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Almost all houses have hard water supply. The fact that you’re reading this right now, most likely you have this problem or you might know someone who does. Fortunately, with the aid of the advancement of technology, there are now ways by which we can remedy this dilemma. You can finally say goodbye to those annoying stains on your tile surfaces and on your fresh laundry, and dry skin and hair texture brought by exposure to hard water. 

In the following post, we will be narrowing down our top picks for budget water softeners along with some updated information on everything hard water, soft water, and water softening technology. 

Our 7 Top Picks for Whole House Water Softeners for Well Water

It wasn’t an easy search, but we finally narrowed down the list for the water softeners that caught our eye and impressed us. Let’s begin.

1. Fleck 5600sxt Metered On-demand 48,000 Grain Water Softener

AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System
  • Fleck 5600sxt Digital on-demand Metered Water Softener with paddle wheel meter (BR5600SMS-SXTPW), Made in the USA.
  • Black Structural 10x54" PG 2.5T (CH30579-03010203-30), 14"x34" black square brine tank with safety float, made in the USA
  • Includes Fleck bypass valve (60049) and 1" male threaded yoke connection (18706-01)
  • Will treat up to 12 gpm service flow rates (28 GPM peak) perfect for up to 6 people in home, moderate to very hard water
  • 48,000 grain or 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity 8% cross linked resin (BR8)

As far as water softeners are involved, the most preferred type is usually the salt-based ones. Because of that, we put this model at the top of the list. The Fleck 5600 SXT Digital On-Demand Water Softener is one of the top players in the field of salt-based water softening. It’s safe to say that it’s quite a heavy duty system because of its capacity to handle medium to very hard water. Its 12 gallons per minute flow rate can cater households that have up to 6 residents. 

This is highly favored by a lot of consumers because it’s very user-friendly as it comes with a digital display screen that is really simple to navigate. Regeneration is automatic. Monitoring of salt levels only needs to be done once a month. 

Its grain capacity is 48000 and the salt capacity is 250 lbs. It can smoothly run for up to six months before it needs to be replaced. 

Pros

  • Can cater households with up to 6 members
  • Easy installation and operation
  • Certified by NSF
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Some parts are made of plastic material

2. Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System

Sale
Aquasana EQ-1000 Whole House System Carbon & KDF Home Water Filtration-Filters Sediment & 97% of Chlorine-1,000,000 Gl, 10 Yr, 1 Million, Blue
  • Clean, Great Tasting Water From Every Tap In Your Home - Removes 97% of chlorine and reduces harmful contaminants like lead, mercury, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and more
  • High-Performance Filter System - Carbon & KDF filtration media engineered to maximize contaminant reduction while leaving healthy minerals in your water; This system will NOT reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  • Cost Efficient & Long Lasting - Clean water for less than $0. 01 a gallon - Save twice as much compared to other brands on purified water for 1 million gallons or 10 years
  • Easy Maintenance - No draining or back flushing needed - Easily replace pre and post filters every 3 months for best filtration and flow rate
  • Top-Grade Install Kit & Components - System includes filter tank, 20" pre-filter, post-filter, brass fittings for 1'' or 3/4'' pipes, bend supports, and shut-off valves – Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately

Now for a little change, this model is not a salt-based system. It works differently than other systems because this makes use of a crystallization method that chemically alters the minerals that are contained in hard water to prevent them from forming the limescale that causes buildup. 

This model uses the Scale Control filter media for its salt-free water softening process. Many consumers find this filter media efficient because it only eliminates the contaminants that are harmful to your water while retaining the essential minerals unlike reverse osmosis systems. You can expect maximum eradication of chlorine, inorganic chemicals like mercury, volatile compounds, and other industrial chemicals. To sum that up, this system serves a dual purpose of both water softener and water filter. 

One thing you should be aware of is that the system does not have a significant impact in the reduction of total dissolved solids. Filter replacement is usually every six months but it still varies on the quality of your water. The large capacity can accommodate large households.

It has a 7-gallon per minute flow rate that’s already good for supplying two showers, one faucet, and one appliance at one time. This model packs a lot for its price so it’s definitely worth the investment. 

