Water Softener vs. Water Conditioner: Which Is Right For You?

Having problems with your water? Do you know what needs to be done to fix these problems? The truth is many homeowners across America do not know the problems their water has or how to fix them. With hundreds of different treatment options, it can be difficult to determine what you need to help with your water problems. When it comes to water hardness, there are typically two options you can use, a water softener and a water conditioner. While they largely do the same job to fix your problem, there are some key differences between softeners and conditioners. Learn how to decide which one is right for you.

What is Hard Water?

The main similarity between the two systems is that they both are used to treat hard water. Hard water is water that has high levels of minerals in it. These minerals may vary but can range from calcium to magnesium and silica. With these minerals in the water, serious problems can occur including build-up on your pipes and water fixtures throughout the home. This buildup prevents your pipes and fixtures from working properly and makes your home less efficient. In addition, hard water is harmful to your skin and hair and can leave streaky residue on your dishes after cleaning them.

Water Softeners vs. Conditioners: How Do They Treat Your Water?

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While conditioners and softeners have the same end goal in fixing problems caused by hard water, they take different routes to get there.

Water Softeners

A Water Softener exchanges costly, scale-producing hardness minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, with sodium. To do so, it uses a technology referred to as the “Ion Exchange” process. Softened water prevents dry skin, unmanageable hair, spotted dishes and glassware, dull, and dingy laundry, excessive use of soaps and detergents, and unsightly build-up on shower walls, sinks, tubs, fixtures, and showerheads. Water Softeners also eliminate the risk of pipes and water-using appliances becoming clogged with mineral scale. In effect, water softeners remove the unwanted costly hardness particles from the water.

Water Conditioners

A Water Conditioner, on the other hand, stops short of removing hardness from water but rather transforms the hardness elements in water into crystals which reduce scale formation in pipes, plumbing, and water heaters. This technology is called “Template Assisted Crystallization.” Properly understood, a Water Conditioner is a great solution for scale reduction without the use of sodium. However, water conditioners as such do not deliver the full range of benefits provided by softened water. Water conditioners can be designed to reduce other aesthetic issues like taste and odor removal stemming from the presence of chlorine, for example, in the water.  At Culligan, we are pleased to offer a complete line of Softeners and conditioners to help customers achieve their water quality goals.

Both methods are effective and can help solve your home’s water problems. By taking different routes, your decision on which is right for you depends on what you are looking for.

Which System Should You Use For Your Home?

While your decision is up to you and depends entirely on what you are looking for, water softeners tend to be a better long-term investment. No matter which product you are looking for, however, Culligan is here for you. With softeners and salt-free conditioners to choose from, we’ve got what you need.


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