ below that are highly rated and the best water softeners available in the market.
Issues with Hard Water
Hopefully, Ca in water doesn’t have any health effects. In contrast, various researches have revealed that Ca is beneficial to the human body in multiple ways. That’s why a few good household water filters involve remineralization while Ca is returned to drinking water.
Beyond all valuable health effects, Ca just like other minerals still produces some issues at a greater concentration in H2O.
I. Wreck to Appliances & Pipelines
Various households with heavy water suffer an issue of water fixtures and limescale development at the inner side of pipelines. Based on hardness level, residue damage equipment appearance and leaving behind stains on multiple faucets. For instance, internally damage havoc on them via developing limescale that leads to leakage, clogging, and broken details. You can observe serious wreak in your boiler, tankless heater, and pipes in which water sits still for a couple of hours, helping minerals to stick inner sides.
II. Scalp Irritation & Hair Brittleness
Mineral concentration and high pH in heavy water cause many skin problems like acne, itchiness, dryness, and clogged pores. This the reason a dermatologist advises to wash your face with ‘Bottled Water’ as you are suffering from an acne problem.
Hard water is commonly familiar to worsen current skin issues like dermatitis and eczema. Mineral residue also causes scalp irritation and hair brittleness after ‘direct contact’.
III. Permanent Stains
The minerals present in heavy H2O stick to multiple surfaces. This is the reason they produce various grungy stains and spots on showerheads, bathtubs, tiles, toilet bowls, cars, and glassware. Such minerals may neutralize the detergents and soaps to add insult to injury. So, such stains commonly take additional soap and effort to clean.
Effective Ways to Cure Hard Water
There are following effective ways to cure hard water:
I. Whole House Filtration
The latest whole-house filtration method of water is a common solution for harmful contaminants, rust, sediment, and algae. Unluckily, many of these processes are not developed to remove various hazardous minerals.
At this time, only one kind of whole house filter is ‘Reverse Osmosis Filter’ that can cure water hardness. But, RO whole-house systems greatly effective at water softening and purifying. It may be highly expensive. It is true when you consider not only initial expenditures but also maintenance and installation costs also.
II. Whole House Softening
A water softening process can change minerals’ structures or exchange them with sodium in hard water. Thus, they would not stick to various surfaces. This is how softening method decreases limescale.
Whole house softening of water is very efficient at a much lower cost as compared to RO, at removing heavy water problems. The major issue is that a few water softeners may incorporate Na into the water, but not removing harmful minerals like As or Pb. You can use K beyond salt as a softener. However, if you want to remove contaminants, we recommend a combined setting.
III. Combined Setting: Recommended Solution
The simplest way to cure water hardness is a combination of an under-sink RO filter with a water softening system. A water softener will remove unwanted contaminants, soft water would produce in whole-house for hygienic purposes. Whereas under sink filter RO eliminates hazardous contaminants within cooking and drinking water. It is a well-designed system as it focuses on both kinds of contaminants. It is more affordable as compared to the whole house RO method.
Advantages of Water Softening Processes
Water Softening Processes have several reasons of popularity, some are discussed here;
I. Scale Free Pipeline
Hard water minerals produce lime scales in pipelines that cause damage. A whole house water softening system eliminates contaminants that are responsible for the production of limescale. So, this process can effectively remove hazardous minerals. It is an effective system to cut maintenance expenses on plumbing in the long-run.
II. Residue Free Appliances
To avoid mineral development, various water softeners serve to decrease leakage and enhance household appliances’ life. These also protect you from the bad smell which commonly arises from remaining present in showerheads, bathroom sinks, water heater, and faucets.
III. Smoother Skin & Hair
Shower-head filters are considered as effective as they improve the quality of drinking water. They don’t have any ability to filter out heavy contaminants in water. If you are using heavy water for washing and having poor health of hair care and skin, must use a water softener. This is a real game-changer to reduce hair dryness and skin irritation.
Not every person likes the bathing sensation of soft water. Whereas many people consider it clean and smooth, some find it slippery and unpleasant. This is just a matter of preferences.
IV. Soft Clothes
As your water is clean from unwanted minerals, you must observe your towels or clothes becoming softer and silkier after washing. The stains and scum of soap are reduced to common problems and clothes will get prolong fade or fray. You will require less amount of soap to wash clothes as soap and detergents work better within soft water.
V. Shiny Glassware & Silverware
The water softeners eliminate mineral structures, avoiding them to stick on various surfaces. Thus, you would no longer observe the Ca layer on cars, mirrors, and glasses after washing.
