Water conditioner vs water softener (similarity and difference)

If your house has hard water, you need to solve the problem by either installing a water conditioner or water softener. What is a comparison between water conditioner vs water softener?

Water conditioner vs water softener

Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and silica.

When these minerals are in high concentration, they do not cause a health effect on our lives but affect home appliances and our body.

The excess hard water minerals can cause water fixtures and pipe in the home clog. Over time they can be blocked entirely, preventing them from doing the job completely.

Hard water cause soap not to lather easily.

Hard water makes hair look dull and cause thinning and breakage of hair.

Hard water leaves your hair dry

Stain dishes and clothes.

Read more on the effects of hard water.

With all the above problems, more homeowners find a way to solve the problem which is done by installing a water softener or conditioner.

The hardness of your water is measured by parts per million of mineral (PMM) or grains per gallon (GPG).

1GPG=17.1ppm

Anything above 3GPG is considered hard and below that is soft water. 

When your water is above 3GPG, it requires to be treated to make it soft water, and that’s where the water softener and conditioner come in.

What is water softener and how does it work.

A water softener is a device that completely removes the hard water minerals in your water.

The system softens your hard water through a process called ion exchange water softener.

That’s why you will find some people calling it ion exchange water softener.

The system has different parts that help operate effectively, which include control valve, tank brine, and resin tank.

The brine tanks hold salt while the resin tank holds resin tank.

A control valve is connected at the top of the resin tank.

The hard water from your source is connected to the control valve and flows into the resin tank

The resin beads in the resin tank are negatively charged, so it attracts hard water minerals which are positively charged.

The resin beads completely remove the minerals in your hard water, and they stick firmly on the beads.

The soft water passes through the resin tank to your kitchen, faucet soft and ready for human consumption.

When the hard water minerals stick firmly and remain in the resin beads, the beads become overcoated.

When the beads are overcoated that are not capable of attracting hard water minerals, making them ineffective and not produce soft water.

In such a case, the resin beads need to be cleaned so as remove the overcoating of hard water minerals, and this is where brine tank comes in.

As said earlier brine tank contains salt which is mixed with water commonly known as a brine solution.

The brine solution has a high concentration of sodium.

The high concentrated brine solution is pumped to the resin tank. Since it is highly concentrated, it attracts the hard mineral that has coated resin beads, leaving them clean and effective to soften your hard water.

The process of cleaning of the resin beads is called regeneration.

Use of the salt in the water softener is what makes people call this system salt-based water softener.

 A water softener removes minerals up to below 1GPG.

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What is a water conditioner and how does it work

A water conditioner does not remove or soften your hard water.

What it does it changes the structure of hard water minerals to lose the ability to form scale in your house appliances.

The minerals will remain in your water but will be weak to form scale.

This method does not use salt but uses electric or magnetic pulses to alter the structure of the hard water minerals.

Water conditioner applies to your pipes and plumbing appliances from scale build-up.

Types of water conditioner

Electronic water conditioner- uses electric pulses to cause hard water to lose the ability to form scale build-up

Magnetic water conditioner – uses electromagnetic pulses to weaken hard water structure so as not to create scale build-up.

Salt-free water conditioner- uses catalytic medium through a process known as Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). The medium changes hard water into crystals, so that does not stick on the pipes or house plumbing.

Shop for electronics, magnetic and electromagnetic water conditioner.

Shop for Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) salt-free water conditioner

The similarity of water softener and water conditioner

Both water treatment method is ideal solution caused by hard water.

Both require electricity to operate. Water softener control valve is connected to power in the same case to the water conditioner unit.

 What is the better choice?

If you want to remove hardness in your water completely, a water softener is the best choice. 

It will leave you with soft water that has excellent taste, lather easily and clean dishes without leaving a stain.

In case your water hardness is above 25GPG water softener is the best option and below 25 you can use a water conditioner.

A water conditioner is applicable if you only need to protect your pipe from scale build-up.

Water softener vs water conditioner

Water softenerwater conditioner
Completely removes hardness in waterdoes not remove hardness in water
uses salt to operatedoes not use salt
wastes a lot of water during regeneration processit does not go through regeneration process so no water is wasted
water feel is slipperywater feel is not slippery
soap lather easily and clothes do not fadesoap do not lather easily
has no effect on skinhas effect on skin
not good for plantGood for plant

Bonus video

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  20. How to test water hardness at home
  21. Types of water softener
  22. Water softener installation
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  24. How to maintain an ion exchange water softener
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