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Water Softeners Versus Water Conditioners

Commercial Water Softeners

A water conditioner is a popular alternative to a water softener for customers that are looking to reduce or prevent limescale build up. But what are they and why would you use them? Let’s start by understanding the difference in processes. Water conditioning is a process that involves altering the minerals or contents of your water, rather than removing anything – which means you retain minerals like Calcium and Magnesium that occur naturally in the water. Water softening on the other hand uses a process called ion exchange to completely remove these hardness molecules from your water.

Where Is Water Conditioning Used?

Water conditioners play a common role in everyday limescale reduction processes and are a popular choice for plumbers, as they are low cost, low maintenance and easy to install. They are generally used where scale prevention is the primary desire, as unlike a water softener they do not actually change the molecular make-up of your water from hard to soft. If you are looking for a solution for scale prevention (such as within your heating system or appliances) then a water conditioner may be the right purchase for you. However, if you are looking for the additional benefits of soft water like eczema relief, softer laundry, reduction of existing scale build-up and improved lather from detergents, then a water softener would be a better choice.

Benefits Of Water Conditioners:

  • Little to no waste water to operate
  • Does not require a power supply
  • Generally smaller and easier to install
  • Water retains minerals like calcium and magnesium

Read This Post To Learn About The Benefits Of Water Softening

Drawbacks Of Water Conditioners:

  • Unable to test difference in water quality
  • May still experience limescale deposits in hard water areas
  • Little scientific data to back up their effectiveness
  • Multiple technologies which give varying results

Read This Post To Explore The Different Types Of Water Softener

Water Conditioners Versus Water Softeners

There are a few key differences between water conditioners and water softeners. Water conditioners are a great option for customers looking solely for scale control, offering a more cost effective and easier to maintain solution than a water softener. However, it is important to note that this treated water is still regarded as ‘hard water’ and in areas with a hardness level of 250ppm or above, you will still notice limescale build up – albeit at a reduced rate. In this case, you should be considering a water softener instead. Here’s a quick overview of the main differences between these technologies:

Water Conditioners Vs Water Softeners Comparison

Water Conditioners Versus Water Softeners Comparison Table

Where Water Conditioning Might Be Suitable
Water conditioners are generally cheaper and easier to install than water softeners. This is because they are a much simpler technology, with no valves or electricity required to operate. Water conditioners usually sit in line with your pipework, with no requirement for a drain line. Water conditioners can also be installed to protect a single appliance, such as upfront of a washing machine or to protect an expensive coffee machine. They are commonly used within the food-service market in commercial applications to reduce limescale build up at the point of use, which is where they excel.

Water Conditioners Do Not Require Electricity Or Maintenance To Run So Are An Effective ‘Fit And Forget’ Solution To Reduce Limescale Build Up

Where Water Softening Might Be Suitable
Water softeners are much more effective at tackling limescale build-up within a property or appliance. This is because they not only completely remove the hardness molecules from your water, but the soft water can flush out existing scale deposits from your pipework and from within appliances. Over time they are also able to save you money by reducing energy costs through improved heating efficiency and by greatly improving the lather from soaps and detergents.

Studies Show The Average 4 Person Household Could Save Up To £200 A Year By Installing A Water Softener If They Live In A Hard Water Area

You May Also Hear The Term ‘Salt Free Water Softeners’ Used When Speaking About ‘Water Conditioners’ Which Although Is Factually Incorrect, Is Worth Noting To Broaden Your Search

Choosing A Water Conditioner Or Water Softener

Water conditioners and water softeners both come in a variety of sizes to suit customers looking for either whole-house scale control, or single appliance protection. We would recommend exploring our Water Conditioning and Water Softening categories in more detail, where you will find all of the options we have available for each technology. If you are unsure of which product is suitable for your use, or you need some help comparing then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

Benefits Of Water Softeners
The Ultimate Guide To Water Softeners

Want to find out more about water softeners? Check out our buyers guide which explores everything you need to know about the world of soft water…

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