Water softener systems are a great way to reduce hard water, which can lead to serious plumbing problems. Hard water contains large amounts of calcium, magnesium and other minerals that create scale buildup in pipes. If left unchecked, this buildup can reduce water flow and eventually clog your pipes. Even in sitting water, such as in hot water heaters, scale deposits can grow.
Softener systems offer the most effective solution to hard water by filtering the minerals that cause scale buildup. There are a wide variety of softener systems available for different budgets in Atlanta.
Salt-based water softeners
Salt-based systems, otherwise known as ion exchange systems, remove calcium and magnesium from your water by exchanging the molecules with sodium or potassium. These systems remain popular, though they are quickly getting edged out by newer, salt-free alternatives. Running a couple thousand dollars, these systems are in the mid-price range, but they require regular maintenance, which adds to your costs. Also, the added sodium can affect your health. You may want to consult with a doctor before you consider this option.
Salt-free systems, also known as descalers, don't remove minerals. Rather, these systems prevent minerals from depositing on the insides of your pipes and appliances. The initial costs are about the same as a salt-based system. But they do not require as much regular maintenance, so you could potentially save money in long-term costs.
Reverse osmosis systems remove impurities in the water, including minerals and salt molecules, by flushing the water in a reverse flow through a membrane. These systems can run around $10,000 or more and will require additional maintenance. Reverse osmosis can also be hard on your plumbing and can result in low water pressure.
Magnetic water softeners
Magnetic systems are a non-chemical option that work by running the hard water through a magnetic field to alter the quality of the water, though they do not actually remove minerals. These systems are the most inexpensive systems available, running typically under a thousand dollars. But studies about their actual effectiveness have come up inconclusive.
Be sure to consult with a local Atlanta-area plumber before purchasing a softener system. Together you can find the one that is right for your home and discuss installation.