Plenty of people have heard the phrase “water softener” but most homeowners don’t know what a water softener actually does. Even less people are knowledgeable about water conditioners as a whole. No need to worry though – we’re here to help homeowners distinguish between the types of water processing systems. This week we break down the differences between water softeners vs. water conditioners, as well as explain their various functions.

So What’s The Difference?

Luckily, there is a short and simple answer to the water softeners vs. water conditioners question.  Water softeners are a type of water conditioner. So all water softeners are water conditioners, but only some water conditioners are water softeners. Realistically, there are many types of water conditioners, and water softeners are simply the most prominent type. In fact, there are water conditioners for nearly any way homeowners want to treat their water.

Why Water Softeners Vs. Water Conditioners Matters

Water softeners and water conditioners in general are important to all homeowners. For people still using a public water supply, water conditioners adjust how the public water is treated to suit their individual needs. For well owners, water conditioners are even more important. Water conditioners act  essentially as the single home-sized treatment plan for well water. Well owners need to have the treatment options of water conditioners in order to achieve their ideal water.

Water Softeners

Water softeners only really function to turn hard water into soft water. Hard water is simply water that still has hard minerals in it. Hard minerals consist of substances such as calcium, magnesium, and silica. Those hard minerals cause all sorts of issues in plumbing in, namely the residue that they leave behind everywhere. In addition to leaving residue in the pipes, hard minerals leave residue on sinks, showerheads, and even your skin.

Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to make hard water softener. Essentially, the hard minerals cannot simply be sucked out of the water, something has to take their place. The best thing to take the place of hard minerals is soft minerals. The most common soft mineral to substitute is sodium.

Water Conditioners

There are many types of water conditioners available to homeowners. All of those types of conditioners address a wide variety of issues in the home’s water supply.

  • Hardness
  • Conditioners control staining by reducing levels of iron, manganese, calcium, copper, and magnesium.
  • Taste & Odor. Water conditioners use chemicals like chlorine and hydrogen sulfide to adjust taste & odor.
  • Sediment & Dissolved Solids. Conditioners can remove sand and debris, which damage plumbing and homeowner’s health.
  • EPA & CDC Regulated Contaminants. EPA & CDC concerns are centered around environmental and health concerns. A good water conditioner system can address everything from viruses to lead.