The need to deal with limescale-related issues from home water sources is a universal one. We have all heard and seen the effects of limescale on pipes and appliances. Water softeners are what come to the rescue when seeking to remedy such issues. Many have expressed interest in a particular type of water softener, one that is salt-free. There are a number of reasons for opting to use a salt-free water softener, and most of them have to do with convenience.
What is a water softener?
Harmful minerals present in hard water can wreak havoc on appliances, creating deposits on dishes, shower ends, and inside pipes. These minerals are not toxic, but a high concentration of them can prove to be extremely destructive in some cases.
A water softener, as the name implies, is used to soften hard water by breaking down minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water supply. The technology implemented to do this is called ion exchange, which with salt-based softeners, replaces mineral ions with sodium ones, discarding damaging minerals from the water.
What is a salt-free water softener?
As an alternative, a salt-free water softener uses catalytic media rather than sodium to crystallize calcium and magnesium preventing them from forming limescale. Over time it can descale current pipework and appliances that have already accumulated limescale deposits.
This technique makes it so that the harmful minerals that attach to surfaces will no longer cling to plumbing or appliances. The minerals are not removed as they would be with a salt-based softener but the water is nevertheless conditioned to prevent limescale build-up. Thus a saltless water conditioner acts as a descaler that can prevent scaling by up to 99.6%.
9 reasons to install a salt-free water softener at home
1. Save water
Salt-based water softeners need a larger amount of water than salt-free systems. That’s because using a saltwater softener always involves regeneration. Regeneration means flushing all accumulating hard water minerals down the drain and replenishing the softening resin using sodium.
A salt-free water softener does not require this extra step, as it conditions the water without salt. The added benefit here is that it conserves water. This is especially appealing in drought-affected areas as well as for conservation reasons, as no wastewater is generated in the process.
2. Save space
A regular water softener requires a considerable amount of space, specifically for its brine tank. Not everyone will have enough room to install a massive device in their basement, but still, wish to deal with limescale issues.
This inconvenience can be easily avoided by opting for a salt-free softener, especially if descaling is what’s required. The compact design of a saltless option will ensure you save space while bringing the added bonus of making the device easy to install anywhere you desire; either inside or outside the house provided it’s protected from freezing temperatures.
3. Cost-effective option and low maintenance
A salt-free water softener will not require frequent salt top-ups as a salt-based one would, and that automatically cuts the salt purchases out of your bills, as there is no need to haul bags of salt to replenish it. Not only that but the maintenance needed for a salt-free water softener is close to zero. Once installed it’s ready to go and can be forgotten about.
Long term, this means a massive cost-effective investment with limescale prevention assured. Helping pipes and home appliances stay limescale-free will also increase their usage and delay further replacements or repairs. Certain premium salt-free conditioner varieties can last up to thirty years, adding yet another cost-efficient advantage.
4. Maintain natural water mineral components
Using a salt-free water softener is also the way to go if one is seeking to maintain the natural mineral integrity of their water. As opposed to a water softener that uses salt to replace and thus add more components and chemicals to your water, a saltless substitute will keep existing minerals in the water, but render them unable to stick and deposit any limescale. It basically changes the hard minerals already in the water into harmless, static crystals only observable with a microscope.
5. Eco-friendly alternative
Limescale build-up alters the efficiency of appliances that use electricity to heat water such as dishwashers or washing machines. Build-up over time causes more and more energy consumption and in the end damages the devices. This ultimately contributes to carbon footprint as both energy utilization skyrockets and expensive devices end up having to be replaced or be dealt with by recycling that also uses energy and fuel. A salt-free water softener extends the life cycle of devices and does not release sodium ions down the drain.
The amount of freshwater available right now is lower than the amount of saltwater in oceans and seas. Having access to clean freshwater is difficult enough as it is and pumping more salt out there only adds to the problem. Smaller amounts of saltwater down the drain help maintain more freshwater integrity, as the already limited supplies have declined over the years.
6. Get quick results
Regular salt-using water softeners need a regeneration period of about two hours. This is to clean the softened backwash with all the hard water minerals previously collected by the resin beads. In opposition, a salt-free water softener does not need this time to recharge and can be used continuously, some with a maximum capacity of thirty gallons per minute.
Depending on the quantity of water needed, various scale sizes can be found and installed in your home, with higher flow rates or multiple systems installed in parallel. The fact that there is no regeneration period for a salt-free conditioner is something many people find most useful and will opt for.
7. Descale your bathing water
Removing limescale from water is not only a preferred option when it comes to maintaining home devices and the plumbing system, but it can also improve other day-to-day activities.
In some cases, the overall water texture resulting from salt-free water softeners is preferred as it does not produce slippery or slimy water as the conventional salt ones do. Eliminating the effects of mineral deposits from showers and baths will also combat dry skin and hair, previously caused by these deposits.
8. Reduce overall limescale build-up
Limescale will affect all water-using devices in your home, from boilers, irrigation systems to humidifiers, cooling towers, and kettles. Overtime accumulation of limescale in water heaters causes them to make creaking and popping noises which are countered by the use of a salt-free water softener.
A salt-free descaler easily prevents limescale build-up on shower windows and showerheads, so that cleaning them becomes that much easier and effortless. Implementing a descaler will provide protection for every other water using gadgets of your home to help maintain and preserve their usage for as long as possible.
9. Installation ease
A typical water softener that needs salt must have a drain to flush out the backwash water. If there is no way of connecting the salt tank to a drain, then more time and money needs to be invested in order to properly fit it and have it work accordingly.
A salt-free alternative is fitted in line with the cold water main pipe and treats water as it enters the home. This difference makes the installation of a saltless water softener easier and more appealing in the end.
There are plenty of options on the market for devices that improve the quality of tap water. As a customer, it’s essential to understand the problems you are trying to deal with and prepare for them accordingly. It all depends on where you live, the general quality of your water, and the type of impurities it contains.
A salt-free water softener is a great choice if limescale prevention and removal with minimal effort is the end goal. This method is a more affordable one and comes with extra bonuses around conservation struggles and practical money-saving endeavors.