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How to Choose a Water Softener

Updated on August 1, 2016

In today's generation, many people have spent there entire lives drinking tap water without realizing what is in there water. Many people hear that they have calcium, iron, or magnesium in there water, and automatically assume that it is okay to drink. After all, they are just minerals. Mineral water is good for you, right? If you eat broccoli, that has iron in it. Milk has calcium. All of these things appear to be safe to drink. If you have ever been into a house with orange rings in the toilet, or orange residue on the walls from where sprinklers have sprayed against the house, that is probably iron. If you have seen walls where the residue is white, that is probably calcium. These elements come from rock in your water. Yes, you are drinking tiny little rocks that often tend to cause skin conditions and health problems. Water also often tends to carry bacteria and viruses, which the city controls by pooring chlorine bleach in your water. Do you really feel safe pouring all of these things down your throat? Or even bathing in them?

Why buy a water softener?

When choosing a water softener, you must realize that your water is still not going to be completely safe for consumption. So now you are probably wandering, what is the point in even buying one? Well, there are many reasons why it is important to have a water softener. First of all, most of your water-related appliances such as your water heater or dishwasher are often not covered under warranty if you do not have a water softener properly installed in your house. Also, your soap products are constantly going to waste by having hard water enter your house. Having a water softener will cut back on your soap items tremendously. And one last good reason to have a water softener installed, it protects your skin and reduces health risks. Having a water softener is important for your house, your budget, your family and yourself.

Choosing a Water Softener

If you have a small budget of only a few hundred dollars, you can go to Sears or other appliance stores and pick up a cheap water softener. Most stores offer to have someone come and install it for you, but you will have to pay a little extra. I would not recommend installing a water softener on your own unless you have plenty of knowledge in plumbing and water treatment. If you choose this route, let me tell you that you will probably be buying a new water softener ever year or two. Water softeners like this often do not take out most minerals or even chlorine. The chlorine will rot away at the resin beads inside of your softener and cause your water softener to fail quickly. If you are on well water, then you will not have a problem with chlorine. However, well water has many more minerals and bacteria that can easily make it through the water softener and into your house. This is most likely the worst route to take, but obviously the cheapest.

The next option is a little more costly, and a little more effective. Having your water tested by a water treatment specialist is most commonly a free service, so it is a good idea to at least have your water tested so you know what you are dealing with. Most professional water treatment companies will sell your typical water softener usually made from some sort of fiberglass or polyglass. These are the same style that has always been around, as improvements have never been added to these machines. These are completely filled with carbon and water flows directly down the center of the tank. This means that over the years, most of the carbon doesn't even get used. The chlorine eats through the carbon resin inside of these tanks as well. These water softeners often come with a five or ten year warranty, as that is about how long they last before you will need to buy a new one. These also do not remove chlorine and will still leave minerals in you water. This route is more expensive, longer lasting, and with about the same results as buying one from an appliance store.

The last option will probably cost you a few grand, but is most certainly the most effective. The only way to have great water quality is to buy a whole house water purification system. This will remove all minerals, chlorine and bacteria from your water. Many companies will claim that they remove everything in your water and leave the minerals. But remember, those minerals are not good for you. If you are going to spend a lot of money on water treatment, make sure that it removes everything. The only thing that should remain in your water is TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids. TDS is the total amount of mobile charged ions dissolved in a given volume of water. Your water will be so clean that it will actually remove the bacteria and buildup in your plumbing. However, high TDS is still not safe to drink. For safe drinking water at bottled water quality, you will need to also purchase a Reverse Osmosis. This unit typically goes under your sink and has a separate faucet from your tap water. If you buy a lot of drinking water, this is a cheaper alternative and will only need to be serviced once a year. Buying a household water purification treatment system is the most expensive way to go, but is by far the best investment for your home.

Decide What is Best for You

When choosing a water softener for your home, there are many things to consider. It really all depends on what you are looking to improve in your household water quality. Many people are on a tight budget, and just need an improvement to there water quality. Others are looking for the best product on the market to make sure that their children have the cleanest and safest water possible. Only you can decide what you want and what is best for your home and family.

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