What’s the Difference Between Salt Water Softeners and Salt-Free Water Softeners?

Hard water is a problem that many people in our community experiences. Though our tap water is some of the highest quality in our region, it still contains high levels of minerals. By investing in water softener installation in Columbus, IN, you don’t have to worry about hard water damaging the pipes or appliances in your home or building.

What is a water softener?

When we receive calls for water softener repair in Columbus, IN, many clients want to know more about this device. The process for how a softener removes harmful minerals depends on the type: either salt or salt free. The ultimate goal of a water softener is to filter out minerals that collect around drains, sinks and tubs while increasing the overall lifespan of all pipes and any appliances that use water. Installing a water softener may even lower your water bill.

How do these types of water softeners compare to one another?

While they both serve the same purpose, the process a salt water softener works through is entirely different than that of a salt-free model. Ion exchange or deionization occurs in a salt water softener, improving water quality on a molecular level. The salts in the softener, sodium and potassium chloride, are literally exchanged with the minerals that cause hard water.

On the other hand, a salt-free water softener relies on a physical process called template assisted crystallization (TAC), which turns the minerals into crystals that do not adhere to pipes, drains, tubs and other surfaces. More accurately, a salt-free softener is actually a water conditioner that neutralizes these minerals.

Here’s a closer look at some of the differences between these two types of water softeners:

  • Efficacy: While both options will get the job done, we recommend the salt water softener for those with extremely high levels of minerals in their water. Really hard water will wear away at appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators, while also causing pipes to erode. A salt water softener most thoroughly improves the quality of the water in your pipes.
  • Maintenance: Every month, you have to refill the salt in a salt water softener. Additionally, you’ll need to monitor the brine tank for any salt bridge and sludge buildup. Maintenance is much simpler for salt-free water softeners, only requiring a new pre-sediment every year.
  • Cost: Salt water softeners are more expensive to purchase and maintain. However, they extend the life of water-consuming appliances more so than salt-free varieties.
  • Installation: Most people can install a salt-free water softener without the assistance of a plumbing expert. That is not the case with salt water softeners. Only an expert should handle a salt water softener installation in Columbus, IN.

Regardless of the type of water softener you choose, this simple addition to your plumbing system serves as an excellent investment that provides a number of benefits. If you are unfamiliar with installation or need water softener repair in Columbus, IN, speak with trained experts before making any major decisions. Installing or repairing a water softener without the proper know-how or experience ends up costing you more than hiring a professional. If you have questions about water softeners, get in touch with us today.

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