Benefits of a water softener are plainly obvious to anyone living with hard Arizona water. Many consider a water softener a requirement in order to enjoy the water at all while protecting their home. Arizona’s hard water really affects quality of life. Left unchecked it ruins clothes and causes costly damage you home and appliances. White spots and scale buildup on dishes, tubs, sinks, showers, glassware, windows and more are embarrassing and hard to clean.
If you are researching softeners, you know what it’s like to live with hard water. You are likely tired of wasting so much time and money cleaning, you want to feel and look good when you bath, you want your clothes to be bright and white and you want to protect your home, appliances and our environment.
Which softener technology to choose: Salt free or Salt-Based?
Your research for a water softener will show two types of water softeners, those that don’t use salt and those that do. Salt free water softeners employ a variety of methods or technologies to soften water. Salt-based water softeners are based on the science of ion exchange.
Search the term “salt free water softener” and you will find many different choices and many different technologies. Salt free water softener technologies include chemical and physical processes. Chemical salt free softeners add a chemical to soften water. Physical salt free softeners use an electrical or magnetic force, TAC (template assisted crystallization) aka nucleation assisted crystallization and membrane separation to soften water. It is easy to be confused as it seems all claim to be the best, number one or bestselling softener.
Did you know ion exchange salt-based softeners have been around for decades and are the most common softener. You know the style; they are large, use salt, require power and need a waste drain. Basically, ion exchange works by exchanging hard water minerals for salt. Hard water minerals are removed from the water and replaced with an equivalent amount of salt. To clarify, this is why it is called ion exchange. Compared to salt free softeners they are complicated, expensive, larger, loud and even outlawed in entire jurisdictions. Also, required maintenance for ion exchange softeners is higher and more expensive than most salt free alternatives.
Did you know they require a wastewater drain because of the salty waste water they create during a recharge process? And most of the salt used for recharge is sent down the drain. Wasting fresh water and making salty waste water is a very serious environment problem. Subsequently ion exchange softeners have been banned from parts of the country.
Softening without salt
We like ion bond water softening with PolyHalt®. Ion bond softening does not remove hard water minerals during the softening process. It works by introducing a very small amount of PolyHalt into hard water. Hard minerals and PolyHalt® bond to form a new and very stable complex. Bonded minerals remain in the water safe for consumption and using everywhere throughout your home. Simply stated, the complex formed during ion bond softening prevents hard water minerals from behaving hard. In short, the result is soft water, it’s really that simple, no salt or waste water down the drain.
Why does a salt free water softener makes sense in Arizona?
Compared to salt-based softeners salt free softeners are much more eco-friendly. They don’t waste fresh drinking water or send salt down the drain which contributes to rising levels of salt in our groundwater. Rising levels of salt in our ground water is a very big problem and a topic for another discussion. They are also smaller, simpler, less expensive and require less time and money to maintain.
There are many other advantages to ion bond softening over ion exchange. An advantage particular to PolyHalt® ion bond softeners is sediment and or chlorine treatment is included. PolyHalt® softeners also treat silica problems which cause spots that look like hard water spots but are actually etched in glass and can’t be cleaned. These are but a few reasons why a salt free water softener makes sense in Arizona.
We understand without a technical understanding of water softening science choosing one that’s right for you can be very confusing. All too often sellers don’t understand water softening science and are making unsubstantiated, false and confusing claims. These claims perpetuate confusion about salt free water softeners and even water treatment science. Weeding though the different claims can be very challenging and frankly is preventing consumers from experiencing all the benefits of salt free water softeners. We encourage you to explore Cascadian's website and learn.
Bonus: Tips for finding a salt free water softener
- Look for a water softener from a reputable manufacturer who has been in business for many years.
- Look for independent 3rd party certifications to back up claims being made.
- Verify there are clear operating conditions that spell out water quality and flow rate limits. And verify your water quality is within the operating conditions of any treatment under consideration.
- Check the manufacturer’s satisfaction policy.
- Don’t buy anything before you get clarity on any questions. Call the manufacture if their website doesn’t answer any question you have.