El Paso Water Softener FAQs - Expert Answers by Garcia Water Care.

Things to look for when buying a water softner

The facts are that the water from El Paso Water Utilities is HARD, CHLORINATED and FLUORINATED. You want to get a whole home water filtration system to protect your home and your family, but you don’t know what to look for. Here are five important questions you should find the answers to when deciding on a system and company.  Our goal is for this to serve as a guide when picking a water filtration company or a system to install in your home.

What’s the Cost of Owning a Water Treatment system?

Most professional water treatment companies offer home packages ranging anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000 and if a customized solution or installation is needed that price can skyrocket to $15,000! That’s like pretty much buying a car! Water Softeners are a great value, but the cost of ownership is something that is not completely disclosed in many cases at the time of purchase. Maintenance is sometimes not discussed; it’s important to keep in mind that maintenance is needed to keep the system performing. Make sure you get all the details disclosed in regards to when and how much it will cost to change out filters and filtration media. Double-check the information straight on the manufacturer’s website; all reputable manufacturers are pretty clear on the expected lifespan of their filtration systems. Know that all filtration media has a lifespan and it will have to get replaced eventually, the time when depends on how you maintain your system and how much you use it. Some companies will charge you a monthly or annual fee to provide support, others charge a per service call fee, but the best include all service calls for free with your purchase. 

What does the warranty cover and how long is it?

What type of warranty are you getting on that 9 thousand dollar water filtration unit? Some companies offer only 5-7 years on the tank or the digital valve head (control unit on top of the water softener) or sometimes just a 1-year warranty. Has it ever happened to you that your tv decided to break shortly after your warranty expired? Most manufacturers set the warranty just before the expected lifespan of a product. The best water softener warranties will cover everything from the media to the control valve, the main housing tank and the brine tank & float valve, basically everything.

Some vendors claim to offer a “lifetime” warranty on their equipment, and they will back it by something they printed at home. Double check that there is a clear serial number labeled on all equipment and linked up to that piece of paper that is labeled as warranty. 

It’s no mystery that you can find warranties on equipment that has been tested by the Water Quality Association and registered with the EPA. This is normally is a strong indicator that the equipment will work as advertised and is a product you can trust will work. 

What types of whole home water treatment systems are there?

Water softening is meant to help reduce the calcium build-up in your home. You have two options when softening water: salt-free and salt-based softeners. Salt-free water softeners do not remove the calcium or magnesium from your water. They use a chemical reaction to bond those elements together so that they travel through your home without sticking to your plumbing. Water in your water heater will naturally be harder because the chemical reaction that keeps the lime-scale from happening is temporary and with time the water returns to its original state. This is a viable option in places where the water is not excessively hard. This is not a good option in El Paso because we have the highest in the country. 

Salt-based water softeners use ion-exchange technology to remove the minerals that cause lime-scale build up. This option eliminates calcium buildup in plumbing and also helps to remove hard water stains. Soft water helps add life to appliances and water heaters. Whole home units can sometimes take it a step further and soften AND filter your water. Those units that use carbon can filter chlorine, chloramines, and other harmful disinfection byproducts that are common in our city water.

What type of filtration media does that water softener use?

Not all water treatment systems are created equally. Just as you can buy a great automobile from an authorized dealer, you can also buy a cheaper car from some shady guy who doesn’t have any legit paperwork showing the cars history of repairs or maintenance, and chances are it is going to give you nothing but headaches and pains in your wallet.

Certified water treatment equipment will have system details readily available straight from the manufacturer website. Your system should have a manual and information on what kind of filter media is being used in the system, what kind of maintenance it will need, what kind of water quality output is to be expected, what kind of impacts you will notice with water flow/ psi, etc.  Most reputable manufacturers have certifications from the Water Quality Association (WQA) website where systems are tested and approved. On the WQA website, you can search for the exact model of the equipment and ensure that it is of acceptable quality standard and feel the peace of mind knowing that it has been tested and certified. All water softeners should have the ANSI 44 certification for water softening, and other certifications will include NSF, EPA, and WQA Gold Seal certifications. 

How can you get your system maintained in the future?

Maintenance will need to get done. Some systems with a carbon pre-filter have to get the filter replaced periodically depending on the amount of use, sometimes as often as every year. Most softening resins will last anywhere from 5-25 years depending on the quality of the resin. Resin size, strength, and uniform precision are factors in the effectiveness and longevity of the resin. Cheaper resins that can be purchased whole (normally from China) can deteriorate faster and will turn into a “slimy” substance which will not only NOT work but will also eventually seep into your home within a few years, if not maintained. The higher grade resin can last a longer time and take more punishment from chlorine and high PSI water levels coming into your home. Most high-quality whole home water softeners have a carbon media shield that removes chlorine before it reaches the resin where the water gets softened.

Your fridge filter carbon should be changed out every 3-6 months, so how often should the carbon be changed in your home water treatment unit? The answer should come from the manufacturer. Most manufactures put a lifespan on the media based on specific external environment factors. Be in the know. Find out the details and ensure the maintenance is handled correctly. 

 When you invest in a water treatment system for your home you are providing a higher quality of life for you and your family. Water is LIFE. It’s a great investment that will pay itself off with all the great benefits you will receive in owning one.

When deciding on a system keep in mind those 5 questions, so you can be sure that you are making an informed decision.