If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a water softener for your home, then you’ve likely noticed that there can be many different options available. Each model and brand can come with its own set of pros and cons that can make it more or less suitable for different situations. A Kenmore water softener is one option that you might want to consider. To help you with your decision, we’ve created a review of this product that includes both the pros and cons in an attempt to give you valuable, unbiased information.
Why Use a Water Softener?
A water softener is an appliance that can give you a surprising amount of benefits. By removing the harsh minerals that make water hard, a softener can reduce a variety of issues including water spots, clogged plumbing, and even worn-out clothing. Many homes can have problems with hard water that the owners don’t even realize are happening, and you may be amazed at how much better the quality of your water is after adding a softener.
Hard vs. Soft Water
The difference between hard and soft water can be found not in the water itself, but in what comes with the water. Water that has traveled underground and through pipes can pick up all sorts of minerals that are carried with it into your home. While minerals can make for good drinking water, they can be harsh on your house and make doing chores harder.
Switching to soft water can help your dishwasher and washing machine function better by reducing the amount of buildup within your plumbing and helping water to flow better. It can also help reduce the wear and fading that happens to your clothing when you do laundry. However, hard water does generally taste better and may be more nutritious. You should weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether the change to soft water is worth it.
Is Your Water Hard?
There is a variety of ways to test how hard your water is, including simple tests such as mixing up hand soap in a container to see how much it bubbles. Since hard water makes soap less effective, the harder the water, the fewer bubbles you should see. You can also identify a hard water problem simply by observing the common issues it causes, such as a buildup of minerals or scum on sinks and bathtubs.
If you are still concerned about whether or not your water is hard, you can get in touch with the water company in your area to get information about exactly how hard the water is. Some water softener companies may also offer free water hardness tests to help you decide if a softener is worth it.
What is a Kenmore Water Softener?
- IntelliSoft2TM uses up to 30% less salt and 34% less water*
- Ultra Cleansing keeps larger particles of sediment from entering the home plumbing system
- High-flow valve delivers continuous flow ensuring fewer pressure drops and better performance
The main model of water softener offered by Kenmore can be suitable for small to medium households, but should not be used in a house that is home to more than six people. The water softener uses salt to remove hard minerals from the water in your home. It has features that should make it easy to add more salt it when it starts to run low. The system also keeps track of the amount of water you’ve used so that you can get a good idea of the amount of salt you might need in the future.
Kenmore as a Brand
The most common model of Kenmore softener people purchase can be the Kenmore 38420 Ultra High-Efficiency Water Softener. This softener has a certification from the National Sanitation Foundation. It has a capacity of 41,000 grains and it can be a great starter option for a medium household. The water softener uses a system that automatically begins softening the water once it reaches capacity. You can also trigger it to start manually when it is below capacity. A 2-hour cycle should go through just over 25 gallons of water. Calcium and other minerals can be removed from your water by using the salt and resin removal system. The Kenmore water softener allows water to flow at a rate of 7.3 gallons per minute. It is powered by an electrical connection. You will also need to connect it to a drain line that excess saltwater can be expelled to. While it can be fairly efficient, it uses a good amount of salt and creates wastewater.
Since Kenmore is a very trusted brand, you might expect one of their water softeners to be extremely expensive. In fact, the opposite is true. Kenmore’s 41,000 grain capacity softener can cost just under $500, which can be a great deal. Many other brands of water softener can have price tags that get up into the thousands of dollars.
Kenmore water softeners can also come with a warranty that covers almost any issue for up to a year and guarantees against leaks in the water tank for up to ten years. This can be another great selling point that should give you some peace of mind when purchasing a softener.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Kenmore?
One downside to choosing a Kenmore water softener can be its overall basicness. While some water softening systems, especially salt-free options, can filter the water and remove chlorine as well as calcium and other minerals, the Kenmore model can only do the most fundamental job of stripping the hard minerals out. It is also worth noting that if your household is large enough to hold more than six occupants, the Kenmore likely won’t be big enough to get the job done and you would have to find a bigger, more powerful option.
