Different Types of Water Softeners

Easy Guide to the Different Types of Water Softeners

Hard water, make no mistake is a nuisance and can also cost you money in more ways than one:

  • Firstly there are the detergents and cleansers you need for hygiene; with hard water you need to use more to counteract the minerals in hard water.
  • The mineral deposits can clog up pipes, water heaters and washing machines making them less effective and incurring expensive maintenance.
  • Hard water can also cause the water to smell odorous.

Knowledge is power

DIY Water Softener Installations can vary in degree of difficulty; this is a guide to how to install and the level of knowledge needed for each type.  It is meant as a guide, including a few tips that may not be included in your instructions; please always refer to your manufacturer’s instructions.

This guide will assist you in deciding by ensuring you have the right now how and tools for the job.

The various types of water softener are;

  1. Salt-based
  2. Salt-free, electrical or filter
  3. Magnetic
  4. Reverse osmosis

You will also need to check locally to find out if inspection is required, check if you need a permit. A whole house water filtration or water softening system will probably need professional installation because of the sheer size of the holding tank; 300 gallons and large pumps and delicate balance of membranes.

Where should you install?

A whole house water softener system will need to be installed as close to the water mains as possible, that is where the water enters your property.

Never install downstream of your hot water as the heat may damage the water softener unit.

For reverse osmosis or salt-based systems you need to install close to the drainage, under sink models will do that, or you will need a sump pump to flush outdoors.

If you are installing a salt-based system and wish to restrict sodium in the water for health reasons you may wish to bypass the cold water or bypass your drinking faucets.

To ensure you have everything covered; shower, washing machine, kitchen and bathroom sinks your unit needs to be installed in your basement or a utility room very close to your water heater. N.B. Even if you are not installing a whole house system this is applicable.

The costs of installation

The reverse osmosis system is the most costly and some manufacturers will include free installation.

As reverse osmosis is the most expensive some people will opt for a smaller installation at the faucet.

But if you can afford it and the quality of your water is important to you it is worth considering this option, a complete reverse osmosis installation by a professional.

Salt and non-salt media filtering units are the next in terms of price range, costing about the same.  You will need to factor in the cost of salt each month if you go for a salt-based system.

Magnetic systems are the least expensive and easiest to install.

Cost and availability of tools, are you Bob the Builder? Or Billy the Bodge?

First check your installation instructions for the tools you need for your installation.

You may need a pipe cutter, extra fittings and a soldering torch, if you have them already then you is obviously more of a Bob, than a Billy.  If you are confident you may be able to hire the tools for this one off project.

Cost of Professional Installation

Salt and non-salt will depend on the ease of access to the installation point and the time needed

Magnetic systems rarely need professional installation although a handyman may cost the job for you or charge by the time taken

Reverse osmosis systems can take more than two hours work, may cost more if the access is difficult and will probably work out the most expensive

Finding a professional

Depending on where you are there will be a contractor site with reviews where you can find a certified technician. The manufacturer may have a list of certified plumbing contractors they can recommend. As previously mentioned sometimes you can get a good deal which will include installation.

Decision time

When you have decided on your budget, which type of water softener or filter you need and bought one same like I did, you can go ahead with installation.

Posted in Tools.