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What is Water Softener & Do You Need It?

If you have hard water, you know that it can cause issues with drinking, cleaning, and other water uses throughout your home or on your property. Hard water is caused by metal ions in your water, such as magnesium and calcium. Over time, these metal ions build up on your faucets, pipes, and elsewhere in your plumbing diluting your water and causing issues for your plumbing network. Let’s look at what water softener is, how it can combat hard water, and whether or not you need a water softening solution in your home.

What is Water Softener?

Water softener is a chemical or filtration system that removes metal and nutrients from water, such as removing magnesium or calcium. Often, this process uses ion-exchange resins or lime softening processes to remove excess debris in water no matter the source. Water softener helps eliminate debris, particles and build up in water particularly from water sources such as wells. This softener can also take care of limescale formation and soap scum build up in pipes which left untreated can slow water flow, cause burst pipes, and create more plumbing issues.

Types of Water Softeners

There are a handful of water softeners and systems on the market, including:

  • Salt-Based Water Softener
  • Salt-Free Water Softener
  • Dual-Tank Water Softener

Salt-based water softener cycles all water in a home through two tanks, one whish resin beads and one with brine. This substitutes salt for the hard minerals found in the water. Salt-free water softener uses a potassium-chloride salt substitute rather than salt. This works as a descaler when it cycles water through a home. Dual-tank water softener allows one tank to regenerate for cycling water while the other is in use; in large homes with a higher water usage, this type of system is best.

These are the three main types of water softening solutions for homes and properties. Although there’s other methods on the market, the above are the most commonly used. Working with a plumber who diagnoses a hard water problem will help you determine which water softener solution is right for your home.