Pros

  • Easy maintenance
  • Long lifespan
  • Does not use salt
  • Added water filter feature

Cons

  • A bit pricey

3. Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck Water Softener

Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck water softener, Black
  • Fleck 5600Sxt digital metered control head
  • 1.5 cu. Ft. Upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin
  • Easy to install with AFW install kit as pictured included, reliable long lasting water treatment
  • Complete system including standard 14x33 brine tank, mineral tank, valve with bypass and adapter

This one model from Pentair has a feature that allows users to monitor the system metrics through a digital meter control panel. The Fleck valve is among one of the highlights that add to its efficiency and durability. It also has a 10% cross-linked resin for further water treatment and helps add to the unit’s lifespan. 

The method that it uses for hard water treatment is ion exchange, wherein the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with sodium and potassium ions as the water passes through the resin. 

Paired with the digital controls is the updated SXT controller. The manufacturer gives you 5 years of warranty albeit its claim of a 27-year total lifespan. You also get a 10-year warranty for the storage tank. 

The installation guide is already included inside a flash drive which the user can easily follow to set up the unit. The product is easy to carry as well which makes the entire installation process a breeze.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Long lifespan
  • Technologically innovative
  • Has a pre-included water testing kit

Cons

  • Brand is not that well-known and trusted

4. Iron Pro 2 Combination 64,000 Grain Water Softener

Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve 64,000 grain, 64k for whole house
  • Currently shipping black tanks, Tank color may vary depending on stock. Water softener, iron filter, all in one! high flow for whole house use!
  • 64,000 grain capacity, fine mesh resin designed for high iron removal & long life
  • Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve for efficiency and ease of use, 5 year warranty!
  • Removes hardness from your water and also Iron up to 6 ppm range, Manganese up to 6 ppm, sediment, sand, rust
  • Comes complete with brine tank, DIY instructions, bypass valve

30,000 to 45,000 grain capacity water softeners are generally the most common choice for the average household but there are still those that need higher specifications. As you have read from the model name, Iron Pro 2 has an outstanding 64,000 grain capacity.

Without a doubt, this model can smoothly supply the entire house with soft water. In addition to that, this model also comes with a bonus iron filter, making it a dual-purpose system.

The fine mesh resin ensures maximum elimination of unwanted particles as well as extends its lifespan. Just like the one listed above, it employs the Fleck 5600SXT digital meter valve with the SXT controller. 

It takes care of a variety of water contaminants such as chlorine and manganese content along with calcium and magnesium ions to reduce risk of scale buildup. 

Because of its heavy duty job, you can expect the unit to be slightly heavy and large in size. It does come with an installation guide and you can set it up with a little bit of help. The manufacturer also gives you a 5-year warranty for the unit and the parts. 

Pros

  • Able to supply to the entire house
  • Long lifespan
  • Latest technology
  • Easy installation
  • Comes with an iron filter

Cons

  • Price

5. Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener

Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
  • Whirlpool WHES30E is ideal for households of 1-4+ people and removes up to 8ppm of clear water (ferrous) iron
  • NSF certified to reduce hard water symptoms such as embarrassing stains, build-up on your plumbing and faucets as well as spotting on dishes
  • Whirlpool water softeners automatically calculate how much salt and water is required to regenerate and only use what is necessary, resulting in a significant salt and water savings
  • Full 1-year parts and labor warranty. The system can be extended to 2 years parts and labor when you buy 3 bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser (sold separately)
  • Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA

If you only have less than 5 people living with you and do not want the hassle of salt regeneration every now and then, then this model brought to you by Whirlpool might just be what you’re looking for. 

You can be assured of its quality since it has a certification issued by the NSF. Expect that your hard water problems will be washed away by this product. 

Its design does not resemble those of the usual water softener units. Instead of the cylindrical tank, it has a rectangular shape but still does the job nonetheless with an iron removing filter.

Another unique aspect of this unit is that it can calculate the amount of water and salt that is required for regeneration so you do not need to do it yourself. This helps in preserving both the water and salt by putting only the exact amounts so as not to waste any. 

