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Which Water Softener is Best?

If there’s one thing homeowners want to avoid in their home plumbing system, it’s hard water. Hard water can leave residue around the drains of the sinks or showers. It can leave a ring around the toilet bowl that’s impossible to scrub off. It can damage the pipes in the plumbing system, leading to a shorter life span. Plus, it can be harmful to the people living in the house because it’s harsh on hair and skin.

Hard water is not something people want to mess around with. That’s why water softeners are so important.

The Many Benefits of Water Softeners

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Water is hard when there is a high volume of minerals in it, like calcium or magnesium. The groundwater that eventually becomes the water supply in the home can dissolve limestone or metals and carry the remnants of those materials until it reaches the house. The purpose of a water softener is to remove those hard minerals from the water supply. 

Using water softeners comes with many benefits. First, it makes cleaning so much easier! No more tough rings to scrub on the toilet bowls or sink drains. Homeowners can experience cleaner dishes without spots. Hard water can also leave marks on clothing, so laundry can also be done easier with softer water. With less mineral buildup on the inside of pipes and other plumbing appliances, they last longer, preventing homeowners from spending money on replacements or upgrades. 

Pros and Cons of Salt-Based Water Softeners

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Salt-based water softeners are the most common type of water softener. They have a tank filled with electrically-charged resin beads. These beads become filled with sodium ions from the salt. As the water and its hard minerals pass through the softener, they are attracted to the resin beads. 

This creates an exchange: the sodium ions replace the hard water ions. The soft water is then pushed through the rest of the plumbing system to various appliances in the house.


  1. The materials (salt) are easy for homeowners to find in-store or online.
  2. It prevents scale buildup and makes cleaning easy.
  3. Salt-based water softeners increase the efficiency of plumbing appliances.


  1. It can increase dietary sodium intake, making it difficult for those on low-sodium diets to stay healthy.
  2. High salt content in the water makes it more difficult to recycle.
  3. It only removes the minerals that cause hardness, not other minerals or metals that can give off a chlorine taste.

Pros and Cons of Salt-Free Water Softeners

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To clarify, a salt-free water softener isn’t really a softener. It’s more like a water conditioner since it doesn’t remove the hard minerals from the water but instead changes their form. Salt-free water conditioners work by crystalizing the minerals found in hard water, which prevents them from adhering to the insides of pipes.


  1. It prevents scale buildup on plumbing pipes and appliances, helping them to last longer.
  2. It’s typically less expensive than salt-based water softeners.
  3. It doesn’t use any chemicals when conditioning the water. 


  1. It doesn’t really soften water.
  2. It doesn’t see the other benefits of soft water like healthier skin and hair, reduced stains on dishes and laundry, etc.
  3. It takes longer to see the results.

It’s important that homeowners properly weigh the pros and cons of each option before determining what is best for their homes.

About All Purpose Plumbing

All Purpose Plumbing strives for happy repeat customers by offering friendly service with the best-trained plumbers and leading guarantees. They provide a FREE inspection on every service call so customers can know what condition their plumbing system is in before starting major work. They also work hard to deliver the best plumbing service possible and prevent or correct plumbing problems quickly and professionally.