TYPES OF SOFTENERS
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Systems
These systems exchange sodium ions for calcium and magnesium. They add small amounts sodium to the water, but at levels that are generally not a health issue for most people, however, the softener may be connected to just the hot water influent, if preferred. These systems require frequent additions of salt (one 50 pound bag lasts about 2 to 4 weeks), but otherwise require minimal maintenance.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
These systems use membranes to filter minerals and other contaminants from water. They remove calcium and magnesium as well as chlorine and other possible substances in water and they do not add sodium. Generally, RO systems require more maintenance than ion exchange systems and some vendors offer a maintenance program to simplify the process for owners.
These systems apply an electromagnetic charge to incoming water which causes the water molecules to behave differently. In essence, the water acts as if it were soft water even though no change in mineral concentration has occurred. These systems are relatively new to the market, but they reportedly require very little maintenance.
There are a number of commercial entities that are in the business of selling water treatment products. As such, they often claim that water from your local water system is unsatisfactory. All consumers should know that Anaheim tap water (and water from any reputable water utility) is perfectly safe to drink. In fact, Anaheim’s water meets all State and Federal standards established for human health. Any inferences that Anaheim tap water is unsafe, particularly from a water treatment vendor, should be taken as a sales ploy and not as fact. Anaheim Public Utilities does not endorse any water treatment method, product or vender. If you use a home water treatment system, you should ensure that it is both energy and water efficient.
Information for Aquarium Owners - http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-tapwater.html#tap-water
Information on Water Treatment Systems - http://www.wqa.org
Updated November 17, 2014