Small disclaimer: the unit is large and heavy despite its small capacity. You have to allot quite a large space for it. 

Pros

  • Impressive quality
  • Easy installation
  • Long lifespan
  • Less tendency of water and salt wastage

Cons

  • Large and heavy unit

6. ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 Black WATER SOFTENER

ABCwaters built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener and Upflow Carbon Filtration - 48000 Capacity
  • Complete package Overview - Complete turn-key Package that combines a whole house water softener & upflow Carbon filtration system. Our Package also includes value-added items such as our installation kit, install guides that are easy to follow and technical support to simplify your experience. We believe this is Package provides the most value when compared to the market
  • Water softener Overview - Complete whole house system. Controlled by the popular fleck 5600sxt Digital valve meter. 48, 000 grain high capacity softening system uses an upgraded 10% cross-linked resin (ABC10). Best quality in the Industry. Recommended service flow up to 12 GPM (household sizes of 2-5 people). fleck valve includes 5 year warranty
  • Upflow Carbon filtration upflow design provides efficient filtration without the need to backwash. No backwash means no electricity required, No drain line needed, and no wastewater produced. Greener water filtration and cleaner, safer water is a breeze with our carbon tank filter system. 1.5 cubic ft. High activity Carbon media - Carbon media is a natural media derived from coconut shells that removes water contaminants through absorption
  • Upflow Carbon contaminant removal removes a wide range of contaminants including chlorine and chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, organics, mtbe, and THM. It also removes most other chemicals, tastes and odors, and is an excellent system for general filtration
  • GUARANTEED SATISFACTION. We guarantee satisfaction with our product and customer service or get your money back. We pride ourselves in providing a hassle free consumer experience. We offer a 60 day return policy with money back guarantee.

This is the third model we featured that has a Fleck 5600sxt digital valve. Many have testified that this model lasts a bit longer than others. 

Brine and mineral tanks are included in the product. It packs a 48,000 grain capacity and 12gpm flow rate that’s just enough for 2-5 residents. 

The system also uses a 10% cross linked resin which is slightly higher than those used by most models which also means that it has a longer lifespan compared to the rest. 

Quality is not compromised with this model. Aside from the premium quality material that the unit is built with, the power consumption also makes it environment-friendly. It does not consume a lot of salt as well. 

The unit is pretty much user-friendly and easily programmable with the buttons. You can do the installation of this unit by yourself and basic plumbing knowledge would make it easier. 

Pros

  • Topnotch quality
  • Easy installation
  • Certified by WQA
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky

7. Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener

AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System
  • Fleck 5600sxt Digital on-demand Metered Water Softener with paddle wheel meter (BR5600SMS-SXTPW), Made in the USA.
  • Black Structural 10x54" PG 2.5T (CH30579-03010203-30), 14"x34" black square brine tank with safety float, made in the USA
  • Includes Fleck bypass valve (60049) and 1" male threaded yoke connection (18706-01)
  • Will treat up to 12 gpm service flow rates (28 GPM peak) perfect for up to 6 people in home, moderate to very hard water
  • 48,000 grain or 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity 8% cross linked resin (BR8)

For our final pick, we chose another Fleck product. Being the last one on the list definitely does not make it the least when it comes to performance. As a matter of fact, this might be the model that embodies what a modern water softener system is. You can find a lot of excellent reviews for this product online. 

As you can see it also employs the Fleck 5600sxt digital meter as well as a digital valve that maximizes its function for a less frequent regeneration and helps in preserving salt and water.

It starts at a 12 GPM flow rate but can extend up to 28 GPM that can cater to a water supply good for 4 to 6 people. There is already a pre-included brine tank that makes the installation a lot simpler with a complete user’s manual. Anyone with at least basic plumbing knowledge can handle the installation.

Pros

  • Quality you can trust
  • Easy installation
  • Maximum efficiency
  • Right price for its features

Cons

  • Incomplete instructions especially for system programming
person in green long sleeve shirt washing stainless steel sink

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is the term used to describe water with an abundance of dissolved calcium and magnesium ions. These two are the most common contents of hard water. 

