All water softeners are not equal. Many hardware and wholesale units are inefficient due to a one size fits all mentality. They use low grade resin usually 6% crosslinked this usually has a short life span on chlorinated city & county water or iron laden water well water. Other issues are programming that has no variance for rinsing or backwashing. Typical lifespan is just 3-5 years.
The next level of conditioning usually comes from a professional water treatment company. These use a 8% crosslink resin that is more tolerant of chlorine and iron degrading along with more programming for better rinsing and backwashing. These typically last 5-10 yrs.
The next step is a premium grade resin at 10% for high chlorine/ammonia laden water that usually comes from a surface water source. These machines typically offer higher flow rates due to valve design, better efficiency due to upflow brining, custom control settings and a more efficient tank design. These units typical life span is 10-15 yrs with the ability to be rebuilt and start a new life.
Top dog equipment is twin tank systems that use premium resin, tanks and controls and have the ability to clean them-self with the water they produce. This equipments typical lifespan is 15-20 yrs with the ability to be rebuilt for less than replacement.
Average cost for these types of equipment range from as little as $500 to as much as $5000 depending on where you live.
Average cost of water softener in midwest is $1750.00 according to WQA 2013 yearend report.
As you can see here you the consumer has some thought to put into this purchase.
1. How long am I going to live here?
2. How many people in my family now and in the future
3. What is in my water?
4. What flow rate do I need?
5. Who do I call for estimate?
6. What are the qualifications of the person educating me on what is needed?
7. How long will it take to get my investment back.
8. What is the guarantee of the equipment and the company?