What’s the Best Water Softener? Reviews, Ratings & Buying Guide

soft water

Water is the driving force of all nature

Leonardo da Vinci

Instead of asking what you can do with water, your question should be about what you can’t do without water. Water is crucial for cooking, cleaning, drinking, living and dying. You need water for agriculture. You need water when carrying out surgical procedures in hospital. The birth of a child requires water. Is it any wonder that water is life? Water exists in different forms. Solid water is called ice. Liquid water is called water. Gas water is called water vapor or steam. What’s more, water can be hard or soft. Fortunately, you can convert hard water into soft water using water softeners. Hard water has its uses and so does soft water.

Globally, one of every ten people has no access to safe water. More than 30 percent of all schools in the world can’t access safe water. In January 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that water crisis has become the number one risk globally because of the impact that it has on the society. Water crisis can be devastating and lead to economic downfall around the world. Women and children use more than 125 million hours around the world searching for safe water to collect for different purposes. A child dies across the world every 90 seconds from water-related diseases. The reasons are enough to convince you of the benefits of reading the various water softener reviews in this site.

More than 1.8 billion people around the world drink water that’s full of faeces according to a report that WHO released in conjunction with UNICEF. Faeces are just one of the problems. The presence of faeces might sound disgusting. What do you feel about the high amount of the hard-to-digest magnesium and calcium found in hard water? Water softeners how they work should be one of the first lessons that you learn to make your water safe and enjoyable to use. You need a deeper understanding of water softener and filter to make your water enjoyable to use. Learning the water softener benefits helps you to appreciate having them at home to soften hard water.

Myths about Water Softening that you should know

One of the myths you should know about this process states that water softening is possible using salt-free technology. Any technology whose manufacturer claims can soften water without using salt is nothing more than a glorified scale inhibitor. Secondly, water softening doesn’t deny your body the healthy nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium, which it needs to function properly. It’s worth stating that the magnesium and calcium found in water exist inorganically, thus hard for the body to digest. Myth number three states that water softening creates a film on the skin. The skin only feels softer, smoother and less dry. It’s time to ask how much is a water softener.

Why should you install the water softener?

types of water softeners

Ask yourself this, do I need a water softener? Do you even know what is water softener? To answer this question, you should appreciate the benefits of using soft water. Now, you must appreciate that you can’t have soft water without investing in water softener. Therefore, you ought to appreciate that the two share the same fate. You can’t have one without the other. If you understand these, then you shouldn’t allow the question about the merits and demerits of installing the softener to arise or disturb your peace. If you need soft water, then you’ll equally need the softener. Soft water is beneficial to you in many ways as shown below:

  • You never have to worry about embarrassing stains and deposits on showers and bathtubs
  • Makes cleaning the house quicker and easier
  • Eliminates all the worries you have about stained and spotted glassware as well as dishes
  • Improved efficiency of the water heater reduces energy bills
  • Increased lathering
  • Reduced use of soap by as much as 50 percent
  • Helps to make clothes cleaner, softer, brighter and whiter
  • Extends the life of appliances that use water
  • Smoothens and softens skin

Water softener alternatives aren’t as great as the actual water softeners. The former can’t get rid of soap curds, which are common features associated with using hard water. Any water softener that you use eliminates soap curds, thus allowing you to save money by reducing the amount of soap that you buy and use. Installing residential water softener eliminates your worries about being able to use natural chemical-free laundering agents and healthy soaps. While learning how water softeners work, you’ll realize its important role that it plays in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Installing the softener means that you’re preserving the environment.

Do you think that water softeners are overrated?

benefits of a water softener

Only a person who doesn’t need soft water can say that the water softener system is overrated and not worth the investment. Water is a need that you can’t do without, especially if you clean, bathe and eat regularly. Soft water simply refers to the water whose mineral contents have been dissolved and removed. Soft water is usually hard water but without the excessively high amounts of sulfates, bicarbonates, magnesium and calcium that it contains prior to going through the softening process. The softening is difficult to carry out without the help of tools that include water softener systems.

