Understanding The Basic Differences Between Water Conditioners And Water Softeners

If you live in an area that has hard water, you are going to need to treat your water. Leaving hard water untreated can lead to your clothes and dishes not getting as clean as you would like, and to your appliances and plumbing breaking down before they should due to hard water deposits. Your two primary options for dealing with hard water are water conditioners and water softeners. Here is a quick breakdown of what a water conditioner and water softener does and how they are different from one another.

Water Conditioner

Water conditioners are also often referred to as salt-free water softeners or descalers; all three of these terms refer to the exact same device and are often used interchangeable with one another.

Water conditioners are designed to change the chemical structure of minerals that make your water hard. They specifically target the lime scale in your water. The lime scale are the substances that make water spots look chalky and white when you have hard water.

By changing the chemical structure of the minerals inside of your hard water, a water conditioner prevents hard water spots from developing on your dishes and countertops. Additionally, water conditioners help reduce build-up of solids inside of your water fixtures and pipes.

However, water conditioners do not work that well with your water heater. If you only have a water conditioner installed to battle your hard water, you could still end up with scales build up inside of your water heater, as water conditioners are designed to work best with moving, not standing, water.

On the plus side, water conditioners do not require very much maintenance at all and are generally really affordable to install.

Water Softener

Water softeners work a little differently than water conditioners. Water softeners use a salt based system as well as an ion exchange to completely remove the minerals inside of your water that cause it to be hard. This system also helps make any potassium that remain in the water softer and often results in small amounts of salt being added to your water. Water softeners remove the hard water; they don't just alter the chemical make-up of the water like water softeners do.

Water softeners work well with both standing and moving water. They create smoother water that will extend the life of all of your water using appliances as well as your plumbing and water features in your home.

However, water softeners require the use of additional water in order to work, which means that they will increase your overall water consumption. A water softener will also require you to drain the softener and replenish the salt in it from time to time, so it is not maintenance free.

Talk to a company like Johnson Water Conditioning for more information on whether a water conditioner is right for you.