Water filtration systems come in many different forms, but one of the main distinctions is between those that use salt and those that don’t. To assist you to choose the system that is best for you, this article will examine the benefits and drawbacks of both salt-based and salt-free water filtration systems.
Salt-Based Water Filtration Systems
During the regeneration phase of salt-based water filtration systems, salt, most often sodium chloride, is used to clean the resin beads and restore their ability to absorb hard water ions. Calcium and magnesium ions are removed from the raw water throughout the ion exchange process.
How Do Salt-Based Water Filtration Systems Function?
Salt-based water filtration systems that use salt feature a tank filled with resin, which are tiny beads with a negative charge. When hard water enters a mineral tank, unwanted positively charged minerals in the water stick to the negatively charged beads. The beads become saturated over time and must be regenerated by flushing them with a salt solution, which releases the minerals and allows the beads to be reused. After being softened, the water is piped into the home’s plumbing.
The Composition of a Salt-Based Water Filtration System
● The Resin Tank
This ion exchange tank is filled with tiny resin beads whose mission is to attract and absorb the dissolved minerals in hard water. As the raw water passes through the tank, the minerals are replaced with sodium ions from the salt thereby softening the water.
● The Brine Tank
The brine tank allows the entire system to regenerate and soften at the same time. When the resin beads handle a certain amount of hard water, they will reach saturation, and the ability of the resin beads to soften water is weak at this time. A regeneration process initiated by a control valve releases trapped minerals and restores the softening ability of the resin beads.
● The Control Valve
It manages the water flow through the system and initiates regeneration at certain periods.
● The Drain
The drain is used to remove the wastewater that is generated during the regeneration process.
Pros of Using Salt-Based Water Filtration Systems
- Effectively remove minerals in hard water: The principle of ion exchange is used to remove calcium and magnesium ions in hard water. The resulting water is softer and cleaner.
- Enhances appliance efficiency: Mineral buildup from hard water can cause appliances to become less efficient. Appliances with soft water tend to last longer and use less energy.
- Reduces soap scum and stains: Hard water can leave behind soap scum and stains on fixtures and clothing, which can be reduced or eliminated with a water softener.
- Improves the taste of drinking water: The metallic taste of hard water may be alleviated using a water softener.
- Better lathering and cleaning: Hard water can make it difficult to lather soap and shampoo and leave clothes looking dull. Soft water can improve the lathering of soap and shampoo and can leave clothes looking brighter.
- Economical: It may save money by minimizing the need for expensive appliance and fixture repairs and maintenance.
Salt-Free Water Filtration Systems
Salt-free water filtration systems are also known as “descalers” or “conditioners.” Calcium and magnesium are extracted from water without the use of salt. Instead, they transform the minerals in hard water into tiny crystals that do not stick to surfaces of pipes and appliances through a process known as “template-assisted crystallization” (TAC).
In What Way Do Systems That Filter Water Without Using Salt Work?
In salt-free water filtration systems, the hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) are transformed into small crystals by a process called template-assisted crystallization (TAC). This keeps the crystals afloat in the water and prevents them from sticking to surfaces. Instead, they stop the minerals from crystallizing into hard scale, which can damage piping and appliances.
But they don’t technically “soften” the water in the traditional sense, because the process doesn’t remove minerals from the water.
The Benefits of Using Salt-free Water Filtration Systems
Some benefits of using a salt-free water softener include:
- No salt required: Salt-free water softeners do not require the use of salt to soften the water, which is a major benefit for those who are looking for an alternative to traditional water softeners.
- No negative impact on the environment: Traditional water softeners can discharge salt into the environment, which can negatively impact local ecosystems. Salt-free water softeners do not have this issue.
- Little maintenance required: Because salt-free water softeners don’t require regular maintenance or salt addition, they can save time and money.
- Cost-effectiveness: It is often less expensive than traditional water softeners since no salt is required.
- Improves water taste and odor: Salt-free water softeners can also improve the taste and odor of water, as they remove hard water minerals that can cause unpleasant taste and odor.
Which System is Ideal for You?
Since salt-based water softeners employ salt to remove minerals, harder water is typically easier to remove. The hard water minerals are transformed by template-assisted crystallization in salt-free water softeners so that they no longer adhere to surfaces.
They are a good alternative if you are worried about the amount of salt in your water or if you want to avoid adding salt to your system regularly. Nonetheless, they are not as successful as salt-based water softeners in getting rid of the minerals that cause hard water. It is recommended to consult a plumber or water treatment professional to determine which type of water filtration system would be best for your specific needs.