A Detailed Guide On Buying The Best Water Softener For City Water

Contents

There are two sources of water – city water and groundwater. City water is more common in small towns or large cities as the water supply comes from the local municipality. Rural areas mostly survive on groundwater, although the water comes straight from the ground. Those who use groundwater need to ensure that their water is tested regularly to remove as many contaminants as possible.

On the other hand, public water is supplied by local water companies. These companies get their water supply from surface water, and this surface water is more prone to collecting contaminants due to the increasing levels of pollution. The surface water is water from lakes, rivers, and streams and is completely exposed to the environment.

Moreover, this water may also gather more contaminants as they get drawn into pipes on their way to the city’s water treatment plants.

Unfortunately, city water or the public water supply gets treated for these contaminants with harsh chemicals, chlorine, and chloramine. Hence, the odd taste of the water in cities.

Some of us are used to drinking hard water as long as it is under the hardness limits, which is 120 to 170 mg/L, i.e., seven to 10 grains per gallon. While the calcium and magnesium found in hard water are not considered toxic, it is seen as problematic and a nuisance.

It is a widely acknowledged fact that hard water contains a high mineral content. It is caused by minerals like magnesium, calcium, and other trace amounts of minerals that accumulate during the water cycle. It can happen to well water and can also seep into city water. As the hard minerals continue to dissolve in water, the water becomes harder.

Unfortunately, the hardness levels are not always the same across cities and counties. While hard water is considered safe to drink or wash with, it also tends to become uncomfortable over time.

Some of the expected effects of continued usage of hard water include ugly stains in tubs and sink, white spots in kitchenware, quicker wear and tear of clothing and linen, and higher utility bills because the appliances work harder. Hard water also reduces the lifespan of household appliances. The negative impact of hard water also shows up in dry and lustreless hair and itchy skin.

To counter this effect of city water, urban dwellers have resorted to using water softeners in their homes. They may continue to drink water from the tap because they are used to the taste and use the softened water for all other home needs.

But, over time, it is likely that softened water will replace all their needs, including cooking, drinking, showering, and household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters.

With the increasing popularity of water softeners and the availability of a few systems that improve water quality, it is possible that water softeners will become a part of every urban household.

What are 2 problems hard city water can cause?

limescale at the bottom of the kettle

It would not be good to assume that only groundwater contains minerals making it hard water. City water also contains hard water minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. What’s more, city water also contains chlorine and chloramine that are used to kill bacteria. Since city water comes from surface water, it also comes with several contaminants gathered from the environment.

Moreover, city water flows through pipes that do not get changed for a long time and may have collected more contaminants such as bacteria over the years.

Unfortunately, these elements also get added to the water when pumped to the city’s water treatment centers.

Therefore, city water supplied to homes have both these problems that can be treated with water softeners as they can help reduce the level of hardness and chemicals in the water. 

Why should you use a water softener with city water?

You may find that the city water is also as hard as well water, and both may need water treatment to make it softer. City water relies on rivers and lakes for its water supply.

While there may be a difference in hardness levels across different regions, with some areas having naturally softened groundwater, the water collected by cities is found to have more hardness minerals.

Therefore, it makes sense to install a water softener if you are using city water in your homes. Since city water may have varying levels of minerals and other trace minerals such as iron, the water may prove uncomfortable to live with.

Over time, all appliances will have scaling, your kitchenware will have spots, the glassware will appear cloudy, and your skin will feel sticky. The household appliances tend to lose efficiency with the limescale buildup, and the plumbing system and pipes also suffer. You will also find that you use more water to remove the soap entirely.

What’s more, you will find that you are using more soaps and shampoos, and detergents because hard water makes lathering a more difficult process. One would think that these reasons are more than enough to recognize the need for a water softener to soften city water.

The next step is how to choose the best water softener for your home needs can be a challenge. We are here to help you with a review of the best water softeners in 2021 to make it easier.  

Which is the best water softener for city water in 2021?

