Water Softener FAQs: Common Water Softening Questions Answered

Did you know that hard water problems exist in 85% of homes nationwide? With those odds, especially if you’re living in Minnesota or Wisconsin, it’s very possible that your home is one of them. Fortunately, a water softener system offers a simple solution.

If you are one of the many people who have considered purchasing a water softener for your home, here are some commonly asked questions you might be looking for an answer to.

Q: What is a water softener?

A water softener is a device that removes unwanted, and potentially harmful, minerals (ex: calcium, magnesium, etc) that cause hardness in your home’s water. In order to soften water, a salt solution, or brine, is used to perform a “scientific swap” between the salt and hardness minerals present in the water in your home.

Q: How is water softening beneficial?

Hard water can dry out your skin and hair, cause water spots to appear on freshly cleaned glassware, and cause calcium and limestone buildups within your plumbing system that lead to potentially damaging clogs and low water pressure. In short, choosing to condition the hard water in your home can make cleaning, showering, and appliance shopping a whole lot easier and less stressful!

Read More:
The Benefits of Water Softening

Q: How do you know if you have hard water?

Is your laundry stiff and scratchy?
Does your skin feel dry?
Is your water bill unusually high?
Are your tub and sinks full of rust rings and scale buildup?

If you answered yes to any of these questions there is a good chance you are dealing with hard water in your home. To be sure, schedule a free in-home water analysis with Aquarius Water Conditioning.

Read More:
How to Test for Hard Water
Hard Water v. Soft Water

Q: What is the difference between salt water softeners & salt-free water softeners?

While some hard water symptoms will be alleviated by salt-free water softeners, the minerals causing the hardness aren’t actually removed, just restructured. Using a method called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC), salt-free water softeners charge the minerals with electricity, transforming them into crystals that cannot bind to surfaces. Salt Softeners can be more expensive upfront and do require more maintenance than salt-free water softeners. However, salt-free softeners are not actually removing the hard minerals from your water, which means they are not as effective.

Read More:
The Difference Between Salt Water Softeners & Salt-Free Water Softeners

Q: What are the benefits of a saltwater softener?

With a salt-powered system, you’ll enjoy completely mineral-free water — which means softer linens, hydrated hair and skin, and less stress on your appliances. Also, salt-powered water softeners use about as much electricity as a digital alarm clock. Saltless, electric water softeners on the other hand use a lot more.

Read More:
Reasons to Choose a Salt Powered Water Softener

Q: Do all water softeners use the same salt?

No! Not every water conditioning system utilizes the same salt. You’ll want to make sure you know whether you need block salt or granules. Don’t immediately grab the cheapest bag you can find either! There are different quality levels to choose from, and in most cases, the higher the quality, the better the water. Depending on how hard your water is, you may need a higher quality salt, to begin with.

Read More:
The 4 Worst Things You Can Do to Your Water Softener

Q: How do you know what size water softener you need?

As a general rule, multiply the number of people in your home by 80, the average number of gallons of water a person uses per day. Then, multiply that number by the grains of hardness detected in your water after you have it tested. This will tell you which grain capacity to look for.

Q: What does “grain capacity” refer to?

Pay close attention to this rating when selecting your water softener. “Grain capacity,” refers to the maximum number of grains of water hardness it will be able to remove before having to regenerate. A higher grain capacity rating means your water softener will be more energy efficient!

Q: How much water do water softeners need to regenerate?

Typically, regeneration uses about as much water as it takes to wash a load of laundry. That’s why choosing a system with the right grain capacity rating is so important. The less your water softening system needs to recharge, the less water you’ll waste.

Q: How does water softener regeneration work?

In short, your water softener will need to regenerate itself once it has gone through a full water softening cycle. The resin beads that attract and remove the harsh minerals will need to be rinsed and reset to handle the next round. Once the minerals are drained from the machine, your system is ready to soften water all over again.

Read more:
How Water Softeners Work

Q: Why are water softeners better for your skin?

The minerals that exist in hard water absorb the skin’s natural oils, breaking down the skin’s natural barrier. Constantly using hard water will lead to dry skin, and can also lead to other types of skin conditions, like eczema. Once hard water is conditioned (softened), all of the harmful minerals won’t be able to damage your skin and hair. Softening water also helps to prevent soap scum, which can clog your pores and leave a scummy residue on your skin and hair.

Read More:
Why Water Softeners Are Good For Your Skin

Q: How do water softeners save you money?

