Best 2020 Whole House Water Softeners
WATER QUALITY AND HARDNESS
What is hard water, and what difference does it make if you have hard water in your home? It is a valid question and one that you might not have the answer to.
Over recent years we have learned the importance of being your own advocate when it comes to the quality of the water that comes into your home.
If you are like most others, you have often relied on those in charge to make sure that the water entering your home is safe for consumption.
As that is not always the case, you probably have already installed a reverse osmosis system that will remove pollutants and chemicals from the water you ingest and cook with.
If you have that value system in your home already, why would it matter if the water is hard or not?
Just as your own health depends on clean, pure water, the health of your house needs to have water that is not hard.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF HARD WATER?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has standards that require local water authorities to reduce contaminants that can be harmful to people.
They do their best to try and see that these guidelines are adhered to.
However, there are no standards in place with any agency to require your city or town to remove substances that could be harmful to your home.
That means that you are on your own to protect the inner workings of your most substantial investment.
Hard water can add mineral deposits into the pipes of your home. Over time, that buildup is known as scale deposits and can clog your pipes.
When hard water is heated, as when you are taking a shower or running the dishwasher, an amount of the water evaporates while in the pipes and the minerals that are in hot water become solidified scale in your house pipes.
That accumulation can lower the water pressure throughout the house. And not only are the house pipes subject to the scale, but your water-using appliances will also suffer.
Dishwashers, water heaters, and the water piped into your refrigerator will also be prone to scale buildup.
If you have a reverse osmosis system to safeguard your drinking water, the hard water will mean that you will need to replace the membrane more often.
The water using devices in your home will start working sluggishly and not at their top efficiency levels because of the mineral deposits. This may have multiple adverse effects like:
- Higher electrical bills due to appliances having to work harder
- Repair bills for scale buildup
- Decreased water pressure
- Reduced lifespan of the appliance
Soaps, detergents, and cleaning products are not as effective in hard water as they are in soft water.
The film on shower doors, walls, bathtubs, and faucets from hard water is difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
Porcelain gets stained from the minerals in hard water.
Unfortunately, dishes and glassware get damaged beyond repair by the white residue that hard water leaves on the surfaces.
Sinks, too, can be defaced by hard water. If you use hard water to wash windows, they will be streaked with a film that the minerals in the water leave behind.
Remember, too, not to wash your car in that same hard water if you want the finish to retain its luster.
There is also a significant impact on your clothes from hard water. Stains are difficult to get out, and clothes are dull, not bright.
They look faded and do not last as long as they normally would because hard water breaks down the fibers in the material.
When bathing, it is hard to get the film of soap off of your skin. The hard water contributes to your hair losing its bounce, and the minerals weigh your hair down.
You can purchase the best hair care products, but the hard water will make them ineffective.
Hard water can also do damage to healthy skin cells and lead to itchy, irritated skin.
Hard water contains zinc, lead, magnesium, and calcium. These break down the elastin and collagen in the healthy skin cells.
This breakdown makes the skin more vulnerable to sun damage from ultraviolet rays.
HOW DO WATER SOFTENERS WORK?
Water softeners consist of two tanks that are connected to your home’s plumbing system.
It is usually connected at a point where water used for outside purposes, such as gardening or watering the lawn, does not go through the softener system.
Here is where we get to the science lesson: the metal ions that hard water carries all have a positive charge.
Water is hard on a molecular level, so the solution is to replace the hard metal ions with ones that are positively charged but do not cause mineral buildup.
This ion exchange is what happens in the water softeners tank and is referred to as ion exchange. The tank on your softener will be filled with ion exchange resin beads.
These ion beads are tiny and porous and brown or deep amber color.
When hard water flows around the resin, the hard water ions bind to the resins and are replaced with sodium ions.
The water is then noticeably softer.
Sooner or later, the sodium ions in the resin will be depleted, and the ion exchange process will no longer function.
That is where the second tank in the water softening system comes in. This tank will hold the softener salts that you will add to the tank as needed.
These can be made of potassium chloride or sodium chloride. This second tank will hold the brine (saltwater) containing the same sodium ions present in the resin.
At this point, the process is reversed, and the brine has the higher salt concentration, and as it is pushed through the softeners’ main tank, it is rinsed off the metal ions that go down the drain.
This process refreshes the resin beads, and they are ready to do their job again. So, that was a lot of science, but fortunately, a water softener system will do the job pretty much on its own.
BEST WHOLE HOUSE WATER SOFTENERS OF 2020
If you are looking to purchase a whole house system from Amazon, we have done a review of the softeners for sale and have chosen the top three systems.
Ideal for households with six or more family members, the Whirlpool WHES40E is the perfect solution for softening your water.
The reason that this whole house water softener is the right choice is that this Whirlpool employs demand initiated regeneration.
This is great for the times when you need the unit to provide more soft water, and when you don’t need it as much.
With demand initiated regeneration, the Whirlpool will only regenerate soft water based on the hardness level and by how much water you use.
