The answer to this question is basically size and features, both of which are the defining factors of residential water softeners. Let’s take a closer look at these two important factors.
Residential Water Softener Size
When you are buying or leasing a new residential water softener, then choosing one that is the correct size is probably the most important step. You need one that will meet the demands of your entire household while keeping it within your budget. That means you don’t necessarily want to go as big as possible. Physical size is not the issue here; it’s how much water can be treated without frequent regeneration.
Each water softener is rated by a number that defines the grains of hardness that is removed in between regenerations of water. The goal should be to get a unit that can go at least three days without being regenerated. Ideal water softeners will also be able to deal with larger than normal periods of water usage, such as during the holidays or when you have guests.
To determine the right number, multiply the number of people in your household by 75. That will give you the average total daily usage of your household in gallons. Then you will need to multiple that number by the grains per gallon of hardness found in your water, which is determined through testing.
Residential Water Softener Features
You have two options when it comes to having a water softening system installed – leasing and buying. Here are the two main methods that are used to control cycles in a water softening system.
Timer Controls: Electronic timers are used to tell the unit to automatically recharge at a specific time of day. This time is set based on the household’s usage. However, this type can ultimately fall short if your home has a particularly high usage one day. They can also waste sodium because they will recharge even if it’s not needed.
DIR Controls: This is a newer technology and much more sophisticated. It’s called demand-initiated regeneration and will automatically sense when the system needs to recharge. It does this with a meter that is designed to measure and calculate usage. This type of system will save on sodium because it only recharges when necessary. It also adjusts for those days when your home might experience an unusually high volume of water usage.
Buying & Leasing Tips
Now the question you might be asking yourself is whether or not you should buy a water softening system outright, or lease it. It really depends on how long you plan to use the system. Short-term scenarios would make leasing a much better option since there are very few upfront costs. It costs anywhere from $15 to $50 per month.
If you plan to buy a system, then you can expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the system.
I recommend that you get a quote for each option. Make sure you describe your needs exactly so you know the type of system you need.