12 Best Water Softener Reviews: Which One To Choose? (2017)
For how long have you battled with the hard water menace?
For me, I’d say years- years of misery- until I discovered that I could permanently soften all my household water using the best water softener system.
I remember how my sinks, bathtubs, showers and the plumbing pipes around the home used to get damaged (get clogged and corroded) easily and quickly…and the huge amounts of soap and detergent I’ve to use to get the job done.
But all that changed when I invest in a water softener.
If you’re undergoing these common hard water problems today, I’m going to show you how you too can end this menace for good.
I’ll give you the 12 best water softener reviews…carefully selected based on their water softening capabilities, performance, reliability, among other factors.
Let’s do this:
What's A Water Softener?
Before we get into the finer details of the best water softeners on the market today, allow me to clarify a few things about these systems first.
A water softener comes designed to do carry out one specific role- to soften the hard water used in our homes.
To do this, it must remove the minerals responsible for the water hardness, e.g. calcium and magnesium, and replace them with softer minerals, like potassium and sodium.
How does this help save your plumbing pipes and other water consuming appliances?
Well, this effectively eliminates the scales inside the appliances and pipes by destroying the buildup of magnesium and calcium inside them.
This way, a water softener helps minimizes corrosion and clogs induced inside the pipes and the other appliances by hard water.
As you know, using hard water for your cleaning needs leaves behind soap scum which has its share of disadvantages. Luckily, a water softening system also eliminates the occurrence of this filmy layer for good.
Now that you've got an idea what a water softener is or does, let’s dive into our list of the 12 most popular water softeners reviews on the market today:
Best Water Softener Reviews:
1. iSpring RCC7 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System Review:
The iSpring RCC7 system enjoys its spot as the only reverse osmosis water softening system to earn the WQA’s Gold Seal certification. It’s a popular choice for many American homes due to its unmatched quality, durability, and safety.
The system comprises of the polypropylene sediment (PP), carbon block (CTO), granular activated carbon (GAC), and reverse osmosis filtration technologies- all of which work closely to supply your home with crisp tasting, bottled-quality water.
The entire system is pretty compact- the system measures 17.5 x 14.5 x 5.25 inches while the tank measures 16 x 11 inches- making it a space-efficient unit that will nicely fit under your under-sink cabinet.
Another reason why people love this system is the lead-free solid brass faucet it comes with. Mount this faucet on the counter and use it as the main output for the treated water. You can even connect it to your coffee or ice maker!
Installing the unit is extremely easy, given that the manufacturer offers you written and video installation directions. The system comes with a lifetime technical support, 1-year limited warranty, and 1-year money-back guarantee so the owner is 100% confident in their product!
2. Fleck Structural Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Review:
Extend the life of your plumbing and water consuming appliance by installing this complete water softening unit. The Fleck Structural Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener gets rid of the hardness in your water through the ion exchange process, where the magnesium and calcium ions responsible for water hardness are replaced with soft ions.
Unlike other salt-based units, this softener uses the meter based regeneration process. This means that all the water used in your home is measured and the system will only regenerate on-demand.
This makes it one of the most convenient units for supplying homes with water- especially those with high water usage capacities.
It also comes integrated with the Fleck 5600SXT Digital Control (the latest controller from Fleck) built on the tested and proved 5600 valve. If you didn’t know, this valve has been tested and proved to give you the best performances for up to 27 years!
Other great features you’ll appreciate in this advanced controller include backlit LCD display, 48hr internal power backup, touchpad controls, and a user-friendly interface.
3. APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System Review:
For the homeowners on a limited budget, you can count on the APEC Top Tier 5-Stage makes your dream of using unlimited fresh, clean and great tasting water at your home come true.
It efficiently filters off all the contaminations in your water, including the hard ions at an incredibly affordable price.
One thing I love about this system is the fact that it comes designed from high-end components which improves its contamination rejection rate while making it a long-lasting and highly reliable unit.
Assembled in the USA, the system is guaranteed to eliminate up to 99% of all contaminants in your household water in a 5-stage process, making it ultra-safe and healthy for your family consumption.
4. Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter Review:
Aquasana is definitely one of the most respected brands in the water softening industry. The Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter is one of their most popular units among homeowners for its excellent performance that rises high above all its competitors.
