Salt Water Softeners v. Salt-Free: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to treating the water in your home, there are many different options to choose from. One of the most popular water issues we come across in our line of work is hard water, or water packed with too many harsh minerals. In this specific scenario, there are two main options: Either you opt for a traditional water softening system, which uses salt, or you select the saltless alternative. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two to help you make your decision.

Salt Water Softeners | Aquarius Water Conditioning

How do Salt Water Softeners Work?

In order to soften your water, salt-powered softeners actually remove minerals like limestone, calcium, magnesium, and iron from your water using an ion exchange process. These are the minerals that are to blame for your hard water woes, so stripping water of them eliminates the issue.

So how does the ion exchange process work you ask? It’s simple! Hard water is pumped into the resin bed, which holds tiny beads charged with sodium ions. As the water makes its way through the resin bed, it leaves behind hard minerals in exchange for the sodium ions. In order to regenerate after softening, a brine solution is pumped back through the beads, flushing the minerals out and reinstating the sodium ions for the next batch of water.

Want to Learn More About Water Softeners?

Check out this video that explains in more detail how a salt is used to help a water softener remove unwanted minerals:

In general, Kinetico Water Softeners use significantly less salt than that used by the salt-powered softener our competitors offer. This is because the Kinetico softener doesn’t waste salt during the regeneration process, regenerating on-demand and only when needed.

As a bonus, the Kinetico Water Softeners also don’t use electricity. That means there’s nothing to plug in and nothing to rest after a power outage — and you’ll certainly notice this benefit on your electric bill!

How Do Salt-Free Water Softeners Work?

The main difference here is that minerals are actually not removed from the water, but restructured instead to help descale your plumbing. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) is the process by which these devices function. By charging the minerals with electricity, the system is able to transform them into crystals that cannot bind to surfaces.

All that being said, this is not considered “true water softening,” but instead more of a water treatment. Testing the water before and after treatment will still heed the same hardness results and the same total dissolved solids (TDS), as the hardness minerals aren’t actually removed. However, some hard water symptoms will be alleviated.

The Pros & Cons of Salt v. Salt-Free Softeners:

  • Cost: Salt-powered softeners can be more expensive up front and will require more maintenance than its electric alternative.
  • Efficiency: On the other hand, salt-free softeners are actually not removing the hard minerals like salt-powered systems do. That means they are not as effective.

At Aquarius Water Conditioning, we stand behind our water softeners, whether salt or saltless. To learn more about our Kinetico water softeners, or saltless water systems, call 888-741-9025 today. We’ll provide a free water analysis to determine which option is best suited for your home.

bill scherk

We love our Kinetico whole-home water treatment system.  No residue around our faucets.  No smelly well water.  My wife loves what Kinetico water does for her hair and skin and the Sherck boys LOVE the Kinetico K5 Drinking System (They fill their water bottles before hockey and soccer practices).

Clean, healthy, great-tasing water.  That is Kinetico!”

Bill Sherck

MN Bound

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