Coffee Chats With Your Plumber: Salt Free Water Softeners
Updated: Apr 25
During a recent dog park walk with a friend over coffee she mentioned interest in installing a water softener in her new home. Specifically a salt free water system.
On the surface this seems great. A water softener that does not require salt to be filled, one more thing to add to your checklist. Awesome. Count me in. I had to dig into this magic.
And magic is just what it is. A salt free water softener does not exist. If you want a detailed explanation of the science behind water softeners click here. Without getting to technical, it is like trying to drive a car without putting gas in the tank. Ok, maybe that is not the metaphor. But, in short, you cannot have a water softener without salt.
There are systems that do not use salt, but these are called water conditioners or scale inhibitors. So what is the difference?
Let's start with what water conditioners are. If you have a water conditioner, you will notice that you will not have hard water scale build up. This is because water conditioners physically alter the minerals in the water and render them unable to form scale build-ups. However, water conditioners do not result in soft water. For more of the science on water conditioners click here.
What are the benefits of soft water? Here is a list of just a few to consider:
Minerals are removed and cannot enter your water pipes. Thereby eliminating possible damage to your water heaters and appliances. We highly recommend installing a water softener when you have a tankless hot water heater. You want to protect your investment.
Laundry washed in hard water over time becomes discoloured.
Dishes. When washed in hard water, dishes can appear foggy and have soap spots.
Hardness minerals when left in your water prevent soap from lathering properly.
Hard water has been noted to dry out your skin and hair. Which is a terrible thing in our already dry Calgary climate.
As a final note. We have a water softener in our home and cannot imagine not having it. We love having less scale build up in our glass showers and on our dishes. We especially love the feel of soft water when showering. However, we also have a reverse-osmosis system in our home for our drinking water. As water softeners use salt, a small amount salt is found in each glass of water, an 8-ounce glass of softened water has about the same amount of salt as a single slice of bread. We also use the reverse-osmosis system water for our houseplants, to read more, see our past blog post here.
Today's water softeners are very reliable and virtually maintenance-free. Homeowners simply need to occasionally add salt pellets to the brine tank. We recommend having the system looked at annually by the contractor who installed it. While on site, your qualified plumber can check for other leaks in your home and inspect your hot water tank.
Do you have a water softener in your home? Do you have any questions on these systems. If so, let us know. We would be happy to help any questions you may have.
Image credit: https://unsplash.com/@kadh