The water coming through your pipes is hard if you don’t have a water softener installed. Hard water contains various sediment build-ups, such as calcium. While not generally harmful to human health, hard water can damage your pipes, skin, and appliances. It’s a good idea for homeowners to install water softeners, either electric or non-electric, to save money in the long run.
What a Water Softener Does
To understand the difference between electric and non-electric water softeners, you need to understand what all water softeners do. Water softeners work by filtering hard water through a barrier that sieves out impurities. The barrier is usually composed of resin beads that attract the various minerals, which turn water hard. The water that comes out the other side of those resin beads is soft, with no damaging additives in it. Once the resin has enough build-up collected, it needs to be regenerated. The regeneration process is when a solution washes over the resin, clearing away the impurities.
How Electric Water Softeners Work
Electric water softeners, as opposed to non-electric water softeners, work on an automatic timer. This timer is connected to a power supply and tells the water softener when to go through the regeneration process. An electric water softener usually goes through one or two cleaning cycles per 24-hour period.
Non-Electric Water Softeners
Non-electric water softeners don’t need to be connected to a power supply because they use a volume system to determine when to flush the resin. Non-electric water softeners are referred to as mechanical softeners. Mechanical softeners work by keeping track of how much water has been used and adjusts the flushing schedule accordingly.
Pros vs. Cons of Each
Both electric and non-electric water softeners have their perks. The most significant upside to electric water softeners is that you don’t ever need to worry about when it’s going through a regeneration process. The downside is it can be wasteful if you don’t use a lot of soft water throughout the day. Should your electric water softener be set to regenerate every 12 hours, you’ll end up using the regeneration materials twice per day, even if you don’t use enough water to need regeneration. Electric parts can also wear down over time, making them a bit more prone to repair than their mechanical counterparts. Non-electric water softeners are easy to maintain but usually have a higher up-front cost.
Which One is Right for You?
In the end, determining which water softener type is the right one for you depends entirely on your needs. If you have a busy household that uses gallons of water per day, it may be better to go for a non-electric water softener to handle the high volume. If you’re looking for a set-and-forget, budget-friendly option, an electric model could be the right fit. Talk with your plumbing specialist at Sin City Plumbing to determine what water softener is the best for your household.
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