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Water Conditioners

Salt-free water softeners

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STOP hard water from destroying your plumbing & appliances!

water conditioner to soften hard water

Salt-free water conditioners help and benefit homeowners in many ways, such as:

  • protects plumbing pipes
  • extends the life of appliances
  • extends the life of water heater
  • removes scale buildup
  • no salt or potassium needed
  • saves water vs traditional softeners
  • no maintenance

Do You Know What's In Your Water? Get It Tested for FREE!

Water Conditioners protect your skin, pipes, appliances, and faucets from the destruction of hard water minerals!

Always test your water before buying a water conditioner, softener, or filters. Don’t buy what you may not need and miss getting what you do.

We provide free water tests, custom water conditioners, and whole house water filtration systems.

Water Conditioners

If you have hard water in your home, then without a water conditioner or softener, the heavy minerals and sediment build-up in your pipes and appliances are quietly picking your pockets. 

The heavy minerals in “hard water,” such as calcium and magnesium, stick to the inside of your pipes and increase the pressure, making clogs and leaks more likely.

Hard water shortens the lifespans of your water-using appliances and can decrease their performance. It also leaves behind limescale residue on showerheads and faucets.

These inconveniences can be costly when it comes time for repairs or replacements.

With hard water, your clothing deteriorates and fades more quickly, dishwasher spots remain on glassware and cutlery, the shine fades out of fine dishware, and your skin is left feeling dry after a shower.

If you want to free yourself from these hassles, you cannot be without a water softener or conditioner.

water conditioners

What is a water conditioner?

Water conditioners are salt-free water softener systems that do not remove the hard minerals from the water but instead crystalize most of them.

The water conditioning prevents the minerals from sticking to most surfaces and can drastically reduce build-up in pipes and appliances.

Conditioners are also known as “descalers” because not only do they stop scale build-up, but they also remove existing limescale from faucets, pipes, and showerheads.

Conditioned water will help to break down the existing scale as it flows over it.

Conditioned water is also more compatible with soaps and cleaning products, which have a hard time lathering and cleaning in hard water.

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woman shampooing with softened water

What is the difference between a water softener and a water conditioner?

Water conditioners are often called water softeners, but there are significant differences between the two.

Water softeners are defined by removing hard water minerals, thus creating “softened water.”

Water softeners use a process called “ion-exchange.” Resins inside the filter tank attract the heavy minerals and remove them by exchanging their ions for sodium or potassium ions.

Ion-exchange systems require you to replace the salt or potassium routinely, but this can cost as little as ten dollars a month.

Water conditioners, on the other hand, do not remove hard materials. They make them less disruptive by crystalizing them and reducing their ability to stick to anything.

This style of water treatment is often referred to as physical because it will change the physical qualities of the water.

Ion-exchange systems, by contrast, are a type of chemical treatment because they remove the ions themselves and exchange them for sodium or potassium ions, therefore changing the chemical qualities of the water.

Salt-free water conditioner

Salt-based systems are not right for everyone. Water softeners are banned in many cities because the salt can be bad for septic tanks, making salt-free systems the only option for those who live in those areas.

Those who choose water conditioning systems will save a little money each month by not having salt or potassium that needs replacing.

Water conditioners will not remove dishwasher spots or leave your skin and hair feeling silky-soft, but otherwise, conditioned water and softened water yield similar results.

There are some smaller water filters for individual faucets or rooms that also operate without salt, but a whole-house water conditioner that treats every drop of water your home uses is the only solution for your pipes and appliances.

hard water damage to water heater

How does a water conditioner work?

How your water conditioner system works will depend on what kind of system you get. Different types of water conditioners will work in different ways, but in the end, all water conditioners are affecting the hard minerals in a way that reduces their build-up.

You will want to consider all available options before deciding which kind of water conditioner is best for you.

Template-Assisted Crystallization, often shortened to TAC, is the most common option. TAC systems have resin beads that change hard mineral ions into a crystalline form. These microscopic crystals flow through the water without clinging to surfaces.

We use and recommend TAC systems for our customers.

Electrolysis uses a battery to condition hard water—metal electrodes in the water release positive zinc ions, which then release electrons. The electrons move through a wire to a cathode. This type of system only works until the zinc anode dissolves, so it requires monitoring.

