Water Softening vs. Water Conditioning

February 2, 2021

Do you have hard water in your home? It can be a really annoying thing to have to deal with on a daily basis, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are options to eliminate this problem, including a variety of types of home water treatments in Scottsdale, AZ that can help.

The two most common home water treatments are water softening and water conditioning. How do you know which is right for you? Here are some facts about water softening vs. conditioning in Scottsdale, AZ that can help you make the decision.

Water softening

Water softeners use salt to remove minerals in your water that can leave those nasty deposits after being heated. The process involves a bit of chemistry, but it’s really quite interesting.

Hard water is the term we use to describe water that is extra rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water softeners use salt to replace parts of those minerals, leaving your water nice and smooth. Here’s how it works.

Sodium ions have a positive charge, just like calcium and magnesium ions. Since they’re all positively charged, the ions are all attracted to the water and not each other. Sodium doesn’t have as strong a charge as its counterparts in this equation, though, so simply pumping a bunch of salt into your water supply isn’t enough.

To take advantage of this natural chemical equation, water softeners have a resin bed of tiny, negatively-charged beads, which attracts the positively-charged salt ions. Since the magnesium and calcium ions have a stronger positive charge than sodium, when that mineral-rich water flows through the water softener, those ions displace the sodium ions clinging to the beads.

The water that comes out will now have dissolved sodium chloride instead of dissolved magnesium or calcium. Since those minerals are no longer in the water, the water no longer leaves a residue, resulting in what is called soft water.

Water conditioning

Water conditioning also leaves the water soft, but it uses different kinds of chemistry. There are different types of water conditioning, but they all create a catalytic reaction that alters how the minerals behave in water.

Conditioners don’t remove the ions like softeners, but instead prevent them from building up inside pipes and fixtures. They use methods like electrolysis, electromagnetism, regular magnetism, electrical induction, template-assisted crystallization (TAC), chelation, Clark’s process (lime softening) or reverse osmosis. None of these methods require the addition of salt, so water conditioners are also sometimes called no-salt softeners.

A benefit of water conditioning vs. water softening in Scottsdale, AZ is that water conditioners also clean out biological contaminants. Some can even break up biofilm and keep not only unwanted minerals but algae and bacteria from building up and becoming a problem in your water supply.

No matter which method you choose, it will be better than continuing to live with hard water. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit or call WES Water today to discuss all your home water treatment needs.

Categorised in: ,

WES Water