Are saltless water softeners effective?
The irony of salt-free water softeners is that they are not regarded as water softeners in the traditional sense. They don't use an ionic process to replace calcium and magnesium in the water. The water is merely conditioned in a manner that prevents the particles from sticking and building up. Conditioning water may be all that some homeowners need if their chief problem is scaling, which is the buildup of hard water deposits. While both types of water systems can be useful, it is the traditional salt-based water softeners that most homeowners need. Let's discuss how salt-free water softeners work below and the alternatives.
What Are My Alternatives For Water Softeners?
Depending on where you live, hard water may or may not be a major problem. If you do your laundry, dishes, and cooking at home, these can all affect your decision. There are location-specific water softeners that work well in the shower. You can have your shower head soften the water without investing in a whole-house system if showering is your primary gripe regarding the hard water.
Hard water can make your skin and hair feel dry and oily from the mineral residues. If your hair doesn't bounce and you don't feel clean after a shower, it is probably because the water is very hard in your area. You will also notice white chalky residues building up on the nozzles of your shower head. Some shower heads are specially designed with pliable rubber nozzles to reduce these deposits and to make cleaning them easy.
Salt Based Water Softener Systems
Salt-based systems use ionic exchanges to soften the water. The water passes through a polymer resin bed that releases sodium particles as it absorbs minerals. The effectiveness of this chemical reaction can be proven with a before-and-after water test.
These systems meter out the water by using an electronic valve to treat a gallon of water at a time. And once the ion resin bed reaches a full saturation point, the valve will clean the system by using back flushes to rinse the mineral particles out. It also restores the level of the ion resin bed with fresh salts. Therefore, because it is such an active system, it consumes electricity and requires additional salts to refresh the supply when the ion resin bed is expended.
Salt Free Water Conditioning Systems
Whether you call it a salt free water softener system or conditioning system, it does not remove the minerals from the water. It changes the way that they behave and how they interact with any other molecules that they come into contact with, such as drains, shower head nozzles, pipes, screens, and bathroom surfaces. Think of them as inert gases that do not combust or combine with other gases because they are so stable.
This stabilization process reduces the buildup of mineral deposits but does not replace the minerals with salt. For some people, this is the best that they can do. If you suffer from hypertension, you may not want to use water with high salt content. Sodium is known to narrow arteries and to increase pressure by increasing water retention. High sodium levels can also make it harder for your kidneys to clean blood and, in turn, may limit their ability to help regulate blood pressure.
A salt free water softener system works by passing the water through a catalytic media in a process called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). When the water is processed through TAC, the minerals are transformed into crystals that are unable to bond with other surfaces. These systems operate in a passive manner, like the catalytic converter on your automobile.
In an automotive catalytic converter, the exhaust gases simply pass through a honeycomb precious metal substrate of platinum compounds. These compounds interact with the gases at a molecular level and strip away elements to reduce their toxicity.
In a saltless water system, there is no need for any particles to be flushed or for ion resin beds to be refreshed. The saltless system does not gather the crystal particles. Therefore, magnesium and calcium content will remain the same even after being fully processed.
Which Is The Better Choice?
Now that you know more about the different types of water treatment systems, we can take a closer look at the best application for your needs. These needs are highly individualized and can probably be addressed by starting out with a salt-free water conditioning system and upgrading to a salt-based system if it does not suffice. But to save yourself the hassle of trial and error, you may want to consider the following information.
A salt-based water system will provide you with that clean, slick water that bubbles up easily with soap. You will feel much cleaner when you fully remove the calcium and magnesium. This is because the minerals stick to your skin like an oily residue that dries out your hair and skin. The minerals in hard water are also known to stain clothing and corrode pipes and fixtures. Bathing in hard water is not much different from swimming in a swimming pool. The water dries out your skin and leaves a residue.
A salt-free water system may also help the water to sooth and may reduce the dinginess that hard water laundry suffers. Some homeowners prefer a salt-free water conditioning system simply because it does not require maintenance. A salt-free system does not need salt, chemicals, electricity, or excess water to flush it out periodically.
If you are trying to live on a tight budget, conditioning the water may have to suffice. As stated, you can purchase an inexpensive water softener specifically designed for the shower head. In fact, they sell shower heads that have the ion resin beads incorporated into the fixture. The best part is that they are very inexpensive and decorative. You can even see the bright pink resin beads through the clear plastic fixture housing of certain models.
Well Water and Water Testing
You don't have to let hard water scare you away from buying a home in remote areas that rely on wells. It is typically the rural areas and even suburbs outside of the city that use well water. Well water is not processed and allows homeowners a lot of opportunities to develop their own whole-house water treatment systems.
The majority of homeowners even upgrade their filtration to kill bacteria with UV radiation and to screen out even the smallest microorganisms and sediment. Treating your hard water is just one aspect of developing a sophisticated system that produces an endless supply of high-quality water.
When you are ready to develop a whole-house water treatment system for your home or to treat specific elements of the issue, you should consult with a water treatment installation professional. They can test your water for rust, minerals, contamination, bacteria, and other problems that you may not have considered. Once you know the weaknesses that are reducing your water quality, you can develop the best plan of action and finally enjoy your home as your palace.
Investing in a custom water treatment system adds instant value to your home. This is especially the case if you have the problem professionally assessed and a system professionally installed. It would then be a major marketing point to announce that you have an unlimited supply of free well water. Home buyers are fickler than ever over the quality of everything in a home and will appreciate that the work is already completed for them. Nevertheless, improving your own personal quality of life and purifying your water without harsh chemicals is the greatest benefit.