By installing a water softener, you are taking preventative measures to eliminate hard water at the source, along with all of the maintenance issues that come with it later down the road. Hard water can add unreasonable wear and tear to all of your water using appliances and plumbing systems. Your appliances use more energy when they are required to work overtime, causing energy bills to increase. Additionally, water softeners are considered a valuable upgrade to your home. A water softener can easily add upwards of $10,000 in equity to the value of your home once it is installed.

Read More:
Big Ways Water Softeners Make You Money

Q: Does my water softener need service?

Is your salt water softener not using a normal amount of salt?
Is your water pressure dropping significantly?
Does your water softener sound like it’s constantly running?

All of these are signs that your water softener may be in distress and needs maintenance.

Read More:
5 Signs Your Water Softener Needs Service

Q: What is a prefilter?

A prefilter is just as it sounds — a filter that your water runs through before it enters your water softening system. Depending on your water issues, a prefilter may be required, or at least recommended by your water treatment professional, in order to best correct your hard water issues.

Q: Do I need a prefilter for my water softener?

Many times, a prefilter is suggested along with a water softening system, especially if the system will be meant to soften water for the whole house. They’re not meant to assist the water softening process per se, but more to assist with conditioning your water overall. That way, your water arrives at your faucet not only soft, but clean and clear of any residual sediment as well. That being said, here’s a list of common signs a prefilter would be beneficial for your home’s softening system:

Hazy or Cloudy Water
Sediment or Sand Present
Dark Red Staining

Q: Is your home ready for a water softener?

While you might be mentally prepared to embrace all the fantastic benefits of a new water softener, your home may not be physically ready for the new addition. Do you have a spot picked out? Is it close to your water main? Is there an electrical outlet available? Is there a drain easily accessible? All of these things are important to consider when installing a water softener.

Read More:
Is Your Home Ready for Water Softening?

Q: What to consider when selecting a water softener?

Do you require a salt water softener or a salt-free option? What’s the current hardness of your water? What kind of warranty is included? These are all great questions to ask a professional.

Read More:
Selecting a Water Softener

Q: Can a water softener remove iron contamination in your water?

Most ferrous iron can be taken out by a water softener. However, over time, the iron will plug up the softener, forcing you to clean out the system by backwashing the resin. If the water hardness is low and the iron content is high, or if the water system allows contact with air, such as occurs in an air-charged “galvanized” pressure tank, a softener will not work well.

Read More:
What You Need to Know About Iron Filtration in Minnesota

Q: Why Choose a Kinetico Water Softener?

Aquarius Water Conditioning is an authorized Kinetico dealer. Kinetico water softeners system are designed to give you the best possible water 24/7 while using no electricity at all. With Kinetico’s patented non-electric valve and on-demand regeneration, you’ll have an unlimited supply of perfectly soft water. Also, with the best water softener warranties available, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made a great decision.

Read More:
Kinetico Water Softening Systems
Kinetico Water Softening Warranties

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Don’t fret! The water softener experts at Aquarius Water Conditioning are easily available to answer every question left on your list. For more information about our home water softeners and the water softening process, call us at 888-741-9025 or schedule a free quote and in-home water analysis today!

