When installing a new water softener in your home, you will hear about something called an air gap. It might seem like another part, or some complex set up you need to have that will make installation more difficult, and the idea of just getting this thing installed may tempt you just to ignore that part of the installation instructions.
However, an air gap is actually quite important. Once you learn more about it, you will discover that it is not a huge deal or something that will mess up your installation process. It is quite a simple concept that makes a lot of sense.
What Is an Air Gap?
According to Structure Tech, an air gap is the literal gap of air between the end of the drain hose and the ground or area in which water can gather. The reason for this gap is to prevent contamination in the water softener from the backflow of water.
An example that should make the concept crystal clear is the air gap in your kitchen sink. Your faucet produces clean water, whereas the sink collects dirty or contaminated water. You do not want the dirty water from the sink to get into the clean water or pipes attached to your faucet, so to prevent this, you ensure your faucet is higher than the edge of the sink.
If water backs up and fills the sink, it can no go higher than the sink’s edge. This means the water can’t contaminate your faucet because of the air gap between the end of the faucet and the edge of the sink.
Why Do I Need It?
You want an air gap in your water softener system to prevent contamination of the water softener and its pipes. If backflow occurs and dirty water ends up in your water softener, then you will need to take steps to clean it out. If you don’t, you could end up with dirty water and contaminants in your drinking water system.
Essentially, an air gap keeps you safe and stops bacteria, waste, and other nasty things from getting into water that you may drink or in which you may bathe.
To really understand how contamination can occur, you need to understand backflow better. Backflow is not simply some water getting into the end of the hose. Backflow occurs when there is a change in pressure.
You have the pressure in the gathering water and the pressure inside of the hose. When they collide, it creates a change that will push the dirty water that is gathering back into the hose. The pressure is enough that it will move that water inside the whole system.
So, if backflow occurs and you don’t have an air gap, you can expect extreme contamination of the whole system attached to your water softener.
The Minnesota Department of Health explains that plumbing codes also require air gaps as a matter of sanitation. Not having an air gap would mean you have a code violation. While that may not be a big deal to you in most cases, if you have an insurance claim or want to sell your house, then it can become a serious issue.
Since an air gap is not an actual part of your system and is literally just a gap of air, you don’t really have to install it. However, you do need to create it when installing your water softener.
A word about water softeners
A water softener serves as a filter for the water coming into your home. It can remove certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The water flows through the system and into a brine tank. The brine tank contains salt, which will help to remove the minerals from the water. The water then flows out from the tank into your home’s pipes so you can use it for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
The removed minerals will collect in the brine tank. Eventually, you will need to clean this tank to remove the build-up or else the minerals will fill up the tank and make it useless.
That is where the drain hose comes into the picture. You need to drain the tank so that you can scoop or vacuum out the residue build-up.
The common set up for a water softener is to have the drain hose run into a drain on the floor. This works with gravity to allow the water to drain out once you open the valve with little work on your part. It also ensures the water goes into the waste system since it is not useable.
Installing the drain hose
You want to install the drain hose in a way where there is an air gap present between it and the floor. The hose should not touch or connect to the drain or lay on the floor. It needs to hang in the air.
Size of the air gap
The rule of thumb is that you want your air gap to be a length that is two times the drain hose’s diameter. For example, if your drain hose is one inch in diameter, your air gap needs to be two inches. You will ensure the hose hangs at least two inches from the drain.
Plumbing codes will usually dictate the minimum air gap allowed. A common standard is 1.5 inches.
You should also consider splashing when deciding the air gap size.
When water flows out of a water softener drain hose, it will not just dribble out or flow softly. It rushes out. If your hose is above a drain with a cover, the water will hit that cover and splash back on and into the end of the hose.
While this won’t create backflow or large contamination, it still has the potential for some contamination to occur.
It is also important to make sure that there is no chance of the drain hose dropping down or coming in contact with the drain or floor. It needs to be sturdy enough to stay in the air. You don’t want to lose the air gap, especially in a situation where you have the potential for backflow.
What Issues Can Occur with an Air Gap?
The biggest issue with an air gap is when it fails. An air gap can fail due to improper installation or damage to the drain hose.
Improper installation may occur when you fail to put in an air gap at all. Laying the drain hose on the floor is a good example of a bad installation. You have no air gap, so contamination is inevitable.
Another example is connecting the drain hose to the drain. This may seem reasonable because it ensures anything coming out of the drain will go down the drain and not go anywhere else. However, it also means anything backing up in the drain will go into the hose and increase backflow contamination potential.
You may also end up without an air gap if you run the drain hose into a sink. To do this, the hose would have to drape over the edge of the sink, and as you know from the earlier example, if the sink backs up, it will do so to the edge, so anything below the edge has no air gap.
To avoid any type of failure where the drain hose droops so that the air gap disappears, you will need to use a stiff hose with a strong connection to the water softener. You need to ensure that it will remain ridged no matter the conditions.
One of the main reasons failures occur is that the installation instructions from the water softener manufacturers do not include proper instructions about installing an air gap. The instructions the manufacturer may include might work in theory, but they may not be reasonable.
The Star Tribune gives an example where the manufacturer suggests securing the end of the drainpipe to a brick that will raise it above the drain surface. This works because it will provide what you need. But once the water runs out of the hose, it will go everywhere, so it isn’t a functional idea.
In most cases, when you have such instructions, it is because the hose the manufacturer included is not rigid enough. You can fix the issue by swapping out the drain hose.
An air gap may seem like a foreign concept, but as you can see now, it really is a simple thing. It protects you from contaminating your water and keeps you within plumbing codes.
When it comes to adding an air gap, you simply need to make sure that the drain hose on your water softener is hanging in the air and not touching the ground or drain in any way. As long as you have this setup, you should be good to go.
It would be great if we could safely drink the tap water in our home but this probably isn’t possible without some water testing kits. It’s even unimaginable to use untested tap water for the plants. So, drinking it for ourselves is certainly out of the question.
A water testing kit can provide numerous benefits. It can detect the water contaminant that might be in your tap water, well water, pool, or any other source. This eliminates the need to pay top dollar for professional consultation.
Plus, these water testing kits will help determine just what contaminants are lurking in your water. No waiting for lab test results; you get to know the problem and start working on it almost immediately.
It’s not hard to use a water testing kit on your own. The instructions are usually clear. That’s why you don’t have to worry about any complications.
Curious about these kits yet?
Let’s discuss them further below.
How Do Water Testing Kits Work and What Do They Test?
If this is the first time you’re hearing about water testing kits, you’d probably have this question in mind, “how do they work?”
Fortunately, modern chemistry now gives you the ability to test any kind of water without having to rely on a laboratory.
As you conduct these tests, the kit will show the chemicals that are present in your water. This even includes the substances that are only present in minuscule concentrations.
Thankfully, these water testing kits don’t cost an arm and leg either. With the right kit on hand, you can quickly check whether your pool water is safe to swim in or if your tap water/well water is suitable for drinking.
The contaminants that these water testing kits can detect include bacteria, iron, pesticides, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, lead, etc. They also check the pH level, alkalinity, and hardness of the water.
The functionality of these tests depends on what kind you use. Let’s discuss these separately now:
Color disk kits
Color disk water testing kits work when you add a powder and some water to a reusable tube. You can then put the tube in a viewing box, which has a plastic disk with a color gradient.
When you rotate this disk, you can find the part that matches the sample. After that, it’s a matter of seconds to check what concentration of the chemical that particular shade means.
Disk tests are usually a bit complicated, which also makes them more costly than other options. However, they have the advantage of being more accurate.
These strips are an affordable option for testing water. They’re single-use strips that can change color when dipped in water. The resulting color indicates what chemicals are present within the liquid.
There should be a color card in the packaging for the test strips as well. Once you’ve waited long enough after dipping the strip in the sample, it should be possible to match the color to the chart.
Hand-held digital instruments
Digital devices might give you the most accurate results of all. However, these are also the most expensive option and require both batteries plus correct calibration.
How to Choose a Water Testing Kit
Though you can install the right shower head to protect your hair and skin from hard water, you’ll need to go a step further when it comes to drinking water that’s free of harmful minerals. That’s when you should choose the water testing kit that fulfills your need.
With the various options out there, it can be challenging to choose a specific water testing kit. The following factors will help you decide:
Know the source of water
The first consideration is the kind of water you want to test. Most water testing kits are formulated and designed for specific water sources.
For instance, a kit for testing well water might be different from one that tests a public water supply.
The kits will test for the common contaminants in that specific source of water. Before you place any orders, make sure your kind of water is mentioned in the description.
Finding out about the testing method
Water testing kits take different time periods to show a result. If you’re not too concerned about time, you may settle for a kit that takes longer but is more accurate.
If you’re in a hurry, though, you should go for the at-home kits.
Know your requirements
If you just want to test for a couple of contaminants instead of every single substance in your water, a less expensive test might do.
A more expensive option will give you a whole list of possible contaminants. So, you can reassess what you need.
If you have well water to test, it’s worth checking out this Health Metric option before consuming a single drop. Private wells aren’t under EPA regulation, so you’re on your own when it comes to proper testing.
Fortunately, tests like these will help you identify any harmful bacteria and other substances in such water sources.
This water testing kit will ensure that your well water is good enough to drink. It will give you information about nitrates, nitrites, hydrogen, manganese, and several other potential contaminants in the water.
What’s even better is that the kit is simple to use, with straightforward instructions and lab-grade results.
The Hach 2745250 is one of the less expensive products on this list. But that doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. You can easily detect the water hardness level with this kit without the need to break the bank.
If you do find that a certain kind of water is very hard, that means it has a high level of magnesium and calcium ions.
You can then take steps to get rid of these issues and make the water fit for drinking as soon as possible.
This kit also provides test strips that change color according to the water hardness. By consulting the color chart in the package, you can easily figure out your next move to get clean, safe water.
The Safe Home water testing kit has topped many lists that talk about such items. It requires a bit of effort on your part: gathering water samples and sending them to a lab for testing.
The law in question here is certified by the EPA. So, you’re in good hands.
With the lab results from this kit, you can get to know and analyze around 200 contaminants. This option might be a bit more expensive than the others we’ve discussed so far. But it does seem to deliver.
You get the results within 10 business days while the sample sending is free of charge. Don’t worry about the tests not arriving soon; if the time slot passes, you get another test completely free!
The PurTest water analysis kit is an EPA-based option that gives comprehensive results. That way, you can quickly test the drinking water you have at home without much hassle.
It’s essential to drink safe and clean water at all times, and this is one of the tests that can help you out.
There’s also a free handbook included with the testing kit here. This will give you pointers in basic water knowledge, which might be useful in the long run.
The test itself is lab-certified and its results are no less accurate than the ones from a laboratory. You can get to know about 11 of the most common contaminants and rule them out before taking a sip.
The Ideal Housewater tester kit is great for testing the water in pipes, aquariums, pools, and so on. It’s a convenient testing kit that can detect hardness and pH levels as well as the presence of several common contaminants.
All in all, this impressive water testing kit has whopping 16 functions in one go. You can get results in as little as 60 seconds and can then take the steps as needed.
