The term "water conditioning" is used to mean any device or set of devices that are used to alter the properties of the
water in the potable water system.
Most of the time, public water systems are already treated to an acceptable level before the water gets to your home. The
need for water conditioning is normally for well systems, where the integrity of the water may be questionable. The most
common complaint is of hard water. This is caused by certain minerals in the water, like calcium.
The picture above is of a typical water softener. It's job is to remedy hard water. The tank on the right contains
a resin that is designed to remove these minerals. The tank on the left is for salt, which the resident must replentish
on a regular basis. The softener uses the salt water to rinse the resin clean(a process called "regeneration") and start
collecting minerals again.
All water conditioning decisions must start with a water test. The composition of the water must be known before
anyone can judge what the water needs. Hard water is fairly easy to be aware of, but just how hard the water is is very
There are many kinds of systems available for water conditioning, from UV lights to iron removal systems. Many local
plumbing supply houses have the ability to test your water and tell you what you need, if anything. You can also use
one of many independent laboratories.
The above picture is a standard whole house water filter. These are fairly standard, using standard filter elements that
can be bought at your local hardware store. While a water filter may be absolutely necessary in some circumstances, they
are never a bad idea regardless of a well or public water system.
Other than the standard water filter, check with your local suppy house to get more information about the systems
available in your area.