When it comes to softening your household water, this system does the trick perfectly well. It employs the salt-free NAC technology to prevent the formation of scale and protect your pipes and plumbing appliances from potential corrosions.
And unlike its competitors, it won’t soften your water by demineralizing it or adding excess salt to it- which makes it even better than the standard softeners you’ve been using for years.
With this system at your home, I can guarantee you that you’ll be enjoying clean, healthy and great tasting water from every tap at your home…it removes up to 97% of water impurities, including heavy metals such as mercury and lead, organic chemicals like pesticide, herbicides, industrial solvents, and so much more.
What’s more, it comes with UV Sterilight filtration technology which kills up to 99.99% of all the harmful bacteria and viruses in water!
5. Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener Review:
Our 5th water softener system review goes to the Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener…another ideal unit for homeowners on a tight budget.
This is quite unique unit successfully removes the limescale build up in all your appliances, faucets, showers, sinks, etc. with no need for any additives or plumbing job and you can install it on your own.
If the unit does not require salt to descale appliances, what does it use? Well, it employs the electromagnetic technology where an EM (electromagnetic) wave is applied through two coils set around the main water supply line for your home.
This way, all the water entering your home becomes subject to the ever-changing magnetic field of the wave as it goes through the coil. The final result is that the adhesion of the limescale gets altered and prevents it from attaching itself to the walls of your appliances.
Still at it, it’s important to note that this unit doesn’t alter the chemical hardness of water, so your water retains all its health benefits. The manufacturer offers you a 12 month 100% money back guarantee plus a lifetime replacement/repair warranty, so you should buy and use this unit with total confidence.
6. PENTAIR Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 grain of UPGRADED HIGH capacity Review:
With the PENTAIR Fleck running in your home, you can rest assured that you’ll not witness clogging and blocking in your home appliances, reduced soap efficiency and other scary effects of hard water.
This system boasts of 10% cross-linked resin upgrade which translates to extended life service.
Like the other Fleck we reviewed earlier, this model also employs meter based regeneration technique, ensuring that you get soft water in your home anytime you need. No more waiting for the long regeneration process with your current softener.
Because it uses Fleck’s latest 5600Sxt digital metered control, it assures you of smooth water softening process for a period of over 27 years. The 5600 valve itself comes with a 5-year warranty to give you a peace of mind when running this unit.
To make the control easy for you to use, it features LCD quality display, touchpads, intuitive interface, and a 48-hr internal power backup.
7. ABCwaters Iron Pro 48K Combination Water Softener & Iron Filter Review:
The ABCwaters Iron Pro 48K Combination won our 7th spot for the best water softener reviews. It’s a mid-priced system that doubles as an iron filter. This is to say- it will eliminate red staining caused by ion as well as the scale caused by hard water.
For the water softening property, the unit employs the meter based regeneration technique to meet your soft water usage needs so, if you need more water, the system will regenerate to keep up with your demand; and if you need less water, it will regenerate less.
It also comes integrated with the Fleck 5600Sxt digital metered control which is built on the tried and tested 5600 valve for increased efficiency and user-friendly operation. Note that this valve comes with a 5-year warranty.
Besides softening your household water, the system also removes the ferrous iron and manganese in your household- the two most notorious compounds for staining your appliances.Installing the unit is fairly easy and takes around 1-2 hours with basic plumbing skills.
8. ClearlyC Shower Filter & Hard Water Softener Review:
If you’re looking for a shower filter that not only removes the hardness in your water but also get rid of water impurities, consider buying the ClearlyC Shower Filter & Hard Water Softener.
It has been proved to remove up to 99% of chlorine as well as heavy metals (e.g. chromium, lead nickel, etc.), minerals (responsible for water hardness), harmful chemicals and any other impurities you can think of.
To remove these impurities, this shower filter employs activated carbon and KDF-55- the most effective media known for removing chlorine and other impurities. This ranks the ClearlyC among the best shower filters on the market.
If you’ve been suffering from common skin problems like itchy skin, eczema, dandruff, etc., showering with this filter will help restore your skin health…as well as your hair and nails.