The best water softener for city water in 2021 is the AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener because it is a whole-house water softener that can eliminate hard water that causes limescale buildup, has a high capacity and durability. It uses ion-exchange softeners to remove magnesium and calcium, saving money and extending the life of your household appliances.

Its on-demand control valve ensures that no water is wasted. It also ensures that the regeneration occurs when necessary, saving on salt. This unit comes preloaded with premium quality resin beads that help capture nearly all of the hard minerals.   

Why you should trust us?

Yes, there are several water softener reviews on the available water softeners in the market. However, we can confidently state that you should trust our verdict as it comes from in-depth research into water softeners designed and engineered for city water.

We perform tests diligently and test a number of units in the market over several hours before arriving at our verdict.

We make these recommendations from a knowledge base built with experts on improving water quality. We have shortlisted six of the products here, keeping in mind their softening efficiency, superior performance, and your budget. You will find a product description with its pros and cons so that you may make your choice based on your needs.

6 Best Water Softeners For City Water Reviewed

1. AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener

afw filters

Our top pick is the AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener, as it is budget-friendly, durable, and compact. This unit has a digital on-demand meter with a paddle wheel meter. It is made in the USA.

The AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener can eliminate the hard water that causes limescale buildup in household appliances. It also improves soap efficiency.

The Fleck 5600SXT has a digital “On-Demand” control valve, high capacity resin bed with extra long-life resin beads. This unit uses an ion-exchange process to soften water and remove hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium, thereby extending the lifespan of household appliances and the plumbing system.

The AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener has a meter-based regeneration process. The water usage is measured, and the water softener only regenerates when it is necessary. If your water usage increases, the system regenerates more frequently to keep up with the water consumption.

The Fleck 5600SXT’s SXT controller is advanced and built on a proven 5600 valve. The valve has a 5-year warranty and can run continuously for a maximum of 27 years.

Other features of the SXT controller include a backlit LCD display, touchpad controls, 48-hour internal power backup, and a user-friendly interface. The digital display shows error messages when there is a problem with the unit, preventing malfunctions. It also has a durable tank with a 10-year warranty.

The brine tank in this unit is 14 “x34” and can hold as much as 250 lbs. of salt, and comes with a safety float that prevents overfilling. The overflow drain acts as a backup to avoid the mess that can happen with water overflow.

Installing this unit is easy and straightforward and doesn’t require more than basic plumbing skills. 

The AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener is highly efficient and ideal for families of 4-6 members. 

Pros

  1. The AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener works on varying hardness levels.
  2. It comes with a 10-year warranty on the tanks and a 5-year warranty on the control head.
  3. The digital display is user-friendly.
  4. On-demand meter ensures automatic regeneration based on water usage.
  5. The safety float prevents water overflow.
  6. The low salt light indicates when the salt levels are low.

Cons

1. None.

2. FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener

Salt free softener

Springwell’s FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener is the runner-up in our list of water softeners. It is also one of the highest-rated salt-free systems in the market.

This water softener uses TAC – Template Assisted Crystallization, i.e., the unit crystallizes the hard minerals ensuring that they don’t stick to surfaces such as showerheads, faucets, and fixtures.

The FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener removes limescale buildup extending the lifespan of all of your household appliances and making cleaning much more manageable.

The FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener treats the city water and eliminates contaminants such as chlorine and chloramine.

You can use this water softener without experiencing any drop in water pressure. It is easy to install and comes with superior customer support. 

Pros

  1. The FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener retains the healthy minerals
  2. It does not cause water pressure to drop.
  3. It reduces water wastage.
  4. It is environmentally friendly.

Cons

1. The FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener does not have a change indicator on its sediment filter.

3. Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology

Whirlpool water softener

The Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 grain water softener system is perfect for medium-sized families with six members. It helps remove ugly stains from hard minerals. It reduces the use of detergent as the softened water lathers more quickly, keeping the clothes looking bright and soft. It also increases the lifespan of your household appliances.

The Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener has an on-demand regeneration system and regenerates only when it is necessary, saving water and salt usage.

