Hard water is a common occurrence in the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas. There a couple different ways to treat the hard water.
What is a water softener?
A water softener eliminates water hardness by exchange of ions and eliminates magnesium and calcium in the water. Salt/potassium-based softeners have a resin bed that filters water through it and exchanges these minerals/hardness against sodium ion particles. When the resin bed reaches its saturation point, the cleaning cycle (commonly referred to as a regeneration) begins. During regen, a series of backwashes flush out trapped minerals and expel them out of the resin bed. This process also replenishes the sodium particles so the machine can continue to soften. These units require salt or potassium to perform the ion exchange.
What is a water conditioner?
A Salt free system or water conditioner does not soften water. It simply helps change the molecule of minerals, so they lose their ability to stick to your pipes and plumbing. Some salt free systems and conditioners work better than others.
- Carbon Filtration: GAC (Granular activated carbon) or carbon filters remove harmful bacteria. They also remove contaminants by absorbing/trapping these organic compounds that are attracted to carbon. The main use of carbon in a system or carbon filters is that it removes unpleasant odors and weird tastes from water, including sulfur in well water and/or chlorine used to sanitize city water. This is considered simple water purification for consumption and not water softening. This does not soften water by eliminating hardness/minerals by ion exchange. Carbon filters are commonly found in refrigerators or as an add on filter to sinks/faucets.
- Magnets/Electro Magnetic water conditioner: These systems use magnets to create molecular motion in the water. This molecular agitation causes the minerals to displace, thereby reducing the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. The result is effectively soft water in the sense its less likely to make limescale or deposits. Although expensive, the performance of these devices is not guaranteed. Also, the magnetic field is only in the immediate area of where the water sits on device. This means it can not treat large amounts of water at the same time and the water can only stay in its “soft” state for about 48 hours after treatment.
- Salt Free WS: Catalytic media conditioners, also known as SF WS, don’t use ion exchange to eliminate minerals of hardness like traditional salt-based systems. Instead water is treated through a catalytic medium that uses a physical process that is known as TAC (Template assisted crystallization) This changes the shape of the minerals into hard crystals that no longer stick to surfaces. The important thing to note is that these systems do not soften they simply condition it.
Water Softener VS Water Conditioner:
A Softener is a specific type of water conditioner that reduces water hardness. Hard water is formed when dissolved calcium or magnesium ions are present in the water. A water softener will remove all hard minerals from your water source. A water conditioner is just a generic term for any sort of system that is able to alter the quality of your water to improve it in some way.
Different types of treatment units have different abilities. Hard water is a common occurrence in the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas. How do we treat hard water? Typically salt free options work up to 25 GPG of hardness and softener with salt are recommended at 20 GPG and above. Las Vegas is typically between 22 and 28 GPG. It’s based on personal preference and needs. We have customers that have systems that use salt and others that opt for salt -free options. Schedule a free site survey with one of our experienced service technicians to learn more about what would be the correct system for your needs.