We are surrounded with water and we can’t survive without it. The earth is roughly comprised of 75% water. However, almost 90% are oceans and sea which means they are not suitable to drink or use in our household activities. For those living near the mountains and rivers, they are blessed with abundant natural waters but for those in the urban areas, water usually flows in pipes which can contribute to the “hardness” of water. This is the reason why a lot of people invest in water softeners because of its use and benefits.
Before we discuss the significance of having mini water softener at home, let’s understand first the difference of hard water over soft water. This is very important for you to know because it can help you decide whether you really need to purchase your own softener system at home. Being able to weigh the advantages and disadvantage of hard and soft water, you will be cautious now what to use. Is it okay to rely on hard water alone? Does using soft water make life less stressful? Read on to discover.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Hard Water
When we say hard water, it is natural and has not undergone any chemical process such as distillation, purifying, etc. The water is filtered naturally by mineral deposits. For example, the water from the mountains naturally flows to the ground. The water then seeps underground and stays there. We know that in the deepest part of the soil, there are stones and mineral deposits. Once we dig a deep well, we will notice that there is water coming from the well. We call this hard water and it contains mineral deposits. It was believed that hard water has health benefits because of the natural deposits in it. The minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium present in it can fight diseases and add flavor to the water. Before, when the earth is not totally polluted, hard water is safe to drink. Actually, people still use hard water today to wash clothes, dishes, etc. However, it was discovered that hard water has also several disadvantages.
The main drawback of using hard water is that it causes build up in your plumbing system. This is because the hard water, as mentioned, contains minerals that accumulate over time. Once the plumbing system is clogged, it becomes a problem already. The blockage can cause your home appliances not to work efficiently. The minerals in the water can also be a nuisance at home especially in washing. The dissolved salt and minerals in the water makes it hard to lather soap. If you have been using hard water to wash your clothes, you will also notice that the fabric is easily ruined because the soap is difficult to rinse. The solution for that is to use water softener system.
It is not also preferred to use hard water for bathing because it makes your hair and skin dry. You will have that uncomfortable or sticky feeling because the shampoo and soap can’t be rinsed totally. In this case, it is best to use a water softener to keep our skin and hair healthy.
Hard water may also produce bad smell coming from the minerals it contains and this causes people to dislike drinking this type of water.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Soft Water
Now that we have presented the pros and cons of hard water, it’s also important to be aware of soft water.
Obviously, soft water is the opposite of hard water. Soft water had undergone chemical processing to remove the minerals in the hard water. The process of taking out the minerals from the hard water is called ionization.
Processing hard water to soft water involves the use of sodium. This means, soft water may contain salt and if drank regularly may be hazardous to health. Salt is important to our body but too much consumption of it may not be good to our heart. It can cause high blood pressure because too much salt in the body makes our heart pump harder to supply blood. Health experts still favor consuming hard water rather than soft water when health issues are being talked about.
On the other hand, soft water has also many advantages. If we want to avoid pipe problems and sudden breakage of our appliances, then it is best to use soft water. Using soft water can also be cost-effective. Imagine this. If you use hard water to wash your clothes, you would definitely consume more soap. When hard water passes your pipes, how many times would you probably repair pipe clogs? This can be a bother to us if we keep on changing our pipes, faucets and many more just because of the scale build-up caused by hard water. Using soft water, your maintenance and repair cost will be reduced. In addition, the use of soft water lessens the soap scum which is left behind in your appliances and tubs when you wash. This can contribute to the longer lifespan of your home appliances and fixtures. In this case, using soft water is more efficient and cheaper to use for homeowners.
In summary, hard water has also its own benefits same with soft water. If you are health conscious, then you can opt in drinking natural water. But if you want to live a life which is cost-effective, comfortable, convenient, and efficient, then think about water softener systems. Soft water may not be preferred to consume for health issues but there are now water systems that can restore a natural chemical balance to your water. With the development of technology, you don’t need to buy very expensive and huge water systems just to soften your water. Water softeners sold in stores or even online can do the work effectively.
We may not realize it but water softener is one of the most important home appliances. That is why most people use water softener at home, specifically the smaller types. Read on to find out why you need to purchase a compact water softener:
- It is suited for home use especially with family of four or less. It is an efficient home water system which does not require too much maintenance.
