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Water Conditioners vs. Water Softeners: Which Is the Better Choice?

drip-water-dropsIf your home has hard water, then chances are: you notice. You might become frustrated when scaling forms around drains, the showerhead, and bathroom and kitchen faucets. Or you may notice the biggest difference when you’re showering and hard water makes it so that soap just doesn’t lather all the way.

In any case, you need to take the right steps to make hard water a problem of the past. As you look up your options for hard water remediation, you might come across two terms: water conditioning and water softening. Typically, these words describe two different types of systems that can lessen the effects of hard water in your home and on your plumbing system, but which one is right for you?

The differences between a water softener and a water conditioner

The term “water softener” describes a system that uses a process of ionic exchange to pull hard water minerals (calcium, magnesium) out of the water and replace them with sodium ions. The minerals are flushed to drain out of your water system, meaning your water supply is now completely free of minerals that cause hard water.

The terms “water conditioner,” “descaler,” and “salt-free conditioner” describe a different type of system. A descaler cannot remove minerals from the water completely. Rather, it changes the chemical structure of the water to stop minerals from forming scale along your pipes and fixtures. It is not a true water softener because minerals are left in the water, but it’s still the best option in many homes.

When a water softener is the best option

Water softeners have many benefits to offer a homeowner looking for a solution to hard water and the many problems that can result. A water softener eliminates most of the minerals in the water supply for something that can truly be called “soft water.”

  • Reduces scaling in pipes.
  • Reduces white or yellow-ish spots around faucets and drains.
  • Allows soap to lather with ease, reducing soap scum.
  • Allows you to use less soap, detergent, and dish soap.
  • Eliminates water spots from dishes.

Homeowners choose to install water softeners when they’ve reached their last straw dealing with the frustrations of hard water. However, there are plenty of reasons to explore your other options.

Why water conditioners are so popular in West Orange, NJ

While water conditioners that don’t use salt cannot completely eliminate hardness from the water, they are a popular system for homeowners in our area and throughout the country. The downside is that, since minerals are still present, you’ll still have the same issues with lathering and water quality. There are many benefits to a salt-free water conditioner as well, and for some homeowners, this system is preferable.

  • Reduces scaling in pipes.
  • Reduces white or yellow-ish spots around faucets or drains.
  • Does not require as much maintenance as water softeners (refilling salt).
  • Typically costs less to install.
  • Does not waste water.
  • Many people prefer water to feel a little less “slippery.”

MarGo Plumbing Heating Cooling Inc. installs water softeners and water conditioning systems in West Orange, NJ. Call us today!

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