Before choosing a water softener you need to consider primary factors such as the capacity of the softener you want, the design, its ability to neutralize extra contaminants, the level of water usage in your home, and the degree of water hardness in your immediate environment. In this buying guide, we will talk in more detail about these factors, and this will help you answer the question of how to choose a water softener system for your home.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Water Softener
These factors will pinpoint the brands, capacity, and specifications to have in mind when in the market for a water softener:
The Installation Process of Water Softeners
Certain water softeners are easier to install compared to others. Good water softener brands take care to make their installation manual as straightforward and detailed as possible.
They don’t just stop there, but they also make provisions for the necessary installation accessories. Some of them are the valve for bypassing, the required connecting tubes that link your water softener to your home’s plumbing system, the drain, and a power source.
Certain brands even go as far as offering post-purchase incentives such as free installation. When you’re in the market for a water softener, these are the brands you should look out for. They go all out to install a water softener for their customers.
The Regeneration Cycle: Dual Tank and Single Tank
The ease of the regeneration cycle also differs across the different water softeners in the market. Traditional water softeners regenerate manually, while others can be configured to commence regeneration automatically. If you’re a fan of convenience, your choice should be obvious.
You can configure your water softener to regenerate twice a week, irrespective of your home’s demand for water. Demand-initiated regeneration starts once the water usage has reached a certain level, and for the salt-based water softener, this means the water softener salt will be prudently used. Some water softeners have a dual tank. A dual tank water softener regenerates better than a single-tank water softener.
Frequent regeneration involves the frequent use of water softener salt. Going for a water softener that only regenerates at the appropriate times prevents the frequent use of water and salt, saving both of them. This softening process is meant to keep the resin beads of the filter bed in optimum condition.
The Number of House Members and Level of Water Usage
We use a large amount of water daily. An average daily rate is estimated at 80-100 gallons per head. So using this estimate for a family of 6, that’s approximately 450 gallons of water daily.
Certain activities such as taking showers, drinking, cooking, laundry, and other water-based chores are done for longer durations by some families than others. Therefore, it’s safe to assume the daily water usage per head can be as high as 120 gallons of water.
Also, considering the abundant presence of hard water in their immediate environment, choosing a water softener with a very high capacity is the ideal solution for such households.
The volume of grains of water hardness determines the capacity of a water softening system before it’s due for regeneration. Water softeners with a higher capacity than others take a longer time to regenerate, which saves more salt and water. This makes them more efficient in tackling water hardness minerals and is more budget-friendly in the long run.
Capacity: Grains Per Gallon
The capacity you need determines the right water softener size for your household:
If your household uses about 200 to 400 gallons, the grain capacity of the water softener you need is 30k-44k grains per gallon (GPG). This is based on the assumption that the strength of your hard water measures up to 10 GPG. You can determine the strength of your hard water by conducting a water test. The higher the capacity, the more the water supply to your home.
Ability to Remove Water Contaminants
Certain softeners are more potent in tackling water hardness than others. Whether they use ion exchange or not, they are very efficient in neutralizing the calcium and magnesium present in your hard water. Some ion exchange water softeners are more efficient than others. This means they tackle hard water better.
Integration With Other Water Filters
Some water filtration brands offer a water filter and softener combo. These are the water softeners you need to consider. They can soften your hard water, and you still get an all-around water treatment. Using a water softener and filter combo will be of immense benefit to your family.
You get soft water, and your water supply is free from dangerous pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It improves your water quality by giving it a better taste and smell. They also rid the water of other contaminants such as certain chemicals and deposits of sediments.
Duration of Warranty
Warranties differ across brands of softeners. Warranties cover details on the equipment parts such as the resin bed, the tanks, electrical components, and the required labor.
Certain brands offer a complete and secure guarantee to their buyers. Some water softeners also last and stay in optimum condition longer than others. By this, we mean they soften water and extract certain contaminants from your hard water longer than other water softener systems.
In essence, their warranty is complete. Their products are more durable and efficient for long-term use.
Before you choose a water softener system for your house, take your time and do the maths. What is your budget, how much water do you use daily, and with what features should your water softener system come?
Remember, salt-free water softeners are better at altering specific ions to give similar results to salt-based water softeners. But this is a topic for another article.