The fact that the package comes with a spare cartridge allows you to enjoy the benefits of this shower filter for longer. On top of this, it comes with a 45-day money back guarantee, with no questions asked.
Clearly, this ClearlyC is worth every penny!!
9. Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Review:
Water from your well will not only be hard but might contain other unwanted elements like iron, manganese, sand, sediments, rust, etc. In such cases, I’d suggest that you look for the best water softener for well water which acts as a softener and a filter at the same time- like the Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter.
Similar to most of the other units we’ve discussed on this list, this unit is powered by the popular Fleck 5600SXT Digital Control meter which translates to increased efficiency and ease of use.
Additionally, it comes with meter based regeneration feature which supplies you with clean, soft water on demand.
The unit is capable of removing water hardness up to 75 grains per gallon, to keep your appliances, shower, bathtub, sink, etc. safe from scale buildup which might affect their efficiency and lifespan.
Additionally, it removes the iron and manganese present in water- which are notorious for red and black stains respectively.
The manufacturer included an easy DIY installation manual in the package to make it completely easy to install for everyone, including non-experienced homeowners.
10. Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter w/Salt-Free Softener Review:
This Aquasana works more like the other unit from the same company we reviewed a bit earlier. It supplies your home with soft, healthy, clean, and great-tasting water for over 10 years (equivalent to one million gallons of water).
The unit simply employs the smart Scale Control Media (SCM) water softening technology to naturally remove the hardness in your water, without necessarily using sodium as it’s the case with its competitors.
The technology reduces scales in your appliances and plumbing lines by about 99.6%. Since it doesn’t demineralize your water when softening, it means that all the health benefits in your water are retained afterward.
In addition to softening, this unit comes with the Premium Rhino Whole House Filter which reduces all the contaminants in water to make it healthy for consumption.
11. ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 Black Water Softener Review:
If your household has 2-5 water users, this is just the perfect complete water softening system you can invest in today. Powered by the highly popular Fleck 5600SXT digital valve meter, this system gives you an easy time when running it with the ultimate promise of soft water anytime you need it.
The manufacturer packages the system with all American made parts, including the brine and mineral tanks, for the best quality. Besides, the softener utilizes the upgraded, 10% cross-linked resin which has a longer lifespan and will let you enjoy its services for longer.
The fact that the resin tank comes preloaded with these resin beads helps you escape the mess and heavy lifting associated with the loading of resins.
Because of the easy installation guide, even a novice can successfully install this system and start enjoying soft water at their homes. And the fact that they ship the unit with all the necessary installation materials makes things even easier.
12. IONTech IT-750 Under Sink Alkaline Water Ionizer and Filtration System Review:
Last on our list of our water softener reviews, we have the IONTech IT-750 system which also works as a filter. This model will save you the money you spend on buying bottled water by turning your sink into a healthy, tasty alkaline water dispenser.
It effectively gets rid of all the chemical, bacteria and other harmful elements in your water while infusing it with energy, antioxidants, ions and other beneficial elements to make it 100% healthy for consumption.
To do this, it employs large platinum-titanium electrolysis plates, plus it features up to 6 water pH levels- a pure filtered level, 1 acidic level, and 4 alkaline levels.
The smart unit is amazingly easy to install. And even easier to operate and maintain. For added convenience, it comes with an auto cleansing alarm as well as post-use, 10 seconds automatic cleaning function.
Apart from its compact design which fits under most sinks, it comes with a stylish design (comprising of a soft-touch base panel and dual spout faucet) that complements any décor.
Why Using A Water Softener Is Necessary?
A water softener is necessary if you’re using hard water at your home right now. If you don’t know how to test whether your household water is hard, let me take you through an incredibly simple process to carry out this test:
- Grab a clean, empty plastic bottle and fill it halfway with the water you use at your home
- Add a few drops of your dishwashing soap or any other soap solution and shake the solution for a few minutes
- If you find that your mixes well with the soap and becomes extremely soapy in a matter of seconds, relax. Your water isn’t hard.
- However, if your mixture doesn’t become soapy and the soap particles are floating on the surface, this is an alarming scenario- you’ve been using hard water!
