If you have hard water in your home, you’ve probably heard of a few different types of water softeners on the market. Since water treatment is a somewhat technical issue, understanding what different products do, and which is right for your home can get confusing. If you’re in the market for a water softener and want to know a little bit more about what a salt-free water softener is, we’re here to help. This article is going to dig into what a salt-free water softener is, what it does, how it works, and who they are best for. Let’s get started!
Basic Types of Water Softeners Explained
Water softeners are devices that are used to remove certain minerals from water, making it “softer.” The most common type of water softener is the salt-based water softener, which uses sodium ions to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium. However, salt-based water softeners can be problematic for people with high blood pressure or heart problems, as well as for the environment. As an alternative, salt-free water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove minerals from water. This makes them a more environmentally-friendly option, as well as a good choice for people with health conditions that preclude the use of salt-based water softeners. While salt-free water softeners are generally more expensive than their salt-based counterparts, they may be the better choice for some people. Ultimately which system is best depends on individual preferences and budgets.
What is A Salt-Free Water Softener & How Does It Work?
Contrary to what its name suggests, a salt-free water softener isn’t actually a water softener at all. It’s actually a water conditioner. Hard water comes from excess minerals in your water, such as magnesium or calcium. A true sodium-based water softener removes these minerals, while a salt-free water softener crystallizes them. This crystallization can help the water feel softer and will prevent scale buildup in your plumbing. However, this crystallization will not improve most of the common symptoms of hard water, like preventing soap scum and softening your skin.
What’s the Advantage of Salt-Free Water Softeners?
Salt-free water softeners are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional water softeners. Unlike traditional water softeners, salt-free water softeners do not remove minerals from the water. Instead, they change the shape of the minerals so that they can no longer attach to surfaces. Salt-free water softeners are typically more expensive than traditional water softeners, but they have a number of advantages. Salt-free water softeners are easier to maintain and they do not generate waste salt. In addition, salt-free water softeners do not consume electricity and they have a longer lifespan. Salt-free water softeners are an increasingly popular choice for eco-conscious consumers.
What Are The Benefits of A Salt-Based Water Softening System?
Unlike salt-free systems, a salt-based water softening system has a plethora of benefits outside of simply preventing scale buildup in your pipes. When you think of soft water, the type that dries well, cleans easily and makes soap lather like a dream, you’re probably thinking of a salt-based system. The benefits associated with a traditional salt-based water softening system include things like removing minerals from the water. These minerals are what is responsible for scale buildup, bad taste, and soap scum. When you remove these minerals, instead of just crystalizing them, you get to take advantage of all of the benefits of soft water.
Only Salt-Based Systems Meet Industry Standards
While standards may change based on where you live, generally speaking, only salt-based systems meet the Department of Public Health Codes. So, if you’re required to install a water softener in your home, you’ll need to get a salt-based one installed by a professional. Salt-free water softeners are generally seen as a consumer-level add-on, and not a true water softening system. While they can be effective at improving your plumbing system, the benefits stop there.
Which One is Right For You?
Before you go buy the latest and greatest salt-based water softening system, you should ask yourself if it truly is what you’re looking for. Many people simply want a water softener to improve their plumbing, and don’t care about all of the other benefits. If you’re in the market for a new water softening system, let us know which types you’re considering in the comments section below!