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!

Micheal Russo

For busy – okay, let’s say more accurately, forgetful people like me – whenever I’m in need of an AC or furnace tune-up or even water softener and purifier maintenance, Aquarius contacts me to set up the appointment.

Everything is so convenient, and the technicians are friendly, respectful and experts on everything.

There’s no better service than Aquarius.

Michael Russo

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