Our Top Picks
We have listed the following products depend on availability, overall efficacy, popularity, and high customer approval. All these factors make the best water softeners in relevant categories.
1. Fleck On-demand 5600sxt Metered 48000 Grain Water Softener
- Upgraded with a digital meter that regenerates required protecting on water and salt.
- Designed with familiar Fleck 5600 SXT, 48000 grain-water softening system.
- Supported with 54 x 10 inches high capacity resin, remove heavy minerals.
- Reduces soap efficiency, produces scale build-up, digital-meter control valve.
- Prolong life resin, the greater capacity softening system eliminates hazardous matters.
- Designed with ion exchange system to remove Mg and Ca which cause heavy water.
- Drain barb ½ inches, elbow overflow brine grid, Water Aplus certified TB manufacturer.
- Service App and Scan Pentair latest features, significant details at the touch of fingertips.
- The product has 20.4 pounds weight along with ideal dimensions of 62 x 24 x 10 inches.
- High capacity model.
- Moderate price.
- Great operations.
- Additional protective layer.
- Customer service can be improved.
2. iSpring WGB21B II-Stages Whole-House Water Filtration System
- Designed with I-Stage 5-micron premium polypropylene mineral filter.
- Highly effective for VOCs such as industrial solvents, pesticides, and herbicides.
- Eliminates more than 90% Cl, Clean more than 50000 gallons of water for families.
- One-inch outlet and inlet ports help in efficient water flow, save from scale build.
- Low-pressure loss, premium quality CTO, fine contaminant filter for heavy water.
- Captures scale particles, dust, sand, dirt, and silt enhances CTO life.
- Highly compact fabrication, quality coconut carbon shell, protect from sediments.
- Includes filter wrench to facilitate quick and easy filter variations, DIY installation.
- Pressure release-valve to increase pressure, get healthy and clean water for households.
- Designed with multi-layer filtration for the least pressure and clogs in hard water.
- Removes more than 95% of contaminants, chloramines, sediments.
- Not stinky and noticeably clearer.
- Best water filter unit in low price.
- Simple installation method.
- Great water pressure.
- Working could be modified.
3. Capacitive Alternative Water Softener Electronic-Water Descaler System Salt Free for Whole-House
- Cleans water by electric impulses that are produced in an electronic system.
- Working overcomes via a micro computerized chip, multifunctional machinery.
- Crystals can’t link to one another to build-up limescale which destroys appliances.
- Blocked bacterial growth, requires pipe space of maximum 1” and minimum 10”.
- Works with any kind of pipe (compound, plastic, PE-x, steel, PVC) more than 1” thick.
- An easy method of installation doesn’t remove the wanted minerals of Mg and Ca.
- Descaling reduces negative impacts of hard water, doesn’t use salt.
- Avoid minerals from developing scales, a major drawback of heavy water.
- Enjoy a free limescale environment, risk-free 1-year warranty, 100% cashback guarantee.
- Great quality unit.
- Amazing operations.
- Minerals are neutralized.
- Easiest installation.
4. Waterdrop 10UB with Dedicated Faucet Under-Sink Water Filter System
- Prolong life service of 8000 gallons or 12 months, latest multi-stage filtration.
- Effectively removes sediments, chemical pollutants, large particles, and hard metals.
- Particularly designed with lead-free, premium quality materials, certified by WQA.
- KDF ensures filter sanitary, analyzed against NSF-372 and NSF-42 standards.
- Efficiently removes odor, heavy metals, contaminants, chlorine, and taste.
- BPA-free quality materials ensure reliable functions outside and inside of the tank.
- Lead-free stainless steel brush faucet, efficient water flow, simple installation.
- Upgraded to lock and twist style to replace a filter without any tool in just 3 seconds.
- Supported with the latest push to connect tech, a water feed adapter link to tubing.
- The tested full water flow rate with respect to filtration is 0.75gpm at 60psi.
- A combination of original and dedicated faucets separate unfiltered water from filtered one.
- Best quality and great taste.
- Easy installation and great water flow.
- Super cheap price and simple instructions.
- Taste could be more improved.
5. Home Master Whole-House III-Stage Water Filtration System
- Heavy filter housing with ports of 1 inch, multiple densities to replace sediments.
- Greater dirt capturing ability, filtration process down to ‘1’ micron as well.
- Effective purification of more than 95% of sediments, iron, chemicals, and magnesium.
- Designed with 3-stage water filtration, eliminate odors, staining, and foul tastes.
- A powerful combination of radial iron flow, HS sediments, multi-gradient minerals, radial carbon flow more than 3ppm load capacity.
