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How Do Different Types Of Water Softeners Work?

If you’ve been having issues with your household water supply in Ottawa, you’ve probably done your fair share of research. By now, you’ve tentatively diagnosed a hard water problem and wondered whether a water softener might be the solution you need.

Your next move is learning more about water softener installation and what the various options are. That’s where we come in—presenting… a short guide to different types of water softeners and how they work to improve your home water quality.

What Is A Water Softener & How Does It Work?

A water softener is a whole-home system that removes minerals from your water supply to reduce water hardness. Depending on your location in the Ottawa area, the water in your home could be moderately hard, to very hard. Hard water is especially common when you use well water instead of city water.

The term “hard water” refers to water that has absorbed a high content (120 ppm or greater) of calcium and magnesium. Although the minerals in hard water are non-toxic and safe for you to ingest, they’re dangerous in another way. They build up hard, crust-like sediment, which wreaks havoc on things like:

  • Plumbing fixtures, including faucets, showerheads, tubs, sinks, and so on
  • Water-based appliances (everything from washing machines and dishwashers to coffee pots and kettles)
  • When doing laundry, clothing looks dingier and wears out faster when laundered in hard water
  • Hair and skin tend to lose their lustre and moisture after washing with hard water

Installing a water softener or water treatment system will help eliminate all of these problems.

5 Different Types Of Water Softeners

  • Salt-Based Water Softener
  • Dual-Tank Water Softener
  • Salt-Free Water Conditioner
  • Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System
  • Magnetic Descaler

Salt-Based Water Softener

salt-based water softener system is the most common. These water softeners comprise:

— a mineral tank containing resin beads

— a brine (salt) tank.

As your water supply passes through the beads, salt is substituted for the minerals via ion exchange. This depletes the resin beads, so the system must be flushed regularly in a process called regeneration. Since you won’t be able to use your water softener during regeneration, schedule it for a late-night time slot.

Dual-Tank Water Softener

This is an ultra-convenient type of water softener system. It has 2 mineral tanks, plus a standard salt tank. As a result, at least one tank is always available — even while the other is regenerating.

We especially recommend Kinetico salt-based water softeners, either standard or dual-tank.

Salt-Free Water Conditioner


A Salt-Free water softener or descaler is an excellent option for limiting your salt intake for medical reasons. Its brine tank substitutes potassium chloride for salt.

This system is known as a water conditioner or descaler. Rather than removing the minerals from your hard water, it stops them from forming harmful deposits inside your plumbing pipes and appliances. However, the technology seems to work better on moving water, not standing.

Reverse Osmosis Water Purification System


This water purification and water filtration system forces water through a semipermeable membrane at high pressure. In the process, minerals and other particles such as metals and nitrates are filtered out. Find out if it’s important to install water purification in your home.

Magnetic Descaler

This is a new type of descaler. Like a salt-free system, it prevents scale deposits instead of getting rid of waterborne minerals completely. Its producers claim that if you plug in this device and clip it onto your water intake pipe, the resulting magnetic field causes the minerals to be repelled by pipes. However, so far, its usefulness has not been proven.

Do You Need a Water Softener in Ottawa?

The best way to find out whether a water softener will benefit your family is to have your water tested for hardness. Contact Out of This World Plumbing for free professional water testing in the Ottawa area. We’ll also provide a free quote on any water quality treatment you might need. We carry the best brands like Novo water softeners and Kinetico water softeners.


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