Running across a water softener that advertises that it has a large capacity is the norm nowadays, especially from newer companies looking to make a quick buck. They advertise large capacities, much larger than competitors, and in the process lure customers into the belief that their system is better than the lower capacity models.
It comes at a cost, as this is actually false advertising and can lead to a lot of unsatisfied customers. Because of this many states have a law requiring that companies post more thorough details about the capacity, rather than leaving it up to the customer’s imagination. This legal requirement isn’t in place everywhere, and it gets even murkier when being sold from an online retailer. This is why brand recognition is so important to filter out the many bad companies in the market.
Capacity shouldn’t be the main thing a customer looks for when trying to figure out the efficiency of a water softener. Grain capacity is one of a couple of things to look for, and it gets more involved once you go beyond the basic numbers and understand what they mean for you. Purchasing a misleading water softener will end up costing you even more money than you expected, and the time wasted will be unrecoverable.
How Is It Misleading?
Whenever a water softener regenerates, it restores the resin in order to be able to function normally. This process uses salt, so basically salt is an important requirement in the process when combating hard water. If an advertiser puts that his unit has a capacity of 48,000 grains, some company’s make it a point to not include how much salt is needed per regeneration.
The 48,000 capacity is tested in ideal conditions that don’t correctly mimic the home environment, therefore what is really a 48,000 capacity water softener is only capable of 1/3 of that before regenerating. Water conditions play a big role in how water softeners adjust, so no matter what the capacity is at the start that is just one of the many factors in determining when it will reach that max.
This is part of the deception, as a water softener that needs a backwash will need 30-36 pounds of salt per cubic foot of resin to be prepared to go again. This is a costly solution, and why many come up frustrated when the purchase a model like this. If the cost of salt ends up being too high, some models allow you to adjust accordingly and use only a couple of pounds of salt, but in turn it will lower the max capacity before regeneration.
It is a huge back and forth that can be avoided if advertising wasn’t so deceptive to begin with. Only buy products that clearly list how much salt it needs each regeneration as well as the cubic feet of resin. It’s not only a more effective way of figuring out how to purchase a good water softener, it’s also a foolproof way to keep from getting scammed.
Big Problems in Advertising
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama associated with grain capacity and what it means to the bottom line, but the truth is that it hurts the industry as a whole a lot more than it hurts the consumer. Consumers are not dumb, and once burned they look at the industry as a whole and decide that it is something that just isn’t for them. False advertising has even led to the closing of some companies, as buyers returned more product than they could ship out.
This shouldn’t happen under any circumstances, and it is one of the reasons why alternative water softening solutions have become so popular. They are innovative in their own right, but electronic and magnetic water softening solutions became the go to product for consumers that were burned by bad business practices with salt based water softeners. Water softener alternatives don’t have grain or capacity limits, and are a true plug and walk away solution.
They also don’t soften water, but that is another advertising scam for another article. In the end it is up to the consumer to look past the flashy advertising and look closely at the details that matter so they don’t get ripped off. Once that starts happening the industry will not have to deal with these fly by night companies.
False advertising is a big part of the culture, and isn’t going away. The only medicine for it seems to be educating customers and in turn the customers making smart decisions about what to buy.
There really is no added benefit in purchasing a large grain water softener only to have it operate at a small fraction of that efficiency. A smart buying decision leads to a happy customer and a healthy home.