Water Softener FAQs: Common Water Softening Questions Answered

Did you know that hard water problems exist in 85% of homes nationwide? With those odds, especially if you’re living in Minnesota or Wisconsin, it’s very possible that your home is one of them. Fortunately, a water softener system offers a simple solution.

If you are one of the many people who have considered purchasing a water softener for your home, here are some commonly asked questions you might be looking for an answer to.

Q: What is a water softener?

A water softener is a device that removes unwanted, and potentially harmful, minerals (ex: calcium, magnesium, etc) that cause hardness in your home’s water. In order to soften water, a salt solution, or brine, is used to perform a “scientific swap” between the salt and hardness minerals present in the water in your home.

Q: How is water softening beneficial?

Hard water can dry out your skin and hair, cause water spots to appear on freshly cleaned glassware, and cause calcium and limestone buildups within your plumbing system that lead to potentially damaging clogs and low water pressure. In short, choosing to condition the hard water in your home can make cleaning, showering, and appliance shopping a whole lot easier and less stressful!

Read More:
The Benefits of Water Softening

Q: How do you know if you have hard water?

Is your laundry stiff and scratchy?
Does your skin feel dry?
Is your water bill unusually high?
Are your tub and sinks full of rust rings and scale buildup?

If you answered yes to any of these questions there is a good chance you are dealing with hard water in your home. To be sure, schedule a free in-home water analysis with Aquarius Water Conditioning.

Read More:
How to Test for Hard Water
Hard Water v. Soft Water

Q: What is the difference between salt water softeners & salt-free water softeners?

While some hard water symptoms will be alleviated by salt-free water softeners, the minerals causing the hardness aren’t actually removed, just restructured. Using a method called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC), salt-free water softeners charge the minerals with electricity, transforming them into crystals that cannot bind to surfaces. Salt Softeners can be more expensive upfront and do require more maintenance than salt-free water softeners. However, salt-free softeners are not actually removing the hard minerals from your water, which means they are not as effective.

Read More:
The Difference Between Salt Water Softeners & Salt-Free Water Softeners

Q: What are the benefits of a saltwater softener?

With a salt-powered system, you’ll enjoy completely mineral-free water — which means softer linens, hydrated hair and skin, and less stress on your appliances. Also, salt-powered water softeners use about as much electricity as a digital alarm clock. Saltless, electric water softeners on the other hand use a lot more.

Read More:
Reasons to Choose a Salt Powered Water Softener

Q: Do all water softeners use the same salt?

No! Not every water conditioning system utilizes the same salt. You’ll want to make sure you know whether you need block salt or granules. Don’t immediately grab the cheapest bag you can find either! There are different quality levels to choose from, and in most cases, the higher the quality, the better the water. Depending on how hard your water is, you may need a higher quality salt, to begin with.

Read More:
The 4 Worst Things You Can Do to Your Water Softener

Q: How do you know what size water softener you need?

As a general rule, multiply the number of people in your home by 80, the average number of gallons of water a person uses per day. Then, multiply that number by the grains of hardness detected in your water after you have it tested. This will tell you which grain capacity to look for.

Q: What does “grain capacity” refer to?

Pay close attention to this rating when selecting your water softener. “Grain capacity,” refers to the maximum number of grains of water hardness it will be able to remove before having to regenerate. A higher grain capacity rating means your water softener will be more energy efficient!

Q: How much water do water softeners need to regenerate?

Typically, regeneration uses about as much water as it takes to wash a load of laundry. That’s why choosing a system with the right grain capacity rating is so important. The less your water softening system needs to recharge, the less water you’ll waste.

Q: How does water softener regeneration work?

In short, your water softener will need to regenerate itself once it has gone through a full water softening cycle. The resin beads that attract and remove the harsh minerals will need to be rinsed and reset to handle the next round. Once the minerals are drained from the machine, your system is ready to soften water all over again.

Read more:
How Water Softeners Work

Q: Why are water softeners better for your skin?

The minerals that exist in hard water absorb the skin’s natural oils, breaking down the skin’s natural barrier. Constantly using hard water will lead to dry skin, and can also lead to other types of skin conditions, like eczema. Once hard water is conditioned (softened), all of the harmful minerals won’t be able to damage your skin and hair. Softening water also helps to prevent soap scum, which can clog your pores and leave a scummy residue on your skin and hair.

