Water Softener Comparison
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What to look at when comparing softener systems
Whenever you buy anything, including a water softener, comparison is the key to success. A little bit of investigation goes a long way and can save you both time and money. Below are a few hints on how to make your water softener comparison a little easier.
Prices of water softeners vary greatly but beware of companies trying to take you for a ride. A decent system should cost in the region of $1,000 to $1,500 and generally this includes installation. Before you buy, check that there are no hidden charges for things such as having to bypass garden sprinkler systems and swimming pool replenishing pipes.
Before making your purchase, do your sums. Calculate not only the cost of purchasing the system, but also the running costs. Salt will cost you between $3 and $8 per month, and this will be tripled if you choose to use potassium chloride. Check that you understand the additional cost of regenerating the system in terms of electricity and water usage.
Choosing a system of the right capacity is important to ensure that no untreated water enters the house and that you're not wasting water and salt by regenerating the system too often. Most kinds of water softener are sized according to how many people are going to use them. This takes into account the average person's washing, drinking and bathing needs, and the number of people a system is capable of dealing with will be supplied along with the price list. The only exceptions are the twin-tank systems, as they provide a constant flow of soft water and regenerate as necessary.
Ensuring the equipment you buy is high quality is an important step in your water softener comparison. Don't buy anything that doesn't come with a warranty. An acceptable length warranty would be ten years for the system and perhaps five for the valves. Look to see if the water softener has been tested by an independent agency for industry standards. The Underwriters Laboratory, the Water Quality Association or the National Sanitation Foundation will add their seal if the equipment has been successfully performance tested.
Finally, if you're not sure, ask. Many homes are now fitted with a water softener so it's likely someone you know could tell you about their system. If you find a system you like, ask the company for customer details and contact them if possible. Nothing tells you more about your potential purchase than other buyers.