You also get a warranty for 180 days here. That should be enough to assure yourself of the item. Using the stripes might be a bit difficult at first but practice makes perfect.
The JNW water testing kit will help to determine whether you’re surviving on hard or soft water. Once you’re able to assess this correctly, you can see whether your water softener is functioning properly.
This test also gives you the signal to recheck large appliances like hot water heaters, dishwashers, etc. Reading the results could be a challenge for some. But the company is more than happy to help out.
When you know that the water hardness is something to worry about, you’d be more likely to take the required precautions. This could potentially increase the lifespan of your expensive appliances and prevent a major loss in the future.
While all the water testing kits above seem to be quite comprehensive, we’d choose the Safe Home option at the end of the day.
While this testing procedure might take a longer time than other options, it does provide the most accurate results. Since we’re looking for safety above all, this will probably be our highest recommendation.
So, which of the above water testing kits fits your requirements? We’d love to know your opinion.
Why would you even consider a water softener shower head? Are you going through bottles upon bottles of conditioner just to keep your hair feeling soft?
Does your skin feel tight and itchy the moment you step out of the bath?
Do you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your shower head every morning?
All of these signs point to potentially harsh chemicals and minerals in your home’s water. While the compounds commonly found in tap water are generally harmless — if you’re at all concerned, please get your water professionally tested ASAP — they don’t always play nice with our hair and skin.
Fortunately, installing one of the best water softener shower heads on the market can help.
What You Need to Know About Water Softener Shower Heads
The home improvement sphere is full of tools and gadgets promising to upgrade your day-to-day life. So when it comes to water-softening shower heads, are they really worth your time and money?
Before you can make that decision, it’s important you fully understand what a water softener is and how a shower head filter can (or cannot) replicate one.
What is a water softener, and how does it work?
There are many different water filtration systems on the market, with water softeners being just one sub-type.
True water softeners work by exchanging harsh mineral ions for sodium (salt) ions. Calcium and magnesium are the minerals most frequently targeted by this method.
Other filtration systems use physical filters (like activated carbon ) to remove unwanted particles and chemicals in your tap water. These systems mimic the benefits of water softening without facilitating the actual process.
But this all begs the question:
Do water softener shower heads actually soften water?
Right now, we don’t know of any shower heads that qualify as true water softeners.
Because the water softening process takes a long time (much longer than it takes for water to pass through your shower head). Instead, the best water softener shower heads work hard to duplicate the benefits of soft water without the bulk or expense that comes with a full-size system.
Since each filtration medium targets specific contaminants, it’s never a bad idea to test your home’s water before choosing a shower head. The best water softener shower head for your home won’t always be the best option for someone else.
Can a shower head filtration system benefit the hair and skin?
Yes! Actually, healthier hair and skin is one of the most talked-about reasons for installing a water softener or filtration system in the home.
When we shower, our goal is to step out of the bathroom feeling 100-percent clean. But bathing in hard or unfiltered water can lead to a buildup of harsh minerals — no matter how hard you scrub.
Mineral buildup along the hair follicle can make post-shower styling more difficult and even cause your dye job to fade faster. Hard water can also interfere with the skin’s natural oil production, leading to dryness, enlarged pores, redness, and other unwanted side effects.
While the best way to combat hard water is with a whole-home water softener, investing in a physical filtration system for your shower can also make a huge difference.
8 Best Water Softener Shower Heads
There’s no shortage of shower head filters available on the market, with some offering better results than others. But for our review, we focused on the best filtration systems that provide results similar to soft water.
To select the best products, we compared customer reviews, product specifications, filter media, and third-party certifications. The following reviews are in no particular order.
Paragon Integrated Shower Filter WMF1
The Paragon Integrated Shower Filter WMF1 offers a simple, low-profile way to improve your shower’s water quality. The shower head features five spray settings and an attractive chrome finish. Once installed, no one will even know it doubles as a filter.
The filter cartridge itself uses KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) and proprietary media to target harsh and unpleasant chemicals in your water. Each cartridge will filter approximately 10,000 gallons.
This shower head filter is NSF-certified for chlorine reduction, removing up to 99-percent of chlorine. It also claims to reduce water-borne chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, radon, and calcium.
Filters 99-percent of chlorine
May improve hair and skin health
Removes calcium found in hard water
No tools required for installation
Requires frequent filter changes with regular use
Limited shower head features
Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Shower Head
The Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Shower Head is another option for softer water without the bulk of a large filtration unit. It features five adjustable spray settings and installs easily without any special tools.
Like the Paragon shower head, this one houses a small filtration cartridge inside the nozzle itself. Each cartridge filters up to 10,000 gallons (approximately six months of regular use).
The replaceable Culligan cartridge uses KDF media to remove chlorine, sulfur, and scale. It also includes a patented layer that specifically filters bacteria from your water and prevents bacterial growth inside the shower head.
Filters out 99-percent of chlorine
May reduce hard minerals like calcium and magnesium
The Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Filter delivers filtered water to your shower with a slightly different shape than the other water softener heads we’ve looked at so far. While the shower head design is still compact, it’s not quite as streamlined as the Culligan WSH-C125.
This shower head only comes with one baseline setting. However, it does provide a slightly higher water output than the Culligan WSH-C125 (2.0 versus 1.8 gallons per minute).
In terms of filtration, the Culligan ISH-100 Inline Shower Filter works just like the Culligan WSH-C125. Both use the same Culligan WHR-140 filter, just housed in a different style of shower head.
This shower head effectively filters out 99-percent of chlorine, along with removing sulfur odors and other harsh chemicals. It also contains Culligan’s patented antibacterial layer to remove and prevent water-borne bacteria.
Removes 99-percent of harsh chlorine
Eliminates and prevents bacterial growth
May filter out chemicals that damage hair and skin
Filter must be changed at least every six months
Non-adjustable spray head
Not as attractive as other Culligan shower head filters
Some users report leaking around the filter compartment
The NSF-certified Aquasana filter uses coconut shell carbon and KDF media to remove up to 90-percent of chlorine and other harsh chemicals. It also claims to balance your water’s pH level.
Because this shower head attachment uses an upflow design, you don’t need to worry about weakened water pressure after installation. The extra-large filter compartment also maximizes the amount of contact between your shower’s water and the filter materials.
Multiple shower head options
One-year manufacturer warranty
Claims to improve the efficacy of hair and skin products
Filters must be changed twice per year
May not filter as much chlorine as competitors
Bulky filter housing
Some users say the filter is hard to change
AquaHomeGroup Handheld Shower Head with Filter
If you prefer a handheld wand to a regular shower head, the AquaHomeGroup Handheld Shower Head with Filter is another great option. This stylish filter includes a sleek chrome finish and easily doubles as a wall-mounted shower head when needed.
While this water softener shower head only has one setting, its default spray and water pressure are well-liked by users. Many compare it to a smaller version of a luxury rain shower.
The standout feature of the shower head filter is its use of 15 filtration layers. Some of these layers use trusted media like activated carbon and KDF. Others claim to infuse beneficial vitamins and minerals (like vitamins C and E) into the water rather than remove harmful ones.
Filters out chlorine and fluoride
Doubles as a wall-mounted and handheld shower
Claims to add beneficial vitamins and minerals to water
The WaterChef SF-7C Premium Shower Filtration System is yet another option that doubles as both a wall-mounted and a handheld shower head. With its flexible 60-inch hose and five spray settings, this filter is great option for homes with pets or small children.
The shower head itself features rubber nozzles to prevent clogs and make routine cleaning a bit easier. Similarly, the hose leading from the filter to the shower head is lined with silicone to prevent harmful buildup and odors.
While this filter uses catalytic carbon to specifically target chlorine, it may also remove other harsh chemicals. Each cartridge features ThermalGuard technology, which helps ensure effective filtration even at high temperatures.
This water softener shower head comes in three finishes to best match your existing bathroom fixtures. Compatible filters last an average of six months and are easy to replace.
The SparkPod Filtered Shower Head boasts an impressive 12-layer filtration cartridge. As we’ve already seen, more isn’t always better in the world of water filtration. But this shower head is still one of the top models currently on the market.
This shower head filter features three spray settings. The shower head itself is equipped with specialized nano nozzles that help maintain high water pressure at all times. Switching between settings is also made simple with the easy-to-access lever.
The filter cartridge includes activated carbon and KDF as two of its layers, both of which target chlorine, fluoride, and other harsh chemicals. Among its other ten stages, you’ll find ceramic balls, vitamin C, and magnets — though some of these materials aren’t proven to make a difference in overall water quality, they also won’t do any harm.
Compared to many of the other filters we’ve reviewed, The Reign Shower Head is extremely sleek and modern-looking. Made entirely of metal (not painted plastic), this filtration system looks just like a normal shower head until you take it apart.
While this head only comes with one default setting, it delivers a rainwater-inspired shower that many users enjoy. The laser-cut micro nozzles help ensure the best water pressure possible.
The filtration cartridge claims to remove 80- to 90-percent of the chlorine in your water along with dissolved solids. Although each filter should last up to eight months, some users reported only getting two or three months out of one.
Is a Water Softener Shower Head the Right Choice for You?
As we know, shower head filters aren’t truly capable of transforming hard water into soft water. But many homeowners (and renters) still stand behind the benefits of such fixtures.
So should you invest in a shower filtration system of your own? Do you need to install a water softener to see real results? Or are you better off just leaving well enough alone?
Shower head filters vs. whole-house water softeners
Whole-home water softeners are expensive and require regular maintenance. For many homeowners, the investment is entirely worth it. For others, the slight benefit of having soft water falls short of the sheer cost of such a system.
Another key point to consider is whether or not a water softener will “fix” your home’s water. While these systems work great against hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, they won’t do anything to remove chemicals like chlorine.
On the other hand, shower head filters excel at removing harsh chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.
Although these chemicals are technically harmless in small amounts, some people find that their home’s unfiltered water dries out their hair and skin. By removing chlorine and other common chemicals, shower head filters can mimic the effects of a water softener without the expense of one.
Are there any drawbacks to using a water softener shower head?
Depending on the filter you use, some shower heads can negatively impact your water pressure. If this is a concern for you, stick to filtration systems that only use one or two different media to get the job done.
Fortunately, the issues most often associated with whole-house water softening systems don’t apply to shower head filters. And if you want to enjoy the benefits of cleaner hair and softer skin, there’s no need to worry about it affecting the water throughout the rest of your home.
Transform Your Shower Experience in an Instant
Oftentimes homeowners will jump straight to blaming hard water for their problems, but whole-home water softeners only target very specific minerals. In many cases, though, you can get similar results with a water softener shower head.
Whether you go for the Paragon Integrated Shower Filter WMF1, the Aquasana AQ-4100 Premium Shower Filter, or one of the other great filtration systems we’ve mentioned, you can start enjoying better water with your next shower.
Of course, water softener shower heads are just the beginning. For more information on the best whole-home water softener systems, be sure to read our review. Or to learn more about the water softening process as a whole, check out our blog post on how water softeners work.
Life is tough enough without hard water. If you don’t know how hard water may be affecting you, you need to read this article. Your skin, your dishes, and your entire family will thank you.
