Posted on: 8 December 2016
Water softeners are a special type of water filter that are designed to "soften" your home's water supply by removing minerals in the water. These minerals, which are most commonly magnesium and calcium, can create a chalky buildup within your plumbing and on your home's water fixtures. However, there are a few types of water softeners available for residential installation, each of which operates in a different manner to perform the same function. Understanding what each type of water softener does can help you choose the one that is the best match to your home's plumbing needs.
Salt-free water softeners, like their name would suggest, do not make use of salt within the water softener to reduce the hardness of your water. These types of water softeners make use of a filter to block calcium and various other minerals within your hard water from making their way into the actual water that you use. Because they don't make use of salt or a chemical process, no other minerals are added into your water supply while this water softener is working. The only disadvantage associated with this type of model is the fact that it can have trouble softening extremely hard water and that they require constant maintenance to replace the filter, depending on how hard your water is.
Ion Exchange Softeners
Ion exchange softeners are another common type of water softener that make use of sodium ions to bind with the calcium and magnesium in hard water, replacing those minerals with sodium. While these types of filters are much more effective at softening water than their salt-free counterparts, they are not recommended for use with drinking water, as they can drastically increase the saltiness of the water. Further, ion exchange water softeners require the same amount of maintenance as salt-free softeners, as the sodium ions have to be periodically recharged.
Reverse Osmosis Softeners
Reverse osmosis water softeners are extremely effective at removing minerals from hard water, perhaps to a greater degree than any other type of water softener. They make use of a semipermeable membrane that allows water to pass through but which traps hard water minerals as they try to pass through. The main disadvantage associated with a reverse osmosis system is the initial cost and maintenance: As the semipermeable membrane is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in municipal water, a series of filters have to be put into place before water can filter through the membrane. This means that the cost of the unit and of replacing the filters is significantly larger over time when compared to alternative water softeners.
Talk with a company like Rhodes Pump Service Inc. to learn more about water softening techniques and filters.Share