And it means that you’re vulnerable to the scary effects and damages caused by hard water. If you have no clue what these damages are, let me give you a list:
- It leaves stubborn spots on your dishes which are extremely hard to remove
- Hard water deteriorates your skin health and causes hair loss
- It leads to formation of soap scum, as a result of your soap mixing with the hard minerals in the water. Scum is an ugly experience in your shower, bathtub, sink, etc.
- As hard water flows through your water pipes, it leads to formation of limescale. Over time, the buildup will increase and result in blocking of your pipes- another nasty experience!
- Your water appliances- like dishwasher, heaters, kettles, etc. - are super-sensitive to hard water too. The scum and limescale will build up in them as well and reduce their efficiency as well as their lifespan
- Washing your clothes with hard water continuously will make them lose their real texture and smoothness; in fact, they’ll develop a grayish tinge and will feel rough and scratchy. I guess you don’t want to look odd in such odd clothes!
In the midst of all these scary effects of hard water, ONLY installing a water softening system in your home can save you.
How it does this?
Well, it basically works day and night to get rid of calcium, magnesium, and all the other metallic ions that make your water hard.
Ideal for both residential and industrial use, this system has become an absolute necessity today as it gives you a peace of mind knowing that you’re free from the negative effects of hard water.
Next, I’ll show you how to buy the most suitable water softening system for your home…
Water Softener Buying Guide For Home Owners:
The water softeners market today is saturated than ever before. It grows strong every new day with all types of softeners with different water softening capabilities.
That being said, you expect to have a hard time getting the finest system for your water softening needs.
But you can always rely on the following comprehensive buying guide to makes things easier:
Decide what TYPE of Water Softener You Want
Did you know that water softeners come in several types, all with the same goal of softening your hard water?
To make it easy for you to understand the different types of water softening systems, I’ll divide them into two wide categories and explain what each type entails:
>salt based water softeners: this is the most common water softening unit on the market today. And it involves using a brine solution to kick out magnesium and calcium minerals stuck to the polystyrene beads.
Despite being a common unit, some parts of America stopped its use, citing possible health risk associated with it (especially to folks with kidney issues). I also noted that replacing the softening materials in this unit is costly.
>Salt-free water softeners: all the system that fall under this category employ different softening technologies- like magnetic, electric, and chelation (we’ll discuss them in detail later). Unlike the former model, no salt is used in these units and the filtration of the hard material is done using a different machinery.
Would you go for salt-based or salt-free softening systems?
Ease of Installation
Usually, water softeners are pretty easy to install- but the degree of difficulty varies from one unit to another.
As such, you’d want to look for a system that does not give you headaches when installing it or doesn’t take years. Always ensure that your system comes with complete, easy to understand installation directions.
On top of this, I’d also advise you to look for a system that does not require you to do much job. This is important, keeping in mind that some systems will even require some solder jobs, intense piping, etc.
Remember the fewer the directions the easier the job, and the easier the installation process.
Ensure the System Comes with Water Softener Certification
Yes, you have to check that the water softener you want to buy comes with the certifications like NSF International and Water Quality Association.
NSF International is an independent organization that tests and certifies all the water treatment products.
Water Quality Association-identified by a gold WQA seal- is a water industry trade organization that also certifies the water equipment.
While these certifications don’t always guarantee that your softener will perform better, they help prove that the equipment has met the set industry standards and validates the manufacturer’s claims.
Portable vs. Standard System
Before swapping out that credit card to order a water softener for your home, you have to choose between a portable and standard system.
Making the decision is quite simple.
If you’re looking for the best water softener for your home (where you plan to reside for years), then you’d go for the standard system. However, if you’re always on the go, then the portable water softener should be your preferred choice.
What makes the difference between these two systems?
The portable system is usually easier to handle compared to the standard model…but does not bear all the features found in the standard units. For instance, they lack the auto-regeneration feature. They also filter fewer amounts of water compared to the standard.
Pick the Appropriate Size of Softener For Your Home
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the physical size- that’s a non-issue when it comes to water softeners.
Rather, I’m talking about the right size of softener that will conveniently meet your household water needs.
Different units come with different sizes- each rated according to the number of hardness grain they can remove from hard water between the regenerations. The trick here is to look for a unit that can last for around 3 days between the recharges.