Softening water does eliminate all the minerals completely. The procedure only reduces the quantity of the minerals to manageable or tolerable levels. Soft water is smooth. Use a water softener today to make your hard water soft. Drink a glass of the hard water and compare it with soft water that you soften using these tools. The experience will leave you wondering why you’ve subjected yourself to such tough times before by drinking hard water to quench your thirst. Soft water isn’t only desirable because of its smoothness. Soft water is full of other benefits that include the following:

  1. Easy to produce rich lather

  2. Eliminates the need to use too much soap and detergents

  3. Smoothens skin

  4. Makes hair healthier

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, soft water is great for your appliances and plumbing. Hard water is notorious for damaging appliances. It does this by clogging appliances. Hard water has a reputation for damaging water heaters by reducing their efficiency through a buildup of sediment. Exposing your water heaters to hard water can reduce their efficiency by as much as 48 percent. What does this mean? Reduced efficiency on the part of your appliances would drive your energy consumption and bills higher. Eventually, your finances would encounter a major hit, thus affecting your ability to meet your financial obligations.

Do you now appreciate the importance of water softener installation? Do you continue holding on to your beliefs that water softeners are overrated? If you do, then now is the best time for asking how does a water softener work? The softener is a wonderful tool that would prove priceless for you in the long-term. It’s an investment that keeps giving back for as long as you use it. It eliminates the worries you experienced when using hard water before you upgraded to soft water. This isn’t to say that hard water is risky to your health or physical well-being. It just means that the best water softeners guarantee your peace of mind.

It’s important to understand the effects of hard water. Once your understanding of this issue becomes clearer, you’d have little difficulty appreciating the importance of learning how to install a water softener. As previously stated, hard water isn’t dangerous to your health or physical wellness. Hard water has a high concentration of magnesium and calcium as well as other minerals. Consequently, it requires high temperatures to heat, thus increasing your energy bills. Hard water itself isn’t bad, but you can’t say the same about the calcium and magnesium it contains. Too much consumption of these two minerals is bad for your health.

How does the water softener work?

Water softeners operate using the same principle. How do water softeners work? They replace the bad minerals with sodium. Where do they get the sodium? The softeners get sodium from the salt. Water softener is nothing more than a mechanical appliance that you install and make part of the plumbing or water supply system in your home. Understanding how a water softener works requires colluding with the experts. A good expert will tell you that the softeners work using a process known as ion exchange. The ions being exchanged in this case are for calcium and magnesium on one hand and sodium on the other hand.

Salt is a crucial component of the water softeners. Nevertheless, it’s not right to claim that the softeners would be incapable of softening water without the salt. The softeners depend on the tiny resin beads, which are in their thousands, to soften hard water. The beads are in the tank that filters out all the chemicals found in the hard water. For its part, salt cleans the beads during each regeneration cycle. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore the salt or fail to replenish it the moment you notice its levels dropping in the softener. In a nutshell, how does a water softener work?

  • Hard water gets into your house through the main pipe

  • Hard water proceeds to the water softener

  • Resin beads attract the minerals in the hard water

  • Resin beads hold strongly on to the minerals

  • The beads remove the minerals from the water

  • The tank releases softened water

  • Softened water flows into the entire plumbing system all over the house

Understanding how does water softener work is crucial. It’s like owning a car. You must understand how the car works, at least the basics. Otherwise, you’d keep taking the car to the local mechanic and pay more for repairs or replacements. Subsequently, you have to invest in learning how the home water softener systems operate. The knowledge is crucial as it helps you to identify the water softener problems while at infancy before they worsen. If you can identify the problems early enough, you’d not have to buy new softener because the current one is too damaged and irreparable.

How to Install Water Softeners

types of water softeners

Have you ever wondered how to install water softener? If you know the importance of soft water, this question must have run through your mind several times. Installing a water softener isn’t impossible. The installation process is different depending on the type of water softening system that you have. Each type of softener has its own difficulty level. The installation also depends on the types of pipes or plumbing systems that run in your home. The exact location where you intend to install the softener is equally important. Installing water softener requires the following types of tools or supplies:

