JUL 06, 2017

There are many benefits to living in the Valley of the Sun. We have great culture and sports activities within the cities, a myriad of options for outdoor fun, and MOST of the year we have fantastic weather, etc. However, in many areas of the Valley the water can be a bit “hard.” Many residents turn to water softeners to help combat this both for convenience and to protect their health. But, if you are looking for a water softener, which type should you choose? The sheer volume of water conditioning systems on the market can be overwhelming. There are two prominent options that many people do not completely understand: a salt-based water softener or a (salt-free) saltless water softener. So which one is best-suited for you?


First, what exactly is “hard” water? In simple terms, hard water is water that has a high mineral content. Here in the Valley, this usually means that there is a large amount of calcium in the water. You may notice that toilets in your home have streaks in them after a while, or faucets have a white residue around the outlet and dishes may have spots or streaks on them as well. Tap water also tastes drastically different. Many folks also notice that their skin and hair feel different from bathing in harder water.

So, what are some general benefits of getting a water softener? Well, that depends. If you do not mind dealing with streaks and spots here and there, it is no big deal. You may not mind the taste either. However, over time hard water can lead to increased maintenance and replacement costs for your home. As the mineral deposits build up it can lead to faucets not functioning properly, your dishwasher not spraying the way it should and other fixtures and appliances in your home feeling the effects as well. There are methods and ways to clean any troubled areas, but the best thing to do is to avoid those issues altogether by getting a water softener.

Salt-based water softeners are more traditional and probably what comes to mind when you think of a water softener. These systems actually remove the minerals – calcium and magnesium – from the water, leaving you with true soft water. This type of system is good if you are looking to get rid of mineral deposits around your faucets, “softer” skin and you may notice that your clothes stay brighter for longer after installing one of these water softeners. But these systems require regular maintenance, salt additions and are less energy-efficient than their saltless water softener counterparts. Furthermore, you are trading minerals for added sodium in your home drinking water.

Saltless water softeners do not truly make the water soft, per se … “water softener” may be a misnomer. These types of systems leave minerals in the water but (through a process called ion exchange) create what are known as hardness crystals. So, while the minerals remain in the water, the hardness crystals do not adhere much to surfaces, which helps scale back the amount of buildup you will get around your faucets and in your appliances. However, you won’t get that soft, “clean” feeling on your skin as you do with the salt systems. Saltless systems are actually water conditioners, not true water softeners. They help descale, but do not remove mineral.

The main benefits of saltless water softeners is that they are incredibly energy efficient and require virtually no maintenance or the addition of chemicals or sodium to your water — all the while giving you the benefits of less mineral build up on your pipes and fixtures, brighter laundry and great-tasting water to drink.


So which system is best for you? It really depends on what you want the end result to be. If you want there to be absolutely no minerals in the water, a salt system is the way to go. But, with the salt system comes much more needed attention from either you, or an outside company to stay on top of and maintain the system. There are many more moving parts and processes to a salt system, which can lead to more potential problems. If you want the water to enjoy the benefits of conditioned water and significantly reduce the amount of scaling and mineral buildup in your home, a saltless water softener – or conditioner – is the way to go. These systems are also much simpler, easier to maintain and typically more cost-efficient.

Additionally, be sure you read up on reverse osmosis systems as well.

To talk with an expert about your expectations and wants for a water softening system, call us today. We can walk you through the pros and cons of salt water softeners versus saltless water softeners in more detail and help you make a decision that you are comfortable with. Or call us if you are ready to install the system of your choice — we offer same-day appointments and all of our work is guaranteed!