Depending on where you live, you may have hard water that needs to be softened. In doing your research on the best device to manage your water, you’ll find salt and salt-free water filters. 

Water softeners and salt-free alternatives both improve your water, yet they offer different benefits. Your local Culligan Man will help you determine which system your home needs.

Salt Based Water Softeners

The definition of water softening is the removal of hard minerals and metal cations. This process occurs when you use salt water softeners. These softeners contain positively charged resin beads with sodium ions. When hard water runs through the beads, an exchange occurs. The hard minerals and cations attach to the beads. The beads release sodium into the water in order to hold onto the cations.

A water softener eliminates all of these problems and has many benefits:

  • Clean and shiny dishes
  • Soft and smooth skin and hair
  • Extended appliance life
  • Increased lather of soap and shampoo
  • No discoloration of fabrics and sinks
  • Cleaner and brighter clothes
  • Easy-to-clean sinks and appliances

Perhaps the biggest advantage of water softeners is the money you’ll save. Soft water won’t cause buildup in your pipes, consumes less energy and keeps appliances running efficiently, all of which leads to lower costs in plumbing, appliances, gas and electric bills, and soap and detergents.

Salt Free Water Softeners

Salt-less softening alternatives crystallize the calcium and magnesium minerals that make water hard, physically altering them so they are less likely to form scale buildups, and leave them in the water supply.

The salt-free alternative to softener works differently. First, the salt-free option does not remove hard minerals and cations. As a result, the technical term for this device is a conditioner rather than a softener. It works by changing the state of the hard minerals. When hard water flows through the system, the hard minerals are restructured so they don’t bind to surfaces they meet.

Salt-free alternatives have distinct advantages, including:

  • Many applications: Water conditioners are available in many sizes. Install a whole-house salt-free conditioner to provide conditioned water to every faucet.
  • Low maintenance: Salt-free solutions require less maintenance because they don’t need drain connectors, storage tanks, control valves, salt, potassium or electricity.
  • Low media usage: The media in salt-free systems can last up to 7 years and only a small amount is required, even in a whole-house system.
  • Eco-friendly: Water conditioners save water because the water it processes goes directly into your home.

Is One Softener Healthier Than the Other?

Salt water softeners come with many health advantages. These include laundry that is softer and more vibrant in color. Plus, the softener removes the hard minerals that create a crust around faucets and showerheads. With them gone, you won’t have to spend as much money on cleaning products — or as much time scrubbing. You also have healthier water for showering. You may even notice your hair feels more hydrated.

The salt-free alternative may also help improve the quality of the water. The hard minerals are still in the water, but they have been altered so they don’t bind to surfaces as easily. This means that, you may not have as much cleaning to do. Unfortunately, because hard minerals are still in the water, you cannot expect the same results you would get with a salt water softener.

Additional costs are the main disadvantage of these salt-free conditioners. While salt water softeners are designed to regenerate independently, you only need to replace the salt that the system uses. This task is inexpensive. When you opt for the salt-free alternative, you must replace the media frequently, and those costs can add up.

Which Softener Type Should I Choose?

The best softener or conditioner for your home will depend on the water quality in your home and the final results you want to attain. If you have a low degree of hard minerals in your water, the salt-free water conditioner may work fine. For very hard waters, the best option is a salt water softener. You can determine the quality of your water with the help of a water treatment team.

Culligan Water Has the Water Softener Solution for Your Home

At Culligan Water, we offer over 80 years of professional experience and guidance. Let us help you make your water healthier for the whole family. We can test the water and explain the best options based on your water quality. Once you have decided, we offer industry-leading water softeners that your home can depend on for years to come.

To start exploring water treatment options, you can call us at 717-697-0657 or contact us online today!