  1. Tape measure

  2. Pipe cutters

  3. Pipe wrench

  4. Tee valves

  5. Gate valves

  6. Compression fittings

  7. Copper pipe or tubing

  8. Flexible tubing

  9. Union fittings

  10. PVC solvent

  11. Teflon tape

  12. Torch and solder

If you’re ready with all the tools listed above, you can now begin the water softener install procedure. First, you have to shut off the main line that takes water into your house. Open the lowest valve in your house and use it for draining the pipes. Next, you have to shut off the water heater as well as the power line that leads to it. Your next task involves identifying the exact place along the primary line for installing the softener. Now, the main line needs cutting and you ought to use a pipe cutter for this work. Once you have taken these steps, you ought to proceed with the following:

  • Installing an elbow fitting within the main line

  • Measuring the lengths of the pipes that run right into the bypass valve

  • Using compression fittings in attaching the different pipes to the specific unit

  • Clamping the hose and the unit together before feeding it to the line where it shall be draining

  • Connecting the overflow tube with the brine tank

  • Turning the valve to a bypass position before flashing water through it

  • Plugging the unit in

  • Setting the valve to the correct backward position

Improper installation would increase the likelihood of damaging the softener. If you install it poorly, you might have to ask questions such as, how much does a water softener cost, because the softener won’t work properly. To avoid making such costly mistakes, ask the manufacturer to send a technician to install the softener in your house. If the manufacturer is outside the city or country, you might have to look for plumbers or contractors with experience in installing softeners in houses. Proper installation ensures that the softener works properly. As mentioned earlier, properly installed softeners don’t develop defects before returning the investment.

Water Softeners Maintenance Steps

It’s important to learn the basics of troubleshooting a water softener first. Before embarking on any water softener maintenance task, you should educate yourself on identifying system failures. Some failures are more devastating than others. Some failures require your DIY skills while others need the intervention of professional technicians. You can identify a failed softener by its inability to soften water any more. The biggest culprits in terms of making the system fail and stop working as smoothly as it did before are system control settings. Check the electronic control system that you usually use when setting the time.

A seemingly insignificant issue such as setting the clock timer wrongly can make the softener stop working effectively. A poorly set timer makes the tool incapable of softening water, thus negating all the measures you’ve put in place. Furthermore, the system needs a bit of recharging. Therefore, set time aside for recharging the system. Recharging the system is a task that you should set aside for the morning only. When learning how water softeners work, you must have come across a term such as hardness setting. If you did, then you must have learned the importance of checking the hardness setting, as it’s capable of making the softener useless.

Even the best water softener system fails occasionally. When it does, you have to be able to troubleshoot and institute the measures that make it work well again. As previously stated, a DIY approach is highly recommended as long as you know what you’re doing. If the problems appear too complex, it would be good for you to hire a professional technician. If the system control settings are in good condition, your next task should be checking the condition of the softener’s salt supply tank. Furthermore, cleaning the resin bed is highly advisable. When doing this, don’t ignore the manufacturer’s directions.

Other measures that you must take to keep the softener in excellent condition include:

  • Checking the salt level after a period of between 4-6 weeks
  • Adding salt regularly
  • Identifying the best kind of salt to add
  • Performing regular inspections
  • Breaking up salt bridges
  • Cleaning the brine tank
  • Adding a pre-filter

Water Softener Discharge – Is it harmful?

Water Softener Discharge

When talking about water softener discharge, your immediate concern should be on the safety and preservation of the septic system. The discharge is capable of damaging the septic system. The softener does a lot of backwashing and flushing, which could damage the system. The problem exacerbates when the backwashing and flushing increase in intensity while removing the materials that hard water accumulated. Moreover, the damages that occur to the softener thus rendering it ineffective are also responsible for damaging or stressing the septic system. The problem occurs when the malfunction sends numerous gallons of water into the septic system.

Poor softener maintenance is responsible for causing extensive damages to the septic system. A small septic system is similarly susceptible to damages when huge volumes of water flow into it from the softener. The good news is that you can reduce the effects that water softener has on the septic system. You can do this in various ways. First, you must test the water for hardness prior to investing in the softener. At times, the softener would be an unnecessary expense that’s not worth incurring. The softener is unnecessary if your home has soft water. The softener is an unnecessary expense in a home with water whose hardness doesn’t warrant softening.

