Plumbing Services & Repair in Austin & Bastrop, TX

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Water Softener FAQs

Water Softener Installation & Repair in Austin & Bastrop

When considering the purchase of a water treatment system, you will certainly have a few questions to ask. Apart from the need to understand which kind of system to choose, it is also necessary to look beyond advertising claims and sales pitches to locate a truly efficient product. Learning more about a water softener system, its function, and its uses will help you make an educated decision.

The following Frequently Asked Questions can assist in answering your questions about water softener systems. To learn more about selecting the correct water softener system, contact the professionals at Austen Plumbing Company today. As expert plumbers, we can determine if your home is an ideal candidate for a water softener, and which system will best suit your needs. Contact us today in Travis County.

How To Determine if You Need a Water Softener System?

If you have hard water, or water that is high in dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium, you can likely benefit from a water softener system. Some questions that you can ask yourself include:

  • Is your water discolored?
  • Does it have a distinct odor or a slightly pungent taste?
  • Do your pipes, dishwashers, and washing machines requiring frequent maintenance due to the build up and scaling of mineral deposits?
  • Do your pipes frequently become clogged with mineral deposits?

If you suspect hard water, contact us at Austen Plumbing Company and we can perform a comprehensive test to determine the composition of your water supply.

How Exactly Does a Water Softener Work?

The typical water softener is a mechanical appliance that is plumbed into your home's water supply system. All water softeners use the same operating principle: they trade the minerals for something else, in most cases sodium. The process is called ion exchange.

Austin & Bastrop Water Softener Installation & Repair Services

The heart of a water softener is a mineral tank. It's filled with small polystyrene beads, also known as resin or zeolite. The beads carry a negative charge.

Calcium and magnesium in water both carry positive charges. This means that these minerals will cling to the beads as the hard water passes through the mineral tank. Sodium ions also have positive charges, albeit not as strong as the charge on the calcium and magnesium. When a very strong brine solution is flushed through a tank that has beads already saturated with calcium and magnesium, the sheer volume of the sodium ions is enough to drive the calcium and magnesium ions off the beads. Water softeners have a separate brine tank that uses common salt to create this brine solution.

In normal operation, hard water moves into the mineral tank and the calcium and magnesium ions move to the beads, replacing sodium ions. The sodium ions go into the water. Once the beads are saturated with calcium and magnesium, the unit enters a 3-phase regenerating cycle. First, the backwash phase reverses water flow to flush dirt out of the tank. In the recharge phase, the concentrated sodium-rich salt solution is carried from the brine tank through the mineral tank. The sodium collects on the beads, replacing the calcium and magnesium, which go down the drain. Once this phase is over, the mineral tank is flushed of excess brine and the brine tank is refilled.

Salt Free “Descaler” vs. Water Softener?

A Salt-free water softener is better known as a descaler. While a descaler doesn't actually "soften" the water (remove dissolved minerals) it does keep them from being deposited on the insides of your pipes, dishwasher, and washing machine. However, where water sits, as in your hot water heater, scale will still form.

A regular water softener runs the water through resin beads where the calcium and magnesium molecules switch places with sodium molecules, leaving the water soft. No scale in your pipes or on your body is left because the mineral that would form it is now gone.

The descaler does not remove the minerals but its electric charge changes the crystal structure so the hard scale does not form as quickly. Places where the water flows freely will not get a build up of scale. However, the water will still be "hard" and places where water sits, such as your hot water heater, will still get a build up of scale.

Water Softeners in Austin & Bastrop, TX

Which Types of Salts are Utilized in Water Softener Units?

Rock Salt
Although it is a cheap salt for use, this naturally occurring mineral contains a large amount of calcium sulfate, a substance that does not dissolve well in water, and it will require homeowners to perform maintenance and clean the water softener more frequently.

Solar Salt
Solar salt is manufactured by the evaporation of seawater that is then formed into a crystal or pellet form. It's much more soluble than rock salt, but the price is also higher due to the way it's produced. Because of its solubility, tanks require less frequent maintenance or cleaning, but users with extremely hard water may find it does not perform as well as other salts.

Evaporated Salt
The most efficient salt choice is evaporated salt. This salt is obtained through a combination of mining and evaporation. As the purest of the three forms, it is the most soluble but also the most expensive. Due to its solubility level, it will leave the least sediment and require less cleaning and maintenance of the water softener tank.

Are there Different Kinds of Water Softener Units?

There are two main types of water softener units. This includes those that are time operated and those that are controlled by your water meter. The latter are more efficient in terms of utilization of the softening salts.

Another difference when comparing water softener units is how the unit is powered. Many modern day water softener units run on waterpower rather than the electricity, which was common several years ago. New water-powered units are more energy efficient.

Call Us Now to Learn More About Water Softener Units

When you need information on water softener units, feel free to consult Austen Plumbing Company. As an authorized dealer and installer of water softeners, we are knowledgeable and competent to handle all of your water softener needs.

Our expert plumbers offer ongoing repairs, maintenance, and service to keep your unit operating flawlessly. Contact us today in Travis County to learn more about our plumbing services.

Services Areas

  • Bastrop County
  • Bastrop
  • Smithville
  • Elgin
  • Travis County
  • Allandale
  • Austin
  • Balcones Woods
  • Barton Creek
  • Barton Hills
  • Cedar Park
  • Circle C Ranch
  • Clarksville
  • Davenport
  • Driftwood
  • Far West
  • Great Hills
  • Hyde Park
  • Northwood
  • Oak Hill
  • Pemberton Heights
  • Rollingwood
  • Shoal Creek
  • Steiner Ranch
  • Tarrytown
  • Travis Heights
  • Westlake
  • Zilker
  • Williamson County
  • Round Rock

Austen K. Smith
Master Plumber
License #M-38347

PHCC Plumbing Company in Austin, TX