If you want to be more sure/accurate about the size, you can start by calculating the volume of water used in your home a day. That is, multiply the number of people in your home by 75 (the avg. number of gallons consumed per day).
Then multiply the result with the Grains per gallon (GPG), or the hardness of your water, to get the total water volume consumption in your household.
Ease of Maintenance
By now, you already know that your water softening will need some maintenance along the way to keep it strong.
Luckily, these machines don’t require a lot of maintenance. Nevertheless, I highly recommend that you do some timely servicing of your unit so that you can always get the best from it.
Some of the tips to guide you into picking an easy to maintain water softener include:
- The amount of salt to be added to the brine tank
- Amount of water to put inside the brine tank
- Type of salt you’ll use in the unit
What About The Regeneration Process?
Most homeowners don’t have an idea what regeneration is and they tend to ignore it when purchasing a water softener for their home.
Let me explain the regeneration to you in simple terms:
In the softening section of the system, sodium is exchanged with the hard minerals in your water in the resin beads. Now, regeneration occurs when these beads must be rinsed off the minerals they collected so that they can continue softening more water. The process has different durations for different models.
That being stated, it’s highly recommended that you look for a softener whose regeneration period is 2 hours or below. This is especially true for homes with up to 6 water users, where long regeneration periods could cause frustrations.
Besides, some models come with auto-regeneration technique, making them even more convenient for homes as they soften water on demand.
Which Brand Should You buy from?
The question of brand applies to water softeners as well. When doing my research for the best water softening systems, I also went a step further and compiled the most reputable brands for the same…
…brands whose products have excellent water softening capabilities and work just as the owner claims.
These top-rated brands include Culligan, Fleck, Waterboss, Morton, and Aquasana.
We’ll talk more about them in the Water Softener Brands section.
Warranty! Warranty! Warranty!
Most people tend to ignore the warranty factor in all the products they buy. Keeping in mind that a water softer is more of a mechanical unit and can fail unexpectedly, I’ll strongly urge you to go for units that come with manufacturer warranty.
A warranty of one year and above is recommended and will give you options in case your unit stops working or some of its parts get damaged.
I also believe that warranty covers act as a proof that the product manufacturers have total confidence in their quality and functionality, so you can be assured you’re making a risk-free investment.
What’s Your Budget?
Because water softeners come with varying prices, depending on performance, size, name of brands, etc., you’d also want to factor in your budget.
A typical water softener ranges between $400 and $2500, depending on its specialty functions. Obviously, the higher the price, the better the functionality.
The best thing I love about these systems is that they can last for long periods of time, probably 15plus years, so it’s more like a buy-once-use-forever investment.
Note: If you chose to buy a smaller softener than is needed at your home, you’re going to incur more cost for power bill due to the expected long regeneration process. So, consider investing in a larger one (even if it means spending more bucks), because it will save you more bucks in the long run.
Are There Other Types Of Water Softeners?
There exists other water softening systems apart from the salt-based system known to many people. The different types are divided along the technique they employ in softening your water.
In this section, I’ll take you through a brief discussion of the different types of water softeners on the market today and how they work.
1. Salt-based Water Softeners
These are the most common systems out there and soften water by using salt ions. That is, the hard ions in your household water get replaced by soft ions, e.g. sodium or salt ions.
The machine comes with a compartment- brine tank- which you’ll need to frequently top up to ensure proper working of your machine.
The systems feature controls like- timer, meter, or the manual regeneration. They output a high performance and for a long period of time while requiring very little maintenance.
But it has a few downsides- like it occupies more space and high initial costs.
2. Salt-Free Water Softeners
Unlike the previous models, these units do not use salt in the softening process. They’re the trendiest systems on the market today and operate on a special nanotechnology feature…which involves altering the atomic structure of your home water to reduce its hardness.
They’re loved by many homeowners for the fact that they don’t require use of any salt, are easy to maintain, have lower operation cost, crashes buildup of scales in water using appliances and pipes, and are eco-friendly.
Unfortunately, these systems are quite expensive and cannot treat waters with hardness above 8 GPG.
3. Magnetic Water Softeners
Since their introduction into the market, the magnetic water softeners have enjoyed an ever-rising popularity- probably because of their cheap pricing and compact designs.
