Choosing a company to install your water softener is a lot like choosing a mechanic. If you don’t have the technical knowledge to evaluate what they’re doing and the background knowledge to know whether the stuff they’re selling you actually works, then you’re pretty much at the mercy of whatever the technicians tell you. It goes without saying that you should contact multiple water softener companies to get estimates. Besides checking out their standing with the Better Business Bureau, here are five tips to help you decide between them.
1. Know Your Water Hardness
If you’re planning to get a water softener, you’ve obviously already determined that you have hard water. However, before calling a water softener company it’s helpful to know exactly how hard your water is. You can find out from your local water authority, or better yet, test your home’s water yourself (it’s easy). Water softener companies will often test your water for free as part of an in home consultation, but they often put their own “spin” on it. Knowing your water hardness and where it falls on the water hardness scale gives you a way to judge whether you’re being dealt with honestly.
2. Be Wary of Aggressive Sales Pitches
A lot of water softener companies have their people working on commission, so they have a strong incentive to sell you the most expensive systems. Beware of water softener reps who exaggerate the extent of your hard water problem (see #1), or try to dazzle you with a lot of technical talk. If they had a solid product and sterling reputation, would they have to lean on potential customers so hard to get a sale?
3. Educate Yourself on Different Softening Methods
Whether you’re looking for a traditional salt-using water softener or a saltless system changes how you go about evaluating your options. Traditional softeners all work through the same process, and despite what an aggressive salesperson might tell you, there aren’t huge differences between most models. Saltless systems, on the other hand, use a range of different technologies to condition the water, some of which are more proven than others. If you’re looking for a salt free system, you should look around this site and other places to make sure you know what you’re getting.
4. Consider the Advantages of Large vs Small Companies
There’s a certain amount of peace of mind that comes with dealing with a large company. The typical national home improvement chain has a vast infrastructure and a standard process for dealing with customer problems. However, smaller outfits often provide a more personal experience, and may be more responsive – for example, you won’t have to call a support center in a country across the globe to get a simple question answered. This is something to think about before even deciding which water softener companies to dial.
5. Trust Your Gut
We would never advise you to decide on a water softener company based solely on first impressions. However, once you’ve absorbed as much information as you can and know what you need, the “vibe” you get from the water softener company reps is a valid way to decide between the options – everything else being equal. In other words, if something rubs you the wrong way about a particular company, don’t just brush it off. Considering the amount of money you’re spending, you shouldn’t have any doubts about the trustworthiness of the company you’re doing business with.