- Due to its size, it is easy to install and operate. It can also be mounted on walls so that you can save so much space. It can fit in smaller areas so it is best for homes with limited space.
- This type of water softener has a lesser time to regenerate. It can take only 20 minutes or less to change the hard water to soft water to be used. It is time-saving so it is best for people who value time.
- It does not consume so much water so it is economical to use. It is suited for those who are budget conscious and those who want to purchase a water system without the burden of paying high water bill.
- It is suited for people who have limited budget. Smaller size means less energy to consume which leads to lower electric bill.
Generally, water softening machines is such a necessity at home. There are a lot of advantages brought by this useful home equipment but there are also some drawbacks. No water softener is perfect so customers may not be satisfied with this product. Here are some reasons why smaller water softening system may not be practical to purchase.
Using smaller water softener may have its limitations. Here are those:
- It is not suitable to use at home with a family of more than four family members. More family members mean more users of water. Since this type of water softener has limited capacity, it may not function well if too many people will consume and use soft water.
- It is not best to use for industrial purposes. This will easily wear out the system because a lot of hard water is regenerated and the resin may not cope with the constant use of water.
- As the name implies, water softener only softens the water, not disinfect it. Even if the water is softened, there will still be problems with taste and odor.
- Some compact water systems still use salt-based softening. If you are conscious with your salt intake, then you may opt to use a free salt water softening system.
- A small-sized water softener is not great for homes with too many fixtures which are used simultaneously. The water pressure will have a tendency to drop and flow rate is reduced.
Small, compact or mini water softener is now a household necessity and it has become more popular as a home appliance. There might be others who are more sceptical about the uses of a water softener because they have read negative reviews about it. On the brighter side, there are also positive reviews about these water softener systems. We can’t deny the fact the water softener is now a significant device at home.
To help you with your buying decision, here are some positive and negative feedbacks about this type of water softener system.
How does small water softener system work?
Just like any other water softening system, those smaller water softeners also undergo several processes to change hard water to soft water.All water softener systems have resin tank and this is where the exchange of water happens. The resin tank contains resin beads which are responsible for the negative charge. In chemistry, opposite charges attract so the calcium and magnesium from hard water which are positively charged will cling to the resin beads. The mineral ions of hard water will now give off sodium ions as the water passes the tank.
Usually, water softeners have a brine tank which contains brine solution so when the solution is flushed to the water, the tendency is that the sodium ions will drive the magnesium and calcium ions off the beads. When the water reaches the base of the tank, the water is already softened. The soft water is then distributed using the water pipe attached to the water softener system.
In short, it is the salt which helps the hard water become soft. A water softener may use three types of salt – rock salt, solar salt, and evaporated salt. Rock salt comes from the ground and can be obtained through mining. Rock salt is the cheapest but when this is used, you need to regularly clean your reservoirs. Solar salt is acquired through evaporation of seawater. This looks like crystal. Evaporated salt is also collected underground but the moisture is evaporated from coal or natural gas. Evaporated salt contains the least water-insoluble matter so this is best to use if you don’t want to clean your reservoir regularly.The effectiveness of water softener varies according to the type and quality of product. But if you know how to install and maintain your water softener properly, it may also last in years. Here are some tips how to maintain your water softeners.
Maintenance Tips for your Water Softening System
- It is important to install your water system properly to ensure that all parts work correctly. Water softener systems are easy to set up specially those which are more compact ones.
- Make sure the salt used is compatible with the product. There are softeners which are intended for a particular salt or softening product so don’t try mixing your salt in your water softener because it can cause blockage in your softening reservoir.
- It is advisable to check your water softener regularly if you need to add salt or not. The amount of salt would depend on how often you use your water softener system. To avoid future problems, make sure that the salt level must at least be half-full.
- Wait for the salt to dissolve before you let your softener regenerate. Since salt dissolves slowly, don’t immediately turn on your small water softener because it may not work properly.
- When your water is not soft enough, check first if there is a problem with the salt used or there might be some parts that need to be repaired. In case these are not the reasons, you have to replace your softener resin or the entire equipment.