Read More:
Why Water Softeners Are Good For Your Skin

Q: How do water softeners save you money?

By installing a water softener, you are taking preventative measures to eliminate hard water at the source, along with all of the maintenance issues that come with it later down the road. Hard water can add unreasonable wear and tear to all of your water using appliances and plumbing systems. Your appliances use more energy when they are required to work overtime, causing energy bills to increase. Additionally, water softeners are considered a valuable upgrade to your home. A water softener can easily add upwards of $10,000 in equity to the value of your home once it is installed.

Read More:
Big Ways Water Softeners Make You Money

Q: Does my water softener need service?

Is your salt water softener not using a normal amount of salt?
Is your water pressure dropping significantly?
Does your water softener sound like it’s constantly running?

All of these are signs that your water softener may be in distress and needs maintenance.

Read More:
5 Signs Your Water Softener Needs Service

Q: What is a prefilter?

A prefilter is just as it sounds — a filter that your water runs through before it enters your water softening system. Depending on your water issues, a prefilter may be required, or at least recommended by your water treatment professional, in order to best correct your hard water issues.

Q: Do I need a prefilter for my water softener?

Many times, a prefilter is suggested along with a water softening system, especially if the system will be meant to soften water for the whole house. They’re not meant to assist the water softening process per se, but more to assist with conditioning your water overall. That way, your water arrives at your faucet not only soft, but clean and clear of any residual sediment as well. That being said, here’s a list of common signs a prefilter would be beneficial for your home’s softening system:

Hazy or Cloudy Water
Sediment or Sand Present
Dark Red Staining

Q: Is your home ready for a water softener?

While you might be mentally prepared to embrace all the fantastic benefits of a new water softener, your home may not be physically ready for the new addition. Do you have a spot picked out? Is it close to your water main? Is there an electrical outlet available? Is there a drain easily accessible? All of these things are important to consider when installing a water softener.

Read More:
Is Your Home Ready for Water Softening?

Q: What to consider when selecting a water softener?

Do you require a salt water softener or a salt-free option? What’s the current hardness of your water? What kind of warranty is included? These are all great questions to ask a professional.

Read More:
Selecting a Water Softener

Q: Can a water softener remove iron contamination in your water?

Most ferrous iron can be taken out by a water softener. However, over time, the iron will plug up the softener, forcing you to clean out the system by backwashing the resin. If the water hardness is low and the iron content is high, or if the water system allows contact with air, such as occurs in an air-charged “galvanized” pressure tank, a softener will not work well.

Read More:
What You Need to Know About Iron Filtration in Minnesota

Q: Why Choose a Kinetico Water Softener?

Aquarius Water Conditioning is an authorized Kinetico dealer. Kinetico water softeners system are designed to give you the best possible water 24/7 while using no electricity at all. With Kinetico’s patented non-electric valve and on-demand regeneration, you’ll have an unlimited supply of perfectly soft water. Also, with the best water softener warranties available, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made a great decision.

Read More:
Kinetico Water Softening Systems
Kinetico Water Softening Warranties

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Don’t fret! The water softener experts at Aquarius Water Conditioning are easily available to answer every question left on your list. For more information about our home water softeners and the water softening process, call us at 888-741-9025 or schedule a free quote and in-home water analysis today!