What is hard water? How is it affecting your life? And the life of your household? Is your water hard? How do you know?
Understanding hard water, its effects, and your options for dealing with it can literally change your life.
What Exactly Is Hard Water?
In its simplest terms, water is considered “hard” when it has a high mineral level. As water naturally travels through the earth, it can pass a lot of calcium or magnesium carbonates, such as limestone.
While this is in some sense natural, it still poses practical and sometimes serious risks. Remember, water his H20. Anything more than two hydrogens and one oxygen atom is something beyond water.
Industrial organizations face breakdowns in water cooling or heating systems. In our home, the wrong contaminants can be bad for our bodies. While minerals are not typically bad for you, they can bring bacteria with them.
Water can even pick up contaminants in your home when they travel through corroded pipes. Well water is typically considered hard water. In fact, 85 percent of homes in the United States have hard water.
Am I One of Them? Try The Bathtub Test
We will discuss ways to test your water, but there are some practical ways to always keep your eyes (and other senses) open.
1. Does your bath water smell funny? Water does not stink, so an odor indicates something extra in the water. Sometimes water has a “rotting” smell.
Other times you can taste it – not your bathwater of course. You may taste something metallic or even sour. If it reminds you of when you got a mouth full of dirt as a kid, it may, in fact, be dirt or other sediments.
No one likes to drink water with a funky smell or flavor. But that’s just the beginning of your problems.
2. Ring around the tub? A red ring around the tub or other red stains on dishes, etc., may mean there is too much iron in your water. Such stains do not remove easily.
3. Speaking of bathing, be alert in the tub. Hard water is not a friend of soap. Do you ever feel like you cannot get all the soap rinsed off after a bath or shower? That is a clue.
Hard water can also damage your showerhead and affect water pressure.
4. You’re Constantly Cleaning Up Soap ScumIf it is not a ring in the tub, it might be soap scum. When the H20 evaporates, the “extras” are left behind. Be on the lookout for white spots or soap scum in the tub, on the shower curtain, or on dishes that might actually be calcium stains.
Another clue is if you simply have to clean the bathroom more often than you should.
5. How quickly does your bath water drain? Slowly draining pipes may be the result of clogging, and clogging may be the result of hard water.
As sediments accumulate inside your pipes, they narrow the flow of water. Plumbers are not cheap, so be on the lookout for any patterns of clogging.
6. As the water drains and you begin to dry, how does your towel feel? How long are your towels lasting?
Hard water and soap not only battle in the tub, but they disagree in the washing machine too. So look at that freshly washed bath towel. Is it keeping its feel and color? Does it have an enduring life expectancy?
Also, just as iron can leave a ring in your tub, it may also stain your bath towel or other clothes.
7. How does your skin feel after the bath? Just as soap scum may be left behind on the shower curtain, it can also be left behind on your skin. Irritating!
Know your body. Itching, scratching, and eczema may or may not be the result of hard water.
8. What is the lifetime of your bathroom faucet? Or your showerhead? As sediments deposit, they can wreak havoc on items as simple as your faucets to expensive appliances such as your hot water tank.
Can you afford another washing machine and/or dishwasher as you read this article? Be alert to these things in your home.
Increased purchase of soaps, personal care products and cleaners.
Hard water lessens the effectiveness of soaps and cleaning products by 50%.
The calcium and magnesium found in hard water leave stemware and dishes spotty-even after washing.
Plumbing hard water throughout the home leads to scale buildup, lower water pressure and clogged pipes.
Dingy Clothing, Scratchy Towels
Stiff clothing and towels. graying whites. faded colors and weakened fabrics are telltale signs of hard water.
Crusty, Hard to Clean Buildup of Calcium, Lime or Rust
White, crusty scale buildup on faucets and shower heads, decreased water flow and difficult-to-remove soap scum rings are telltale signs of hard water.
Dry Skin and Dull Hair
Chlorine and the soap curd created by hard water clog pores and coat follicles, leaving you with drier skin and dull, lifeless hair.
Hard water uses up to 29% more energy to heat your water
Appliance Damage or Repairs
Scale buildup in water-using appliances decreases their efficiency and reduces their lifespan by 30-50%.
The Final Bathtub Question
Are you getting clean?
If you are not really getting clean, why bathe? Bathing in hard water may be counterproductive.
Hard water’s relationship difficulties with soap include more than just a bar of soap or a box of laundry detergent. Think about your shampoo and even your shaving cream.
In the bathtub, you may wash away the sweat of a long day, but other deposits, like limescale, now replace them. Those difficult stains you scrub from your shower curtain may be on you after your bath.
A Hairy Problem?
Why does your hair look different after you shower in a hotel than it does after a bath in your home?
All water is different, meaning harder or softer, and that variable affects your hair. Will your hair day be one characterized by frizziness? Or dullness? Or flatness?
Part of the answer to that question is really a matter of how many minerals have been deposited on your head!
And it gets worse. Hair loss is a possibility when too much sediment buildup forms on your hair follicles.
What’s The Skinny?
Hair loss is a skin issue too because the battleground is your scalp. You know you must listen to your body, including your skin.
Does your scalp itch? Does it flake? We are quick to blame our shampoo, or else we run out and buy anti-dandruff hair wash. Your water could also be the issue.
From your scalp, consider your skin moving down the rest of your body. The same sediments that clog your hair follicles can clog your pores. Minerals can also dehydrate your skin.
Hard water can cause or else exacerbate your eczema. Sometimes laundry is your middleman. What your skin does not pick up directly from the water may be passed from the water to the laundry to you.
And after all these obstacles, it is still debatable if you are cleaner than you were before you began your bath.
Well, Well …
If you have well water, it is almost a certainty that you are using hard water. It is always advantageous to have your well water tested. Dangers lurk beyond just the hardness of the water.
It takes more than hard water test to identify dangerous bacteria or parasites. The sniff-and-taste approach is not enough for well water. Microorganisms can live in groundwater.
Continual and ongoing testing of your well water is wise. But once your well water is at its purest and safest, it is still going to be hard water.
The Hard Water Tidal Wave
An astounding number of homes in the United States have hard water. Of over 127 million US households, around 108 million have hard water.
The odds would suggest that you live in one of those households. Some of the worst hard water offenders include:
Las Vegas, NV
San Antonio, TX
Grains Per Gallon
15 + Grains
What Is Soft Water?
As we’ve learned, hard water is water with too many dissolved minerals. So what is soft water?Soft water is treated water with only one extra ion: sodium.
Rainwater is H2O. However, rain is only one stage in the water cycle. Rainwater falls into oceans, lakes, and onto the ground. As it soaks into the ground, it accumulates minerals: lime, calcium, magnesium, and others.
On their own, these minerals can make drinking water especially healthy and flavorful. So then, why soften the water?
As we have learned, hard water can be to blame for faded clothes and bath towels, tub rings, spotted dishes, and frizzy hair. Anything involving hard water and soap has consequences.
Using soft water, however, allows chores to be completed with less soap or detergent (because you get extra lather), longer clothing life, longer appliance life, better hair, and a cleaner body.
Together these things also may save significant money, and you won’t be embarrassed when your in-laws come to stay and wash under a stained shower head.
The Magic Number: How Hard Is Hard?
Water hardness is measured as GPG (grains per gallon). This unit of hardness measures one grain of calcium carbonate dissolved in 1 gallon of water. A GPG is also referred to as a Clark degree.
What does that practically mean in layman’s terms? Well, water is soft if it measures less than 1 GPG. Hard water measures 1 GPG or greater, as follows:
Less than 1 GPG = Soft
1 to 3.5 GPG = Slightly Hard
3.5 to 7 GPG = Moderately Hard
7 to 10 GPG = Very Hard
Over 10 GPG = Extremely Hard
How to Test Your Water at Home
Of the 108 million households with hard water, the average hardness is 13 GPG! That is extremely hard. Is it time to test your own water?
In your mind, you picture the tub rings, the dull laundry, and the shower curtain gunk. You had to change your shower head last year. Your showers drain slowly.
There are some simple ways to determine if you have hard water. You will need a mason jar with a lid and liquid soap.
First, fill one jar with water. It only needs to be about half full.
Next, add liquid soap. About 10 drops is sufficient.
Third, tightly close the jar and shake, shake, shake! Sing the ABCs while you shake to be sure of sufficient duration.
Finally, let the water settle and examine it closely. If the suds are on top of the water, and the water underneath is clear, you likely have soft water!
If you do not have noticeable suds on top of the water, add more soap and try again. The more soap you need to create bubbles, the better the chance you have hard water.
If you cannot produce plentiful suds, or if the water is murky, you likely have hard water. Of course, this test is not official, and while it may tell you whether your water is hard or soft, it cannot give you a detailed GPG number.
It also cannot identify other variables that may be at play. A professional test of your water can reveal an exact GPG, ph levels, and other items. This is especially true for households on well water.
The Water Softener: A Secret Lifeline
Is your water hard? Soften it!
Hard water is water that has dissolved lime, chalk or other minerals. Sediments or scales begin to form on all the surfaces that come in contact with your home’s water supply: tubs, appliances, clothes, skin.
A good water softener will begin to eliminate existing sediments in your pipes. Consider your hot water tank. With the proper water softener, it will require less fuel to heat your water.
Slowly but surely, water softeners will help reduce existing buildup in your pipes and appliances. Cleaner pipes and faucets can lead to fewer stains and rings on showers, sinks, and tubs.
A presentable head of hair and alleviated skin irritation are important reasons to consider softening your water. Your soap and shampoo may lather like never before, leaving no mineral sediments on your scalp and skin.
Rinsing gets much easier when your shower heads are no longer clogged with sediments, and water pressure is noticeably stronger. Also, more lather means less use of bath products and a monetary savings.
Shower heads and bath fixtures become substantially easier to clean, not to mention the dreaded shower curtain.
Bright, soft bath towels. Less detergent required. Longer towel and clothing life. These are immeasurable advantages of soft water.
Along with using less laundry detergent, you will save money on cleaning products in general, needing few kitchen cleaners and bathroom cleaners.
You can save on utilities like water, hot water heat, and plumbing. The savings are time, money, and effort.
Have you considered that fewer products can mean fewer chemicals in your house and in the environment?
Less chemical-filled water from washing machines making its way to the water cycle means generosity to streams and rivers.
How Do Water Softeners Actually Work?
Water softeners have a resin tank filled with plastic beads. The beads have a permanent charge that attract positive ions. The positive ions mingle with sodium ions on the beads. Ions such as calcium and magnesium remove the sodium ion and take its place on the beads.
Does this mean excessive sodium is being added to the soft water? Measurements consistently show an insignificant amount of sodium in the water. If you are still concerned, potassium chloride can be used in place of sodium.
How Do Water Softeners Actually Work?
Aside from sodium fable, other myths sometimes pop up about soft water and hard water.
Some are concerned about soft water robbing our bodies of important minerals. But while most minerals are good for the body, water is not intended to be a source of minerals.
Water is a hydrator and cleanser. Minerals are gained through the foods we eat.
Others argue that soft water makes their skin feel slimy. This is particularly true of those who do not use soft water with any regularity.
