How To Choose The Best Water Softener System

A Few Things To Consider..

If you're faced with the dilemma of sorting through the myriads of options available to a consumer who needs to choose a water softener then you've got no small task ahead of you.

Many water softeners on the market today are very similar in the features and the benefits that they provide. Like most every other consumer product, it all comes down to three common points of comparison.

  1. Price
  2. Quality of components and materials.
  3. Reliability

-PRICE-

Depending on which brand or dealer you are working with , prices can range from $1000 - $4000 installed. In general, prices being offered from franchise water dealers tend to be much higher than independent water treatment dealers. This is because independent dealers commonly have several advantages over their franchisee counterparts from both a cost and a choice standpoint. On the other hand franchise dealerships have many marketing and cooperative advantages.

-QUALITY OF COMPONENTS AND MATERIALS-

Generally the quality from independent water treatment dealers is on par with the large franchise companies combined with significantly lower cost to the consumer. Both can offer the most recent technology and features available. Most reputable water treatment dealers use components that are NSF/WQA certified. Modern water softeners now have advanced features and benefits that conserve both water and salt. Most on-demand electronic control valves are equipped with a non-volatile memory with battery back-up. This type of water softener only cleans when necessary based on water usage, hardness, and softener capacity. The result is about 50% less water and salt usage, as well as lower maintenance costs.

The most important component of any water softening system is the control valve. The valve and controller work together to optimize efficiency, clean and regenerate the water softener, and keep track of vital data.

Here are some key points to keep in mind about control valves when researching your water softening equipment:

  • The most reliable valves have fewer moving parts, and some have as little as three total moving parts.
  • Water softeners that utilize valves with a single piston design have excellent reliability and maintenance reputations.
  • Most residential valves today are made of Noryl. This is a glass reinforced composite material that has exceptional durability and strength.
  • Several water softening systems that are manufactured overseas do not incorporate Noryl, and are structurally inferior. In warmer climates these valves can become brittle.

Another factor that is of great importance to the quality of your water softening system is the type and quality of resin used.

Some key points about the resin used:

  • In highly chlorinated water supplies it is important to have a water softener that uses high cross-linked resin.
  • High cross-linked resin has greater resistance to the normal degradation that often accompanies the practice of using chloramines in municipal water supplies which is very common.
  • Chlorine is a chemical that will oxidize the resin beads in the water softener. Over time this can lead to a failure of the water treatment system.
  • A water softener uses cat ion resin beads that are positively charged. The resin comes in different sizes. Fine mesh resin offer greater capacities and hardness removal per lb. of salt.
  • Fine mesh resin is often heralded in the industry, but does not produce the flow rates of standard mesh resin.
  • For most applications a standard mesh resin is recommended, and ensures higher flow rate capabilities.

-RELIABILITY-

Of course when you choose equipment that incorporates high quality components and materials then naturally the reliability will follow. When choosing a water softener check your local BBB, and other state and local services to ensure the company you are considering is experienced and has a good reputation. In many states a plumbing license is required to install water softening systems, whole home filtration systems, and other water treatment products.