What is a Water Softener?
A water softener is a device that is used to remove excess minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, from hard water. Hard water can cause a variety of problems such as buildup of limescale in pipes and appliances, and can leave stains on fixtures and clothing. Water softeners work by passing hard water through a resin bed filled with small beads that have a negative charge. The positively charged calcium and magnesium ions in the water are attracted to the beads and exchange places with sodium ions, which are much smaller and do not cause the same scaling issues. The water that exits the softener is referred to as “softened” and will have reduced mineral content.
What is a Water Filtration System?
A Water Filtration System refers to any system or process that is used to filter out particles and pollutants from your water. Anything that removes any amount of sediment, particles, bacteria, and the chlorine taste can be called water filtration. If it has a filter of any type, it’s a filtration system.
What is a Reverse Osmosis System?
Reverse osmosis systems purify water by passing it through a series of filters and membranes. The water is first passed through a particle filter, then an activated carbon filter to remove impurities and chlorine, then through a reverse osmosis membrane, which only allows clean water to pass through. The purified water is then stored in a tank and may go through a final activated carbon filter for taste and smell improvement before use.
What is the difference between water filtration and water softening?
Water filters are known to remove chemicals and contaminants from water. Water softeners, as their name implies, are supposed to remove minerals from the water that cause hardness and scale such as calcium and magnesium.
What is hard water?
Hard water contains high levels of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium, which can cause various problems like soap scum on dishes and lime buildup on bathroom fixtures. It can also lead to mineral buildup in pipes, appliances, and water heaters, reducing water flow and efficiency. Hard water can cause laundry to become stiff and dull, and can lead to dry, itchy skin and lifeless hair.
How does a water softener work?
A water softener uses a medium that exchanges ions of calcium and magnesium with sodium or potassium. It goes through four steps: ion replacement, regeneration, backwash, and rinsing. The resin beads are covered with sodium or potassium ions and as the water flows, ions swap places. Once the beads are full of calcium and magnesium, the regeneration process starts. The beads are flooded with a brine solution to regain sodium or potassium ions, and the calcium and magnesium, dirt and sediments are flushed out in a process called backwash. The final phase is the rinsing of the mineral tank with fresh water. Automatic water softeners are usually programmed to recharge at specific times and metered models only regenerate when required. It is more water-efficient to have a metered model that will regenerate only when required.
Will softened water affect my lawn or garden?
Utilizing soft water for outdoor lawns and gardens is not only wasteful, but in some cases it can also delay the growth of plants and grass. This is due to the sodium content in some types of treated water, which can negatively impact soil and plants in regions with limited rainfall. These areas are particularly vulnerable to this issue as rainwater is not enough to rinse away the build-up of sodium. For this reason, it’s advisable to consult us regarding a bypass option for your lawn and garden.
What impurities does a Reverse Osmosis System remove?
Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane that contains very tiny pores that allows water to flow through. These pores do not allow natural minerals, salts and other organic compounds whose molecule compounds are larger than water to pass through. Therefore, reverse osmosis (RO) is no doubt an effective way of removing many impurities from water, such as lead, asbestos, dissolved organics, radium and other deadly heavy metals. Reverse osmosis also removes heavyweight volatile organic compounds and chlorinated pesticides.
Do I have to drill a hole in my countertop for the RO faucet?
Yes, we will need to drill a hole in your countertop to install a separate faucet.
A great feature of an under-sink Reverse Osmosis water filtration system is that it comes with its own faucet. Your regular kitchen sink faucet can be used for washing dishes and cleaning while the separately installed RO faucet can be used for drinking water, cooking with purified water, and rinsing glasses clean.
If the soap dispenser or spray hose holes are not in daily use, those can potentially be used for the RO faucet.
The RO faucet requires a hole size on the sink (or countertop) that is at least 1/2 inch in diameter.
Where does a Reverse Osmosis System get installed?
Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are installed in a home’s kitchen, typically under the sink.
How often do I need to change the filters for my Reverse Osmosis System?
We recommend that the filter for each stage be changed once per year, except for the membrane, which only needs to be changed every 3-5 years, depending on the water quality.
What’s the difference between the whole home system and the drinking system?
A Reverse Osmosis drinking water system treats the water you drink and cook with, while a Whole Home system treats the water you use for laundry, bathing and cleaning. A Whole Home system will protect you from absorbing chemicals while showering and will protect your home’s plumbing system and fixtures from scaling. The drinking water system is specifically designed for drinking water, cooking, making coffee and tea, ice, etc.