Another criteria for hard water is when it has more than 7 grains per gallon of calcium carbonate compound. 

Hardness level can be measured in ppm (parts per million) or mg/L (milligrams per liter).

Everything wrong with Hard Water

You might think that having calcium in your water is a bad thing but it’s actually not. As a matter of fact, calcium is an essential electrolyte that the body needs a regular supply of in order to function well. Because of this, some water filters have included a remineralization feature to their systems to preserve the calcium ions in the water. But then again, too much is not good. An excessive amount of calcium in your water can also have negative effects. 

1. Damage to Water Pipes and Appliances

Over time, the circulation of hard water can result in accumulation of limescale in the plumbing. Limescale is a calcium carbonate precipitate that forms upon evaporation of hard water. It can cause pipe clogging and can affect the function of your appliances that use water. This can leave stains on your kitchenware and damage the many things that are exposed to it. The longer that an appliance holds hard water, the higher the possibility of limescale buildup especially if the water is heavily contaminated with calcium ions. 

2. Skin Irritation

Hard water is highly alkaline which means it has a high pH and a high mineral content. Highly sensitive skin may not react well when it comes in contact with hard water. Some people may experience extreme dryness of skin, rashes, irritation, and even result in clogged pores and acne. There are times when the culprit of skin irritations is the quality of water that you use. 

It can also lead to more serious skin problems like eczema and dermatitis. Your hair can also become more brittle and dull and your scalp can be affected with the quality of water that you wash it with. 

3. Persistent Stains

Even if the water has dried up on the surface, that does not mean that the mineral content is also gone. In fact, it most likely remained even after the water had evaporated. This is the reason for the dark discolorations and stains on your tile surfaces, bathtubs, kitchenware, toilets, and other things in your house that are constantly exposed to the water. Another not so fun fact, hard water reduces the lathering of your soaps and detergents.

Whole House Water Softeners for Well Water: A Criteria for Buying

No two water softener models are exactly the same. This is an important purchase on your part and we want to help you make sure that you know what you are spending on and you get the most out of your money.

Determine these things first before you go water softener shopping. 

Grain Capacity

This refers to the amount of hard water grains a system is capable of eliminating before it reaches its maximum capacity and is advised for regeneration. This should be one of the first things you need to figure out. In order to know what works best for your situation, you should have at least an idea of your daily water consumption. 

Low grain capacities are around 40,000 more or less and the large grain capacities can be as high as 300,000 and more. 

Large capacities may seem promising but may prove unnecessary if you do not need that much soft water supply. However, the good thing about those with high capacities is that it takes a long time before regeneration needs to be done and so it saves you the hassle of refilling it with salt frequently.

Media Type

 There are two main types of water softeners:

  • Salt-based 

This kind of water softener makes use of salt (brine solution).

  • Resin-based

This one does not need salt to work. Instead, it utilizes resin beads with soft water ions that replace the hard water ions from the original water supply. 

Water Flow

Water flow rate is an important factor to consider when it comes to water filters. This is usually expressed in gallons per minute or GPM. 

This is largely dependent upon the demands of your entire household. Know the number of water outlets you have and consider the possibility that there are outlets that could be used at the same time in different areas of the house. 

You do not need a unit with a large flow rate if you live alone or if there are only a few people who are living with you. However, for families with a lot of members, the same cannot be said. 

Operating Temperature and Pressure

Some water softeners have limits in terms of the optimal temperature and pressure at which they can operate efficiently. Any less or any greater than the limit can diminish the ability of the system. 

The pressure and temperature of the plumbing system in your home needs to coincide with that of the water softening system to ensure compatibility and full function. You can also employ some ways to increase well water pressure in your home to match with the system. 

Types Of Softeners

Water softeners can come in manual or automatic systems. Automatic systems already have a built-in valve right by the filter column. Manual systems do not have that feature so you are going to do all the heavy work by yourself when the time comes that the system needs to be regenerated.

Hard water is a very common problem experienced by many from all across the world with various sources of water supply. 