- A large volume filter effectively decreases maintenance frequency and flow rate.
- Coconut carbon shell filter cleans more than 95000 gallons of water before replacing it.
- Not made to treat for acidic water, chlorinated city water, less than 7 pH, and iron bacteria.
- The temperature of feedwater is 40˚-100˚F, the unit has 48 pounds weight.
- Strongest possible pressure more than 15 gallons in one minute, finer filtration.
- Super easy installation.
- Very clean water flavor.
- Extremely good operations.
There are many essential features that need to consider while shopping for a better quality water softener for your business and home purposes. This is good to set a list of what are you searching for, preferred unit size, softening requirements, and budget. Here is a buyer’s guide for you, just have a look at important factors before making a final purchase.
Today’s water softeners in the market have variable grain capacities with respect to categories. A few water softeners are capable of generating ‘soft water’ for a longer time at a slower rate as compared to others. Around 3000 grains/day will use by an average-sized family. It means you will get about 6-years or 1960-days from a system along with 64000 grains average capacity. Some water softeners have larger grain capacities and some have smaller capacities. Decide what grain capacity you need for an upgrade.
This bypass-valve is used to cut-off the water supply in the respective water softening system. Whereas it still allows water flow via pipes and other appliances in your homes. You have required such a bypass-valve of water softener that helps you to disconnect the water supply during maintenance on this system. This is also beneficial when a bypass-valve has the ability to manually cut-off water from softening system during the regeneration circle.
Various water softeners have designed with a bypass-valve. If this is not added in shopping, look virtual to observe which would be fitted. This bypass-valve is necessary for the saltwater softener. This is a better idea to have a salt-free water softener as well.
A variety of technologies are used to make water soft. For example, a high hardness needs a salt-based system of water softener. You can eliminate whole minerals from hard water. Normally, you do not want to eliminate such ions. But, only need to avoid them from creating ‘limescale buildup’. For this purpose, you must prefer a ‘salt-free’ water softening system. There’s no good option in between a salt-free water softener and a salt-based water softener. It just depends on personal needs.
Maintenance costs & Installation
A technology-type can impact on prolong maintenance and initial costs of water softening systems.
Normally, salt-based water softening systems are more costly to buy as compared to salt-free water softeners. Upkeep is also a little bit expensive. Your budget may have a larger effect on the final purchase.
Maintenance expenses and installation are variable for different models either you are searching for salt-free water softeners or salt-based water softeners. However, its cost may reach to additional 100$. The best water softening systems have greater efficiency and larger durability.
Variable-capacity has designed with different unit sizes. As you have identified a place to protect the water softening system, you will require to make essential measures. You will have to know about the available area and its adjustment according to the water softening system that you are considering buying.
Types: Water Softeners
The water softeners have many types such as magnetic water, salt-free, salt-based, and dual tank water softeners. The most familiar and effective type of water softener is ‘Salt-Based Softener’.
Salt Based Water Softeners
The most widely used system is a salt-based softener. These softeners are developed in variable sizes as well as appropriate for mansions to RVs and every dwelling. Its cost comes in between the more expensive salt-free system and the affordable magnetic system of water softeners.
A salt-based water softener functions via the ‘ion exchange’ process. In this system, heavy minerals such as Mg and Ca are put into softener resin, then exchanged by Na ions. Such softeners completely remove heavy metals. They return your hard water into a clean, neutral, and healthy state. This clean water would not wreck your skin, appliances, and faucets. However, it can add useful salts to the water. This is such a little quantity that can’t be noticed.
Salt Free Water Softeners
Its name shows that a salt-free water softener doesn’t work for the elimination of heavy metals in water. A salt-free system can’t remove heavy contaminants at all. It is often known as ‘Template Assisted Crystallization’. TAC system utilizes polymer beads to hold nucleation sites at the micro-level.
As heavy minerals stick to different sites, they start to develop crystals via neutralization. Once this process has established, crystals detach, or never link to anything. They avoid scaling and build-up from heavy water.
Such salt-free softeners have more cost at the beginning. However, they are long-lasting for 3-years without recharging or electricity. These softeners are little sized as compared to salt-based systems. Thus, they are used for both large-sized and small-sized families without a problem. But, these systems struggle with higher levels of water hardness and households along with greater than medium water utilization.
Dual Tank Water Softeners
It is a salt-based water softener along with ‘2’ resin tanks. Such tanks work in a similar way just like a single tank of the salt-based water softener. As one tank is working in the regeneration unit, the second tank will provide clean water.