The unit has a low-salt indicator light to let you know when it is time to add salt. This water softener works on city water and groundwater and keeps all appliances that use water, such as washing machines, water heaters, etc., working efficiently for a longer time.

The unit is energy-efficient and comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor, a 3-year limited warranty on electronic components, and a 10-year limited warranty on the tanks. 

Pros

  1. The Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 grain water softener has a high-flow valve
  2. It has an on-demand regeneration and saves salt and water
  3. It is budget-friendly

Cons

1. The Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 grain water softener may not be sufficient for a household of more than six members.

4. Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener 

Water2Buy Water Softener

The Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener can work for a household of 1-10 members and is a home filtration and limescale removal system. It works well with city water and groundwater.

The Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener helps save water and salt with a digital meter control. This system can be connected to your main water supply and installed in the basement or garage and is made of high-strength corrosion-resistant fiberglass, polyethylene tank, and pre-filled premium-grade resin. The bypass valve is pre-fitted and maintains optimal water pressure to all outlets in your home.

An additional feature is it’s automatic self-cleaning, as it performs the regeneration cycle when necessary. The system uses around 90 liters of water during the regeneration process. It has an easy manual override function to start regeneration if needed. 

Pros

  1. The ​​Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener has a slim design
  2. Suitable for larger families
  3. It has a noiseless operation
  4. The unit regenerates in 30 minutes.

Cons

  1. Installation can be challenging.
  2. It doesn’t come with an overflow, connection hose

5. Aquasana Whole House Well Water Filter System

Whole House Water System

The Aquasana whole-house well water filter system removes 97% of chlorine and 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. It is capable of reducing other harmful contaminants such as mercury, herbicides, pesticides, lead, VOCs, etc.

The system uses carbon and KDF filtration media and a UV purifier with a scale control media (SCM0). Its salt-free technology is engineered to maximize the reduction of contaminants. It is cost-effective and long-lasting.

With no draining or backflushing, it is easy to maintain, and you can replace the filters every couple of months for the best flow rate and filtration.

The Aquasana whole-house well water filter system includes a filter tank, conditioner tank, pre and post-filter, and shut-off valves.

The intelligent engineering of the unit maximizes potent filtration media for optimum performance. The dual tank design increases the water contact time, grabbing the contaminants without clogging or media channeling. 

Pros

  1. The Aquasana whole-house well water filter system has a 2-in-1 softener and conditioner for better water cleaning.
  2. The salt-free system is low maintenance and is suitable for low-sodium diets.
  3. It doesn’t need to be plugged in.
  4. The system’s high-quality components are designed for durability.
  5. It doesn’t waste water, nor does it need to regenerate.
  6. Warranty does not void if you install it yourself

Cons

  1. The filters may need changing fairly regularly.
  2. It is not the most cost-effective system on the market, even with its additional benefits.

6. WaterBoss 22,000 Grain Water Softener System 

waterboss softener

The WaterBoss 22,000 Grain Water Softener System reduces iron, calcium, ferrous iron, and dirt., and has a highly efficient tank to save water. It requires the least amount of salt for regeneration. It has a 16 GPM water flow rate at 15 psi drop and provides minimal pressure drop. It can work well with city water and groundwater.

The WaterBoss 22,000 Grain Water Softener System is compact, saving space. It comes with a fast, on-demand, and noiseless regeneration process, softening water in 20 minutes using less salt, water, and electricity.

It has user-friendly controls, making it easy to set the softness level or add salt. It also has a 5-year warranty on the controller and a 10-year warranty on the cabinet and tank.

Pros

  1. The WaterBoss 22,000 Grain Water Softener System has an on-demand regeneration option and saves water and salt. 
  2. NSF-certified for barium and radium 226/ 228 reduction.
  3. It has a quiet operation.

Cons

  1. Poor customer service and support
  2. Failing resin tanks

An extensive guide on how to test city water?

testing city water

Be it city water or groundwater; we will always wonder if it has impurities that could make their way into our bodies. This concern is increasing as we move into urban dwellings and get our water from the city. We live in times where bottled water is becoming more prevalent because tap water may not be safe enough to drink or use for other household purposes.