- Check your brine tank once in a while. If you use salt which is high water-insoluble, there might be a build-up of substances so the reservoir should be cleaned. It is recommended to use evaporated salt because this is very soluble and friendly to your brine tank.
- Avoid using water softener with lead pipes. When softened water flows in the lead pipe, this may cause hazard to your water because soft water easily picks up lead.
- If you see the salt not going down, check the valve if there are mechanical problems. If the valve functions well, the salt may have turned to solid and undissolved.
A good quality soft water softener system may last for more than 20 years. If properly used and maintained, you are assured that get your money’s worth. Prizes of water softener also vary depending on its size, type of water softener, and type of energy used such as electricity or waterpower. If you plan to buy a more compact version of a water softener, read the pros and cons first.
Best Suited For
- It is easy to set up. It uses minimal tools to install the machine. It is very easy to maintain because of its size and its simple parts.
- Though small in size, it works efficiently. The treated water tasted good and there is no stain anymore in bathroom floors and sinks.
- It uses small amount of salt compared to other larger water softener systems.
- Because it is small, it is easy to carry and trouble-free. It is very convenient especially if you have a plan to move out or transfer to another house.
- The compact size design allows you to mount it even inside your home. It can be installed anywhere in the house – basement, kitchen, laundry room because it does not eat up too much space.
- The small size of the machine makes it easier to replenish the salt. No need of complicated steps. You can just easily dump the salt without exerting too much effort.
- The instructions in the manual are simple to follow so there is no need to hire a plumber or handyman if you have right tools to use.
- It can consume ¼ of the salt unlike the larger units. It can save you from buying salt because you can add yearly instead of every three months.
- It regenerates only when needed so you save water, salt, and electricity.
- It is not overpriced than the rented machines so it is more practical to own one or even two.
- It functions the same with bigger and taller water softener. For cost and low maintenance, a small water softener is perfect to use.
- With very limited space at home, its size of about 3 feet high and 2 feet wide is perfect.
- It is very easy to program. You can just set it and the machine will do its thing.
- The whole machine can last for more than 10 years. Some parts are available in stores so you can replace the components without buying a new whole unit.
Not So Great For
- Because of its small size, it is poorly designed and the tank made of plastic easily leaks.
- It has small water flow especially if a lot of people will use the faucets at the same time. This causes the water not be softened well because of less pressure.
- Usually, compact water softening systems are designed to be a DIY water softener. This means you need to rely on the instruction manual and it is not fitting for people who have no skills in plumbing.
- Be careful of the tank because it has the tendency to overflow because of its limited size.
- It has a restricted capacity in terms of grain removal so it is not recommended if you have very “hard” water.
- Four a family of four that consumes more than 400 gallons of water per day, more than the average 300 gallons per day, using a small water softening system is not applicable.
- It was so unfortunate that a smaller system also means smaller amount of resin beads. This type of water softener, especially if always used, can reach its capacity easily and resin beads are not enough to soften the water.
- A compact water softener is undersized and when it regenerates often, the mechanical components become overused and will have the tendency to break down.
- For a price of $500 or less, it is cheap but it can not last long especially if the softener is constantly used.
- It is too small that it frequently runs out of soft water. This can reduce the service life of the unit.
Each product will always have its ups and downs. With all the details laid out about small water softener (both good and bad), you may now have an idea whether you will get one for your home use. If you are in doubt, ask some experts to guide you what size of water softener you need. It all depends on your water consumption and the quality of your water source. If you think a water softening system will make your life more comfortable and efficient, then discover its usefulness by choosing and buying the right product, unit and size.
WaterBoss 220 Water Softener
WaterBoss 220 is designed to provide whole house efficiency. With the capacity of 22,000 grain removal, this is a great water softener for a family of four.
This model has a compact design that you can easily install into tight places. Though small, this unit is very efficient. In as little as 18 minutes with 2.5 salt setting, WaterBoss can finish the regenerating process. Taking less time for regeneration, this unit uses less water.
WaterBoss 220 water softeners can soften up to 70 grains per gallon. They also filter sediment and dirt down to 20 nominal microns, and reduce up to 10 parts per million (ppm) of ferrous iron. All this results in soft and healthy water.
This model is very easy to install and it comes with everything you will need to hook it up.