While its simplicity can be a con, it may be acceptable for somebody who is looking for a basic softener to start with. Kenmore is considered a good brand, and they offer their water softener at a fair price. If used properly, the softener should easily last for years and give you decent results. Since it can be an affordable option, you can use it as an entry-level model and then upgrade to something more advanced in a few years if you feel it’s necessary, without being set back too much.
More Positive Features
A few notably positive features can come with a Kenmore. One of these is the ease with which you can install it in your home. If you have any basic technical skills, you should be able to put it in yourself after purchasing it, which can save you money. Maintenance and repairs can also be fairly simple and straightforward. The water softener should have a small footprint and easily fit into little spaces where larger options wouldn’t.
Common Issues With Kenmore Water Softeners
Almost every appliance can have some commonly experienced issues and Kenmore is no exception. While it can be reliable overall, there may be some frustrating tendencies you should know about before purchasing. The main issue can be the buildup of salt within the device. Salt buildup can cause your softener to stop working and may even permanently damage the appliance if it isn’t fixed. Luckily, you should be able to prevent this by paying attention and recognizing early if buildup is occurring.
How Does a Kenmore Compare With Other Water Softeners?
Before you’re completely sold on a Kenmore as your choice of water softener, you should look at how it compares with other popular options on the market. This section will compare the Kenmore 38420 with three other options on the basis of price, reliability, and features
- WATER SOFTENER OVERVIEW - Complete whole house system. Controlled by the popular Fleck 5600sxt digital valve meter....
- INSTALLATION KIT - We add a special touch to our offerings. We provide an installation kit which is includes items that...
- MINERAL & BRINE TANKS - Whole house system is built using 2 American made tanks. (1) Black 10" diameter mineral tank and...
Multiple sources name the Fleck water softener as the top choice for 2018. It uses minimal salt, doesn’t waste much water, and is large and powerful enough to meet the needs of many people in a big household. Like the Kenmore, it can be reliable and easy to use and install. Surprisingly, it doesn’t cost much more than a Kenmore, with a price tag of $658.56. If you’re looking for something brand new and powerful, this should definitely be on your list of options.
One of the most basic options on the market, the WaterBoss 700 has a built-in filter and should be big enough for a home of up to four people. While some people find that it is more difficult to install than other options, others said it was easy. If you are nervous about installing it, or any other model of softener, you can always hire a plumber or a professional from the store where you buy it. The WaterBoss 700 has a much less impressive grain capacity than some other options, but if you don’t need anything over the top, it might not be a bad choice. It should cost you just under $550.98.
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- Treats hard water using salt and ion-exchange resins
- Helps preserve the life of water appliances
One of the first results that pop up when you type “water softener” into Google is a Pelican model. On the more expensive end of the spectrum, a Pelican softener can cost you anywhere from $1,836.00. While they don’t seem to have any outstandingly good or bad reviews, the price difference can be a real setback. However, a Pelican can offer more advanced features, such as salt-free softening, that you may want to consider.
Is a Kenmore Water Softener Right for You?
As you can see from the information above, many different water softeners could work very well for your needs. One of the first things you should consider when thinking about buying any model of softener is whether it has the capacity to meet the needs of your home. If you have six or more people living in your house, it can be well worth the investment to buy a model of softener that can handle enough water for all of your regular consumption.
Kenmore softeners have many strengths going for them that can make them a great buy. One of the biggest pros is the great price. Other softeners can be priced very similarly, but few get quite as low as a Kenmore. For the amount of money you’re spending, you should also get some decent features and end up with an appliance that you can rely on. While buying salt for a Kenmore can be a hassle, it is expected with a softener in this price range. If you’re looking for a salt-free option, you should expect to invest a lot more money into your purchase.
Since they can tend to be expensive, buying a water softener is a decision that’s worth taking some time to make. If you think that the water in your house is hard, it can be worth the effort you put in to softening it. If you’re worried about the water softener ruining the quality of your drinking water, consider solutions such as buying a softener that also works as a water filter or attaching a basic water softer to only the hot water line of your house. In any case, you should find that softer water comes with all kinds of benefits for you to enjoy. While not overly large or advanced, a Kenmore water softener can be a good starter option that can last you for many years, and should definitely find a place on your list of possible options.