Dawn McClain
Dawn McClain
1721864171
Marcus arrived on time and gave us an amazing full AC Tune up. He emailed us the things we talked about. He didn’t push us to buy anything, and went through the entire process educating us how we can take great care of our AC. He shared information that will allow us to keep our AC running great all summer! Super personable and loves what he does. Great experience! Would highly recommend them. Last year we got a water filtration system. Have never had a bad experience with these guys! I’d give them 6 stars if I could. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Tim M
Tim M
1721856189
AJ was timely, professional, service was sensational! Aquarius always does it right...
Steve Z
Steve Z
1721780055
Ethan was friendly, efficient and informative. All of our experiences with Aquarius have been first class.
Kyle Wahlstrom
Kyle Wahlstrom
1721768660
Nick La Tour
Nick La Tour
1721746079
Steven Tice
Steven Tice
1721688432
Travis and his partner showed up on time for the appointment with plenty of notification and did an exceptional job on replacing our central air unit. They explained the whole process and did a walk-through at the very end and showed us how to use the thermostat. Very very happy with Aquarius on this appointment. Exceptional company!
Barb Kastenbauer
Barb Kastenbauer
1721687640
Very thorough, very profession, patient
Joan O'Sullivan
Joan O'Sullivan
1721684986
Two very polite, efficient, knowledgeable technicians did the work in a very timely fashion. Explained the work that was done, and left the area nice and clean. Great job!
Patti H
Patti H
1721682902
I had my air conditioning system completely replaced by Travis & Dave and was very pleased with their level of customer service and expertise. They explained everything at the beginning of the process and kept me informed as they progressed. I’m now enjoying my new A/C again. Would highly recommend!
Chris Lally
Chris Lally
1721682415
Dave was extremely helpful. He found the issue and saved me some money along the way
Dawn Westbrook
Dawn Westbrook
1721680060
Joseph M
Joseph M
1721673478
Technician provided great customer service. Worked quickly and explained everything including any charges before proceeding. Only gave 4 out of 5 stars because I was told I would be contacted 15 min before arrival so I could ensure I was home. Received no communication in advance, but was lucky to be at home when they arrived.
mavis eng
mavis eng
1721659008
sandra lee
sandra lee
1721519155
Nina Sebregts
Nina Sebregts
1721407360
Ethan did a fantastic job! He did a great job analyzing the system, providing recomendations and information needed to make an informed decision. He took his time explaining what was done and why. Thank you!
John Teichroew
John Teichroew
1721399810
Thumbs up for... (1) GOOD COMMUNICATION, between the office/dispatcher and service technician and, to be appreciated even more so, between the technician and ourselves, the homeowners, by keeping us posted on his current timetable and probable ETA; (2) careful evaluation of our split-ductless AC system and its units, both inside and outside the house; (3) upfront and forthright TRANSPARENCY from the service tech, showing us both existing problem areas as well as potential problem areas, and apprising us of precise cost(s) involved in rectifying those situations; (4) a demonstration of professional expertise in identifying the primary problem - in this instance, an ever-so-slight but incremental leak of coolant; (5) SUCCESSFULLY making the necessary repairs and restoring the system to proper functionality - which, ultimately, is what we were in pursuit of; and (6) throughout this whole process, encompassing a period of more than three hours, Aquarius' service tech, David Boggie, was altogether CORDIAL and PERSONABLE.Thank you!
Stephanie Thomas
Stephanie Thomas
1721339023
Nick and his apprentice Tim were amazing. Very thorough and took the time to explain everything! Very upfront with the issues found and explained all my options. I would highly recommend them.
Alan Gengenbach
Alan Gengenbach
1721337972
Jeff Lorenz
Jeff Lorenz
1721335367
Eric was very professional did a great job!
T B
T B
1721326516
Brian Newell
Brian Newell
1721323892
Casey and Adam were very friendly and professional. They answered all my questions
Candace Lovett
Candace Lovett
1721319933
Where are my pictures
Audrey DeYoung
Audrey DeYoung
1721308525
Matt Kallenberg
Matt Kallenberg
1721271096
Nick and Tim were great. Nick really knows his stuff and is super thorough. I would definitely recommend him
Bill Bush
Bill Bush
1721257086
mary bond
mary bond
1721255131
Our water heater went out on Fri evening. We called Aquarius early Sat morning and they said earliest they could get out was Mon. On Sun I received a text confirming our Mon appointment but on Mon morning they called and said the earliest they could get to us was the following week !We should be without hot water till then ? We are not a new customer…. 5 months previously we had a new furnace and air conditioner installed at quite an expense. I am appalled at their service or rather lack there of ! As an established customer they felt waiting approximately 10days without water was acceptable Bad, Bad, Bad !Two weeks later…The air conditioner Aquarius installed in Dec failed to cool when we turned it on on our 1st warm days. After the poor experience I had had with them I didn’t want to deal with them again but since it was under warranty I had to. We were told we would have a technician out Wed morning. After waiting at home all day they called and canceled at 4pm. We were rescheduled for Fri morning. We had several calls during the day with updates At 5:22 pm we received a cal the tech would be here at 6pm. We cancelled our dinner reservation and are awaiting his arrival.I realize our air conditioning is not an emergency but we have spent 2days waiting for our scheduled