Exploring Emergency Plumbing Services

Should You Get A Water Softener Or Conditioner?

by April Rivera

You likely are well aware if you have hard water in your home, since it frequently leaves stains around your faucets, showerheads, and drains that are hard to ignore. Not only does it leave ugly stains, but it can cause some long-term problems due to damaged plumbing that needs to be replaced. What's the solution? Homeowners typically install a whole home water softener or water conditioner to deal with the problem. Here is what you need to know about these two plumbing products that are designed to improve your water quality.

Water Conditioners

A water conditioner doesn't remove the minerals from the water. Rather, it changes the water's chemical structure so that minerals no longer stick to the pipes and your water fixtures. The reason it is not considered a water softener is because the calcium is still in the water. Homeowners love water conditioners because they protect your pipes from stains and scale buildup without requiring salt. It is also considered less wasteful than a water softener system since it doesn't backwash the wash by putting it down the drain. The main downside is that you'll have water quality issues, such as water spots on dishes and difficulty lathering soap. 

One thing to keep in mind when looking at water softeners and conditions is that you may see salt-free water softeners available to purchase. These are actually water conditioners since you can't soften water without using salt. 

Water Softeners

A water softener will use an iconic exchange process to improve your water quality. The water will pass through a bed of resin, which is designed to trap minerals and replace them with the sodium ions found in salt. The minerals are then flushed out of the system to give you the soft water that you want. The advantage of having a water softener is that you have true soft water, which will reduce stains and water spots on dishes. You'll also notice that soap lathers much easier, which may mean you'll end up using less soap as a result. The downside is that it does require salt to soften the water, which needs to be replenished periodically. The water can also have a slicker feeling, which some people do not have a preference for. 

Feel like you're ready to have one of these two systems installed in your home? Reach out to a plumber in your area to handle the installation for you.