It’s possible to reduce the effects on the septic system by choosing a softener with a need-based regeneration or backwash cycle. A softener whose regeneration or backwash cycle is based on a timer would be incapable of providing the quality of softening that you need without damaging the septic system. What’s more, you don’t need to operate the softener 24/7. You can set the softener to operate during specific times only. To do this, begin practicing or observing water preservation. Furthermore, set the salt dose and backwash frequency properly. Adjusting the salt dose and backwash frequency to the lowest level is advisable to preserve the septic system.

The discharge from the softener wouldn’t be a problem if you keep your eyes open for faulty equipment. Keep your ears open as well, especially if your system has a knack for allowing water to run or drain continuously. Salt alternatives are a great idea. The alternatives include potassium chloride. A separate floor drain or drywell is also highly recommended to preserve the septic system and ensure that the softener doesn’t damage it. Preventing cross-contamination by properly air gapping the discharge line should be one of your focus points and areas of priority. Where possible, connect your system with the municipal water to avoid the need for a softener.

Guide for Buying Water Softeners

The softener might seem like a small appliance that doesn’t help you much. You can only make or believe such a statement if you have no idea the kind of work the softener does. Knowing what you can do with the softener is just a half of the work. You also need to know how to buy the softener or what to look from it. The softener doesn’t come cheap. More importantly, you need to go beyond how much it costs to learning what to look for before paying for the softener. The needs of your household are important in this issue. Don’t ignore the size of your household when buying the softer.

Next, choose a softener depending on the level of hardness of the water in your home. Test the water for hardness. If you don’t know how to do this, take the water to the nearest competent lab full of professionals to have it tested for hardness. You can buy and use any test kit found in the market to evaluate the level of hardness. The market is full of different types of soap test kits worth using for this purpose. Testing the water for hardness involves evaluating its Parts Per Million or Grains Per Gallons, which are also known as PPM and GPG respectively. If the GPG is below 3.5, you have soft water. If the GPG is over 10.5, you have hard water.

The minimal softener capacity needs are worth evaluating too. You must determine the capacity needs of your household. The minimal softener capacity needs simply refer to the hardness within the water that the tool has to remove every day. The hardness that has to be removed every day isn’t the only factor worth considering. The other factor, with which the daily hardness is multiplied, is the number of days you’re prepared to go without using the softener. The recommended number of days is between 2 and 3. With this information, you won’t have much trouble determining the most suitable softener for your house.

It’s important to select a softener with the ability to remove iron. You can’t ignore this fact because some softeners are notorious for their inability to remove iron from water. It’s granted that you might not know how to check for this. You might not even know whether the water you use at home has iron or not. In such instances, don’t hesitate visiting the nearest lab for assistance with this pressing matter. Take the water to the local laboratory for testing. Based on the results of the test, you’re now ready to spend money on the softener without worrying how much it costs. Below find some of the best rated water Softeners: 

nuvoH2O Manor 

Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System

Grains: 60,000

Dimensions: 31.3 x 10.1 x 8.8

  • salt-free Water Softerner

Watts RV PRO-1000

M7002 Portable Water Softener

Grains: 10,000

Dimensions: 21 x 9.5 x 9

  • portable, uses standard table salt

Fleck 5600SXT

digitial sxt metered whole house system

Grains: 48,000

Dimensions: 10" x 54" tank, 14" x 17" x 33" brine tank

  • meter based regeneration softerner

WaterBoss 220

Grain Water Softener 

Grains: 22,000

Dimensions: 18.8 x 14.8 x 25.8

  • additional sediment and dirt filters

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The size of the water supply line is an important factor. Don’t buy any softener if you don’t know the size as well as capacity of the supply line. Know this piece of information prior to visiting the local stores to buy the softener. The size and capacity of the supply line is crucial, especially if you’re in a relatively new home. A water softener with a higher flow valve is necessary where the main supply line measures 1-inch or more. Once again, you can learn this information through talking with the local suppliers. You could invite a professional plumber to calculate these details for you.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, there’s no doubt that the water softener plays a very important role in homes. Without it, you won’t be able to soften hard water. Do a bit of research on soft water to know what you’ve been missing. However, before buying the softener, test your water to determine its level of hardness. As long as you have the right information, you should experience little difficulty in choosing the best softener and using it in your home to reduce the energy expenses while preserving the water-based appliances in great condition. Contact an expert in water softener today for more assistance.