Heavy duty filters may not work efficiently in removing dissolved solid content in areas where water supply is full of solids. But there are specialized water softeners designed for those kinds of situations. 

These are some specifications of water softeners that you ought to know termed in a more comprehensible manner.

  • Low maintenance:  The best kind of device is the one that does not need constant attention. It is always preferable when a system does not need to be regularly tended to especially for people with busy schedules.
  • Efficiency: It is no question that we all want something that’s worth the investment. An efficient system should offer a lot for its price. 
  • Convenience: This is also related to the maintenance but also has a lot to do with the ease in operation and installation. 

Installing Your home water softener system 

We wouldn’t say that installing a home water softening system is just a walk in the park but it’s not exactly rocket science either. You just need basic plumbing knowledge in order to successfully set the system up. However if you do not have basic plumbing knowledge or experience then you might need to hire a technician or a professional to assist you in setting it up. Refer to the guide below for some quick tips on how to set up the system but also do not forget to refer to the user manual that comes with the package for more detailed instructions.

  • First things first turn off your main water line.
  • Find a convenient spot on a part of the main pipe line where the water softener can be placed.
  • Make a cut to this spot on the pipe.
  • There are three valves that you want to connect to the opening on the pipe: the first valve prevents water entering the softener unit itself, the second valve prevents the water from leaking out of the system and the last valve prevents water backflow.
  • Now you need to make some attachments. First you need to connect the resin tank to the drain tank then connect the drain line to the drain elbow and finally, the discharge pipe to the wastewater drain.
  • Make sure all the connections are securely tightened to prevent leakages.

These are just general instructions. We recommend going over the unit’s instruction manual to make sure that you did not overlook any specific steps for that particular unit .

Knowing your hard water

There have been a lot of reports about hard water problems in many households. Allow us to  share to you the criteria for determining hard water.

Parts per million or ppm

Loosely translated, parts per million basically means 1 mg of foreign contaminant in every liter of a water sample. This type of measurement is most commonly used in the analysis of hard water. If the ppm of a given water sample falls within the range of 121 to 130, that is most definitely considered as hard water. A ppm of 61 to 120 is referred to as moderately hard water, while a ppm of 60 and below is soft water. A ppm of more than 180 is quite dangerous and has a tendency of frequently forming scale residue.

Grains per gallon or gpg

Quite similar to parts per million, this expression is also one way to determine water hardness. The only difference is the basis of measurement. This pertains to the amount of grains contained in one gallon of a water sample. This method is often used in the United States. Soft water has a gpg of 0 to 3.50. Moderately hard water has a gpg between 3.56 to 7.01 while actual hard water has a gpg of 7.06 to 10.51. Anything more than that is already considered a hazard.

How is hard water formed

It is common knowledge that water is an extremely abundant natural resource. And in nature, water undergoes a lot of different changes in state. Water evaporates in high temperatures. Water freezes under low temperatures and under the right conditions, water vapour can condense to its liquid form. The carbon dioxide that circulates in the air can render water to become slightly acidic. Slightly acidic water has the ability to dissolve a lot of organic and inorganic substances. As water circulates through the pipes, the dissolved substances in the water which are usually calcium and magnesium ions are retained even after the water evaporates. The calcium and magnesium traces that are left behind can accumulate and form a solid precipitate that sticks to the inside of pipes and as they accumulate more and more, they can cause clogging. This is not a problem you want to have especially if you have a lot of appliances that are using your water supply such as washing machines, humidifiers, dishwashers and boilers, to name a few. 

Fortunately, this circumstance can be easily prevented with the aid of water softener systems that usually operate using the ion-exchange method. What happens during the ion exchange method is that the water is subjected through an ion exchange resin that contains mostly sodium and potassium ions. This will result in the calcium and magnesium ions present in the water to stick to the resin and be replaced with the sodium and potassium ions instead. As a result, the water does not anymore contain hard mineral deposits and thus reducing the tendency to form limescale build up. Over time the resin becomes too concentrated with hard mineral deposits and so it needs to be regenerated or replaced.

Water hardness testing

It is in your best interest to have a sample of your water supply tested so you can get an accurate analysis on the actual hardness of your water. Having this information will help you in making the right choice for your water  filtration system. 