Sometimes “different” does not feel right, even when different is better. In other words, we are used to dry, residue-covered skin. It is also important to realize other folks notice no difference when switching to soft water.
Another myth suggests that, while soft water is good for chores, it is not safe to drink. This argument goes back to the sodium misconception. Trace elements of sodium are not at all dangerous.
A practical and more understandable concern is that water softeners are expensive to maintain. Compared to other appliances, though, water softeners are not actually affordable, they literally save money.
A final misunderstanding is that water softeners actually purify your water. This is not true, and you need to know what you are buying. Purifiers remove all types of contaminants, but softeners reduce hardness by removing minerals and metals.
The Buyer’s Handbook
A water softener must be efficient. This will affect how much salt you must buy.
Efficiency will also be directly related to the size of your softener. Every household has a “daily softening requirement.” This measures how much hardness your softener will need to address each day.
Remember, this is measured in gpg (grains per gallon). You must know how hard your water is when shopping for a softener.
The question involves how much calcium and magnesium is dissolved in your water. Don’t size your softener by guessing! You will also need to know your GPG to program your softener.
In addition to knowing how hard your water is, you must also know how much water your household uses. Your water bill should give you an average of monthly water use. On average, a typical person is responsible for 75 gallons of water used per day.
By multiplying your daily water use (approximately 75 gallons per person) by your water hardness GPG, you arrive at your Daily Softening Requirement.
Choosing A Softener
Usually, water softeners regenerate weekly. That means the softener cleans itself with brine water and removes the hardness minerals and sends them down the drain.
An average softener will use about 50 gallons of water to regenerate itself. If you take your Daily Softening Requirement and multiply it by seven, you arrive at the number of grains needed to regenerate weekly. For example:
Two people are in your household: 2 x 75 gallons = 150 gallons
Your GCG is 2.5.
150 x 2.5 = 375 Daily Softening Requirement
375 x 7 = 2,625 grains of hardness to regenerate once per week.
The other variable in the algorithm is the amount of salted needed to regenerate. Be sure to know how much salt it takes for a softener to regenerate. If your grains of hardness to regenerate once per week or are very small, as in the example above, but it takes 30 pounds of salt to regenerate, you must weigh the pros and cons.
Savings can add up if you spend for a more efficient unit that may have a slightly higher price tag but requires less salt to buy and haul.
Single Tank vs. Twin Tank: The Water Softener ShowdownCommercial customers have historically used twin tank water softeners. Recently, some homeowners have opted for twin tanks in residential settings.
Is there a reason for a home to have twin tanks? Or is it an unnecessary leap?
Single Tank Softeners
Single tank softeners, commonly used in residential households, utilize one resin tank and a brine tank. The resin tank contains the beads, and the brine tank houses salt.
When the softener regenerates, it is bypassed and does not produce soft water. Usually, single-tank softeners regenerate overnight, but it is possible to reach a limit in the middle of the day to force regeneration.
It is standard for single tank softeners to offer additional capacity, essentially a plentiful amount of leeway to avoid midday regeneration. Typically the additional capacity is sufficient unless there is unusual water consumption within the household on that day.
It is also noteworthy that single tank softeners clean themselves with hard water during regeneration. It can be counter-productive.
Twin Tank Softeners
Twin tanks offer one obvious advantage over single tank systems. When one tank needs to regenerate, a second tank is available to continue delivering soft water.
Twin tanks assure continued soft water service in almost all circumstances. Twin tanks also have the ability to use soft water during regeneration, borrowing from the functional tank.
The Answer Is?
In fairness to single tank softeners, they have gotten the job done for many years in residential households. They have less hardware (meaning less needing to be fixed or replaced). They are smaller and take up less space.
Twin tank systems are bulkier and cost more. They offer more safeguards against interrupted service, but most single tank households rarely notice interruptions.
So, if you have the space, money, and desire for a twin tank system, you can’t go wrong. However, for most households, single tank systems are sufficient.
You have had your water tested, researched your options, had purchased the best water softener for your needs. Now you are ready to install it.
This guide will also be useful to folks switching out an old softener. If you choose to instal the softener by yourself, be sure to take your time and set your own pace. You are saving money by doing it yourself, so don’t cause any unnecessary headaches or expenses.
Fees for professional installation of a water softener can reach $500, so if you have reasonable plumbing skills, you may be wise to attempt a little DIY.
Be sure you have determined where you want your system to be housed. You need to designate a dry area near an outlet. It also must be in proximity to the water line and drainage.
If you are beginning from scratch (as opposed to a replacement), you should plan on a half-day project for installation. Based on your skill level and a couple lucky bounces, it may take less time.
1Be sure the water to the house is shut off. Open all faucets in the house and allow the pipes to drain.
2Locate your hot water tank. Power down the tank and remember that the softener system must spliced into the main water line before the hot water tank
3Using a pipe cutter, cut the main line where you want to graft the softener system.
4You may want to install a bypass valve to circumvent the softener system as needed.
5Measure the pipes as needed. Flexible stainless steel piping for hot and cold water can be a wonderful timesaver. They are readily available at hardware stores in a variety of lengths.
6Attach flexible pipe the softener system. (Depending on what you purchased, compressions fittings should likely be included).
7Securely attach the hose and run it to the drainage area.
8From here, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for operation of your unit. The manufacturer’s instructions always supercede other input and may affect your warranty if not followed.
If you purchased your softener system at a major retailer, you may likely have the option of using one of their contracted specialists to perform the installation. This is a sales pitch for the store, so you can often negotiate a reasonable installation price.
The installation price can also be included in a total package that can be financed over multiple payments. If you’re not up for the DIY, this option also removes the burden from you of finding your own plumber.
You still need to do your own research before heading to your local retailer. Don’t rely on a salesperson to know or figure out what you could have already identified.
Call The Plumber?
If you have a good relationship with your plumber, and you are restricted by time or energy to install the system, a certified plumber can get the job done quickly.
Again, you put the time into testing the water, researching your options, and purchasing the best water softener for your needs. Once you get it home, call the plumber.
This option gives the assurance of having a professional do the job, and it may be a professional with whom you already have a positive relationship. You still have the final say in the system’s location.
In exchange for the piece of mind, plumbing is not cheap. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Since water softener installations are not emergencies, some plumbers may have a waiting period before they are available to come to your home.
If you are not determined to hire a specific, trusted plumber, be sure to get estimates from a handful of plumbers. Don’t be afraid to let them compete for your business.
The Decision Is Yours
Your household’s water brings with it much to consider. In hard water, minerals deposit on pipes, appliances, dishes, and other items that come in contact with your water. Such scaling reduces the efficiency of your appliances.
It also negatively affects your faucets, shower heads, and bathtubs. It causes dry skin, worn clothing, and spots on dishes. Soap scum builds on shower curtains and even your skin.
Filters will not solve this problem because minerals are dissolved in the water and pass through filters. They will not precipitate until they come in contact with heat and air. It is sometimes mistaken for sand.
The minerals also assail your soap and prevent it from lathering and creating suds, causing the use and related expenses of extra soap, as well as leftover residue on your skin and clothing. The harder your water is, the more soap is required to properly lather or wash.
If you have hard water, you are faced with a decision to invest in a water softener system or to continue investing in extra soap, obstructed appliances, and worn out clothes and bath towels.
Now you are armed with the understanding of the need for a water softener and how to find and install one at home.
When a flood strikes, you’ll want to have the best sump pump available to get water out of your home or business fast. In addition to having a good insurance plan for protection, a sump pump can help remedy a flooding issue in a flash. Check out this list to learn more.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes water can manage to get inside your basement or crawlspace, damaging your property. Investing in a reliable sump pump can help take the headache out of water removal.
Sump pumps are an efficient and effective way to get water out of your residence or commercial property, reducing the amount of damage that long standing water can cause. Broken pipes, natural disasters, or improperly installed fixtures can all lead to water damage.
The best sump pump is a working solution that is cost effective and should last about ten years. However, depending on whether your sump pump is covered by a warranty or insurance, the frequency of use, and maintenance will impact longevity and operation.
You might want to purchase a sump pump if…
You live in an area that is prone to flooding due to the geographical location of a floodplain, coast, etc.
You have flood insurance but want additional protection to keep spaces dry and free of mold or mildew.
You want the security of being prepared in case of an emergency.
You want to add to the value of a home.
Purchasing a sump pump is an affordable way to buy some peace of mind for your home.
Due to inclement weather, unstable soil that is overly saturated, or overworked plumbing and drainage, flooding, mildew, and mold can build up in your basement or other areas of your home. A sump pump helps keep water levels in check and protect against water backing up into your home and consequent damage.
Insurance And Flooding
Whenever possible, you will want to sign up with a reputable company for insurance to cover your property against flooding and protect your sump pump.
Even the best sump pump can be subject to overflow and may fail to do its job correctly. In case there is backed up water in your property, or your sump pump is unable to tackle a larger than typical event, you will want to protect your investments.
The average homeowner’s insurance may not cover sump pump failure but may require an add-on to an existing plan. It is vital to look over all insurance plans before signing off and ensure that your sump pump is covered in case of failure or damage.
How We Choose Our Ratings
The following sump pumps were chosen after carefully considering the brand reputation, capacity, and performance. Depending on the average needs of a home or business, we wanted to make sure the list of sump pumps compiled met the needs of a range of customers.
Top 7 Best Sump Pumps
Here you will find a listing of some of the best sump pumps available in either a pedestal or submersible model. When you want the best sump pump, you will want to consider the space in which it will be housed, the flow rate, and the quality of construction materials.
Zoeller M84 – 1/2 HP Cast Iron Pedestal Sump Pump w/ Vertical Float Switch
Zoeller is a respected company that is family owned and provides sump pumps and products that help move water. This pedestal sump pump receives high marks all around, weighs 23.3 lbs., and comes with a cast iron pump housing for greater longevity.
You’ll appreciate that this pump operates with a low amount of noise, to not disturb you.
The top of the pump is capable of filtering lint and small solid debris in the water and can be operated in both residential and commercial spaces to move groundwater.
The motor is placed, so it is above the pit cover to keep it protected, and the polyethylene float is resistant to chemicals and makes use of a positive displacement switch. The 12″ cycle is adjustable, and each sump pump is factory tested before release.
-Fairly quiet operation -Easy to install -Adjustable 12″ cycle
-The design may allow moisture to impact motor function
WAYNE CDU800 1/2 HP Submersible Cast Iron and Steel Sump Pump With Integrated Vertical Float Switch
Wayne is another trusted brand for sump pumps, and they don’t disappoint with this popular model.
This submersible sump pump comes with a 3-year warranty and is constructed using a cast iron base and pump housing, with a thermoplastic cover. When the float rises to a set level, the sump pump is triggered into action. Thanks to the design, you won’t worry about the float catching onto the basin wall.
You will want to use this pump in pits that are at least 11 inches. This model is an excellent choice for a primary or a backup sump pump, weighs 18.5 lbs., and can remove 4200 gallons per hour. This pump combines both foreign and domestic parts.