Therefore, it makes sense to get our water tested regularly. Knowing if there are contaminants that need to be removed can go a long way to choosing the right water treatment system. But, first, let us understand how the water gets to our homes.

Small towns or larger cities get their water from the public water supply. Paying fees to a public water utility with a water meter in your home is proof that you are getting city water.

Your water supply could be from surface water or groundwater. The source of groundwater is a deep underground well. These wells are called aquifers. It is accessed by drilling a deep well and pumping the water to the surface.

For instance, if you are using a private well, you get the water from an aquifer. 

On the other hand, surface water comes from rivers, lakes, and streams. The public water company draws the surface water by laying pipes to get the water to a particular location. The water is then tested, treated, and pumped out to homes.

Generally, city water is drawn from surface sources. Regardless of the water source, the water must be tested to make sure that it is safe for consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency, also known as the EPA, has regulations about water quality and receives a report annually.

All community water systems are required to send water quality through a consumer confidence report. This report contains the list of contaminants and chemicals that water has after it has been treated.

These reports are informative and detail the total quality in parts per million (ppm), keeping the maximum level of contaminants that can be present as per regulations. 

How do we test the water?

There are a number of ways to test your drinking water. You can either choose to do it yourself or bring in a professional to test it for you. There are simple tests that you can carry out, and there are tests that may be a little more expensive and time-consuming. 

Some of the more popular testing methods are listed here:

1. Send water samples to a reputed lab for testing

It may be impossible to know all the contaminants that may be present. So, you would need to test your water for all possibilities. The smarter way to do this is by sending a sample of the water to a lab that specializes in water testing. The reports from a lab will cover a broader range of elements in the water than what you find with your home testing kit.

The only thing you have to make sure of is that the lab is a reputed one. These labs will also give you clear instructions on how to send water samples.

Typically, this will require you to refrigerate the samples and send them to the lab within 24 hours. Labs may also send their own containers for the water samples. 

2. Hire a professional water testing company

A professional water testing company will send someone to your home to analyze the water. A water inspector will use special equipment to monitor the levels of specific contaminants in your water and let you know whether these are present in dangerous quantities.

If the water inspector does not find any conclusive answers, they may send the water to a lab for further examination.

In any case, getting a professional opinion on your water quality will help you make an informed decision as to the water treatment. You may also find a thorough report helpful when looking for a filtration system.

3. Water testing kits

One of the easier and convenient ways to test your water is using an at-home water testing kit. There are different types of kits. Some of the kits can be used to test the water’s pH levels, and others can be used to test for contaminants such as sulfur, chlorine, dissolved solids, lead, bacteria, etc.

However, it is good to remember that an at-home testing kit may not succeed in giving you the entire range of contaminants in your water. You would need a really advanced test kit to identify the numerous contaminants that are usually found in city water.

The standard kit tests water for anywhere from six to over ten contaminants. Lead and chlorine tend to be the most common contaminants and are easily identified. A standard kit should suffice if that is all there is to find. 

Other testing kits are also designed to look for specific contaminants in your water. For instance, if there is too much sulfur or iron in the water, these kits will tell you how much of such elements are in the water. 

Just like the at-home testing kit, you may still not get an accurate reading of the quality of water. Nevertheless, they are good kits to start with.

Here’s a look at the more common contaminants that you should be testing for:

  • Bacteria, as it may be harmful or cause diseases. 
  • Iron affects the water by leaving stains on all surfaces and has a peculiar taste.
  • Chlorine, in large quantities, can be harmful and also tastes a bit different from pure and softened water.
  • Sulfur can be naturally occurring or may be caused by the present bacteria. It leaves a rotten egg taste in the water. 
  • Lead, in large amounts, can be toxic and make the water taste metallic. 
  • Hard water minerals in water include calcium and magnesium and cause limescale buildups.
  • Sediment is usually sand or grit and can reduce the overall quality of water. 

4. Test strips 

Test strips are typically used to determine your water’s contaminant levels. Directions for using these strips may vary from kit to kit, so it is best to read your instructions first before using the test strips.

