As the debate rages on between salt-based and salt-free (saltless) softeners, here are the facts that will hopefully put the matter to rest. To salt or not to salt, that is the question.
What is hard water?
Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. It’s not a health risk but proves to be a real problem when it comes to almost every cleaning task from laundering and dishwashing to bathing to grooming.
Why is it bad?
- Hard water causes a film to form on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs and sinks.
- It contributes to the inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances.
- It leads to the unsightly and cumbersome build-up of limescale (that white flaky residue) on shower heads, taps, inside your kettle and water pipes. Water flow can be reduced by the build-up in the pipes and even bUpe closed off up.
- The amount of hardness in the water affects the amount of soap and detergent necessary for cleaning; the harder the water, the more soap you need.
- Freshly laundered clothes can feel harsh and scratchy.
- Hair washed in hard water can feel sticky and look dull.
- hard water exacerbates sensitive skin conditions like eczema.
Salt-Based Water Softeners
Salt-based softeners remove hard water by replacing these minerals with sodium (salt), leaving the water ‘softer’. Salt-based softeners completely remove these minerals before they even make it to the tap.
The Problem with this:
- These minerals are replaced with sodium (salt). This can lead to the flare-up existing health conditions like high-blood pressure and heart disease. Salt can also be harsh on sensitive skin and those who suffer from skin conditions like eczema.
- It completely removes minerals such as magnesium and calcium, that in moderation, have proven health benefits. The World Health Organisation agrees.
- Salt-based softeners make it difficult for water companies to process water due to the high salt content they add. In a bid to soften water they are unnecessarily adding pollutants into the water system.
- Salt-based softeners contribute to salt build-up in aquatic environments, adversely affecting ecosystems in and around rivers and streams.
- These systems simply waste water. Salt-based softeners regularly flush themselves out in a process called regeneration, contributing significantly to your water bill.
- They are more expensive to buy, set-up and maintain. Most of these systems require electricity and the bill can run high. Salt-based softeners require salt be replenished on a regular basis.
Salt-Free (Saltless) Water Softeners
Saltfree softeners work differently to their salt-based counterparts. Instead of removing hardness minerals, they crystallise them, stopping them from sticking to the inside of your pipes or from leaving residue on taps and showerheads. This may leave doubts about the saltless softeners capabilities but this is actually a much more effective process.
- Salt-free softeners neutralise the contaminant effects of calcium and magnesium instead of removing them entirely. Many studies have shown that these minerals can be beneficial to your health. Did we mention that the World Health Organisation agrees? [Refr: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientschap12.pdf]
- Salt-free softeners don’t add unnecessary chemicals to your water; instead it alters the way the hardness minerals behave. Since no salt is used, existing health conditions are unaffected.
- Salt-free softeners are extremely low maintenance, use no electricity, require no flushing and therefore don’t waste water.
- They are chemical free.
- Cartridge media can last months if not years before being replaced. The cost of replacing media is pocket friendly and simple to do without the help of a professional. (For convenience, Aquatiere will send you an email when a cartridge needs to be replaced.)
- By not using salt nor wasting water, these softeners do their bit to save the planet – always a plus!
- Many saltless softeners come with a 2 in 1 softening and filtering capability (be sure to check). Our Pureau range of saltless softeners for example, not only soften your water but filter it simultaneously, allowing you to drink water straight from the tap.
At the end of the day the choice is yours but the facts put the saltless softener far above their salt-based counterparts. Healthier, easy-to-use and friendly to both the environment, your family and your pocket. We hope we helped you along your pure water journey.