Electromagnetism and magnetism systems are subject to debate. There has been little testing on their efficiency, and the few tests that have been done yield only conflicting and inconclusive results.

These systems use magnets to create a magnetic field in the water. Hard mineral ions form clusters that stick to surfaces, but the magnetic field changes the clusters’ shapes, making them less likely to cling.

The only difference between electromagnetism and magnetism is how the magnetic field is controlled. With electromagnets, the magnetic field can be turned on and off with an electric switch.

Electrical Induction systems use an electrical current that “precipitates water hardness,” or separates the hard materials into a solid cluster that will not dissolve or flow through the water. This solid is called an “electrode,” and you may have to clean it out periodically. The precipitation process can also leave a layer of sludge on some surfaces that can be knocked away with fast-flowing water.

Do I need a water conditioner?

The minerals in hard water are not dangerous to ingest, so your health will not be affected by drinking water that has not been softened or conditioned.

It is, however, the health of your pipes and appliances, that suffers from hard water and wastes your money.

If you’d like to protect yourself from costly repairs to your plumbing or wish to avoid the unexpected cost of a new appliance, then a water conditioner may be the best solution for you.

Water conditioners drastically reduce limescale build-up on shower doors, tiles, toilets, and sinks. With reduced scale build-up, you will spend a lot less on cleaning products.

Conditioned water even helps remove the existing scale. Water conditioning systems also extend the lifespans of all your water-using appliances and pipes, saving you money on costly repairs or replacements.

Conditioned water is also more compatible with soaps and detergents, so you could save money by using less of them.

What is the best system for hard water?

Which system is best for you largely depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Both water softeners and water conditioning systems will protect your pipes and appliances, so your decision may come down to what other filtration systems you are using, and if you like the silky-smooth feel of on your skin of salt-based systems.

You may have restrictions on your choices based on your city’s codes; some towns prohibit installing salt-based water softener systems.

Your health concerns may be a factor. If your doctor has recommended against salt intake in your diet, then a salt-based water softener system is not for you. A salt-free water conditioner may be the best choice for such a person, Always consult with your physician. 

Your budget will also be a factor, as well as how much time you can devote to upkeep (salt or potassium-based systems require maintenance).

Both systems will be able to offer you something that the other cannot.

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water softener and whole house filtration system installed in garage

Water Softener vs Water Conditioner

Salt-based softener systems can be harmful to septic tanks, so they are banned in many cities.

Water softeners require more upkeep as the salt or potassium tank must be replenished every month. The controller is also more complex and needs replacement more often.

Water softeners will eliminate dishwasher spots, brighten and soften clothing, and leave your skin feeling silky smooth after bathing.

Water conditioners are unable to eliminate dishwasher spots, brighten clothing, or soften your skin. They are typically more affordable to install, however, and they will not increase the sodium in the water.

Water conditioners can also address biological contaminants in water by breaking biofilm, which water softeners cannot do.

Water conditioners do not requite backwashing the tank resins, which saves a significant amount of water over ion-exchange systems.

water filtration illustration

Are water conditioners worth it?

Without a system to address hard water, your house is suffering, and so is your wallet. Hard water will result in leaky or clogged pipes, deteriorated clothing, and low-functioning water-using appliances.

It is not as compatible with soap, so you will have to use more detergent, body soaps, and dishwasher soaps than you should have to.

You will also be spending more money on bathroom cleaning products to tackle the limescale, and your skin will be much drier, requiring you to buy more lotions.

Water conditioners can provide you the same savings that water softeners do by reducing the risk of leaks in pipes, and extending the lifespans of your water-using appliances.

In addition, water conditioners are cheaper to install and do not require monitoring or upkeep.

You will see a return on your investment more quickly with a water conditioning system.

Most homes need a whole-house water filtration system first and foremost, and then if water tests show you have hard water, or you have a ton of limescale and don’t need a test to know, then you also need a conditioner or softener.

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RT Olson Plumbing. Five-star rated plumbers in Riverside, Corona, Norco, and Eastvale CA. Licensed, bonded, insured. CA Lic #997337.

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RT Olson Plumbing
11550 Orion St
Riverside, CA 92505

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