You can test your water by yourself using diy water testing kits. All you have to do is take a little bit of your water sample and dip the testing strip into it. The color of the strip indicates the hardness level of your water. You can refer to a hardness level chart.

If a testing strip is not available, you can also resort to doing a rough estimation using liquid soap. It’s as simple as putting liquid soap into a small sample of your water. The more amount of soap it takes for suds to form, the higher your water hardness is. However, if you really want a detailed analysis, there are laboratories that conduct such tests and can provide a thorough evaluation of your water supply.

Well water hardness scale

Water that comes from deep wells is typically hard water. However, it can also vary depending on the geography, the location of the well and the source of the water itself. The WQA or Water Quality Association has a water hardness scale chart. You can also find relevant information about water hardness levels across the United States from the US geological survey.

Source: WQA.org To find out how hard your water is, we recommend completing a well water water test at home, and comparing your results to the hardness scale referenced above.

Mechanism of home water softeners

Imagine a magnet. The mechanism of action of water softener systems work quite similarly as magnets do. Magnets have two sides with opposite charges. Same charges repel while opposite charges attract. 

Since hard water is infested with positively charged minerals (also called ions) the resin beads that are contained in water filtration systems or water softeners are negatively charged. So as the water passes through the resin, the positively charged ions are attracted to the resin beads and are left behind while the water flows out completely free from hard mineral deposits.

Benefits of having water softener systems in your household

Hard water is not necessarily a bad thing. However, over time you will find that a constant usage of hard water can lead to long-term hassle. Below are some reasons as to why you might want to consider having soft water supply in your household instead.

  1. Less repair costs

As we have mentioned before, hard water is filled with mineral deposits that can lead to pipe clogging overtime. You won’t have that problem with soft water.  Thus, you do not need to worry about future repairs that you may need to have . 

  1. Less risk of leaking

Aside from clogging hard water can also cause appliance damage that result in leakages  or malfunctioning. It may also reduce the lifespan of your appliances. The limescale build up also forms discoloration on plane surfaces and hard to remove stains as well as unpleasant odor in your sinks, faucets, bathtubs and other water outlets. 

  1. Prevention of skin irritations

A lot of people have bad experiences in using hard water for their baths and showers. The reason for this is that the content of hard water actually has a slight negative effect on your skin condition as well as on your hair. Although it may be uncommon, there are still people who experience this problem. If you have a similar complaint, this may be due to the quality of your water supply and so you might want to consider water softening systems.

  1. Save your laundry and kitchenware

Your laundry and your kitchenware are the ones that are most exposed to your water supply.  And if you have hard water problems, then your laundry will most likely have stains and odor as well as your kitchenware. Having soft water eliminates this problem . 

Determining the right unit and size for your household

There are two main factors that you need to consider in choosing the right filter.

  • The amount and components of hard mineral deposits
  • Average daily water consumption of your entire household

From this information, we can figure out the stream rate and the amount of water being consumed on a daily basis. The average stream rate of residential buildings is usually 5 gpm. A higher stream rate means a higher flow rate as well and therefore will require a larger mineral tank to accommodate the influx of water . This also means that the resin will have a heavier workload and will take a lot more time to filter as more hard water content is subjected to it. 

Maintenance of water softener systems

While  a lot of manufacturers of these systems take pride in the generally long lifespan of their units, a product will not last as long as it should without proper maintenance. Here are a few guidelines on how to keep your system running smoothly for a long time .

Monitor the brine tank from time to time

The brine tank of a water softener is where all the salt and water solution is contained. Therefore making it a very essential component of the entire system . This is the source of the brine solution that is utilized by the resin beads that perform the water softening process. You have to regularly keep track of the salt levels in your brine tank at least once a month . 

Depending on the unit, you must maintain the required amount of salt levels inside the tank. In the event of salt bridging, all you have to do is pour in some hot water into the brine tank and stir it with a rod to evenly distribute the salt.

Manual cleaning of the brine tank

Some low cost units will require you to conduct a regular brine tank clean up but usually you only need to do so twice a year at most.