They involve use of magnetic bars or wires to remove hardness in waters- where the magnetic field changes the atomic structure of water.
Unlike the other models, these units carry out the softening for given periods of time. They’ll usually paralyze the hardness for around 48 hours, after which it turns hard again.
Some of the benefits of using magnetic water softeners include: they’re budget friendly, do not use additives, have low operational cost, and are easy to use/maintain.
They have a few downsides- like they’re 100% effective, do not offer a permanent softening solution, and cannot be used for waters with a hardness of over 8GPG
4. Reverse Osmosis System
These units not only work as water softeners but also as filters. They work by pressurizing water to go through a thin, semi-permeable membrane. The membrane is so tiny that only water goes through it, leaving all the impurities behind.
All the filtered water enters a tank that comes with the unit. And once this tank gets full, the system shuts down automatically.
It doesn’t use any additives, comes with a compact size, inexpensive to use, and have a pocket-friendly price.
However, their water softening capabilities aren’t the best and it can drain all the nutrients present in water.
Water Softener Brands
If the brand name is always a priority in your shopping, then the following top five water softener brands should set you in the right direction:
Without a single doubt, Fleck is the most respected brand in the water softening industry. This is not only because it’s the oldest brand (having been on the market for over 50 years), but because they make some of the highest-quality products on the market today.
They keep implementing the latest water hardness removal technology to ensure their products are at the top of the game.
I would recommend you to buy Fleck water softening system ten times over!
Most of the homeowners are probably familiar with the Morton brand for they make quality table salt; actually, there among the oldest salt producers known.
Besides salt, this company has also outdone most of the water softener manufacturers out there by coming up with highly efficient, top-notch water softening systems.
The fact that their models have received loads of positive feedbacks from homeowners across the states is sufficient evidence that Morton systems play the game pretty well.
Then comes with Aquasana which has also made a name for itself in the populated water softener industry. Unlike other brands, the company focuses on the environmental factor- i.e., they utilize reusable materials and produces fewer wastes.
Besides producing high-end water softeners, they also manufacture a wide range of other clean and healthy water products- like filter for shower heads and faucets.
WaterBoss has been in existence for a long time too. And they also present you with super-efficient water softening machines that focus on reducing water wastages (that is, it will consume less water for the softening process). This makes them a great choice for folks who want to cut on their water usage.
Having been on the market for up to 77 years, Culligan has the knowledge and expertise to come up with top-quality water softening systems that will meet all your household water softening needs and requirements.
So, you can always have a peace of mind as you pick from their variety of softening products.
Easy Installation Guide
Wanna know how to install a water softener? Good…this is a bold step that will put an end to the problems currently in your home caused by hard water.
Depending on the type of water softener, the specific area you wish to install it in your home, and the types of pipes at hand, the installation difficulty might slightly vary.
That being said, I’ll take you through an Easy universal installation guide for water softeners that you can carry out on your own in a few hours.
Here’s the guide:
PS: Keep in mind that you softener might come with its own set of installation directions. Always refer to these instructions when doing the installation.
I’m assuming that most households use the salt-based system, so I’ll base my guide on this model.
Step 1: start by shutting off the main line that supplies water to your entire house. Drain all the pipes in as well by opening the lowest valve in your house to let out water.
Step 2: shut off your water heater as well as the power running it.
Step 3: select an area where you’d like to install your new water softening system. If you’re replacing the current system, you can simply install the new model in the same location.
But if it’s your first time, you’d want to look for a suitable place to install your system.
The area should be:
- Near the recommended electric outlet
- Somewhere you can easily to connect to the plumbing system, e.g. garage, basement, near water heater, utility room, etc.
- Spacious enough to allow for convenient servicing of your system
- Along the main line- before it feeds the hot water heater
Step 4: Use a pipe cutter to cut the main line. Using a cutter is as simple as tightening it around the line and rotating it until the pipe gets cut through.
Be sure to catch any water that comes out afterward with a bucket to avoid mess.
Step 5: Now introduce an elbow fitting in the line. This is important as it makes it easy for you to feed your filter and create a bypass valve that you can use to feed water around the filter when necessary.
Step 6: Take the measurements (from the system) for the pipes that will supply water to the bypass valve. Cut your pipes to fit, and solder all the fittings and nipples before connecting the pipes to the valve.