How long does it take to install?
Typically takes 1-2 hours for drinking water systems and 3-4 hours for softeners, whole home and specialty filters.
Do I need to get my water tested?
If you are on municipal (city) water, there is no need for us to test the water as this is all public information. We know city water has chlorine, chloramines, pharmaceuticals, fluoride and other contaminants. Hardness and sediments may slightly vary. For those on well water, we definitely recommend getting your water tested as this water isn’t being treated or monitored.
When should I add salt?
All water softeners are designed to use salt to regenerate the system. For proper operation of a water softener, the brine tank should be at least 1/3 full of salt at all times.
What if the power goes out?
Your unit is equipped with a battery backup system. In the event of a power outage, the control valve will remember all settings and time of day. For an outage over long hours, the only item that needs to be reset is the time of day, which will flash when a reset is required. All other settings are permanently stored in the nonvolatile memory.
What type of salt should I use?
All salt, regardless of its source, may contain insoluble matter, which accumulates at the bottom of the brine tank and requires periodic cleaning. If pellet or rock salt is used, you should clean out your brine tank at least once a year. If solar salt is used, the brine tank will require less frequent cleaning. However, you should periodically check for salt bridging*. For our Water Softeners we recommend the use of Windsor Clean & Protect Water Softener Salt Pellets for best results.
*Salt bridging occurs when a gap is formed between the salt and the water preventing the salt from dissolving in the water and making brine. The effects of high humidity as well as the use of some brands of purified salt products may cause bridging.
What’s in my water?
Municipal water systems may meet certain regulations for safety, but it may not necessarily be of the best quality. The use of chlorine and chloramines, which are added to disinfect water, can leave behind unwanted by-products that result in a bad taste and odour. These chemicals can also cause damage to appliances and plumbing, as well as drying out skin and hair, and causing fading of clothes. A whole-house water filtration system can eliminate these contaminants and provide clean, pure water for all household needs including drinking, cooking, bathing, and laundry. Not only will you notice an improvement in taste and smell, but also the life of your appliances and plumbing will be extended. If you’re concerned about the water quality in your home, this system can provide peace of mind that you and your family are receiving the purest water possible.
How much electricity does an Alka Water Softener consume?
An Alka Water Softener uses about the same amount of electricity as a standard alarm clock.
How much water does an Alka Water Softener use to regenerate?
An Alka Water Softener uses about the same amount of water as doing 1 load of laundry.
How much water should be standing in the salt storage tank?
It is normal to have 5 to 10 inches of water at the bottom of the salt storage tank.
What does Grain Capacity mean?
Grain Capacity is the maximum number of water hardness grains per gallon that the unit can remove before it automatically regenerates. For example: if your family uses 400 gallons of water per day and you have 10 grain per gallon hard water, you would need 4,000 grains of water softener capacity per day (400 gallons x 10 grain hard water).
What does Demand Regeneration mean?
Demand Regeneration monitors your water usage and only regenerates as needed. While if you have visitors over and use more water than usual, it will regenerate more often. All our Water Softeners have Demand Regeneration to maximize water efficiency.
How do I know what my water hardness is?
If you get your water from the city or municipality, they can provide your water hardness level and this information can be found online as it is all public information. If you get your water from a private well, you will need to get your well tested for hardness and iron levels/types.
What is required for the location where I install the Alka Water Softener?
The ideal location for your Alka Water Softener should be near the incoming water line, with a standard electrical outlet and drain nearby. The water softener will need a clean, level spot to sit. If the floor is uneven, it can be levelled with a piece of plywood and shims underneath the plywood to level the surface. We recommend plumbing the water softener such that all the hot and cold water in the home is softened. Water to the outside spigots can be left unsoftened.
What payment options are available?
At Alka Water, we understand that every household has different financial considerations, and we strive to accommodate your unique needs. That’s why we offer a variety of payment options to suit your needs. You can finance your purchase from us with monthly payments (up to 144 month term), or pay in full with cash, cheque or an e-transfer. With minimal upfront cost and flexible payment options, our team will assist you in finding a payment plan that fits your budget, allowing you to get the water treatment or filtration your home requires without delay. No matter what your budget or water treatment requirements may be, we can help you find a solution that fits your needs and budget.
Is your water safe to drink?
Not all water is safe to drink. We can do a free water consultation. Get in touch now!
Does your skin feel dry?
Did you know dry skin is related to hard water? Visit our Solution Center to see all the issues caused by non filtered water.