As homeowners and businesses invest more in energy-efficient products, salt-free water softeners become a popular choice in purifying home drinking water. However, buying a water softener is a significant home investment. If you’re trying to figure out if you should buy a salt-free or salt-based water softener, knowing how they work and what sets them apart is essential, keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
Salt-based Water Softeners
Water Softening removes excess minerals from hard water using an ion exchange process. The softener extracts these minerals (e.g., calcium and magnesium) and replaces them with a sodium particle using a polymer resin bed.
This softening system works great at removing the hardness in water. It gives you a slick feeling of water on your skin and hands, while soap lathering will become easier. After it traps the mineral particles, an electronic metered valve allows back flushes to push the particles down a drain line. This cleansing cycle also replenishes the sodium content in the resin bed.
Pros of Salt-based Water Softeners
- Softens water
- Removes hardness-causing minerals
- Prevents scaling on appliances, pipes, and utensils
- Brighter clothes and hydrated hair and skin.
- Better soap lathering
Cons Of Salt-based Water Softeners
- Salt-based water softeners are often more expensive than their salt-free counterparts.
- They require more maintenance
- They are often larger and take up more space
- The cleansing cycle allows some water to go to waste when flushing out minerals.
Salt-free Water Softeners
As their name implies, these softeners do not require an ion exchange. However, the ion exchange process is vital for the water softener’s mechanism. What we call salt-free water softeners are water conditioners.
Instead of removing hardness-causing minerals, they crystallize them and leave the particulates in the water. It doesn’t soften the water, but it prevents the minerals from forming limescale compounds. The minerals won’t create residue or deposits that can reduce the functionality of your house appliances and the appearance of your utensils.
Pros of Salt-free Water Softeners
- They require less maintenance
- They prevent limescale formation
- Energy efficient
- They do not require electricity to run cleaning cycles
- They don’t allow water to go to waste
- They are relatively cheaper than their salt-based counterpart
- Installation is easier
- They do not increase our sodium consumption
Which Softener Is Right for You?
Salt-free water softeners give you a lot of value and nearly the same results as salt-based softeners. They also do so without the hassle and size of salt-based softeners. However, salt-free softeners are conditioners and do not soften water. If this quality is what you need, a salt-based water softener would be the better. Now you can determine your home needs and decide which would work best for you.