Empty the tank completely. Shut off the water flow using the bypass valve before doing so. 

Wash the tank with soap and lukewarm water and rinse.

Fill it with 1 gallon of water and pour in 50 ml of bleach. Leave it for 15 minutes.

Dispose of the water and bleach solution and thoroughly rinse the tank.

Now you can refill the tank with a required amount of salt and water solution and set it back up again.

Friendly reminder

Brine solution is basically just salt and water. However you cannot just use any kind of salt. Remember to refer to the user manual or instruction guide that comes with your water softener unit since most manufacturers indicate what kind of salt is compatible with it.

Frequently asked questions

Why are whole house water softeners expensive?

The prices of these products Are also related to the functions that they perform. Aside from that some parts of a water softener system are generally costly paired with the added tax.

Is soft water healthy?

Soft water is generally a good choice for drinking water. However if you are using a salt based softener, then the resulting water product may not benefit you due to the added salt content. We suggest seeking advice from a health professional.

How do I choose the right water softener for me?

The first thing you need to know is how hard your water is. You can obtain this information through testing either by yourself or with the help of a third-party tester. 

Is a digital water softener better?

If you want to save yourself the hassle of manually operating the system, then you can opt for the digital variant since this is much easier to navigate and control. They are also generally more efficient and cost-effective.

How much time does it take for regeneration?

This usually varies from model to model and whether the system is salt-based or not. The time it takes for regeneration can be between a few minutes to a few hours. You can find this information in the product manual.

Is the resulting water from water softener safe  for drinking?

The hardest level of your water usually determines the amount of salt that is contained in the filtered water. Even so, the salt content of the resulting water is not harmful to the health and is typically safe for drinking unless you are on a special diet that requires you to intake less sodium. You can replace the kind of salt used in your brine solution with potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. But make sure to consult with the manufacturer of your unit first  before making any modifications.

What happens if the water softener runs out of salt?

For salt-based water softeners, having a regular supply of salt is essential to keep the ion exchange going smoothly. Without the salt, there will be no sodium ions for the resin to utilize and therefore it won’t be able to soften the water . Not to worry, if this happens, you just need to add in more salt to get it back up and running again.

How long does it take to acquire soft water after the installation of the system?

Again, it varies upon the unit. But generally, it only takes two weeks at most for softeners to be able to perform at full capacity after installation. 

How often should a water softener run?

Refer to the user manual or consult with the unit manufacturer. Water softeners have different operating capacities. It isn’t the same for all units. 

How often should resins be changed?

Resins typically last for several years but according to some manufacturers, the efficiency tends to decrease by 5% with every passing year. Therefore, after a decade or usage, resins are only 50% efficient. It is recommended to replace your resin after around 12 years at least. 

What are the effects of using hard water?

Limescale buildup in your pipes. Damage to appliances. Skin irritations.

Conclusion

A water softener is the solution you are looking for to solve your hard water problems. You can reap a lot of benefits from having soft water starting from having healthier skin and hair condition, cleaner laundry, and an overall lesser expense at plumbing and appliance repairs. 

Bottomline, it all still depends on whether you have the financial capability to purchase the perfect unit for your situation. We sincerely hope that this guide somehow helped you with your decision and educated you in a way. 

Allow us to make a final say about our best bet:

AFWFilters 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System
  • Fleck 5600sxt Digital on-demand Metered Water Softener with paddle wheel meter (BR5600SMS-SXTPW), Made in the USA.
  • Black Structural 10x54" PG 2.5T (CH30579-03010203-30), 14"x34" black square brine tank with safety float, made in the USA
  • Includes Fleck bypass valve (60049) and 1" male threaded yoke connection (18706-01)
  • Will treat up to 12 gpm service flow rates (28 GPM peak) perfect for up to 6 people in home, moderate to very hard water
  • 48,000 grain or 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity 8% cross linked resin (BR8)

Starting from its outstanding grain capacity of 12 gpm, the Fleck 5600 digital controls, and a certification issued by the NSF, this is definitely a top tier product that can cater to the needs of a large household.

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