If you are troubled by hard water causing havoc in your home, with mineral deposits blocking all your pipes and lime scale ruining your appliances, then you might well be looking at installing a water softener system in your home – but how do you know which type to get?

There are many different kinds of water softeners on the market today, which all do the same job in a slightly different way and the type you get will depend on the size and type of issue you need resolving.

The most commonly used water softener to deal with the entire house, is the ion exchange water softener unit, however, here is a quick rundown of a number of different types of water softener you can purchase:

  1. The Salt-Based Ion Exchange Water Softener

This is the most common type of household water softener. It works by cycling the household water through two water tanks. One of the tanks contains special beads while the other contains brine (salt water). It works by swapping out the ions from the hard minerals of calcium, magnesium and iron, for ions from sodium, which softens the water.

  1. Salt-Free Water Softener Systems

This type of water softener is perfect for anyone worried about sodium intake as it uses a potassium-chloride salt substitute and then works in the same way as the ion-exchange system. This works slightly differently, not by removing the hard minerals from the water, but by preventing them from creating deposits which cause the damage in pipes and appliance so it’s almost a descaling system. These are not considered to be as effective as conventional water softener systems.

  1. The Dual-Tank Water Softener System

Water softener systems need to be recharged regularly, which takes the system off line if you only have one tank. Most systems get round this by regenerating overnight, however, if soft water is required constantly, this can become an issue.

A dual-tank water softener solves this problem by having one tank that regenerates allowing the other to remain in use. This system is particularly good for large families who use a lot of water, or areas where the water is particularly hard.

The bonus of these kinds of dual systems is that they can have smaller tank sizes, which offers more flexibility both in size for your house but also in terms of the price, which you don’t get with a single tank system.

  1. Magnetic Water Softener or Descaler Products

Another slightly controversial choice is the plug-in electronic or magnetic water softener/descaler products. These are clipped to an incoming pipe and emit a magnetic field which changes the properties of the minerals, meaning they are then repelled by the pipes preventing build-up. These do not soften the water and act more as a water conditioning device.

As you can see, there are several different types of water softener system out there so you are bound to find one that suits the space in your house, your water requirements and your budget! Make sure all water softener products meet required safety standards and come with appropriate warranties.