Use the compressions fittings to attach the pipes to the unit- the fittings usually come with the system.
Step 7: Clamp the hose to the water softening unit and lead it to where you want it to drain. Some of the options include the utility sink, floor drain, or sump pump.
Note: Ensure that the length of your hose is about 2 inches above your drain to keep off the occurrence of back siphoning of the water. At the same time, confirm that you have securely clamped the hose.
Step 8: Time to connect the overflow pipe to the system’s brine tank. Here, you’ll need to know the exact height and placement method to use, which are well explained in your unit’s installation manual.
Step 9: Set the valve into the bypass position so that you can flush water through it (and remove any debris and sediments present).
Step 10: Plug in your system eventually, and turn the valve to backwash position. As you open the valve, do it slowly to allow in water while releasing the air inside the pipes.
That’s how easy it is to install a water softening system at your home. Use your unit’s manual for more details on how to service your system as well as other important info.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Softeners:
1. How do I determine the hardness in my household water?
Knowing the hardness of your water is important to help you in determining the most suitable softener for your home.
The water hardness is usually expressed in Grains per Gallon (GPG) and you’ll need to hire a professional plumber to do the testing. A grain of hardness equates to 1/7000 pounds of rock.
You can buy the water testing kit from your local home improvement store and hire a professional plumber to conduct the test for you.
2. What does a water softening system do?
A water softening system simply treats your household water by removing the hardness (the hard minerals- magnesium and calcium) in it through an ion exchange process that involves adding potassium or sodium.
3. Does a water softening system kill bacteria as well?
No. A water softener plays one and only one role- softening your houseful water by removing the minerals- calcium and magnesium- responsible for the hardness.
Your household water should always be free of harmful bacteria and chemicals but if you’ve any doubts, you can contact a professional to conduct a comprehensive test and do the necessary treatment. This will put your mind at ease.
4. Does a water softener eliminate bad taste and odors in water?
The answer to this question is yes to some extent (and now to full extent). If your water contains some funny smell//taste caused by presence of certain compounds and your water softening system removes some of these compounds, the smell/taste will disappear to some extent.
However, you can get rid of all the smells and tastes in your water by using an activated carbon filter alongside your filter.
5. What’s the cost of a water softener?
Different water softeners come with different prices depending on their manufacturers, features, functionality, etc. Depending on your budget and specific water softening needs, you can get a softener system ranging between $400 and $2,500 or more.
6. Does a water softener require any maintenance?
The system does not require a lot of maintenance, save for the addition of salt (in case of salt based units). However, it’s also important to take care of it to ensure it’s always at its best. Here are some maintenance tips for your system:
- Ensure you give the brine tank a thorough cleaning once every year
- Only add salt when most of the salt in the tank has already been used up
- Use the iron-out to clean your resin beads as well as the control valve parts. This will keep your system clean and functional at all times
7. What’s the difference between a water softener and conditioner?
While a water softener simply removes hard minerals and softens your household water, a water conditioner simply removes the damaging calcium carbonate compound from water using various techniques (and without involving salt).
Conditioning might be a great option for homeowners on no-potassium diet or those who don’t want to use water for the regeneration process.
8. How often should I add salt to my softener machine?
The frequency of refilling your water softener largely depends on the model you buy, its size/capacity, its regeneration process and the technology it comes with, and the consumption of water in your home.
With that in mind, you’d expect the refill frequency to vary from home to home…and to range from once every week to a few times every month.
Additional tips to give you an idea on the right time to add salt to your softener include the size of your brine tank, the hardness of your water, and the number of users.
9. Which type of salt should I use in my softener?
Experts recommend using the clean pellet or nugget style salt. Using normal salt might seem economic but it can cause great damages to your softer machine. Besides, it can also cause the blockage of the injector and the valve.
10. Can I install the softener on my own?
Yes, you can do it on your own, provided you follow the installation manual that comes with your softening machine. In addition, you should be sure to follow these basic rules that apply for installation of all softeners:
- Start by turning off the water to your house
- Shut off the power to the hot water heater
- Be sure to drain all the water inside your home- by simply turning on outside hoses and faucets
As a quick reminder, the installation varies from model to model, but the overall installation process is quite easy.
