Saltless Water Softener
Water softener is a common home appliance that many of us have installed in our homes. Till today, many regions get only hard water supply for daily use. Water sample is called hard, if it contains an excess amount of mineral ions, viz., calcium and magnesium. Hard water not only form scales, but also interferes with washing, cleaning, bathing, and other daily chores by reducing lather formation. Thus, treating hard water with a saltless water softener or with other techniques is preferred to increase water quality.
In a traditional water softener, the hard water is passed through resin beads that contain sodium ions. The magnesium and calcium ions are replaced by sodium ions, and soft water is delivered via the outlet pipe. A major concern with this method is the elevated amount of sodium in the softened water. While using it for drinking or cooking applications, the sodium content in the diet is increased, which is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions.
Considering the high sodium content in water resulted by regular water softener, many homeowners are now opting for the salt-free softeners. In fact, the market is flooded with these type of systems, each promising to give high-end results. Simply called a descaler, this salt-free softener works by changing the structure of mineral crystals present in hard water. By doing so, it reduces the tendency of crystals to form scales.
The working mechanism of most systems is not to remove mineral or hardness ions directly. Instead, the electric charges generated in this system are effective for preventing quick formation of scales. Hence, build-up of the same in pipes, washing machine, or dishwasher is reduced significantly. Nevertheless, scale deposits are observed in standing water, for example, in hot water heater or other storage tanks. In short, the softener is less efficient for actual water softening.
The major benefits of salt-free water softeners are attributed to the absence of sodium in the softened water. Contrary to regular softening, it involves electromagnets (in electromagnetic water softener) or other salts (e.g. potassium chloride) for softening. Thus, water, after undergoing the treatment process, is free of sodium and is considered safe for consumption, even for people who are on a sodium restriction diet. Needless to say, it increases the longevity of pipes and other plumbing components. Another advantage of using salt-free water softener is reducing environmental pollution.
Purchasing the best softener is easier said than done. Being a costly gadget, proceeding with the trial and error method is not practical. In order to make the best investment, do your homework properly, check the reviews, and search for brands that deliver good results in terms of softening water, energy efficiency, and durability. Do not forget to go through consumer reports, so that you can get an insight about the positive and negative sides of this device.
When a comparison is made between saltless and regular water softeners, each of the system works in a different manner, and have their own pros and cons. So, deciding which one is a better alternative depends upon your health objectives, water requirements, and personal choices. A better solution is to replace resin beads of a regular water softener with potassium chloride. But, make sure that the machine configuration is safe for using other salts. Or, check with a reliable company for any possible problems that may arise with salt replacement.
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