What are the different types of water softeners?
Types of water softener systems.
Have you decided to get a water softener for your home? You’ve made the right choice: adding a water softener protects your pipes, water heater, appliances, and fixtures from hard water. But, with all the different water softeners out there, how do you know which is the right one?
In this article, we’ll introduce you to three varieties of water softeners: ion-exchange systems, salt-free systems, and dual-tank models. With this article, you’ll have all the information you need to select the right softener for your home, with our team standing by to help you install it.
Ion-exchange water softeners
Ion-exchange water softeners are often just called “water softeners,” as they are the most common of the systems described in this article.
Different models boast a variety of features, but most ion-exchange systems work relatively the same. Hard water from the tap is brought into the softener’s tank, where it comes into contact with a layer of negatively charged beads. This attracts minerals like calcium and magnesium out of the water and onto the beads. The now-softened water is sent on its way to the faucets, showerheads, and appliances in your home.
In the meantime, the ion-exchange water softener flushes the built-up mineralization from the absorbing beads with salt water from its brine tank. The salt attracts the minerals away from the beads, cleaning them. This hyper-saline water is then flushed away.
Eventually, the brine tank needs a fresh supply of salt pellets. Most hardware stores sell specialized water softener salt for exactly this purpose.
HALO CK10 Series Water Softener
The CK10 Series Water Softener is HALO’s approach to an ion-exchange softener. It’s designed to prevent scaling inside of your home’s pipes, appliances, and water heater. This system comes in four different tank sizes, which means there’s a HALO ion-exchange system for every size of home here in Fresno. If you’re looking for a traditional water softener, the CK10 Series is right for you.
Salt-free water softeners
Salt-based water softeners, like the one described above, have their downsides. For one, replacing the salt supply means the homeowner is always having to think about and care for the system—not exactly ideal for a water softener, which should just be running in the background. Ion-exchange systems also use a lot of water and salt, and produce hyper-saline brine water as a byproduct. The flushing of this brine water is rough on the local environment, since it introduces very salty water to freshwater sources, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and groundwater wells.
For these reasons, many homeowners are opting for salt-free water softeners. It’s actually technically inaccurate to call these “softeners” at all. Saltless systems don’t soften water, but condition it. Instead of binding minerals out of the water using an opposite electrical charge, salt-free systems change the molecular composition of the minerals, preventing them from adhering to surfaces.
This means that calcium and magnesium still remain in the water, but there is no associated risk of pipe scaling or scale buildup on surfaces or in appliances. These systems, in effect, remove the dangers that hard water otherwise poses to your home.
HALO Ion 2.0
Installed in your home’s pipes, the HALO Ion 2.0 is a salt-free solution for conditioning your home’s water. Avoid all the problems of scaling and mineralization without the need for salt, a tank, or maintenance. If you’re in the market for a salt-free water softener, you should strongly consider the HALO Ion 2.0. Talk to our plumbers here at Allbritten for a detailed breakdown of how this system works.
Dual-tank water softeners
Dual-tank water softeners are a variant of either ion-exchange softeners or salt-free water conditioners. In this configuration, there are two tanks, which allows one to be actively softening water while the other regenerates. While they take up more physical space than a conventional, single-tank system would, this model provides your home with around-the-clock water softening.
Two tanks are most useful for ion-exchange softeners. These systems must “regenerate” every week or so by flushing their mineral-collecting beads with the brine water mixture. While this is happening, the tank is offline, and not actively softening water. With a dual-tank system, the other tank continues to work while the other regenerates. When neither tank is regenerating, your home has vastly improved water softening capacity, which makes these systems perfect for large, busy homes.
HALO Highly Filtered Super Soft Combo
A novel take on the dual-tank water softener concept, the HALO Highly Filtered Super Soft Combo puts the CK10 Series Water Softener together with the HALO 5 Whole-House Water Filtration system. Some things are just better together: by combining a high-efficiency water filter with an incredible water softener, this system is able to use 25% less salt. It’s the perfect water treatment and softening combo solution for your home.
Water softener sizing
Contrary to popular belief, water softeners are not one-size-fits-all. Different homes require differently sized water softeners. The more water you and your family use, the larger the capacity your water softener needs to have.
There’s another variable, however: your local water hardness. The harder your water, the more capacity your softener needs in order to adequately soften the water. When you talk to our plumbers about a water softener for your home, we’ll take the results of your water test into account to ensure that your new softener will be able to keep up with the demand placed on it.
Here’s a quick calculation our plumbers used to find the right-sized softener for homes here in Fresno:
[(Number of Gallons Used, Per Day) x (Number of Residents)] x (Hardness Level, gpg) = Necessary Processing Capacity
If your home has three people using 60 gallons each day, and the water hardness in your area is 6 gpg, you’ll need us to install a water softener capable of keeping up with 1,080 gpg.
Get started by talking to our team
Your water softener journey starts and ends at Allbritten. Our friendly plumbers will walk you through the entire buying and installation process, from start-to-finish. We’ll help you find the right size and type of water softener for your home. With a new HALO softener, professionally installed by our team, your home will be fully protected from hard water scaling. You’ll have the peace of mind that comes with making the smart choice and protecting the future of your home.