-Relatively quiet operation and easy installation -Suitable for backup or primary -AC battery operated
-The model doesn’t come with an alarm to alert when in operation
Superior Pump 1/4-Horse Power-Thermoplastic-Submersible Utility Pump
Don’t let the size fool you; this sump pump is capable of handling tough jobs while taking up little room.
This sump pump comes with its own filter to limit debris and is clog resistant. Housed in thermoplastic, this sump pump runs strong and will withstand multiple uses for a long time. You can use this pump with or without the accompanying float.
Although it is compact, this pump can pump out water with a vertical hose height of 25 feet and uses a 115-volt motor. We like this pump because it doesn’t overheat or seize up when there is no more water left to pump. Also, this pump doesn’t need a lot of water standing to begin operation.
Overall, for the performance of this pump over-delivers and is suitable for a backup or everyday primary pump.
-Small design allows the pump to fit in tight spaces with limited room -The powerful operation removes 30 gallons per minute -Useful for basements, pools, farms, and more
-The power cord may prove challenging to use when operating pump in cold weather.
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When an emergency arises, you will want your sump pump to be ready. This model is an excellent choice in case of a power outage, as it is battery operated, which makes it ideal for a backup pump too.
Weighing at 24 lbs., and outfitted with a nine-foot power cord, this model is capable of displacing a maximum flow rate of 4,200 gallons per hour. The flow for the backup is 3,300 gallons per hour at zero feet and stops beyond the 15 feet mark. You will want to place this pump in a pit that is a minimum of 15 inches.
This model comes with a 5-year warranty and is constructed with a cast iron and stainless steel housing.
-Pre-assembled and ready to go right out of the box -Includes a backup sump pump that operates using a 12-volt battery -The design is resistant to corrosion and allows for high flow rate capacity
-You will have to buy the battery for the backup sump pump as it is not included
Wayne has been in the business of sump pumps for almost one hundred years, and their products continue to wow customers who put them to use.
This fully submersible sump pump is built tough, comes with a 5-year warranty, and is self-priming in a housing of cast iron and stainless steel. The pump switch is vertical, and this model has a maximum pump height of 26 feet. The power cord is also submersible and protects against short circuiting.
The ¾ horsepower allows for more water to be moved out faster than other sump pumps, and the operation is reasonably quiet.
-A high flow rate of 4600 gallons per hour -Suction design reduces debris and clogging -Stainless steel and cast iron construction
-Power cord stops at 8 feet in length
Superior Pump 92330 1/3 HP Thermoplastic Sump Pump with Tethered Float Switch
This sump pump is resistant against corrosion, thanks to a thermoplastic housing. Equipped with a 4.1 amp motor and using 1/3 horsepower, this sump pump is capable of pumping 40 gallons of water per hour.
You will find this sump pump to be versatile because of its size and dimensions, and it is energy efficient to keep energy costs low. The float switch is tethered so it cannot be easily removed to operate this pump for utility needs.
This pump is an excellent choice because it has served the needs of customers for multiple years and is capable of removing 1,500 gallons of water in two hours. However, some people have felt that the float is not sensitive enough to trigger the sump pump to turn on to remove water.
-Comes with a one-year warranty -Works well for small basement spaces or emptying pools
When flooding strikes due to inclement weather, you will want this pedestal sump pump installed to keep your spaces dry. You will need a pit that is at least 12 inches in diameter for this pedestal sump pump, which is capable of removing 3,840 gallons per hour at zero.
A fine mesh screen will help filter out debris to prevent unwanted clogging, and keep your sump pump chugging along. Instead of a plastic float lever, this model has a more durable metal one.
The on and off switch is vertical and allows for easy adjustment of cycles so that you can ensure the longevity of the pump’s motor. The housing and base are both durable and corrosion resistant thermoplastic.
-Budget-friendly model -Thermoplastic construction and pedestal style -Uses 1/3 horsepower and pumps 2,460 gallons per hour at 10 feet
-Doesn’t include a backflow-valve
Before you run out and buy a pump, consider the cost of your investment, construction material, and flow rate offered. You might want to strongly consider the benefits of a versatile sump pump that can be adjusted for utility functions, thanks to easily removable parts.
Depending on the space that your sump pump will sit, you may need a more powerful pump that can handle removing more substantial amounts of water quickly, or can maintain optimal operation despite cold temperatures in winter.
Don’t rule out a smaller pump that has a powerful motor with a higher amount of horsepower to get water out quickly. Consider whether your pump is fully enclosed, uses thermoplastic, or has parts that might be exposed to water and contaminants that can cause damage.
Don’t just bargain shop, and consider purchasing a backup sump pump that is battery operated in case the power fails. Some models include a backup, but you may have to buy an extra battery.
Make sure that there is a significant warranty to cover parts and labor in case your sump pump is defective, and take care of cleaning your pump to reduce clogs and inoperability.
Make sure to thoroughly investigate your options and needs, and do not wait until the last minute to scoop up a new pump right before disaster strikes. Flooding can happen at any moment because of a broken pipe, foundation problems, weather, or other unforeseen causes.
Being prepared by purchasing a quality sump pump that will last you between three to five years is ideal, whether it is a submersible or pedestal model. Some models may have a way of signaling that they are in operation, or may let you know when they need maintenance or replacing.
No matter your choice, grab a quality sump pump to be ready for anything and protect your property.
Morton Salt may be a familiar brand for anyone looking for spices for their cupboard. The Chicago based company got its start in 1848 and has continued to be of service to the general public. Morton Salt has produced and distributed salt for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial use for decades.
However, Morton also produces water softeners to improve the quality of the water within your home.
Living with hard water can be challenging on your body, dishes, clothes, and plumbing.
When selecting a water softener, you will want to consider how much you want to invest for a softener that has a high grain rating. The grain rating lets you know as a consumer, how many particulates your water softener will be able to capture and filter out before it needs to enter a regeneration cycle.
Depending on your household size, your choice of a Morton water softener may be more appropriate for a one to two persons, or for six or more. It is helpful to get a testing kit to check your water quality before selecting a water softener.
In addition to considering your household size, you will need to break down how much water each person uses per day, flow rate, and grain amount to assess your filtering needs. In the long run, a water softener with the highest grain rating will prove to be a more economical buy, because you will need less salt and incur fewer regeneration cycles.
Hard Water Versus Soft Water
Depending if you live in a bustling city or a quieter rural area, your water quality may sharply differ.
Your average tap water most likely will contain the following elements.
Sulfur, iron, and manganese
Chlorine, nitrates, herbicides
Bacteria and viruses
Do keep in mind that a water softener will not remove contaminants that may threaten your health. A water softener will only filter out chlorine which can severely dry out skin and hair, and magnesium deposits.
When it comes to your plumbing, you may have hard water if you notice that the water flow is restricted due to buildup. Hard water may also present itself in the form of spots on dishes, or clothes may appear worn or not cleaned effectively after being thrown in the washing machine.
The calcium and magnesium in water do not directly harm your plumbing. However, hard water left untreated can encourage buildup within pipes, degrade the quality of water heaters, contribute to clogs, or stress fixtures to the point of breaking down faster than projected.
If you discover white scale buildup on plumbing, you can confirm your suspicions of hard water with a test. Installing a water softener is an effective and economical solution to stop hard water.
Most water softeners will function based on the following principles to improve the quality of water.
Each method of improving water quality will provide varying results, but each method has been proven to be highly effective. A salt-based system, like Morton water softeners, is one of the most effective methods to reduce water hardness that causes plumbing damage and irritated skin.
If you cannot install a full water softener system, it is possible to install a showerhead to reduce water hardness or other smaller devices per appliance.
If you have very hard water, a magnetic system may not be effective at all. Reverse osmosis may not fully reduce hard water, but does an excellent job and removing other unwanted contaminants that lurk in the municipal water supply.
What Is Morton Water Softener And How Does It Work?
Morton is an American company based in Chicago, Illinois that has created a line of water softeners for residential use.
The water softeners available offer a grain capacity range that spans between 20,000 to 45,000. It is suggested by Morton to install both a water softener and a water filtration system for optimal water quality.
Each water softener removes unwanted elements from the water supply so that the water is softer, improving plumbing, dishes, clothes, and bathing. The tanks are covered with a 10-year warranty, with other parts being covered for a typical 1-year minimum.
What Makes Morton Water Softener Unique
The water softeners offered by Morton are unique because they are an affordable option, are capable of filtering both city tap and rural well water, and are produced by a salt company.
A Morton water softener does not require much electricity to run and is beneficial for filtering large quantities of water for residential use without dampening water flow.
The Morton brand is very trustworthy and offers a lot of quality products that people trust to use in their everyday life. This reputation manages to ring true with Morton water softeners, which are economical and reliable.
The water softeners offered by Morton are fairly user-friendly, not overly challenging to install, and seem to work effectively. If anyone is looking for a water softener with low salt consumption, they might be pleasantly surprised.
Anyone looking for a quality water softener with a good value for cost, and is easy to install, should consider Morton. However, people should be advised that replacement parts for a water softener may be on the pricey side.
If you are unsure about how to install the water softener, despite the easy instructions, feel free to call a plumber. It shouldn’t cost too much, because installation is a relative breeze and won’t eat up too much of your time.
One of the biggest pluses about a water softener from Morton is that the attached customer service is excellent. Morton will make sure to address any questions or concerns quickly and is helpful for expediting the process of getting a replacement part.
Comparing Different Models
When selecting a Morton water softener, you will want to consider the pros and cons of the different models available. Depending on the severity of your water hardness, demand, and frequency for water for your home, you should choose accordingly.
Outside of Morton brand water softeners, the following brands of water softeners have received top ratings for their value and operation.
Fleck brand water softeners
Aquinos water softeners
Hard Water Bullet softeners
Features such as compact design, BPA free construction, and amount of grains filtered made them select choices. Most water softeners may be salt-based like Morton, or salt-free. The warranty for many top of the line water softeners are either ten years or enjoy a lifetime coverage.
You will want to consider the size of the system you choose carefully because if it is too small, it will undergo more regeneration cycles than you may want. Try to purchase the largest system you can afford, as the upfront costs will soon pay themselves forward in the long-run.
On average, most people may find themselves using around 80 gallons of water for their daily needs.
The System Saver 3000 is one of the most economical choices of a water softener from Morton.
This model uses Look-Ahead technology, which means that when your water supply needs to go through a regeneration cycle, it will not cut off or supply you with water that has not been softened. Instead, you will benefit from a water softener that uses the downtime when you are not demanding water to go through a regeneration cycle.
If you think you will need to use a lot more water than typically, you can trigger a regeneration cycle on the System Saver 3000 ahead of time.
This softener for water is an optimal choice and middle-of-the-road because it has a slightly higher grain filtration for sediment, and it offers a flow rate of 7 gallons of water for every minute.
The System Saver comes with a 10-year warranty on the tank and a 1-year warranty for the control panel. The control panel is user-friendly, easy to program, and allows you to adjust the settings for your water hardness level.
If you want to go a little bit higher than 30,000 but lower than 40,000 for removing grains from your water, you will want to select Morton’s 34,000-grain capacity. This model also comes with Look-Ahead technology and is easy to install and program.
This model is good for a family that is no larger than five members, as this water softener can provide about 8 gallons of water per minute for daily use.