A dual tank water softener is not essential for many households. Because of their sizes, these can be difficult to install. These softeners are expensive than other models as well as need to recharge. But, the dual tank water softener overcomes a large amount of water in one regeneration cycle.
Magnetic-Type Water Softeners
Electric or Magnetic water softeners have great values for little places as they adjust on a water pipe or take negligible space. There is no need to cut water-line to utilize them. But, specific models need to be wired into an electrical unit.
Such water softeners don’t eliminate heavy contaminants in water. However, they stripe positive ions or negative ions from hard water and neutralize them with the help of a magnetic field. As these species are no longer negatively or positively charged, heavy matters can’t link with each other. Thus, they remain completely soluble within the water.
If you’re searching for a proper solution to moderate or reduce heavy water problems, never mind dealing with ‘An Electric Connection’. Then magnetic softener is the right choice.
Installation Guide: Water Softener
Here is the simplest and step by step installation guide for a whole house water softener system;
Step-I: At the main line, shut-off water. To drain, open the faucets. Heater is disconnected.
Step-II: Into the softener, install a better bypass valve.
Step-III: At an intended point, place the unit. Be sure the process would be protected during harsh climates like freezing and flooding.
Step-IV: To outlet and inlet ports of the bypass, install ‘2’ good elbow fittings. Now, cut the main pipeline, and link it to ports. Link outgoing water to ‘outlet port’. Link incoming water to ‘inlet port’.
Step-V: On the unit, join drain-tube with drain-valve fitting.
Step-VI: On brine tank, install a brine-tube on ‘overflow valve’.
Step-VII: Place a distributor pipe in ‘brine-tank’. Put salt 2/3 to the total capacity of tank.
Step-VIII: Adjust unit according to bypass mode. Slowly turn on H2O. Just wait and you can observe a steady and smooth flow at ‘drain line. It opens the drainpipe completely. Rejoin and on the water heater.
Step-IX: Now opens ‘bypass valve’. Then wait for few minutes to push air by the system. The valve opens completely. A backwash cycle continues.
Step-X: Then configure ‘Unit’ by following the guidelines of manufacturers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the method of cleaning a water softener?
A water softener is cleaned by dumping whole salt and water out of the container or disposing of them. Now remove the brine-unit from the bottom and put it aside. Use soapy and hot water with a long-handle cleaning brush to rub the inner side of the tank. Then, rinse it with simple water.
After rinsed, a blending of ¼ cup household-bleach is used. Use 2-3 gallons of water to fill the container completely. This blending must remain for 15-minutes to destroy all germs. Once more rinse the reservoir. Replace brine-grid, fill it with H2O. Then, replenish the brine grid with salt.
Why should I need a water softening system?
The major purpose of the water softening system is to soft ‘hard water’ in your households. Why and how you can use such softening systems is based on your needs. Perhaps, every person requires clean and soft water for drinking and showering. This may be possible that you are fine with this hard water of your households. But, you must need soft water for the campsite and RV.
Is this safe/good to use water from water softening systems?
If only minerals are hardening contaminants, then it is good to use water from water softening systems for drinking purposes. These systems will neutralize contaminants or remove hardening materials. But, a water softener unit can’t be used as a ‘water filter’ as well as wouldn’t eliminate other hazardous materials. Because this should only trust soft water and doesn’t have any purifying qualities.
Why does a water softener system release foul smell?
There are various causes of releasing a bad smell from a water softener. After a while of working, your system begins to smell. Usually, if you feel the smell of rotten eggs from a water softener, this is due to sulfur bacteria that are grown inside your container.
These bacteria attract to Na salt in the brine-grid, release HS that produces a rotten egg smell. This issue is resolved by regular cleaning of the brine container.
In which places water softeners are installed?
In various situations, you need to install a water softening system close to the incoming fresh water supply. There is an intercept of water flow before reaching any home appliances. Thus, each appliance in the home has facilitated from ‘soft water’. This is particularly significant to install this system of water softening before the water goes into the heater. Because hot water destroys parts of the system as well.
The majority of users install water softening systems in the basement or garage, away from the house. Such homes that don’t have any basement or garage, try to set water softener nearby heater unit. Be sure to install this system in a piping area close to the heater.
Surely, there is a lot to known if you are finding water softeners to use at your home. Considering your choices is a simple method to narrow down the option depend on water softening needs. Before making a final purchase, you must sure to spend time research water softener products you are interested in. Be sure to take care of analyzing variations as well as thoroughly reading reviews. Consider the key specifications in mind that are significant and do not forget practicalities such as upkeep, capacity, and cost.
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