Despite the fact that many people think water softeners and water conditioners are the same thing, although there are some similarities, they do perform different functions.
A water softener is a specific type of water improvement system, which is designed to eradicate water hardness and to boost your overall water quality.
On the other hand, a water conditioner will change the quality of the water, but not nearly as comprehensively. This is because, although conditioners alter hard water minerals, they don’t actually get rid of them. So, for instance, they can help to a limited degree with reducing limescale in pipework and household appliances, but that’s as far as it goes.
The thing to remember is that although a water conditioner has the ability to enhance water quality, it will only do so between two fixed points, A and B; A being the point of exit from the said conditioner and B being the point of exit from the outlet, i.e the tap.
The other thing to point out is that conditioned water won’t permanently stay conditioned. It will quite quickly return to an unconditioned state. So, if it is used in conjunction with stored water, i.e. a tank in the loft or a hot water tank, scale will still develop.
In contrast, a water softener is a “belts and braces” solution for fixing hard water and upgrading the supply coming into your property. This is done by removing unwelcome deposits from the water altogether at the point their point of entry.
With a water softener, ion exchange is an integral part of the function, removing or exchanging hard water-causing minerals, like calcium and magnesium ions, and replacing them with sodium ions. The flushing away of these unwanted minerals results in soft water and a marked increase in water quality.
So, a water conditioner is a stop gap solution, whereas a water softener is the real deal as far as delivering consistently high quality, soft water to your property.