The 27,000-grain capacity tank from Morton uses a single tank for both the salt and resin, as it is a bit more compact than other models.
This space-saving option uses Look-Ahead technology, and is easy to install and refill with salt as needed. One thing that is nice about Morton brand water softeners is that the control panel keeps track of regular water use and patterns, so it can better decide when to conduct a regeneration cycle.
This low-grain capacity model comes with a 10-year warranty for the tank and filters out low levels of iron from your water.
What We Think
Morton may be wider known for its familiar girl with the yellow umbrella on its salt, but it does a surprising job when it comes to water softeners.
The design for their line of water softeners is both practical and visually attractive. There is a wide enough range of water softeners available to take care of the needs of a small household of one to two people or maintain the water softening needs for a larger household.
Morton provides a quality water softener that you can trust to accommodate the needs of most households. Morton does not retail the most expensive softeners available, and the quality and performance that you get are well worth the price.
Remember, it is optimal to install both a water softener and a water filter to purify water of unwanted contaminants. An average water softener may reduce iron, magnesium, and other elements that can trigger unwanted buildup and grime in pipes, but it is not made to clean water, but only reduces hardness thoroughly.
Morton softeners are easy on the eyes, quick to install and work well with other appliances and systems in place to enhance your water supply at home or your business. The ability to delay regeneration cycles, or take advantage of the included Look-Ahead technology make Morton’s line of water softeners attractive.
Salt-based water softeners are the most effective at improving water, flow rate, reducing plumbing problems, and improving the look and feel of your laundry. For the price point, the range of models available, and value, you won’t go wrong choosing a water softener from Morton.
Coupons And Deals
Morton water softeners can be purchased through major retailers such as Menard’s, Sam’s club, True Value, and Walmart. Depending on the model of water softener that you select, and your choice of retailer, the price may vary.
There are no active deals on water softeners, but there are coupons available for water softener pellets that are Morton brand. However, one should consider that Morton brand water softeners are an inexpensive and effective option to soften water.
Like many homeowners, you may be familiar with Pelican as a green, environmentally conscious home filtration company. Pelican offers a line of water softening systems that produce minimal, or zero, environmental impact.
This reduction in environmental impact is typically achieved by forging the use of salt, as in Pelican's salt-free systems, and electricity, as is demonstrated by Pelican's salt-free and salt-based water softeners alike.
Pelican's salt-free water softeners claim to reduce the effects of hard water by reducing scaling, a direct consequence of hard water in your home's water supply. Scaling is seen in the form of mineral deposits around sinks, faucets, and shower drains.
More insidiously, scale buildup can grow inside of pipes, causing damage and increasing your monthly utility bills. It can ruin other items like your clothes. And it can make cleaning more of a chore.
Do Pelican's products live up to the hype?
It's helpful first to examine the claims made by Pelican regarding their water softeners in detail to answer this question. We've covered the research and review process to bring you the facts regarding performance, and help take the guesswork out of the science behind these popular water softening systems.
Read on for an in-depth analysis concerning the performance of Pelican water softeners, and learn how they stack up to the competition.
To explain how Pelican's line of salt based and salt-free water softeners work, it's necessary to first have a basic understanding of the function of water softeners.
A water softener can be described as a device that softens hard water by removing minerals including calcium, magnesium, and other sediment materials. Traditionally, water softeners modified hard water by way of a salt based, ion exchange process.
Pelican water softeners utilize both salt based and salt-free technologies, with Pelican's salt-based systems operating by removing the mineral deposits that lead to hard water in exchange for "soft water" ions.
In contrast, Pelican salt-free systems neutralize hard water and prevent the scaling and buildup associated with mineral deposits.
Pelican is an industry leading manufacturer of home filtration systems.
Founded in 2007, Pelican strives to meet the standards of homeowners seeking environmentally friendly alternatives to older, traditional water softeners that negatively impact the environment and water supply.
Pelican's water softener systems are eco-friendly. They do not require the use of electricity or rely only on salt, like traditional water softeners.
In fact, Pelican's saltfree systems are the only saltfree water softeners that do not require electricity, thus decreasing energy bills and rendering a significant advantage over competitors. Most water softeners manufactured by Pelican require virtually no maintenance and no technician for the installation process.
What Are The Key Differences Between Pelican's Water Softener Systems?
Pelican's top-selling water softening systems are available in both salt-based ion exchange technology or salt-free models, the most popular choice being Pelican's NaturSoft salt-free water softener.
As a comparatively new company, Pelican Water attracts environmentally conscious homeowners interested in the promise of eco-friendly water softener systems that are sustainable, and require little to no maintenance.
To be clear, Pelican's salt-free water softener systems minimize damage to the environment by forgoing the use of salt—the question that remains among industry experts regarding these systems concerns their ability to effectively soften hard water when compared to traditional salt-based water softeners.
Do I Need a Water Softening System For My Home?
To fully understand how contemporary water softeners work, it's helpful to review the basic science behind traditional water softening systems.
Fundamentally speaking, salt-based systems remove all traces of salt from your home's water supply through an ion exchange process, trading minerals that lead to the scaling and buildup associated with hard water, leaving a "soft ion" in its place.
By definition, this ion exchange process is the foundation of a water softening system.
If you have hard water, it's necessary to purchase a water softening system to minimize the effects of hard water and mineral deposits around your home.
Signs of hard water may include:
Streaky dishes and glassware with stains and mineral deposits
Soap scum on the bathtub and shower doors
Appliance failure, the result of the mineral deposits growing inside of your plumbing system
Dull clothing that ages faster
Dry, flaky skin
Mineral deposits around your home and evaporation spots where dishes are left to dry
How Do Salt-Free Water Softeners Work?
Like most salt-free water softeners, Pelican's NaturSoft system replaces the ion exchange process of salt-based water softeners with a neutralization process, reducing the effect of the mineral components present in your home's water supply that ultimately lead to hard water.
At first glance, the differences between salt based systems and salt-free systems may appear insignificant, but industry experts agree when it comes to the greater performance and efficacy of salt-based water softeners.
Salt-free water softener systems differ so widely in their method and design that they are often not referred to as water softeners but instead referred to as water conditioners by industry experts.
When compared to salt-free water conditioners, Pelican's NaturSoft demonstrates the same action of neutralizing the mineral deposits that lead to hard water. You may be wondering, then, just why Pelican's salt-free water softener systems are referred to as water softeners instead of being described as water conditioning systems.
Fundamentally speaking, salt-free water softener systems are marketed as an eco-friendly alternative to salt-based water softeners, and water conditioners may be viewed as a less effective way to reduce hard water.
Also, most companies dub their salt-free alternatives water "softeners" to avoid confusion, although it can be said that salt-free water softeners and salt-free water conditioners perform the same primary functions.
Are Pelican Salt-Free Water Softeners Effective At Reducing The Effects of Hard Water?
Along with the NaturSoft's unique no electricity required to design, Pelican's salt-free water softeners are certified as 99.6 percent effective.
However, it's essential to examine this claim to analyze its meaning further and to determine precisely what Pelican's salt-free systems are certified to do.
The short answer is that Pelican's salt-free systems are 99.6 percent effective at preventing the scaling associated with hard water buildup.
While preventing scaling is undoubtedly one of the most significant functions of your home's water softener, Pelican's NaturSoft does not claim to completely neutralize the presence of hard water in your home's water supply, an important distinction.
What Is The General Price Range of Pelican's Water Softening Systems?
Most Pelican water softeners range between the $1000-$3000+ price range. This range is largely dependent on the size of your home and number of restrooms, with Pelican's salt-free systems generally available at a lower price point.
When considering the initial investment of a Pelican water softener, it is relevant to note that you will save money when it comes to costs typically associated with maintenance, installation, and energy bills with other leading water softener systems.
Pelican products typically require no maintenance or technician to complete the installation process. Overall, Pelican systems carry a higher initial investment than many leading competitors.
As well as reduced energy bills and minimal maintenance fees associated with Pelican's systems, their reduced environmental impact is a strong selling point that is worthy of a higher price range for many homeowners.
Pelican's Reputation and Brand Story
Pelican is an industry leader, manufacturing salt-free water softener systems since 2007. Overall, Pelican Water is a highly rated company with excellent marks in customer service, responsive staff, and highly rated performance.
Pelican has quickly emerged as a considerable rival among competitors like Culligan, Whirlpool, and Kenmore. When purchasing a water softening system from Pelican, it's important to read and review the claims that the company makes regarding their products carefully.
In most cases, Pelican's products align with their claims and product descriptions, but product research and effective communication with customer service staff is a helpful way to ensure that you fully understand the actions your Pelican water softener is intended to perform.
Taking the time to do a little customer research is especially helpful if you're considering on one of Pelican's salt-free system.
Conclusively, Pelican's line of water softeners offer many unique features but fail to demonstrate the performance and efficacy of close competitors.
The appeal of Pelican's systems lie within their minimal environmental impact and low maintenance fees, but the advantages of low maintenance fees won't compensate for the lack of performance and potential damage to your home that may result from failure to control hard water and mineral deposits.
To keep your appliances, water heater, and faucets intact, it's essential to halt the buildup of corrosive limescale. Unfortunately, Pelican's salt-free water softening systems only neutralize calcium, magnesium, and other sediments resulting in hard water.
They also demonstrate poor results when it comes to reducing the buildup of mineral deposits associated with hard water around your home. We recommend alternatives like the Fleck 5600SXT, our top choice for salt-based water softener systems.
Do you need a new water heater? Chances are, you’re not well-versed in the area if you haven’t purchased one for your home in the past. There are several elements you’ll want to consider, especially when you’re deciding over a tank or tankless water heater.
We’ll get into the differences a bit more int he next section, but we’ll mainly be focusing on one company for this review: Takagi. Takagi is a Japanese company that sells tankless water heaters in the US, and they’ve become relatively popular with these appliances.
Ahead, we’ll give you some more information on Takagi and their water heaters, along with our verdict on whether or not these water heaters are the best choice for your home.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tankless Water Heater
Before we get into the review of the Takagi tankless water heater, we wanted to touch on the benefits of a tankless water heater in general.
Tankless water heaters won’t begin heating the water until you turn on the faucet. There’s a slight tradeoff here, with the disadvantage being that you have to wait a bit before you can receive hot water.
The benefit is a huge one, though. These water heaters use far less energy than their counterparts because they don’t store hot water.
Other water heaters need to continuously heat the water in the tank, so you always have hot water when you want it. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, don’t face this issue. You will have to wait a few seconds before getting in the shower, but this will save you a lot of money on your energy bill.
These types of water heaters always run on gas - usually natural gas - which some consider being a drawback. Some will prefer to keep everything on their electricity bill, but a natural gas hookup isn’t as costly or irksome as you might think.
Overall, we think tankless water heaters are the way to go. They’ll save you money on heating costs with the slight tradeoff of having to wait a bit for hot water.
Like a lot of tankless water heater brands, Takagi is a Japanese company that teamed up with an American company to distribute their products in the states. The company Takagi has at its back is AO Smith, which is already known for making reliable water heaters in the American market.
