Water Softener FAQs

Whether or not you need a water softener depends a lot on where you live. Certain regions have particularly high levels of hard water. Water hardness is measured by grains (of mineral) per gallon (GPG), or by parts per million of mineral (PPM). One GPG equals 17.1 PPM. Water with up to 3.5 GPG can still be considered soft for many homeowners. Water with more than 10.5 GPG is considered very hard.


Not sure of the GPG of your water? Request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a Home Comfort Advisor and you’ll receive a free water analysis. Request an appointment today.

If you notice any of the following, you may have a hard water problem:


  • Soap scum on your hands and hair, sinks, bathtubs and shower doors
  • Scale build-up on plumbing fixtures and pipes, water heater, dishwasher, humidifier, coffeemaker and other water-consuming appliances
  • Spots on silverware, glassware and mirrors
  • Soaps, shampoos and detergents that don’t lather the way they should
  • Bright colour fabrics get dulled quickly


There are also other effects of hard water that you may not notice immediately, such as shortened lifespans of water-consuming appliances like dishwashers.

There are at least 4 reasons to get a water softener:


  1. You live in what is considered a hard water area
  2. You could reduce the amount of soap needed to create a lather
  3. You could maintain plumbing fixture appearance and function
  4. You could enjoy the feel of softened water when washing and taking a shower

Hard water occurs naturally when water flowing in rivers, streams and even through underground channels comes in contact with the rock in the Earth’s crust. Hard water is not harmful to your health but can create mineral deposits in your plumbing, water heater and other water-using appliances, possibly shortening their lifespans.

The water softener passes the hard water through resin beads which have soft sodium or potassium ions attached. When the water comes in contact with these beads, an ion exchange takes place with mineral ions in hard water – essentially the two sets of ions trade places!

Water softeners are not water purifiers, so they do not affect the quality of your water. Only certain minerals that cause water to be hard are removed during the water softening process.

Newer models like our advanced water softener systems, use far less salt than most people think. The estimate is about one large bag of water softener salt per adult, per year.

Although salt is used to soften water, you won’t necessarily have salty-tasting water. Many people with water softeners drink and cook with softened water without noticing any difference in taste to distilled water. However, if you prefer the taste and texture of distilled water, you could consider adding a drinking water treatment unit to your water softener. A Home Comfort Advisor can help you choose the right one for your needs.

By renting with us, you never have to worry about your water softener’s lifespan or potential breakdowns. That’s because we will service and replace the unit (if necessary) for no extra charge.**

Surprisingly, no! Simply keep one or two bags of salt in the salt tank and always keep it plugged in. Newer models have self-charging capacitors, so in the case of a power failure the memory and program will remain intact. You should never clean out your salt tank, as this may introduce air into your system which, although easy to fix, is just a make work project. Let the salt level go down, and all the water and salt will exchange, keeping your tank clean in the process.

Our number one service call is related to salt, not to the softener itself. Keep your salt level below the halfway mark to avoid what’s called ‘bridging’. Check your salt level every three months or so. If the salt in the tank becomes a solid block, it will not dissolve and so it cannot recharge your water softener resin.

Do you have a private well with iron issues? Your water softener may take out trace iron, but an iron filter will do a much better job. It will also protect your water softener from damage caused by iron in the resin bed. It’s easy to test the level of iron in your water with a small water sample.

Typically, your water softener will use three to four square feet, but we offer two different models: compact cabinet and dual cabinet. The dual cabinet allows for more versatility in setup as it requires a smaller footprint.

Many homeowners simply don’t want to own their water softener systems, or deal with the hassles and costs of repairs. By renting with Reliance Home Comfort™, you enjoy the following benefits:


  • No upfront equipment costs – we provide water softener installation at no cost to our rental customers**
  • No charges for repairs – Reliance rental customers have the peace of mind of knowing they will not be charged for water softener repairs**
  • Priority Service – One telephone number to call, 24 hours-a-day 365 days a year
  • No charge replacements – if your rental water softener cannot be repaired, we’ll replace it at no charge!**
  • Convenient payment options – monthly or quarterly pre-authorized payments, paper bill, Internet and telephone banking, and electronic billing


Call us today and you can get a water softener for only $28.99 a month*. Already a Reliance customer? Rent for just $24.99 a month*!

* OAC. Subject to standard terms and conditions. This promotion is only available on the following water softeners: 10 single cabinet (P# 940660) and 10 twin cabinet (P# 940661). Monthly water softener rental payment is $28.99 at 12.5% APR for 84 months with $0 down payment, plus applicable taxes for the single cabinet. Monthly rental payment is $28.99 at 13.5% APR for 84 months with $0 down payment, plus applicable taxes for the twin cabinet. Monthly water softener rental payment for existing Reliance customers is $24.99 at 13.5% APR for 84 months with $0 down payment, plus applicable taxes for the single or twin cabinet.
** Subject to standard Reliance rental terms and conditions.