Let’s face it, water is one of the most essential substances on earth needed to sustain human life. Over 85% of the US is subjected to hard water, therefore, it’s no wonder that more homeowners are choosing to install a water treatment system. There are a multitude of options and knowing the difference between them will help to make the best decision on what type of treatment is right for your home.
We asked our licensed plumbers about the 4 most common residential water treatment systems you’ll find on the market:
4 most common residential water treatment systems
Water Softener –
This water treatment system uses polymers, a macroscopic compound, to “soften” the water in your home. Hard water enters your system and passes through a resin bed filled with polymer beads. Polymers contain small “divots” that attract and coagulate the bad minerals in hard water. Once the resin bed is filled with hard water material, the system flushes the polymers with a salt-water brine. It is then flushed by fresh water to remove the remaining brine water. This method can leave you with better tasting water, cleaner dishes, and softer fabrics from the washing machine, but it is not able to remove chlorine and chemical odors.
Water Conditioner –
Water conditioners, also called “salt-free” water softeners, do not use salt, but instead they use varying methods to neutralize and deter harsh minerals from sticking to your pipes. While a water softener completely rids your system of these minerals, a conditioner neutralizes them, lessening their presence in your water.
Most households using a water filtration system utilize a carbon or micron filter to absorb the chemicals floating in your water. This method is great for removing many common impurities, and improves the taste, odor, and clarity of drinking water. Unfortunately, filtration systems cannot keep up with limescale build-up in hard water, and are unable to remove mineral salts that have completely dissolved in the water. In addition, carbon filters inevitably get backed-up with impurities and require replacement from time to time. Customers may use the filtration method as a water treatment alternative. However, professionals recommend that you use it in conjunction with a water softener.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) –
In contrast of filtration, this method removes dissolved mineral salts from your water. RO systems use a sediment filter, a semipermeable membrane, and a carbon filter to make your water odorless and clear with a higher quality taste. However, RO systems, much like filtration systems, do not remove minerals that create hard water in your plumbing. RO Systems also create very acidic water that can damage your pipes. Acidic water does more damage to pipes made of metallic material versus engineered piping using Pex material.
Realistically, there is no system that will meet every single treatment need; each system has its pros and cons. Customers are able to use many of these systems in combination with one another. If you’re ready to explore options for water care in your home, give Radiant a call at (512) 263-9988. Our technicians will be able to help you choose the best water treatment system for your home.
Radiant Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Licensed Plumber. Chris T.