Takagi has been around for over 70 years at this point, making all kinds of large household appliances for their customer. In the states, they’re mostly known for their tankless water heaters, which is what we’ll be focusing on today.
Like all tankless water heaters, Takagi appliances use a gas connection for power. This means you’ll need a gas source in your home, which is almost always natural gas. In some cases, you might need a new pipeline installed when you purchase your Takagi tankless water heater. Some of the models from Takagi, though, run on propane rather than natural gas. This is more expensive on the whole, but some people prefer it so they can save on some of the installation costs.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the standout features of the Takagi tankless water heater. There are several models that offer a few different specifications, but we’re going to focus on elements that apply to most - if not all - Takagi tankless water heaters.
The heat exchanger is one of the more important elements of any tankless water heater. Some people will prefer one metal construction over another, but each has its benefits and reasons for picking them over the competition.
Takagi uses copper alloy for their primary water heaters and stainless steel for their secondary. This is often the preferred setup for those who want to save a bit of money on their tankless water heater.
Copper alloy is both resistant to corrosion and conducts heat very well, which is why it’s a popular choice for Takagi and a few other companies.
Stainless steel is the industry standard for secondary water heaters, and you shouldn’t buy one that doesn’t include stainless steel. It’s supremely resistant to the acidity that exhaust combustion creates.
Takagi has 316L stainless steel in their water heaters, which is marine-grade and able to endure in coastal and “salty” conditions.
Energy Star Rating
Most of the Takagi tankless water heater models come with a 5-star energy rating, so you can be sure that you will be getting some of the better energy-efficiency on the market.
A lot of tankless water heaters have this rating as well, but it’s still worth noting that Takagi considers making energy-efficient products a priority. You should still check the label on any water heater you buy, though, since not all of the Takagi water heaters come with this certification.
The following Takagi tankless water heaters have an Energy Star rating:
Buying one of these means you’re getting industry-leading energy efficiency with your tankless water heater.
One of the biggest things we liked about Takagi tankless water heater models was their dedication to energy efficiency. A new and more stringent rating system went into effect in 2017 called Uniform Energy Factor (UEF). Takagi observes these standards, while a lot of other water heater companies do not.
This fact means that Takagi is going to offer some of the highest-rated energy-efficient water heaters on the market. Many of the other brands still go by the Energy Factor rating system, which is around 2% to 4% higher than what Takagi offers.
Additionally, Takagi models provide both indoor and outdoor water heating units. This will help you save money on your energy bills as well, along with giving you the peace of mind that you’re reducing your carbon footprint a bit.
Takagi provides a 15-year warranty on their tankless water heaters, along with a 5-year warranty on general parts. The labor warranty is also 1-year, so you won’t have to pay for any services that your tank might need within the first year.
Most of the other tankless water heater companies top-out at around 15 years, with the average sitting around 10 to 12 years. Takagi doesn’t blow this average out of the water, but it’s still helpful to have a few extra years tacked onto the end of your warranty.
There are several different Takagi tankless water heater models on the market, so the price you pay will heavily depend on which option you select and which retailer you purchase it from. Most Takagi water heaters use natural gas as a source, although some use propane as a replacement. These models will almost always be more expensive than the natural gas alternative, which is worth considering when you’re making your selection.
The water heaters alone can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200 depending on where you buy and what model you choose. One of the cheaper options is the T-KJr2, which will cost about $500. A model like the T-H3 will run you over $1,000, though.
Of course, the price of the water heater isn’t the only cost you need to consider. The installation will likely cost over $1,000 as well, which isn’t built into the price you see when you purchase the unit.
If you’re a handyman and think you can install the water heater yourself or with the help of some friends, we advise against it. You will need a licensed contractor to install it, or Takagi will void the warranty.
Also, you should consider whether you need a new gas line, a recirculation pipe installed, and whether or not you want the contractors to take your old water heater. All of these elements will add to the total cost.
Noritz is another reputable water heater brand that’s relatively popular. The energy rating and temperature settings are nearly identical, and both are highly efficient which will save you money on energy costs.
The Noritz models edge-out Takagi in their water flow, but do not have the same integrated temperature controller as the Takagi brand.
The warranty is another place where Takagi shines over the competition. Noritz has the industry-standard 12-year warranty, while Takagi will cover it for 15 years.
Takagi Water Heaters Vs. Rinnai
Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
Rannai is one of the biggest competing forces to Takagi, and actually has the edge when it comes to energy efficiency. You probably want to take a hard look at Rinnai if saving on energy costs is the biggest concern for you.
Rannai is even mobile home certified, which means you can use it in a trailer without an issue. The warranty for Takagi is longer - 15 years vs. 12 years - but many of the other specifications tip on Rinnai's favor.
As you might expect, Rinnai water heaters cost more than Takagi heaters on average. The price difference isn’t too much, though, and we would give the nod to Rannai over Takagi for the few, small benefits.
What We Think
On the whole, we think Takagi presents a good value regarding tankless water heaters. There are only a few companies that we rate above Takagi (Rinnai, for instance), but it’s difficult to beat the energy efficiency, reliability, and affordability of a Takagi tankless water heater.
The warranty is one of the reasons the value is so great, here. Most of the other brands will cap you at 12 years, while Takagi covers their products for 15. This might not seem like a lot, but it shows how much confidence Takagi has in their water heaters and their ability to last over time.
Tankless water heaters are becoming more popular in homes as energy costs rise. You don’t have to pay to keep a tank full of hot water on hand, as long as you don't have a problem waiting a few seconds for the water to heat up.
All in all, Takagi is a solid manufacturer of tankless water heaters, and certainly worth considering if you need a new one in your home.
Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters provide endless on-demand hot water for your home or business. If you need energy efficient, space-saving water heating options, Rinnai water heaters may be an option for you.
Rinnai Corporation is a Japanese manufacturing company that was founded in the 1920s. Rinnai began distributing their gas appliances to North America in 1974. In 2001, a new facility opened in Peachtree, GA, allowing for more efficient distribution, research, and training for the Rinnai Corporation.
The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater is a small natural gas or propane run appliance that provides an endless source of hot water to multiple faucets by using the latest technology. You can control and monitor your Rinnai water heater using your smartphone or voice command.
So long as you have either natural gas or propane, you will be able to use any model of the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater for your home or business.
With flexible venting options, the water heater can be installed on the wall either indoor or outdoor. Its dimensions are approximately 19”x 26”x 10,” and it is lightweight, making it easy to install.
How Much Does The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Cost?
Rinnai has several models to choose from, all depending on your needs. The price for the system varies between $600 and $2300, not including installation costs. These heaters also come with limited warranties, 15 years for residential and eight years for commercial. Some economy models have a ten year warranty.
While some DIYers opt to install their Rinnai water heater themselves to save on costs, many of the warranty benefits come from professional installation and maintenance.
Is The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Worth The Cost?
With the Rinnai tankless systems, you can save up to 40% on energy with high energy efficiency between 82% and 90%.
Hot water is consistent and fast. The temperature is accurate. The hot water is available only when needed, which saves energy by not cycling when not necessary. Some models have a recirculation option that allows less wait time for hot water and less waste of cold water.
The Tankless Water Heaters come with a 24-hour controller that can be programmed to your specific needs matching your usage patterns so you can ensure you have enough hot water at any time of day.
The technology that is integrated into the Rinnai systems allow you to receive maintenance alerts and the option for remote assistance. You can also control your system by installing Wireless Push Button, Wireless Motion Sensor, or even Voice Activation with Amazon Alexa.
The pros and cons of a Rinnai tankless water heater are:
Each system is energy efficient, some models more so than others
Some models are Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa capable
Models can be controlled remotely
All models can be used for an entire home - no need for multiple units
Some models offer recirculation and faster hot water delivery
Each model has a flexible venting system
Not all models are Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa capable
Not all models have recirculation feature
Hard water can cause system issues
You must have natural gas or propane hook-up for any model
The Different Rinnai Models
Rinnai tankless water heaters use less energy and water and have an average 20-year lifespan. All parts are recyclable and replaceable.
There are three different series of models that Rinnai offers, the High-Efficiency Non-Condensing Technology, the Super High-Efficiency Condensing Technology, and the Hybrid Tank/Tankless Water series.
The High Efficiency, or HE, series has two models: HE Series V and HE +Series RL/RLX.
The HE Series V offers a low budget-friendly option for those trying to save some money. It has an energy efficiency rating of .81, and it can handle up to four running shower heads at a time. This option can be installed either indoors or outdoors and can run on natural or propane gas.
The second option in the HE series is the HE +Series RL/RLX. This is also a great budget buy option and has an energy efficiency rating of .81. This option is also good for up to four running shower heads.
This option also has Circ-Logic technology, which allows recirculation to deliver hot water faster than the HE V option. This technology also gives you Wi-Fi capability and voice activation when you connect your HE RL/RLX to your Amazon Alexa.
You are also able to control your water heater remotely. If necessary, you are able to monitor and diagnose remotely as well.
The next Rinnai series is the Super High Efficiency (SE) Condensing Technology series with the SE Series RUCS/RUS, the Sensei SE+ RUC/RU, and the RUR. All of these options are Energy Star qualified.
The SE series RUCS/RUS is a little more expensive than the HE series options. The energy efficiency rating is .81 and can support up to three running shower heads at a time.
The Sensei SE +RUC/RU series is also more expensive. This series has an energy efficiency rating at .92 and can support up to four shower heads at once. This option also has Circ-Logic technology, allowing it to have Wi-FI and Amazon Alexa capability.
This option also has the ability to control, monitor and diagnose the heater remotely.
The Sensei SE +RUR model is similar to the RUC/RU model in price range, energy efficiency rating and shower head support. It also has advanced technology, but instead of the Circ-Logic, it has the 360 technology.
The 360 technology is a more advanced version of Circ-logic, allowing all of the same features. This model is a great option for larger homes that use more water because of the ability to preheat the water.
The last Rinnai water heater series is the Hybrid Tank/Tankless Water series. This series has two options: RHS and RHS100, both are the most expensive option from Rinnai. These options do not have an energy efficiency rating, nor do they have a recommended shower head usage.
These models do offer faster hot water delivery option, and the RHS100 has the Amazon Alexa voice activation option.
It seems that the HE and SE series are the more efficient and better option for buyers.
The Rinnai water heaters come with flexible venting options for easier installation. The venting options allow for indoor or outdoor installation.
What Are Other Tankless Water Heater Options?
There are many other tankless water heaters on the market. Here are a few options to compare to the Rinnai series options.
The Rheem RTEX 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater is a compact unit that does not need a lot of power to run. It is an electric water heater, which allows people that don’t have a gas or propane option to still have a reliable source of hot water.
The Rheem model has an impressive flow rate that allows hot water to run in a shower and kitchen tap simultaneously. It also allows you to adjust the temperature from its LED display. It costs just under $320.
If you live in a small household without gas or propane utilities lines, this model may be an affordable and reliable option.
The Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus 24-kW is an electric heater that has advanced flow technology that allows the temperature of the water to maintain stability even if you adjust the flow rate. It is a compact and quiet water heater that costs roughly $685.