You can use these test strips to test for water hardness levels, chlorine, pH level, bacteria and conduct a general water analysis.

A testing kit with test strips comes with indications for testing for specific contaminants in the water. 

  • Collect a sample of water (as fresh as possible)
  • Dip the test strip in the sample.
  • Wait for the color to turn a different shade.
  • Keep the strip submerged for a few minutes or as instructed in the manual.

The testing kit with these test strips will also have a color chart with a range of colors. Each color indicates a certain quantity of the contaminant in your water. Since we see colors differently, it may not be completely reliable. 

5. Color disks 

Color disks are inexpensive and simple to use. Kits with color disks contain a powder or liquid reagent, a reusable plastic tube, and a viewing box with a plastic color wheel. 

As instructed in the manual, use a certain amount of reagent to the plastic tube.

  • Add a sample of your drinking water to the tube containing the reagent. 
  • Watch the color change. 
  • Leave it for a couple of minutes. 
  • Place the tube in the clear viewing box.
  • Rotate the wheel until the shade in the wheel matches the color of the sample in the tube.
  • Discover the concentration of the contaminant in the water.
  • You’ll then add the appropriate amount of reagent to the plastic tube and into the sample of your drinking water.
  • The water will slowly change color.

Color disk kits are a little costlier than testing strips but are considered more accurate than the test strips. 

However, there’s still the varied human eyesight to consider. Matching the color shade precisely may be a challenge.

5. Digital instruments 

Digital instruments are more technical and can give you an electronic reading of the contaminants. They are handheld devices and easy to use. 

Of all the at-home testing kits, digital instruments are considered the best as they give a more accurate reading of the water quality in your home. Generally, digital instruments are used in large commercial spaces or at an industrial level.

Although, there are some cheaper versions of these devices that can be used at home.

Some of the common forms of digital testing include colorimeters, photometers, and portable digital meters. They require delicate handling, but it is worth the investment and effort to get an accurate reading. 

You may need to calibrate the digital water tester before using it. A few of these testers also need batteries or a form of electric charge.

Over time, the digital instruments may need new parts to replace the worn-out older ones. 

How do you fix hard city water?

As we have seen, even treated city water contains contaminants that have seeped into it from the pipes and the plumbing system. We have also seen the ways in which we can test the water quality for such contaminants and the amount of each in the water.

Now, we shall see how to fix hardness levels in the city water. You can either soften the water naturally or go for a water softener. Let’s see how to soften the hard city water naturally.

When we talk about softening hard water, we mean the elimination of hardness-causing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. 

Here, we will discuss a few effective ways of reducing hardness in the water. It will also depend on your decision to treat the water only at certain points or the whole house water softener. 

1. Bottled water 

You can use bottled water instead of tap water for drinking. But, know that bottled water comes in plastic bottles and that only causes harm to the environment.

Moreover, you may not know where the water is coming from before getting bottled.

2. Boiling 

You can boil the water until the salts sink to the bottom of the pan or boiler. It is easier to filter out the deposits by either scoping them out or pouring the clear water into another pot. 

3. Ion-exchange filter

You can install an ion-exchange filter onto the faucet to fix the hard city water in the kitchen faucet.

4. Built-in shower filter

Hard water leaves your skin feeling sticky after a shower and your hair dry and lustreless. Using a showerhead with an in-built filter can remove some of the hardness levels. 

4. Shut off the hot water valve

Hard city water can damage clothes and fade them faster. Shutting off the hot water valve and using only cold water in the washing machine may help.

5. Low drying temperature

Low drying temperature in the dishwasher can lessen the effect of hard water. 

6. Professional cleaning

Regular and scheduled cleaning of the pipes can reduce the mineral buildup from the city’s hard water. 

However, all of the above steps are quick fixes. It will help to understand how the public water supply is treated before reaching your homes. There are four steps to water treatment systems. 

7. Coagulation and Flocculation

One of the first steps in water treatment is adding chemicals that have a positive charge. This positive charge can neutralize the negative charge of all dissolved particles, dirt, etc.

