If you’re tired of dealing with hard water problems, you are probably researching available treatment options. Two of the most common hard water treatment systems are water softeners and salt-free systems. There are a lot of wild and crazy claims out there, and it can be confusing to drill down to how exactly they are different and determine which one is best for you. To make your decision a little easier, here's a simple breakdown for you:
What is a Water Softener?
A water softener is an appliance that is installed to treat hard water problems by removing the calcium and magnesium hardness minerals from your water. If the appliance doesn't remove the hardness, then it is not a softener.
Removal of these havoc-wreaking minerals from your water provides you with a variety of benefits from scale prevention to soap efficiency improvements. Click here to learn more about how water softeners work.
What is a Salt-Free System?
Salt-free systems are water treatment systems that condition your water to help alleviate some hard water symptoms--particularly hard water scale that forms on appliances, faucets, and fixtures. They do this by chemically altering the hard water mineral compounds in your water in order to reduce the likelihood of them from sticking to everything. Since hardness minerals are not removed with a salt-free system, you’ll still have to deal with certain hard water problems like negative soap interactions. Some salt-free systems (like Active Armour) will also protect your plumbing, water heater, and other metallic components from corrosion while controlling hard water scale formation.
Do Salt-Free Systems do the same job as a Water Softener?
No. Salt-free systems do not soften water. They are only designed to control hard water scale. In contrast, water softeners physically remove the hardness minerals from your water, which allows for other major benefits like soap-efficiency improvements and softer skin.
Which System is best for you?
Determining which system is right for you will depend on what you want your water to do for you:
Water softeners are common household appliances, but if you’ve never lived in a home with a water softener before or you’re considering investing in one, you might be wondering how exactly these appliances work.
COMMON WATER SOFTENER COMPONENTS
Before we go into more detail about how water softeners work, let’s talk about the different parts of water softeners. While there are a number of pieces and parts in a water softener, let’s keep things simple and focus on the parts you need to be familiar with as a water softener owner:
When you get out of the shower, do you have dry, itchy, and irritated skin? Does this issue seem to get worse in the winter?
Approximately 54% of households in the U.S. have dishwashers and use them at least once per week 1. What many families don't understand is that dishwashers can be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and fungi, so are dishes actually cleaner after going through the dishwasher?
A recent dishwasher study conducted at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has shown dishwashers contain bacteria that are linked to urinary tract infections, skin infections, food poisoning, and heart infections. It also uncovered that fungi thrive in many dishwashers and can cause yeast infections and thrush 2. Approximately 309 distinct bacteria OTUs (operational taxonomic units) and 194 unique fungal OTUs were found living in the 24 sampled household dishwashers.