Water Softener Ratings
The presence of hardness causing ions such as magnesium and calcium in the water supply is a problem that can create a number of issues in the home including calcium deposits on the metallic surfaces, decreased lathering of soaps and detergents, itchy or scaly skin, damage to appliances, clogged plumbing, and much more. Those who live in areas with high iron levels in the soil may also notice persistent staining of porcelain surfaces and shower curtains.
Individuals who experience these problems often find that they suffer from moderate to high levels of hard water and may need to purchase and install some type of softening system to alleviate the issue. Because hard water is such a widespread problem in the United States, many companies have created products that are supposed get rid of water hardness in a variety of different ways. With so many systems currently available on the market, it can be extremely challenging to choose the one that is right for you. Before making a purchase, it is a good idea to review various water softener ratings to make sure that you are making an informed decision.
In general, there are three popular approaches for softening water that are used in the US. These include magnetism, salt-free catalytic methods, and salt based ion exchange systems. Most magnetic products come with wires that are wrapped around the pipes so they can alter the molecular behavior of ions in an effort to counteract their negative affects in the home. While a magnetism product is generally less expensive and easier to install and maintain, their ability to impart lasting results has come under scrutiny by industry experts. In fact, Purdue University has conducted studies that have found no beneficial variations in water that has been treated by a magnetic softener. In addition, these types of products commonly get negative water softener ratings from homeowners and professionals. While some people are satisfied with the results that they get from a magnetism product, homeowners should consult an expert before buying these products.
Salt-free Catalytic Systems
The salt-free systems that use catalytic media utilize nano-technology to remove deposits of calcium from pipes and metallic surfaces in a process known as de-scaling. In basic terms, hardness causing ions remain in the water, but are unable to exert their effects because they are bound up in a special type of chemical structure. Industry experts commonly refer to this process as water conditioning rather than water softening because the hardness causing ions remain in water unable to form deposits.
A salt-free catalytic system is an excellent option for those who want a low maintenance and environmentally friendly product that is more effective than the magnetic system. While not as effective as salt based ion exchange systems, these products are widely used in regions that have banned salt based systems and by homeowners who do not want to hassle with replenishing salt on a regular basis or who want to keep essential minerals in their water.
Salt Based Ion Exchange Systems
Salt based ion exchange systems are generally the highest rated water softener on the market because of their ability to completely remove most calcium and magnesium ions from the water. They accomplish this by first binding the problematic ions to a resin bed contained within the main tank and then washing them away with a concentrated salt solution. During this process, ions that cause hard water are replaced with sodium that is supplied from salt stored in a secondary tank. Salt based systems often receive the best water softener ratings because they get the best results including elimination of scaling and spotting, softer clothes, extended appliance lifespan, reduced detergent and soap usage, and softer skin.
Although salt-based products are the most effective, they do add salt to the environment and the water that is circulated through the home. In addition, stored salt will need to be replaced on a regular basis for the system to continue functioning properly. Industry experts generally recommend that a couple of lines be left un-softened for drinking water and for watering the plants. Those who are on a salt-restricted diet should consult their physician before having a salt-based softener installed.
Important Things to Consider Before Purchasing
There are several different types of softening products available on the market today and it is very important for homeowners to carefully think about several factors before making the purchasing decision. Important considerations include the desired effectiveness, amount of upkeep needed, product and installation costs, household size and water consumption, degree of water hardness, local and state regulations, concern for the environment, and more.
Those who intend to purchase and install a softening system are encouraged to read through a variety of water softener ratings before finalizing their decision as to which product to go with. In addition, it is always a good idea to discuss the options available with a certified specialist in your area. Manufacturers might require that a certified professional install the system in order for the warranty to remain valid. Also, most local installation companies do offer ongoing service and support in case something goes wrong with the system or the homeowner has questions that need to be answered.
Brands with the top rated water softeners include…
While some of the best rated water softeners such as GE, Kenmore, Pelican, and Whirlpool can often be found at Lowe’s or Home Depot, other companies may require that their softeners be purchased through a local distributor who offers to provide a water analysis, consultation, and installation services. Prices can range anywhere from the $500 mark to over $1,500 depending on the type of system chosen and the individual’s softening needs. This does not include the cost of installation which can easily push the total price over the $2,000 level. Your local home supply store or certified installer can provide additional details about the systems they recommend and overall costs. You can learn more about popular systems by visiting our reviews page.
May 29, 2015 / Brian / 0
Categories: Water Softener Ratings
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