This process allows the particles to bind with the chemicals and become floc, i.e., larger particles. It is much easier to filter the large particles out of the water. 

8. Sedimentation

When the floc settles to the bottom of the water supply, it forms sediment at the bottom. 

9. Filtration

The water passes through several layers of compositions, such as gravel, sand, and charcoal, even as the floc settles to the bottom.

This filtration process helps remove dissolved particles such as parasites, bacteria, dust, chemicals, etc. 

10. Disinfection of the water

Once the water filtration process is completed, a disinfectant such as chlorine or chloramine is added to the water. The disinfectant is strong enough to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses, removing the germ-carrying elements from the water before pumping them into our homes.

Generally, surface water will need more treatment than groundwater as the surface water accumulates more contaminants than an aquifer. 

Salt Based Water Softener Vs. Salt-Free Water Softener

Water Softener Types

The main purpose of using water softeners is to remove hard minerals from the water. This is accomplished through an ion exchange system by using a polymer resin bed. The resin bed has sodium particles that get exchanged for hard minerals.

You can perform a water test before and after the water softening process and expect the water test result to go from 10 grains/ gallon to 0 grains/ gallon, irrespective of the type of water softener.

Salt-based water softeners

The salt-based water softener machines use an electronic metered valve above the resin tank. This ensures that the water is measured by the gallon and runs a cleaning cycle when the resin bed has become saturated by hard minerals. This electronic valve starts a series of back flushes to push the harness particulates that have been trapped from the system and flushes them into the drain.

The sodium is replenished whenever necessary for the cycle to repeat the process. Essentially, the hardness minerals are removed from the water.

Salt-free water softeners

In salt-free systems, the hardness minerals are retained in the water. However, their form gets changed, so they do not attach themselves to the surface. This is why salt-free water softeners are considered more as salt-free water conditioners.

The water gets processed through catalytic media through a Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) process.

In this way, the hardness minerals get converted to a harness crystal that is incapable of binding to surfaces. There is no electronic valve in a salt-free water softener as there is no need to purge the minerals.

The Verdict

After reviewing various water softeners available in the market, our verdict is AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener. This is a salt-based water softener with an on-demand meter, ensuring a huge salt and water saving. It is also quite popular as it is budget-friendly, compact, and serves a family of four members very well. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is hard water bad for your kidneys?

Hard water can have a negative impact on your kidneys over time. Kidneys are our body’s filters as they discard the waste material and excess fluids from our bodies. Kidney stones are formed from the amount of salt and minerals in the urine.

Most of these kidney stones contain calcium, and they form in our bodies when the calcium levels change. These calcium particles get accumulated on the kidney walls and are hard to dissolve during excretion.

Continued deposits of such calcium particles can increase the size of the kidney stones and cause pain and difficulty in passing urine.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the harness levels in water are not excessive.

2. Can you drink tap water if you have a water softener?

Drinking tap water that has been softened with a water softener is considered safe to drink. It is more a matter of taste. Some people have a drinking water tap installed at the same time as a water softener. They seem to prefer the taste of slightly hard water as they are used to it. It is also considered safe because the salt used in the ion-exchange process to soften water does not get into the water.

However, if you are already on a low sodium diet, you may want to ensure that the salt in water does not exceed 200ppm. 

3. Are there alternatives to water softeners?

Yes, there are alternatives to water softeners. One of the most common alternatives is to use a water conditioner. The difference is that water softeners exchange sodium ions for the mineral ions to remove hardness, whereas the water conditioner alters the very structure of mineral ions.

Using a water conditioner ensures that the mineral ions remain in the water but lose the ability to cause scaling.

4. What is the life expectancy of a water softener?

Water softeners can last anywhere between 10 and 20 years, depending on the quality of the product and the type. A single tank water softener can last for as long as 12 years, while a few other products can go on for 20 years. 

