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How Do I Choose the Best Shower Head Water Softener?

Some homeowners install a shower filter to help deal with problems related to hard or soft water.
A shower head.
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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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To choose the best shower head water softener, you need to consider three things: the filtering material, the cost, and the design. The best softening systems use a combination of filter types and have a low cost per month. Depending on your needs, the best softener may have additional features, like a removable nozzle, low flow, or an aesthetically pleasing design. You can find shower head water softeners in home improvement stores and through online retailers.

Filtering materials are typically made of carbon, copper, and zinc — known as KDF, chlorgon, and various types of organic material like shells or mineral balls. Usually, a combination of KDF and another material in a shower head water softener removes the most impurities from hard water. The best shower head water softeners have a two step filtration process. In the product details, the percentage of impurities removed by the system is listed so that you can compare the numbers for different brands of filtration systems.

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To calculate the cost of a shower head water softener, you must consider the unit's initial price and the cost of replacement filters. Since filters catch physical particles, it is necessary to change them on a regular basis. Recommended replacement time various from brand to brand but is usually between 3 months and a year or after a specified amount of water has passed through the system. You can find the approximate cost per month over a year by adding the cost of replacements to the original cost of the system and dividing by 12.

There are two basic designs to choose from: all-in-one and cartridge. The all-in-one looks very similar to a traditional shower head while the cartridge typically has a canister that hangs under the shower rod. If the shower is used by tall individuals, be sure to find a shower head water softener that won't be a hindrance. Neither the cartridge nor the all-in-one has a functional advantage over the other, so your decision may be based purely on aesthetics. If you prefer a removable shower head nozzle, some water softener systems do incorporate that feature.

When you consider different designs, be sure to look at the estimated flow. This information is usually found on the packaging or in the item description. In the US, flow is measured in gallons per minute. Lower flow shower heads can save water, but if the flow is too low, you will simply spend more time in the shower to make up for the lack, negating the advantage of the low flow head.

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