This is a good water heater for smaller apartments and homes and is an energy efficient unit. It does have a 3-year warranty, but must be installed by a professional technician in order for the warranty to be upheld.
The Atmor AT-D18TP-AZ Instant Tankless Water Heater is a compact, safe and user-friendly unit. The Atmor also has a water sensor that begins heating water for future use as soon as you turn on the hot water. Once you turn the tap off, the sensor goes off. This saves energy by not running unnecessarily.
The Atmor offers several models ranging from ~$130 to ~$350. All models are corrosion resistant and energy efficient. This is a very affordable option for homes with 1 or 2 people living there.
The Eccotemp FVI-12-LP Propane Tankless Water Heater is a lightweight and compact water heater that provides a great flow rate for a shower and faucet running simultaneously. It is energy efficient and runs on propane or natural gas.
The Eccotemp is a simple and user-friendly unit with an LCD screen that provide water temperature. This unit also allows for easy self-installation and costs just under $230. Because it is propane or natural gas dependent, it does need to be vented.
How Do Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters Compare?
With the many tankless water heater options available, it seems that Rinnai still holds up to their competition.
Many other options are affordable options for small homes with one or two residents and not a lot of water usage. For the larger homes or businesses, Rinnai seems like a no-brainer.
Rinnai has several options to meet the needs of many different customers. They also offer versions for people that prefer more technology or for those that do not.
Rinnai is affordable, albeit some models are much more expensive than their competitors. A major difference and justification for the cost, is the amount of hot water the Rinnai can produce.
Many of the competitors are only good for one shower and one faucet running simultaneously. Rinnai has several options for larger homes to run multiple showers and faucets at the same time.
With Rinnai’s efficiency and many different options, this seems like a solid choice for a tankless water heater for your home or business. The only downfall is that it is only available for those with natural gas or propane availability.
Rinnai Rebates and Financing
Rinnai offers different rebates for several different product models. If you visit their website, you can find the rebate form, as well as the fine print. There are specific dates that you must have purchased your Rinnai product, as well as a cut-off time for your rebate form return.
In order to qualify for a rebate, you must have your system installed and need to include your invoice for the propane kit (if applicable) and the invoice for the purchase and installation. The rebate can’t be combined with other rebates.
Rinnai also partners with Service Finance Company, LLC to offer flexible financing options. This is a safe and secure paperless process that can be done from your computer, tablet or phone. The process provides quick approval decisions and allows same-day funding. Approval rates are high, as well. You have the easy loan management and no prepayment penalties.
Meta: Are you reading reviews to learn more about RainSoft water softeners? If you’re shopping around, this guide can provide helpful information.
Have you noticed that after bathing or showering your skin and hair feel dry? Do you feel like you need to use a lot of detergent for your clothes to smell clean or you’re quickly using up bottles of dishwashing liquid to wash dishes?
You might be dealing with hard water. Hard water is caused by a buildup of mineral deposits, like calcium and magnesium that make it difficult to clean without using a ton of product. Water hardness causes plumbing issues and over time damages appliances that use water because of the buildup of sedimentation in pipes, valves, and filters.
Hard water could affect your:
Refrigerator ice maker and water dispenser
Hard water can end up costing you more money in electricity because it reduces how efficiently your water heater can heat the water. Because you might be consuming excess calcium or magnesium, drinking hard water from your tap or using it for preparing food can possibly cause health issues including:
If you’re dealing with hard water problems, then you might be considering purchasing a water softener.
Water softeners take out the heavy minerals, cutting down the deposits in your pipes, saving you from potential plumbing costs, and help your appliances last as long as the manufacturer intended. When you’re shopping around, one of the brands you’ll probably come across is RainSoft water softeners.
What is RainSoft Water Softener and How Does It Work?
RainSoft Water Softeners is a brand that might come up often while you’re in your research phase on deciding whether or not to buy one because the company has been in business since 1953. With their long history, it’s no surprise that they are considered one of the top manufacturers.
RainSoft gives you the option of going beyond water softeners and customizing your home with a full package to include water filtration and air purification.
All RainSoft water softeners are made in America, are tested by NSF International or the Water Quality Association. NSF International is an independent organization that tests products to ensure that they meet safety standards. The Water Quality Association (WQA) also examines and certifies that water softener products meet industry standards.
If you’re only interested in water conditioning systems, they have various options that can take into account the quality of your water, the size of your home, and the amount of water you use or consume.
RainSoft’s EC5 Water Softener uses a computer to monitor water usage and notifies you when it’s due for service, if the salt is running low, and if there’s been a power outage. You can receive notifications via an app that they offer, as well as displayed on the actual system’s LCD display.
It removes hard water minerals, can soften the water without compromising on water pressure, and has been designed to use less electricity than other brands. The system has a backup battery that kicks in if the power goes out, so the computer can still track the water data.
Water goes in through the EC5’s control valve and flows down through the resin tank. Inside the resin tank, there are millions of tiny resin beads that attract the hardness present in the water through a procedure called ion exchange. Once conditioned, water rises from the bottom of the tank through a riser pipe, out of the control valve to where the softened water is needed.
When the resin beads are full and can no longer hold any more calcium or magnesium, a saltwater or brine solution from the brine tank fills the resin tank. The brine solution washes away the hardness from the resin beads and flushes it down the drain.
The LCD display allows you to control and adjust the system to your needs so that you can determine salt and water usage. Their app can notify your phone or tablet if salt is running low. The EC5 comes with RainSoft’s lifetime warranty for the tank and specific parts.
Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon, so the grain capacity of a water softener is how many grains of hardness can be removed from the water before the regeneration process kicks in. The EC5 has many different submodels that offer varying grain capacities and tank sizes.
The EC5 also has self-cleaning, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of time on maintenance.
The EC4 System is similar to the EC5 in how it softens the water, warranty coverage, and that it’s also controlled by a computer that calculates and adjusts itself to your water usage. It self-cleans for less maintenance on your part. However, the EC4 does not have the additional feature of status updates through an app. It also offers many models with various grain capacity levels and tank sizes.
RainSoft’s EC4-CAB System has three alarms that will sound to let you know when the softener is low on salt, has entirely run out of salt or when you need service on the machine. It has a large LCD display that lets you access information about your water quality, usage, and the tank’s remaining capacity.
If the power goes out, this model can retain data about your water data and programmed settings indefinitely, so you don’t have to worry about reprogramming the system after every power outage. The computer is designed so that you never run out of treated water. You also have the option of using potassium chloride in the place of salt.
This model functions similarly to the EC5 and EC4 but also has the option of including a carbon bed in the resin tank to provide an additional layer of filtration and cleaning for the water. The EC4-CAB regenerates at metered cycles.
What Makes Their Product Unique
In addition to 65 years in business, RainSoft has an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau, so you can feel that you are spending your money on a trustworthy company if you choose to buy one of their products.
All of the RainSoft water softeners come with a limited lifetime warranty on the treatment tank, valve, salt container, electrical systems and resins for the original purchaser. So, if you buy the system secondhand through a site like eBay, the warranty does not apply.
Some other major brands that offer water softeners, like GE, have warranties that only provide coverage for a maximum of ten years for the resin tank.
RainSoft is the only water softener with the wifi technology on their EC5 models that syncs to your smartphone or tablet providing you with real-time notifications on the system’s status. Their app, RainSoft Remind, can be used on Apple and Android operating systems and includes the option for scheduling service appointments.
Since RainSoft offers so many different models of water softeners, the prices vary. Depending on how your water tests initially before you even buy a system will play a factor in what level of softener you’ll need. Also, you have to take your tank size requirements into account. A bigger household with more people will require a larger tank.
Pricing information is not readily accessible on the RainSoft web site. However, various tabs can direct you on how to contact a dealer to inquire about what options you might be interested in.
RainSoft is sold directly from the manufacturer and is not found on Amazon or any retail outlets. However, they have been rated with a score of 4.6 out of 5 stars from customer reviews on the Consumer Affairs website based on over 300 reviews from the past year.
Many customers report being highly satisfied with the system and being pleased with spending less money on lotions due to dry skin and cleaning products because the water quality helps a little go a long way. Buyers are also saving time not having to scrub build-up from shower heads and shower stalls or re-washing spotty drinking glasses.
Reviewers also find that the customer service department is caring and helpful. Some people originally posted negative complaints with one-star ratings and then updated them to higher ratings after their positive experience in having their issues addressed by RainSoft’s customer service.
The most common complaint from most reviewers is that, although they like the product, the RainSoft water softeners are on the pricey end of the scale. Some buyers say they paid up to $10,000. However, they did not clarify if this was just for the softener or a whole house system, including filtration and air purification. Other buyers claim they were able to negotiate their price.
The initial purchase of the system, replacement filters, and maintenance visits are expensive. Also, the replacement filters are not available from third-party vendors, so you still have to buy directly from RainSoft.
How It Compares
The Fleck 5600SXT is a very highly-rated water softener available on Amazon. It rates 4.5 out of 5 stars from customer reviews. This model is comparable to the RainSoft EC4 150 CV treatment system. They both have:
Grain capacities in the 48,000 range
LCD digital displays for status information
Regenerate automatically based on water usage
Brine tank safety float to prevent overflowing
Power outage backup measures
If you’re handy, you can install the Fleck 5600SXT yourself, although you can also select the option of paying for installation. However, the RainSoft water softener does not seem to have a DIY option and requires having time set aside for someone to come for the installation.
Unlike the RainSoft EC4, the Fleck does not alert you when you’re running low on salt. Fleck offers warranty coverage for five years on the valve and ten years on the tank versus RainSoft’s limited lifetime warranty.
The Fleck 5600SXT was listed on Amazon for $629.
What We Think
If money is no object and you’re willing to trust in a brand’s long-standing reputation, then a RainSoft water softener could be the right choice for you. They do offer a limited lifetime warranty on certain parts of the water softener that could set your mind at ease.
Also, RainSoft claims they customize your water softener based on your individual needs so if you have a unique situation, then RainSoft might be the company that can provide you with the right solution to handle your water needs.
The only way to find out more about RainSoft water softeners is to submit a contact form on their website, call their 1-800 number, or contact a dealer. A banner on the RainSoft website claims that they are sold in Home Depot stores.
However, a search of the Home Depot website did not return any RainSoft products. If the retail partnership has been terminated, the RainSoft website has not been updated to reflect that.
You might be a shopper that prefers going to a store and seeing the product to compare it to others before you buy it and checking out different retailers to ensure you’re getting the best price. Some people derive satisfaction from shopping around, hunting, and finding low prices. If that’s the case, then you’re probably not going to get that experience with RainSoft.
Price transparency can be a big selling point for some buyers because seeing the price listed somewhere in writing guarantees everyone is paying the same price.
Having a sales person come to your home and quote prices for you based on their presentation and the results of your tested water may feel shady to some, as many RainSoft buyers noted in their reviews. The same can be said for the replacement softener filters that are also sold only by RainSoft and don’t have prices for those listed on their site either.
However, if you’re on a budget and you’re willing to buy a one size fits all system that can do pretty much the same thing as a RainSoft water softener, there are many other whole house water softeners, like the Fleck 5600SXT, with prices way under the $10,000 some RainSoft customers say they paid.