When choosing a water softener for your family you may have run across dual tank or twin tank systems. Which leads us to the question, “Which is better a single vs double tank water softener?”
Well, for the most part until recently dual tank systems have been more widely used in commercial settings. For example, a restaurant would likely use a dual tank system over a single tank based on their water consumption.
So, the question remains, which one is better for a single family dwelling? Let’s take a look at both systems and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
A single tank water softener system consists of a single resin tank and a brine tank. The resin tank, also known as the mineral tank contains the resin beads that remove the hard water minerals through the ion exchange process. The brine tank stores the sodium chloride or potassium chloride that the system uses.
These water treatment systems are most often “on-demand” units, meaning they keep track of how many gallons of water you use. Once you have used a certain percentage of your maximum amount they will regenerate.
Usually this happens in the middle of the night so that it doesn’t interrupt the regular usage of softened water. When regeneration is happening the system goes into bypass mode and supplies the home with plain, unsoftened water. Simply, if you hit your limit during the day you would have to use untreated water.
To avoid completely running out of water the unit will regenerate during the wee hours whether or not you have reached your limit. This is a bit wasteful but it keeps you from running out of treated water during peak times.
Another negative to the single tank system is that it uses hard water to clean itself during regeneration. Some people think this is like washing your dishes with dirty water. I think it might make a small difference over time if you have very high levels of hardness but it probably isn’t that big a deal.
Now, on to the dual tank water softeners. Twin tank softeners have two resin tanks and one brine tank. The dual tank systems also have the “on demand” regeneration with one big advantage. When you reach capacity on one tank the system switches you to the second tank. Therefore you can completely deplete one tank before it regenerates so it is much less wasteful.
Also, with the twin tank systems the regeneration process is carried out using softened water. So your resin tank is washed clean with “clean” water rather than “dirty” water. If you are one that is of the opinion that soft water regeneration is more effective this should be a big plus for you.
To recap the pros and cons of a Single vs Double Tank Water Softener : Single Tank Water Softeners have been the standard in residential homes for years. They do a great job in an average home environment. You can generally expect a single tank system to have:
- Lower cost from less equipment
- Smaller footprint as it takes up less space- 2 tanks instead of 3
- Average efficiency
- Even water quality
Twin Tank Water Softeners are the rising star for residential homes and the standard for commercial usage. They have pros and cons too:
- Higher cost from extra tank
- Require more space
- Highest efficiency for less water and salt waste
- More even water quality
Most homeowners will be happy with the standard single tank system. However, if you like to be on the cutting edge of what is hot in home improvements you will probably want to opt for the dual tank water softener.
Check out the video below for a great visual explanation of how the single vs double tank water softener systems work. And click here for a look at our recommended single and dual tank water softeners from Fleck.