The Difference Between Water Softener and Water Conditioner

April 22, 2022

Water is a critical part of our day-to-day lives. Water undergoes many stages of treatment before getting to our tanks and taps. However, hard water remains a problem for most homeowners since it can damage fixtures and pipes. Moreover, hard water is not ideal for your health.

Contaminated water is another major issue. It has an unpleasant taste and smell. 

There are several systems for water purification or softening. Choosing an appropriate purification system can be challenging with the numerous solutions available. We will focus on two systems: a water softener and a water conditioner.

Water Softening Versus Water Conditioning 

Water Conditioner

A water conditioner makes the minerals in the water loose, taking away their capacity to adhere to the pipes. Some salt-less water conditioners are better than others. It’s important to remember that water conditioners are not for water softening.

Water Softener

A water softener operates by eradicating minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that are present in the water. The elimination of these minerals happens by a process known as ion exchange. A salt-based water softener contains a resin bed responsible for the hard mineral exchange with sodium particles and water filtering. The resulting soft water doesn’t cause corrosion to your home appliances or create limescale.

What Are the Similarities Between Water Conditioners and Water Softeners?

Both water conditioning and water softening are used to address hardness. Hardness occurs when the water contains a significant amount of minerals, such as silica, magnesium and calcium. 

These minerals lead to problems with water fixtures, pipes and heat-exchange surfaces. As a result, pipes get clogged over time. Limescale accumulation on heating elements insulates them, thus, compromising their efficiency. 

What Is the Difference Between Water Conditioner and Water Softener?

A water softener removes calcium, silica and magnesium ions, leaving the water with small quantities of temporary hardness. Water softening allows the ion exchange between salt and these ions.

On the other hand, a water conditioner only manipulates how the hard minerals behave. The ions remain in the water but do not accumulate on surfaces. 

Benefits of Water Conditioner

  • Does not wastewater
  • Less expensive to maintain
  • Longer lifespan
  • Less slippery water
  • Reduces scaling in pipes
  • Reduces white or yellowish spots around faucets and drains 
  • Requires less maintenance (you do not need salt refilling)

Benefits of a Water Softener

  • Reduces soap scum
  • Reduces yellowish or white spots around faucets and drains 
  • Reduces scaling in pipes
  • Allows usage of less soap, detergent and dish soap
  • Enables soap to lather easily

The water treatment method best suitable for you depends on the hardness of the water provided to your home. If the hardness is below 25 GPG, a salt-free water conditioner can address your issues. However, if hardness is above 25 GPG, a salt-based softener can work best.

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WES Water