11. How much electricity does a water softener use?
Interestingly, a typical water softener would use as much power as your digital alarm clock uses. It’s almost negligible! While still on it, note that the overall power consumption tends to vary from one unit to the other depending on the water hardness level, the softener control, and how much water you consume.
12. What does regeneration mean in the water softening process?
Regeneration sounds completely strange, especially to homeowners using the water softening system for the first time. Nevertheless, this is one of the most important sections of the softening process and you have to understand what it entails…
As your system continues running, the resin beads become fully coated with the hardness minerals. When this occurs, your system enters a regeneration cycle- where the salt inside the tanks gets mixed with the incoming water to detach the hardness particles from these beads. After this process, your system becomes ready to offer you a steady flow of soft water again.
13. Can I get a salt-free softening system?
Absolutely! Apart from the traditional salt based softeners, the manufacturers are also coming up with systems that require no salt to remove the hardness in your water. Some of the most common salt-free models on the market today include the magnetic, electronic, and chelation types.
14. How do I calculate the water usage capacity in my home?
This is quite simple. You’ll only need to get the total capacity of water consumed in your home per day by multiplying the number of users by 75 (the average no. of water gallons consumed in homes daily).
The answer is the daily water usage capacity at your home.
15. Can the recharge water from the softener damage my septic system?
NO. The recharge water from your water softening machine has no effects on your septic system operation and does not drain the field soil percolation.
How To Take Care Of Your Water Softener?
All through, we have said that water softeners very little maintenance. But it doesn’t hurt to give them some special care that will make work more efficiently and for longer, right?
Follow these simple tips on how to take care of your water softener machine:
>Be careful on what type of salt you use for your system
Unless you softener manual states otherwise, I highly recommend you to use granular salt as it tends to dissolve more quickly than other salts. Consider buying it in pellet form as the ordinary salt can clog your tank.
>Breakdown salt bridges as soon as you spot them
Salt might form a bridge or solid layer in the brine tank. This might affect the overall operation of your softener as it prevents the loose salt at the top part from mixing with water below.
Breaking these bridges is as easy as pushing a long broom handle around the tank center severally. If this doesn’t work, you’d want to pour some hot water into the tank to ease the breaking process.
To prevent frequent formations of bridges, use less salt, and allow the salt to drop low before refilling.
>Check for salt mushing
The salt might also form a mushy pile at the tank base, preventing it from mixing with water. Again, you can use a broom handle to break up the pile. You might also consider scooping up the mush, mixing it in a bucket of water, and pouring it right back into the tank.
>Check the salt levels on a regular basis
As you know, salt is one of the important parts if your water softener as it regenerates the resin beads in preparation for more softening. Lower salt levels or no salt can, therefore, affect the softening process and cause inconveniences at your home.
As a general rule, check the levels of salt in your unit once every month.
>Cleaning the tank is also important
It’s also an excellent idea to clean your brine tank regularly. This ensures that the unit will always be using clean brine in the regeneration process.
To efficiently clean your unit’s brine tank:
- First, turn off your water softener system
- Get your tank down to a lower level and scoop out all the salt and brine inside
- Though it doesn’t have to be 100% clean, consider vacuuming out the brine tank
- Now refill it with about 2/3 of the appropriate salt
That’s it. Your tank is set and ready for another string of water softening processes!
>Make a habit of cleaning the venture valve too
The venturi, together with the nozzle, create the suction needed to move brine from brine tank to resin tank in the regeneration process. In this process, the venture valve might get plugged with sand, dirt, or sediment, so it’s important that you clean it regularly.
To do that, you just need to unscrew the valve cover and detach all the internal parts- give all of them a thorough cleaning using soapy water.Consider doing this twice every year to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.
No need to worry again about the hard water being used in your home and the damages it’s causing. Now you can permanently get rid of the water hardness by investing in a top-quality water softener system.
In this post, I’ve taken you through the 12 best water softener reviews that I carefully selected based on their functionality and reliability.
I can guarantee you that after writing down your specific water softener requirements, you’ll surely get a unit from the above list that will work day and night to supply your entire home with soft, clean, and healthy water.