FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

As water professionals, with over 20 plus years of combined experience, here are some of the most common questions we get asked:

Q- What does a Water Softener do?

A water softener “softens” a homes water by capturing hard minerals, most commonly calcium and magnesium, before the water flows through your home. This makes it easier to clean your home and laundry, keeps pipes from clogging and corroding, is gentler on your families skin and hair, prolongs the life of water using appliances and saves you money on your water bill, repairs and cleaning products over the life of the softener.

Q- How hard is Wichita water?

Each water source tests differently, but Wichita municipal water tests around 10-12 grains per gallon, with many of the surrounding areas testing evening higher, especially if on a private well. Anything over 7 gpg is considered hard water, anything over 10 GPG is considered very hard.

Q- Does a water softener actually add salt to your water?

Water softeners actually do not add any salt to your water. The water softening process breaks down the salt to use its sodium. A special media stored in a mineral tank makes this process possible. That media is charged with sodium ions, which replace the hard minerals in your water.

Q- Why does my skin feel slippery after showering with soft water from a water softener?

If you’ve been using hard water your entire life, the first time that you take a bath or a shower in newly softened water: It feels different than hard water. Compared to hard water, soft water creates a different sensation on your skin, one that’s often described as “slippery”. That is because people are used to using hard water, which makes soap scum cling to your skin and can actually make it more difficult to get clean off. The excess residue left on your skin clogs pores and drys out your skin and hair. When cleaning with soft water, your skin won’t dry out because it allows your soaps and shampoos to rinse thoroughly off of your skin and hair. Since hardness minerals are essentially pieces of rock, rubbing your fingers together under a stream of soft water without the abrasive materials in hard water will have less friction. This is what clean feels like!

Q- Do I need a Reverse Osmosis System for my Drinking Water if I already have a Water Softener?

Many people who install a water softener also elect to install an under-sink reverse osmosis system in the kitchen, saving time and money on buying expensive and environmentally unfriendly bottled water. A softener and an R.O. system are a great combination because while the softener will give you soft water throughout the entire home by removing minerals that make your water hard, an RO system will give your household outstanding drinking water by removing most impurities (including hydrocarbons, sulfates, cadmium, pesticides and more). The membrane in the system is what removes this and purifies the water to bottled water quality. RO removes 90%-98% of the total dissolved solids in the water.

Q- How do your products compare to your big-name competitors and where do they come from?

Our products are just as good of quality as any of the large corporate competitors with the same or better warranty on most products. We have the same size of water softener capabilities. However, all our equipment is made here in the USA. Most of our competitor’s equipment comes from China then is shipped to all the national dealers. Also, with Midwest Smart Water we don’t have all the big corporate overhead, so our prices are considerably lower than the competition (often 40%-50% on some equipment), plus we are 100% local & family owned. We will beat any full-service residential water company’s written quote.

Q- Why wouldn’t I just buy a water softener from the big box store?

Those water softeners are what’s called a cabinet unit. The resin tank is put inside the salt tank as one unit. This design has many flaws and causes these units to start malfunctioning or quit working all together as soon as a couple years. They cost anywhere from $500-$900 then you must pay for install which can cost anywhere from $500-$1000. The warranty on these units is extremely limited. When you have issues or need service you will also have issues finding someone to work on it because the big box store subcontracts the work and won’t work on it. The salt fumes with the wet salt sitting underneath the electronics of the control also causes major issues with corrosion very quickly. They also recommend pellet salt for those units which can stick together causing there to be a brick of salt in the tank. We have seen this be so hard that you must throw the entire unit away and start over because of the design. They pack the resin tank all the way full of resin in the short tank that’s put inside the salt tank, this causes issues when the unit regenerates as well. Overall, don’t buy a cabinet water softener regardless of the brand.

Q- Why should I buy from Midwest Smart Water verse renting from the competitor?

A- Over the years we have seen a lot of customers throw good money down the drain by renting water softeners. There is really zero advantage to doing this program. Our equipment has the best warranties on the market and will last you years and years. So, the mind set of renting because they ‘cover service’ still doesn’t make sense. Other than changing the filters annually and keeping salt in the softener tank, it’s a maintenance free system. The filter costs are minimal annually and the softener doesn’t use much salt (after we fill it at install). Do the math over a 10-year period and purchasing makes more sense in the long run. If you are worried about the payment, we offer financing with low monthly payments to purchase verse throwing it away to rent. Another issue is most of the time you get a used piece of equipment to rent, and you don’t receive the service you were promised any way.

Q- What is your warranty on your systems?

Water Softener – 10 Year “bumper to bumper” / Reverse Osmosis- 10 Year (excludes filters). Installation by a licensed, insured professional plumber. Most water treatment companies don’t even have a licensed plumber doing their service/installation work.

Q- What minerals does a water softener and reverse osmosis drinking system take out?

A water softener removes calcium and magnesium. Also called lime or hardness. Don’t be misled to believe a water softener removes chlorine. That is removed by using a carbon filter (which we also sell). The reverse osmosis system removes TDS or total dissolved solids. The membrane in the system is what removes this and purifies the water to bottled water quality. RO removes 90%-98% of the dissolved solids in the water.

Q- I have a Brita filter/ faucet filter or refrigerator filter. Isn’t this the same or good enough?

Depends on the quality of drinking water you want. These other methods are glorified carbon filtration or charcoal filters. They remove chlorine and make the water taste better but in no way “purifies” the water. We actually ask or recommend testing the TDS of the water filters you are using to see what quality it is providing you for drinking water. The WQA water quality association and EPA set standards for qualities of drinking water. To be considered bottled water quality it must be under 50 ppm. We usually see that the results are a little lower than the city water before its filtered (so the filter really isn’t doing much good). In some cases, if you don’t keep up on changing the filters as recommended the TDS will actually test HIGHER than the city water because its clogged up.

