Hard water is probably behind a good number of complaints in many communities across the country. It can be found in Texas, Florida, Montana, Nevada, and even Minnesota. Yes, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has plenty of hard water. If you’re wondering whether your pipes are filled with the stuff, chances are good that you already know. The first sign of hard water is a white, chalky residue on glasses, plates, and flatware after washing.
Then, of course, you’ll start to notice some dry skin and hair, and your clothing may begin to fade and wear out at an unusual rate. More importantly, buildup can form within your pipes, fixtures, and even water-using appliances. This can lead to even the most energy-efficient appliances not working as well as they should, which is why many homeowners choose to invest in a water conditioning system.
Water conditioning, if you’re unfamiliar, is the process of removing impurities and contaminants from water sources. Oftentimes, the water conditioning system found in most residential homes will be that of the water “softening” variety, where the conditioner either removes or alters the chemical structure of dissolved minerals in the water. When you turn on the faucet, you’re treated to water with a better smell and taste.
To determine the best water conditioning system for your needs, you’ll find it helpful to understand how filtration can improve the water quality throughout your home.
How Does a Water Conditioning System Work?
While water conditioning systems remove impurities and contaminants in a myriad of different ways, most will backwash and percolate the water in salt and then rinse out this mineral before delivering the water to the pipes in your home. What’s happening is basically an ion exchange, where sodium or potassium replaces calcium or magnesium in the water. This has a softening effect on the hard water we referred to earlier.
At the same time, the system is filtering and clarifying the water to remove contaminants like iron, sulfur, sediments, and organic gases — if present. Other purification methods can also be used, such as carbon absorption or reverse osmosis, but these are best reserved for drinking and cooking water. That’s why you’ll often find these particular filtration systems in refrigerators, dishwaters, and even under the sink, not for a whole house water conditioning system.
How Do You Choose a Whole House Water Conditioning System?
When choosing a whole house water conditioning system, it’s often best to go with a solution that features “smart usage” monitoring technology. The technology tracks water used within the home to provide what’s known as reliable regeneration, where the system flushes out the trapped minerals from the hard water. This ensures consistent softened water throughout the home and can save water, salt, and electricity in the process.
Depending on the water conditioning system, the smart usage monitoring technology can also alert you when it’s time to replace the salt, about potential maintenance needs, and even low water pressure. Some even come with a customer app that allows you to track water usage and monitor the overall performance right from the palm of your hand. It’s all about determining what bells and whistles you’d like before investing in a solution.
What If the Home Has Well Water?
Water conditioning systems for well water are pretty much the same as those for city water. They remove much of the same impurities and contaminants, softening the water and improving its taste and smell. However, to ensure you choose the right whole house water conditioning system, you may want to start with a water test to determine the hardness of the water and identify likely contaminants.
Water hardness classifications usually include the following:
- Soft: Less than 1.0 grains per gallon
- Slightly hard: 1.0 to 3.5 grains per gallon
- Moderately hard: 3.5 to 7.0 grains per gallon
- Hard: 7.0 to 10.5 grains per gallon
- Very hard: More than 10.5 grains per gallon
The classification level, coupled with your household size, general water usage, and additional contaminants, will make it much easier to find a water conditioning system for well water and city water alike. Just make sure to review all the features, filtrations options, and installation process prior to making a purchase — and don’t forget to ask about the warranty.
If you’d like to learn more about whole house water conditioning systems or need additional information on RainSoft products, please let us know. We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and find a solution perfectly suited to your household.