We have two types of water, the hard water which contains mainly calcium and magnesium, some bicarbonates and sulfates, and the soft water which has little or none of the mentioned mineral contents. To transform hard water into soft water, we reduce its mineral content through a process with the aid of water softener.
It is assumed that if you want your water to become soft, that you have tested first for the hardness of your present water supply. If you have hard water, you will notice that your washed clothes are a little harsh, while clothes washed with soft water, you will have a softer and cleaner clothing, less use of shampoos and household cleaning detergents and longer appliance use life.
It is important to know which water softener is better fit to your household needs, and to do this, compare the output of the equipment you are reviewing to that of the daily needs in your household. You will have to determine if you want an equipment that is fully manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic, where the difference lie in opening and closing the valves yourself for manual equipment and where the machine will initiate itself in its recharging cycle for the fully automatic. Thus, where the water is salt-based, a fully automatic equipment will be set manually by the operator of its timer and then add the salt, and the machine will function by itself.
A review of some matters is also important, from whether the water needs pretreatment to remove iron and manganese, to the review of the full cost of installation, the review of your needs to fit to the features of the manufacturer, and to see if the equipment is rated by some reputable organization. You have to consider too where you will position your water softener, how often you change the salts, and what is its maintenance routine.
You have to consider that you will be involved in the operation and maintenance of your water softener system. Thus, it would still be necessary that you restock the salt supply for the brine solution, even if you chose to get a fully automatic water softener. Be aware that you have to clean the brine tank periodically, and know that the frequency of your cleaning the tank will rely on the quantity of salt you placed and how pure it was.
The fact that there are numerous brands sold in the market today, you will have then to make your own research, like going through online sites, and read each of their reviews, their prices, their performance ratings, and the method each will be installed.