So if everyone is at work and school or you are on vacation, you will not waste water or salt by regenerating when it is not needed.
If you use more water than usual, the Whirlpool will generate the amount of soft water that you need.
A low salt light indicator will tell you when more salt needs to be added, taking out the guesswork.
Whether you have well or city water, the Whirlpool will help to keep your water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerator ice maker running smoothly.
Softened water will not build up deposits that can clog and damage water-using devices, so these appliances will last longer and run better.
Studies have shown that softened water can extend the lifespan of these major appliances by 30 to 50 %.
In your washing machine, you will use less detergent and get cleaner, brighter clothes that are also softer.
You will find that you use less soap and shampoo in the shower and that the shower itself is easier to clean.
The Whirlpool comes with a 1-year warranty on manufacturer parts and labor.
A 3-year limited warranty on electronics in the softener and 10-year on the tanks.
The Whirlpool WHES40E comes complete with an installation kit, bypass valve and is ready to connect to a one-inch male pipe thread.
- Demand initiated regeneration saves on energy and salt
- Refills less often
- Protects other water-using appliances
- Easy installation
- More than what a small family would need
With an impressive 48,000 grains, the Fleck 5600sxt can easily treat water that is medium to high on the hardness scale.
Designed for a household of up to six people, this salt-based softening system uses a meter-based regeneration system.
The Flex unit will regenerate softened water only after a certain amount of water has been used.
With an electronic control head, the Flex sports push buttons and an LCD screen to make programming easy.
The 5600sxt will replace hard water minerals with salt through a process that is known as ion exchange.
Using two tanks for this process, one tank houses small polystyrene beads called zeolite or resin beads.
The other tank stores a salt and brine solution that performs bead regeneration. The resin beads are negatively charged, while water has positively charged molecules.
As water flows through the resin tank, minerals in the water bind themselves to the beads while the sodium flows through the resin beads, leaving you with softened water.
The beads in the Flex 5600sxt will need to go through a regeneration process after treating a certain amount of water in the home.
Water will run through a bypass during this process that you can program to be done at times of low usages, such as during the night.
Sporting a large brine tank, you will be able to fill the tank with up to 250 pounds of softening salt.
On average, and depending on how you set the unit to regenerate, you can use 8 to 25 lbs. of softening salt per weekly cycle.
This means that a full brine tank of salt can last for months.
The mineral scale that can damage appliances, such as a dishwasher, will be eliminated. Your skin will feel better, and your clothes will be cleaner.
Flex’s manufacturer has been in the softening business for over 50 years, making it one of the most experienced brands on the market today.
Over the years, Fleck has brought advancements to the water softener business and is one of the more trusted companies around.
The Fleck 5600 SXT water softener system has a 10-year warranty for both the resin and the brine tank. When it comes to the electronic control head, Fleck has a 5-year warranty in place.
- Trusted, leader in the manufacturing of water softeners
- High grain capacity of 48,000
- Has an internal power backup
- Meter based regeneration
- Not the best for small (under three people) households
- Not ideal if the space it is placed in is small as the unit is bulky
This hardworking unit gives you both softened water and the removal of excessive iron at the same time: no more orange stained clothes and surfaces in your home. Fine mesh resin removes iron up to 6ppm from your water.
The Iron Pro from AFW Filters comes with a sturdy resin tank, a large-capacity brine tank, and a Fleck 5600sxt (we talked about this manufacturer earlier) digital control head that has a metered valve.
The Iron Pro also takes the guesswork out of the operation for you. The system automatically measures your water usage and will regenerate the system only when you need more soft water.
This will save on the amount of salt that you need and will reduce the amount of wastewater, too.
The backlit LCD is user friendly to program and comes with an internal power backup that will protect the settings in the case of a power failure.
With a large 64,000 grain capacity, there will be plenty of softened water for at least four people.
If you are going to be using this whole house system for doing tasks that don’t require softened water, like watering the grass or garden, there is a bypass valve that will allow you to circumvent the softener.
The Iron Pro 2 is covered by a warranty that is five years on the valve and ten years on the tank.
The AFW Filters website has manual, troubleshooting instructions and tutorials along with a customer support team.
- Brine tank overflow control system protects floors from spills
- Use Fleck digital control head
- Cost-saving metered regeneration
- Can serve a large family
- Comes with a large round tank that takes up space.
So many areas of your life can be impacted by the hard water that you use every day.
Showering, cleaning, your dishes, and even your skin is subjected to the harm that hard water can do to you.
Once the damage starts, there is no easy remedy to reverse what hard water does to your processions, and to you.
The solution is as simple and easy as installing a whole house water softener system that will protect you and your home 24 hours a day: no more itchy skin, dull hair, and duller clothes.
The cost of a whole house softening system will seem inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing appliances and pipes due to the scale buildup of hard water.
Protect the investment you have in your home and protect your health by safeguarding the optimum operation of your home with a softener system.