Debra Larsen
Debra Larsen
1718674439
Wow!! Talk about over and above in customer service! As a homeowner I highly recommend Aquarius. They were incredibly thorough and also took the time to do “extras” for me that I didn’t expect. They found and fixed problems that other companies would have walked away from. I have owned my home for 28 years and I am thrilled and just blown away by the level of excellence and customer service I received. I am going to use Aquarius for absolutely everything. Everything. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Alan Wetzel
Alan Wetzel
1718657730
Micah was thorough, efficient, and explained things while servicing the water heater. Also he is a pleasant person to be with during the service call.
Ben Nelson
Ben Nelson
1718647531
Great experience. Thanks for getting our A/C back on so quickly.
Terry Bilse -Kraft
Terry Bilse -Kraft
1718637426
Mike was very professional, polite and did a very good job of letting me know the condition of our AC unit.
Cherie. Skildum
Cherie. Skildum
1718633975
While the plumber was the nicest guy, I truly felt that the service was very slow. Installing 2 faucets and a shower head and simple control should never take 4 1/2 hours!! And our plumbing was up to code! A pretty big bill for a little work.
Chuck
Chuck
1718544944
Nick is awesome…figured out the recurring issue instantly. I can’t thank him enough for getting us up and running promptly and efficiently. Super positive attitude even after a long day, would request him for any future work.
Bill Sherck
Bill Sherck
1718471827
AC not working and Nicholas got to us on the weekend and problem-solved the blown fuses. No charge as warranty work. Professional. Thank goodness before excessive heat warbing! Thanks Aquarius!
Pat Alexander
Pat Alexander
1718405710
The most thorough AC check up I have EVER had in the 18 years I have owned my house. And I get AC and furnace check up done EVERY year.
Ileana Essig
Ileana Essig
1718398249
Ethan was friendly and very informative. When he arrived, I made it clear that I was not interested in additional services, just the tuneup/inspection of my HVAC system. He went over the results and answered my questions with thorough explanations without trying to upsell me via a list of ’recommendations’, which I sincerely appreciated.
Richard Pierson
Richard Pierson
1718388233
Michael Brandt
Michael Brandt
1718382329
Nick and Marcus were knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. Great service call.
Nathan McCauley
Nathan McCauley
1718325023
Ethan did a great job servicing our A/C unit and went above and beyond the call of duty by removing the mice that had taken up residence in the unit.Thank you.
LA Paul
LA Paul
1718317846
Nicholas and Marcus went over everything in detail and explained what should be prioritized. Even tolerated the cat that wanted to supervise their work. Great employees for Aquarius, always responsive and professional. Ended up scheduling another appointment for some electrical repair. Great company to work with.
John Stiehl
John Stiehl
1718316855
Anson MacFarlane
Anson MacFarlane
1718314204
Great service!
Joel DeMarais
Joel DeMarais
1718222835
Completely satisfied with the work Chris, Nick and Matt did installing a new Furnace and A/C system. They were very thorough, courteous and professional!
Ted ALLISON
Ted ALLISON
1718216675
Raymond Cruz
Raymond Cruz
1718192723
RayVery satisfied and impressed!Thanks to Travis, David, Adam & EricFriendly, professional and knowledgeableThey arrived explained what was going to happen and kept me updated on the process.Answered my many questions.As they finished cleaning everything up. They again insured that I had no other questions before leaving.GREAT JOB!!
Patty George
Patty George
1718150859
Brandon was great! He gave great advice, had attention to details, was helpful and trustworthy. I love that I can be in a service program with Aquarius to help me remember the updates and cleanings during the year, especially when I have too many things to remember to do. ☺️
Bryce Chu
Bryce Chu
1718148665
Nick and his partner were incredibly thorough in their inspection of my AC and furnace unit. They clearly pointed out areas of concern as well as what working properly both inside and outside. They presented clear options for repair or intervention. I felt was given all the information I needed and had all my questions answered in simple direct language that most laymen unfamiliar with jargon could understand. Highly recommend.
Dale and Carol Tilden
Dale and Carol Tilden
1718131763
Aquarius takes excellent care of my water softening and heating as well as my furnace and air conditioning systems. Also just had a new electric panel installed (needed updating).
Debra Klejeski
Debra Klejeski
1718055650
Jon answered our questions and explained everything on the checklist. He was very professional and courteous!
Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
1718055086
Wally Lee
Wally Lee
1718044949
Brandon did a great job for us with our A/C general maintenance check. Very knowledgeable, and was professional and efficient.
Joe Capistrant
Joe Capistrant
1718042522
Nate is wonderful. Knows his stuff. Resolved a troublesome problem. Very pleasant, enjoyable fellow.
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
1718034743
Brandon was exceptional. Professional. Knowledgeable. Efficient. Kind. Caring. Remembers the client from previous visits. An excellent example of what Customer Service should be to keep customers coming back.