service. This is in addition to the 10days they wanted us to wait for a new water heater(which I do think is an emergency) I feel bad for the tech who I’m sure has had a long day and must now come at 6 on a Fri evening. Once again I repeat Aquarius has failed us again !!Wow !!!Now July ….it continues !! The duct from our air conditioning system has come loose and is spewing cold air in my basement. A service technician arrived and said the wrong connection was used. He said he would order the right part and return the next day. (Wednesday) The appointment was scheduled for today for between 12 - 3. When no one arrived by 3pm, I called and was told the part hadn’t arrived and they would reschedule for next Monday…5 days out.UGH…. I would have thought someone could have called before I wasted several hours waiting and now I can look forward to several days without efficient air conditioning and another day of waiting for a technician. Life is too short to have to deal with such repeated poor work and lousy service !! Oh, but they did say they’re sorry 😢
Sim Ngiratregd
Sim Ngiratregd
1721248048
Micah Williams plumbing technician performed excellent job inspecting our house plumbing system, recommended new water heater because the existing one is over 17 years old. Within 4.5 hours the new water heater was installed with quality and workmanship exceeding my expectations. The purchase price was great as well as the purchase financing option. Over service rating is Excellent!
Cathy Luk
Cathy Luk
1721247854
I was very happy with Brent'service. He was professional and patient in explaining the problem he found with my AC. If future problems arise, I will definitely ask for him.
Melissa Cain
Melissa Cain
1721247236
Aquarius has always had amazing customer service. We recently had our furnace and ac replaced and their team have been informative and personable while maintain professionalism. Thank you to Nicholas Sarinske, Mike Sippel, Matt Kellenberger, Nate Huettl, and anyone else I may have forgotten.
Dan Carlson
Dan Carlson
1721235114
Boni Beisell
Boni Beisell
1721154216
EVERYONE at Aquarius is extremely customer oriented! From first contact with customer service: "Thank you for calling Aquarius Home Service, How can I make you smile today?" (that happily delivered addage always does), all the way through to their exemplary Home Service techs, I have always felt well taken care of; as though their #1 goal was to insure my needs be met, to my highest satisfaction. Aquarius Maintenance technicians are polite and respectful of my home and personal time. They go to great pains to take pictures of any equipment they're working on & point out current issues along with potential future things to be aware of - all in plain English - so I can make informed decisions on fixes needed now or plan pros & cons of 'holding off for a while'. They don't push, they give facts, share expertise, let me decide. . . . and make me smile, everytime.I will happily encourage friends & family to call Aquarius for home service.
LuAnn Suilmann
LuAnn Suilmann
1721152199
Ethan was polite, knowledgeable, and efficient on time. Well done. Very happy.
Dave W
Dave W
1721144718
Very good communications and tech skills. Good info on repair or replace decision.
Ed Bailen
Ed Bailen
1721136513
Nick and Tim did a very thorough job in diagnosing my mom's furnace/ac problems.I would highly recommend them.
Jack Livingston
Jack Livingston
1721093363
Nicholas was an extremely helpful technician. He was thorough and fixed our issue at a reasonable cost. We were impressed with the customer service we got both from him and everyone at Aquarius. Thanks for getting us in within 24 hours, fixing our air conditioning and explaining what was going on.
Sandy Oldeen
Sandy Oldeen
1721089662
Mike Lauer from Aquarius came to service my A/C. Mike was so kind in informing me of my options. He had my trust right away. In the end I purchased a new unit. Mike is definitely an asset to Aquarius. Thanks for the good service Mike!
Karen Arcand
Karen Arcand
1721088008
Leigh Griffith
Leigh Griffith
1720985156
Nick did a nice job of showing us what was affecting our AC and the problems that were looming with our furnace.
Scott Moore
Scott Moore
1720976548
The technician worked hard and did a great job.
Mary Cole
Mary Cole
1720816564
Had technician, Nathan come to perform yearly check on AC Very knowledgeable and explained everything. Bonus points for fixing the pesky rattle from the ductwork!
Jessica McDougall
Jessica McDougall
1720815008
Aquarius has consistently been great at fast response times, responsive communication, and willingness to teach about the maintenance procedures they perform. We will never go back to anyone else!
Nancy Melvin
Nancy Melvin
1720809794
Provided prompt and professional service.
Sean M
Sean M
1720808556
Stephen Clonkey
Stephen Clonkey
1720801379
Riley was very thorough and communicated with us very well.
Jessica Kohl
Jessica Kohl
1720723436
Mike C was my technician and he was AWESOME, very nice, knowledgeable, respectful inside my home (wore booties, didn’t touch newly painted walls, even picking up clumps of insulation on the carpet and putting in his pocket so it wasn’t on the floor, turning off lights) he was great!
Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson
1720718604
Highly recommend Aquarius Home Services. Mike was very professional and explained everything in easy to understand detail. Keep up the good work!
Natalia Yasama
Natalia Yasama
1720656615
There is no better technician than Riley !Very professional, honest , perfectionist. 11 stars service .
Karl Witt
Karl Witt
1720640365
Super great experience! Air conditioning went out at 10 o’clock in the morning and the technician arrived here by 1:45 and completed the repair in less than 45 minutes. Graham, the technician, was really awesome and did a great job with repair.
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