If you're tired of cleaning scale off of your shower tile and faucets, then it may be time to think about getting a water softener system for your home. There are two main types of water softeners, so you can choose the one that fits your lifestyle. Here's a look at how water softeners help reduce scale in your home and the options you have when you're ready to buy one.
Why You Might Want A Water Softener
No matter which type of water softening system you buy, the end result is that the water that flows through your home no longer has the damaging effects of hard water. Hard water has minerals in it that stay behind in the form of scale on plumbing pipes, shower doors, faucets, laundry, and dishes. This scale can shorten the life of your appliances and plumbing, and it makes cleaning your bathtub and shower more difficult.
Hard water even affects the way your clothing feels and looks after you wash it. By softening the water, the problem of scale buildup is eliminated, and you'll notice that soap lathers more easily, your faucets aren't always covered in scaly buildup, and your skin feels silky smooth after you shower.
How To Choose The Right Water Softener
Water softeners traditionally use salt to soften water through a process called ion exchange. While this type of water softener is effective, it has some drawbacks. You have to buy large sacks of salt and fill the tank periodically to keep the softener working. Also, the salt that's used to treat your water goes down the drains and into the environment. This has caused some communities to prohibit salt systems.
The alternative is to install a salt-free water softener, also called a water conditioner. These don't use salt at all, so they're more convenient to use. Also, they may not require electricity, so there are more options for placement of the unit. Instead of ion exchange, salt-free water softeners work because they are descalers. They keep scale from building up on plumbing, dishes, and laundry because they alter the water in such a way that minerals can't cling to surfaces and form scale.
Another difference between these two systems is the way the water feels. Water softened with salt feels soft and silky, but water softened with a conditioner doesn't. This difference might be important to you if you have a preference for the way water makes your skin feel after you shower.
Either type of water softener can make a difference when it comes to reducing scale buildup in your home. Talk to a professional about your options, how they work, and the amount of maintenance they require so you choose the best one for your home.