Gary Smith
Gary Smith
1718030176
Excellent technician. Nick is an outstanding young man and very knowledgeable. I felt like he was giving me an honest assessment of my system.
mary bond
mary bond
1717801266
Our water heater went out on Fri evening. We called Aquarius early Sat morning and they said earliest they could get out was Mon. On Sun I received a text confirming our Mon appointment but on Mon morning they called and said the earliest they could get to us was the following week !We should be without hot water till then ? We are not a new customer…. 5 months previously we had a new furnace and air conditioner installed at quite an expense. I am appalled at their service or rather lack there of ! As an established customer they felt waiting approximately 10days without water was acceptable Bad, Bad, Bad !Two weeks later…The air conditioner Aquarius installed in Dec failed to cool when we turned it on on our 1st warm days. After the poor experience I had had with them I didn’t want to deal with them again but since it was under warranty I had to. We were told we would have a technician out Wed morning. After waiting at home all day they called and canceled at 4pm. We were rescheduled for Fri morning. We had several calls during the day with updates At 5:22 pm we received a cal the tech would be here at 6pm. We cancelled our dinner reservation and are awaiting his arrival.I realize our air conditioning is not an emergency but we have spent 2days waiting for our scheduled service. This is in addition to the 10days they wanted us to wait for a new water heater(which I do think is an emergency) I feel bad for the tech who I’m sure has had a long day and must now come at 6 on a Fri evening. Once again I repeat Aquarius has failed us again !!
Todd Schull
Todd Schull
1717795955
Riley was the tech that performed our membership maintenance check-up. He did an outstanding job explaining what was included in the maintenance check-up. After his inspection, he was very detailed, using pictures, to help describe what he found and he made recommendations on what should be addressed now and what could wait until our next membership maintenance check-up. He was very thorough doing the repairs, cleaning impeccably both our furnace and air conditioner. We are going to request Riley for all our member maintenance check-ups going forward.
Gary Winkel
Gary Winkel
1717786300
John Keller
John Keller
1717778469
Gordy replaced my lawn faucet once it was clear that it could not be repaired. He explained the problem and the process to fix it in a clear and professional manner. The cost were what I expected for such a job.
Robert McDivitt
Robert McDivitt
1717771730
Great service from Ethan. Very helpful and professional.
Frank Potocnik
Frank Potocnik
1717721504
Service Tech Nick was great. Thank you
Anthony Mielzarek
Anthony Mielzarek
1717713912
Riley is always a professional when coming to the house for HVAC services. He is always a pleasure to deal with! Even my dogs like him!
Nancy Anderson
Nancy Anderson
1717632583
Our thermostat was not working properly. Called Aquarius & they contacted , Nick Sarinske. He arrived soon after & was able to figure out what the problem was. He explained the problem & the solution very thoroughly. Great service🙂
david e brown
david e brown
1717628659
Friendly. Fast. Great staff
Sue Austin
Sue Austin
1717607256
Chris Becker
Chris Becker
1717547200
Nick stayed until my AC problem was fixed and verified it worked, even stuck around as we were hit by a rainstorm. Very impressed. Thank you, Nick, for going the extra mile to check (and replace!) that capacitor, educate me a bit on the AC unit itself, and making sure it worked before leaving!
Lloyd Lindenfelser
Lloyd Lindenfelser
1717540351
Very knowledgeable and helpful!Received prompt estimate for repairs. Thanks, Paul
kay Linsmeier
kay Linsmeier
1717527233
Tried to take advantage of me, because I am old. Tried charging me $2100 to replace a part on unit that costs $800, per other estimates, very disappointing.
Jim Muehlbauer
Jim Muehlbauer
1717523996
Guys were on time, and did an excellent job. They explained everything to our satisfaction, Great job!
Will Determan
Will Determan
1717518929
Nick was over the top wonderful to work with, highly efficient troubleshooter, and a proper gentleman! Highly recommend!!
T.R Hinrichs
T.R Hinrichs
1717453461
Great friendly service!
barry spotts
barry spotts
1717448139
Very knowlegable
Greg Benson
Greg Benson
1717440410
Serviced our soft water system, very professional
Gary Fritz
Gary Fritz
1717427584
Brent was on time, friendly, courteous, and efficient in his work. And left no trace. Very clear as well when discussing services rendered and needs I should keep in mind.
Julie A. Stoner
Julie A. Stoner
1717261784
This was the first time we used Aquarius Service. We were really impressed! 👍 Our Technician's name was Casey Ogilvie. He was very Professional.😊 Always explained everything he was doing & was able to resolve the problem, right away & was very well informed about the task @ hand. No complaints! Seems like a really nice guy.🙂Thanks, again, Casey, for a job well done! ✅ May/2024.
Doug Hicks
Doug Hicks
1717256807
Very professional.
Hager Studios
Hager Studios
1717163166
Friendly, knowledgeable techs, good install on my furnace and heat pump. Overall a very positive experience.
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