5. Is salt-based water softener good?

A salt-based water softener is good because they remove hard water minerals. They help eliminate the problems associated with using hard water. A salt-based water softener will ensure that there is no scaling, no more white spots on glassware and kitchenware, no itchiness in the skin, and no damage to clothes and household appliances. 

6. Do you need special water softener for well water? 

Water from a well is usually hard as it comes straight from the ground, i.e., rainwater that moves through the soil to an aquifer; it also collects a lot of minerals along the way. Well water can be contaminated as private wells are more susceptible to pollution.

The natural contaminants, including radon, uranium, and arsenic, are dissolved in the groundwater as it goes through rock and soil. The type of chemicals and their quantity varies from region to region across the country.

You will find that water from a well smells and tastes different if left untreated. You are likely to need a water softener that can handle the hard minerals, chemicals, and disinfectants in the water to make sure that your water is safe for all purposes. 

7. Is it safe to drink city water? 

Yes, it is safe to drink city water, especially if the tap water is filtered properly. It is considered as safe as drinking bottled water. But, city water may retain the essential amounts of minerals required without completely erasing all minerals. What is the healthiest water to drink?

8. Does it matter what water softener you use? 

The purpose of using a water softener is to reduce the hardness levels in your city water. Theoretically, it may not matter what water softener you use.

However, with so many choices in the market, you may want to get a clear understanding of the hardness levels of your water and how the water softening system can help.

The usual factors to consider before choosing a water softener include the cost of the unit, durability, customer support and service, number of family members, and the results of the analyzed water if you want to ensure that the unit can fulfill the purpose of water softening.

Investing in a well-tested and reviewed water softener can make your living safe and comfortable.

Knowing that a water softener can cut down on hard minerals and give you clear and softer water is reason enough to purchase a unit.

Water softeners that come with a long warranty on the parts and labor and advanced technology to help save water and salt are usually a good choice. 

9. What is water softener resin? 

Water softener resin or water softening resin is a special material that is used in water softeners. The resin is essential to the ion exchange process used by your water softener. Resin beads are small and spherical, and they are packed on a bed inside the resin tank. These resin beads have a negative charge. So they will attract anything that contains positively charged ions.

Typically, the resin beads are preloaded in the water softener. They contain a coating of positively charged sodium ions. Calcium and magnesium are naturally charged with positive ions.

When the water flows into the resin bed, the positive ions knock off the negatively charged sodium ions in the resin bed. They then get attached to the resin beads. Once this process is completed, the sodium ions are released into the water.

With the continued use of water, the resin beads get saturated with the hardness ions. For the resin beads to work as required, the water softener needs to get rid of the hardness ions that have been trapped in the resin bed. At this time, the regeneration must begin.

During this process, the unit flushes out the collected hardness minerals with the help of a brine solution that is the result of the added salt to the salt tank. The positively charged resin beads are strong and can break up the sodium chloride compound as the water flows out. The sodium layer gets replenished into the resin beads to continue their work in the ion exchange process.

Water softeners either contain fine mesh resin or the standard variety of resin. The fine mesh resin is more expensive, and the beads are smaller and packed tightly on the resin bed. They also have a larger surface area and can filter around 10ppm of iron from your water.

In most water softeners, standard resin beads can do the job of softening the water just as effectively.

Ultimately, it is how well the system is maintained is what counts. 

Conclusion

Water softeners have become increasingly popular in recent times because of the different contaminants found in our water. Whether these contaminants come from the source or through the pipes and the plumbing system as it reaches our homes, treating the water and making it safe is imperative.

While quite a few people continue to use water as it comes through their taps from the public water supply, many others prefer to treat the water further to remove the remaining hardness minerals and reduce the effect of the disinfectants used.

Many city dwellers who use water from the public water supply find that they would rather use water softeners than go for bottled water and increase the environmental threat.

By using a good water softening system in their homes, they also ensure that there is an uninterrupted supply of softened water that can be used for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing.

About The Author

Our Web Producer

Judith— a passionate water treatment specialist — is a waste water management enthusiast, clean drinking water advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about various water equipments. Her work was mentioned in countless notable water associations. Previously she was an editor at Water Alliance.