Q- How many bags of salt does it take to fill the brine tank?

Our brine tank will hold 7 40lb. bags of salt. We will provide 6 bags of salt with the installation.

Q- How much salt does your water softener use?

Rule of thumb we say 1 40lb. bag per month. It really depends on how much water the household is using. The softener will be set to regenerate approximately every 1400 gallons. It will use 8 lbs. of salt every time it regenerates. So, if you use 1400 gallons per week it will use 32 lbs. of salt per month. (You can also figure each person in the house will use 75 gallons of water per day).

Q- What salt do you recommend for your softeners?

We always recommend Solar Crystal Salt (not pellets). It can be found at most home improvement stores. We’ve found it to run about $4 a bag. Beware of the competition that tries to sell you a “salt plan” that includes salt for more than double or triple the price!

Q- Does your system work on well water?

Yes. If the water were to test at a much harder level, we might have to adjust the size of the resin tank to work properly. Also, if additional elements show up in the water test, additional or different equipment may be needed to solve the water issues. We have the equipment and experience to solve any of your water problems though.

Q- Can I have a RO connected to my refrigerator?

Yes, we can do this. Each installation is different so we would need to come out and look at the set up to ensure we can install the connection to the Refrigerator. A subzero Fridge may struggle with the RO connected just because those units need a certain water pressure and the RO might not keep up with the needs, there are additional pumps that can now be added to these.  It will also depend on where your sink is located in relation to your fridge, whether sink is located in a kitchen island, and if so what the basement structure is beneath that area. We will be able to come out and give you all those answers with your free quote!

Q- Can I buy the equipment from you and install it myself?

In some limited circumstances, yes. However, if the equipment isn’t installed properly, and you have issues, it may void your warranty. You will need to make special arrangements with the company owner to negotiate pricing on this.

Q- Will you come out and install water equipment I bought elsewhere?

No, we only install equipment purchased from our company as that is what we specialize in and are certified in.

Q- Will you come out and service equipment I bought elsewhere?

We only service equipment that has been purchased through us. This is why we highly recommend doing your research and buying water treatment equipment thru a reputable dealer such as us or a certified water treatment company vs. over the internet or from a big box store, friend, neighbor etc. If not purchased thru a water treatment dealer you may find it  difficult when you have an issue to find someone to come out and service that equipment.

Q- What colors of hardware do you offer on the drinking system faucet?

We offer several different color options, the main colors being brushed nickel, matte black,  polished chrome and oil rubbed bronze, but we are able to get whatever you need.

Q- Do you have payment plans or financing available?

Yes, we work with Foundation Finance and have low monthly payment options available.

Q- How soon can I get my equipment installed?

Our goal is to have the equipment installed within a week of the sale whenever possible. Quality is very important to us, so we want to make sure to give each customer the time they deserve. We have licensed plumbers who do all our installs.

Q- Does the softener reduce water pressure in your home?

All of our softeners have at least 1 cubic foot of resin and a 1” inlet and outlet. This will prevent any reduction in water pressure when you use multiple water sources in your home at once. Some competition has a smaller ¾” valve and .7 cubic foot of resin water softener they offer. These will cause issues with water pressure and higher salt and water usage.

Q- Does size matter? Is a water softener a “one size fits all” application?

The reason we carry a 1” 1 cubic foot softener as our smallest model is to cover most applications. It is most definitely not a one size fits all application. You can under size a water softener and cause issues after installation. There are variables like hardness level, water source, size of plumbing, size of home, number of occupants and water usage that help determine what size will be best suited for your home. For special applications we also have a 1” valve 1.5 cubic foot resin softener and also a twin tank softener to fit the needs of any application.

Q- How long does the resin last in the water softener?

It depends on water usage and the amounts of chlorine/chloramines that are going through the system. These elements are extremely hard on the resin and will break it down over time. Our resin is of higher quality so is more resistant to these. Most softeners will need rebedded around 12-15 yrs. depending.

Q- What is the amount of water the ro rejects down the drain to make the good water?

4:1 ratio  Every 1 gallon of product water made 4 gallons are sent to the drain. This is actually a rather good ratio when talking about reverse osmosis. Cheaper units at the big box store waste as much as 10 gallons per 1 gallon made.

Q- How long do the filters last on the RO?

It depends on the amount of water that goes through the system but rule of thumb with a water softener ahead of the drinking system they will last the recommended 12-18 months. The membrane will last 5-7 years on soft water.

Q- If I replace my old Softener with a new one from Midwest Smart Water, do you dispose of my old softener free of charge with install?

Absolutely! We will haul off your old equipment and properly dispose of it as part of our installation process, at no additional charge!

Q- How long will my sales appt. take? What will you be doing at the appt. to “test my water”?

Approx. 30 – 45 Minutes. We will check your water hardness levels, your TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), look at your plumbing set up and determine what equipment would be best for your water situation. We will then give you a free no obligation price quote that is good for 30 days.

Q- What if I need to reduce chlorine in my water?

We offer carbon filter options specifically for Chlorine that we recommend in addition to the water softener if chlorine is an issue in your homes water.

Q- What brand of Softeners do you sell?

Charger , which has a Clack Valve (which is the #1 Water Softener Valve in the USA and is the “Brains” of the softener

Q- What brand of R/O’s do you sell?

Hydronix 4 Stage Hydroguard & Pentair Freshpoint