Water Softeners and Water Conditioners

The first thing that needs to be understood is that Water Softeners and Water Conditioners are two entirely different animals. US Water provides a great selection of water softening systems for different size homes and budgets. We also have whole house water conditioners. What’s the difference, you might ask? The difference is simple – water softeners use salt to remove the calcium and magnesium in the water (which is what makes water hard) and water conditioners do not use salt and do not remove the calcium and magnesium from the water.

Our Green Wave Water Conditioners essentially neutralize calcium and magnesium to prevent the formation of scale, while our US Water Softeners remove the minerals that cause scale and also save substantial amounts of money throughout your home in the many ways.

How Softened Water Saves You Money

Scale Prevention - Over time, hard water scale forms to clog your plumbing and pipes. As the pipes clog, water flow is restricted and water pressure can be reduced dramatically. A water softener reduces this type of problem significantly.

Save 20% to 30% on Water Heating - Over time, hard water scale forms to clog your plumbing and pipes. As the pipes clog, water flow is restricted and water pressure can be reduced dramatically. A water softener reduces this type of problem significantly.

Eliminate Stains Spots, streaks, scum, rings, stains or mineral build-up ruins your bathtubs, showers, fixtures and sinks. A water softening system will preserve the life and look of your faucets and fixtures.

Save 50% to 75% Less Cleaning Products – It is a proven fact that hard water impairs the cleaning ability of soaps and detergents while softened water delivers greater washing power by reducing soap requirements of 50% to 75%.

Prolongs the Life of Appliances – The life of your washing machine, icemaker and dishwasher are all dramatically shortened when operated in hard water. It is not unusual to get 200% to 400% longer life on these appliances with softened water. (add photo of coffeemaker)

Laundry & Clothing Last Longer - Hard water literally wears out your clothes much quicker. Many experts believe that using soft water increases the life of clothing, towels, and linens up to 33%, while your clothing will be softer, cleaner and much whiter, while colors will be much brighter and vivid.

Extend the Life of Dishes and Glassware - With softened water your glasses, silverware and dishes will clean easier and be spot-free, without the unsightly film glasses get when etched by hard water.

Easier on Your Skin and Hair - Your hands, skin and hair will feel softer, not be as dry and look better, because soft water is much easier on your skin. Shampoo will lather much better and shaving will be a breeze with a water softener. It also eliminates discoloration on your hair and buildup that weighs your hair down. Also, there will be noticeably less soap scum, grime, and/or mineral deposits to clean off sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets.

A water softener may be the only appliance you can own that will save you more than it costs, but if you don’t want a salt-based water softener, know that you can opt for a Green Wave Water Conditioner that is salt free and still prevents scale. While not offering many of the other savings you get with soft water, a salt free conditioner does an excellent job at preventing scale.

How a Water Softener Works

Water is softened by a process called ion exchange. The process removes calcium and magnesium which are hard minerals that cause scale and replaces them with sodium or potassium which are soft minerals and do not form scale.

Water softeners have been around for hundreds of years, but in the past several years they have become increasingly efficient, due to electronic meter controls and computerization which enables them to use small amounts of salt and water. It used to be that water softeners operated on a time-clock and regenerated every few days (programmed by you). We think that is as silly as having a furnace or air-conditioner with no thermostat. We resolved not to sell time-clock water softeners years ago and we will not be so irresponsible as to do that. If you want a salt-hog time-clock water softener, you can’t buy it here.

The Hardness Scale

Water is rated on the hardness scale as follows, with over 7 GPG being the threshold for treatment.

Water Softener FAQ

Q. Doesn’t a water softener remove essential minerals?

A. Calcium and magnesium are good minerals, but water is not a significant source of these minerals.

Q. What size of water softener do I need?

A. We size water softeners by the number of people in the home and the number of bathrooms because grains are not always a good way to do that. Here is a quick reference of how we recommend sizing:

  • 1-2 people – 1-2 baths – 26,000 Grains
  • 2-4 people – 2-3 baths – 35,000 Grains
  • 3-5 people – 3-4 baths – 53,000 Grains
  • 4-6 people – 4-5 baths – 64,000 Grains
  • 7+ people – 5+ baths – 88,000 Grains

If you fall in-between sizes always go a size larger – the softener will be more efficient and won’t have to work as hard.

Q. How much hardness can a water softener take out?

A. If your water is much over 70 GPG it may contain significant levels of sodium which may impair softening. We have softened water over 120 grains when sodium levels are low, so a good water analysis is important in order to predict how well a softener will work.

Q. Will a water softener remove iron?

A. The correct answer is “sometimes.” Water softeners are devices that use ion-exchange to remove hardness ions from the water, and in some cases iron reacts like a hardness ion. This is especially true if the water is “clear water iron.” That is, it is not discolored when it is first drawn from the tap. If it is brown or orange when it is drawn, a water softener will not remove it. Also, if the pH is extremely low, a water softener will generally do a great job at removing iron, but then the pH would have to be raised after the softening process. It is our recommendation that if you have iron, you should oxidize it with some type of OXIDATION System such as our InFusion.

Q. What is the relationship between mg/l and GPG?

A. mg/l is to inches as GPG is to feet. They measure the same thing, just in different terminology. 1 GPG (grain per gallon) = 17.1 ppm, so if you had 10 GPG of hardness you would have 17.1 x 10 = 171 ppm of hardness.

Q. I was told I had rust in my water. Is that different from iron?

A. No, they are the same, just like an automobile is the same as a car.