The very first step towards choosing the right water softener is realizing that you have the problem of hard water. Unfortunately, problems caused by hard water take some time to manifest. They are only detected when water pipes start clogging or water-using appliances start malfunctioning. Hard water contains minerals, especially calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium that dissolve to form scale and lime. These form as deposits on water pipes and water-using appliances, such as dish washers, water heaters, and coffee makers. The minerals also diminish a soap’s ability to Iather and clean, leading to more soap use and longer rinsing. Hard water can have a different odor, taste, or appearance. Hard water also affects health because it increases the risks of rashes and other skin problems, as shown by watersoftenergurus.com.
When you are sure you have hard water problems, seek to know how hard your water is. This is called hardness testing. It involves measuring the amount and type of minerals in the water. Testing can be done by the use of test kits, which can be bought online. Another testing criteria is to search the internet for water hardness map and check whether you live in a region marked as hard water region.
After identifying the hardness of your water, you must choose the size of the softener. Sizing is fundamental in the process of selecting the right softener. A softener works by exchanging its soft minerals with the hard minerals in your water. For example, calcium is exchanged with a soft mineral, sodium. The softener contains some chemicals “magnets”, called ion exchange resin. They help in the exchange process. Therefore, more magnets mean higher capacity (gallons purified before regeneration of the softener) for the softener. The capacity of a softener is measured in grains per gallon. One such measure equals 17.1 parts per million.
To choose softener sizing, calculate the amount of water consumed in your homestead. An average person should consume 80 gallons of water each day. If a family has four members, their daily consumption will be 4 X 80 = 320 gallons. If the grains of water hardness was found to be 10, this family will need a 3200 (320 X 10) grain softener.
After choosing the right size of softener for your home, you can focus on softener type. The basic types are timer generated softeners, meter generated softeners, and manually generated softeners. The timer regenerated softener operates on time clock. For the homestead example above, the timer would be set to regenerate after every 7 days. This will ensure that regeneration occurs regardless of the amount of water used, using 8 pounds of salt per regeneration. This is the cheapest softener type but it consumes the most salt.
Meter generated softeners track the amount of water used and regenerate once a required level is consumed. It does the calculation example given above. It is able to adjust to changes in amount of water consumed. For example, when the family is on vacation and leaves the home, there is no much water usage and it adjust regeneration accordingly.
Manually generated softeners do not use timers or meters. You have to regenerate them manually when need be.