Written By: Laura Matney
If you are plagued with hard water in your home, there are water softener options to choose from – but knowing where to start can be as hard as your water.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of the different types of systems available. There are four basic types with varying degrees of effectiveness and costs.
Widely considered to be the most effective system, these systems use salt to replace hard water ions for soft water ions. Salt-based systems require a brine tank and a drain nearby for what the chamber needs to empty. There is some minimal maintenance needed in terms of topping off the brine tank.
These systems are not for drinking water as they leave a lot of sodium in the water, but you can leave some taps off the system for drinking and cooking water.
- Culligan HE Water Softener
Culligan has a whole-house, high-efficiency water softener that it says will dramatically lower your monthly water, salt and electricity costs. There is an optional feature that will let you know how long your salt will last and another that sends automatic service notifications to your local Culligan Man. It also has Culligan’s Dial-a-Softness Valve which allows you to feel your water to ensure it is not too hard or too soft.
- Pelican Advantage Series Salt Water Softener
Pelican Advantage Series salt-based water softeners are metered to reduce water waste. They come with high capacity resin tanks and a five-year warranty on the electronic head. The programmable electronic head has three modes of operation eating that when the water volume remaining display reaches zero gallons, you can set it to automatically start a regeneration cycle, set it to begin at a pre-selected time or to automatically regenerate on a certain day and time every week regardless of the remaining gallons.
A salt-free system will remove existing build up in your pipes. It alters the structure of the water atom to reduce the hardness of the water. While it is an environmentally friendly option with no additives and no requirement for a drain, it is not a system for extremely hard water.
- Culligan Salt-Free Water options
Culligan offers several salt-free options including automatic filters and a soft water exchange softener service that will exchange the salt-based systems for regeneration off-site.
- Pelican NaturSoft Salt Free Water Softener
Pelican has an option for 1-3 bathrooms or 4-6 bathrooms. This water softener is certified for 99.6 percent scale prevention and offers and limited lifetime warranty. The softener is maintenance free. It also requires no electricity to operate. If you can protect it from any freezing weather, the system can also be installed inside or outside.
Reverse osmosis system
These systems force water through a membrane to remove impurities. There is a tank that the system works to fill before shutting off until more water is needed. In this system, there are also no additives. It removes nutrients, including beneficial ones, from the water to reduce the hardness. The reverse osmosis system is recommended to work in conjunction with another whole house water softener like a salt based or salt free system.
- Culligan Reverse Osmosis Water Systems
Culligan uses their Matrix Solutions proprietary reverse osmosis membranes. Your local Culligan Man will install the system to address your home’s specific needs. The system has a large capacity storage tank as well as re-pressurization and post-osmosis treatment.
- Pelican Pro 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
Pelican says this system delivers 30 percent more flow from the faucet than a traditional reverse osmosis system. It has a four-stage pre-filter, membrane and post-filter housed in one cartridge. An in-line carbon filter and calcite cartridge is between the tank and the faucet.
These systems are recommended only for homes with medium to low levels of hard water. Magnets or wires are placed around water pipes which paralyses your waters hardness for 48 hours. It is not considered a permanent solution, but it is a small and more affordable option.