Let’s just cut straight to the chase – yes, it is possible have a water softener system in your apartment.
However, the biggest challenge you’ll face is finding the right place to install the water softener. Factors such as apartment size, water hardness level & main water line location all needs to be taken into consideration before purchasing a water softener system for apartment.
Where to Install Water Softener in an Apartment
The two most obvious places to install a water softener system in your apartment are the bathroom and the kitchen. Installing the system in either of those places makes it much easier to connect it to the building’s main water line.
Apartments usually have stopcocks (valve) that connects the building’s main water line to the water pipes in the apartment. Most of the time, these stopcocks are located in either the bathroom or the kitchen. Make sure to install the water softener close to the spot where the stopcock connects to the apartment water pipes.
However, some apartments may not have the stopcock in the bathroom or kitchen. It may be located in a hard-to-reach place or too far off the ground for you to be able to connect a water softener to the main water pipe. The only solution in such a situation is to either prioritize the bathroom or the kitchen by finding a way to install it in one of those rooms or get a separate water softener for each room.
Another potential issue is that apartment bathrooms tend to be small, and while portable water softeners might not take up much space, full-sized models with brine tanks are very wide, so they’ll require quite a bit of space.
The same problem arises when you try to put a unit in the kitchen. You can squeeze a portable water softener next to your fridge, but you might clutter up your cooking space quite a bit if you try to put a full-sized water softener in the kitchen.
Fitting the water softener in a closet, spare room, or even in an empty space in the hallway is also an option, but most times, it isn’t possible because the stopcock (valve) that connects to the main water line is either in the kitchen or the bathroom.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, and it largely depends on the available space in your apartment and the location of the stopcock valve.
Water Softener for Apartment Complex
The space issue becomes less challenging if you plan to install a water softener for the Apartment complex. You’ll need to get your neighbors to agree to the plan as well, but this shouldn’t be an issue since they’ll most likely be suffering from hard water.
Installing a water softener in an apartment complex is pretty straightforward. Simply connect the water softener unit to the main water line from outside the building. Soft water will then flow through the water pipes into the various apartments.
For an apartment complex, make sure to get a full-size water softener system with high water flow rate. Water softener brands like Springwell have models that can output 20 GPM, which is more than enough for at least 7 bathrooms; an ideal option for an apartment complex.
However, every water softener has a regeneration period that lasts a few hours, during which you won’t have soft water. In most homes, the regeneration is usually set to run at night when there’s less demand for water, but this might be slightly more difficult to arrange if there are people in the apartment complex with different sleeping schedules.
Luckily, the model that we recommended is a sensor regenerator type. This means that it’ll only regenerate when a certain amount of water has been used, unlike timer regeneration models that automatically activates every night.
Depending on the number of apartments that are connected to the softener, the regeneration process will likely only activate once a week or so for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night, which means that the inconvenience will be minimal.
Considerations for Choosing an Apartment Water Softener
There are several things that you need to consider before you even think about buying a water softener for your apartment. The first step is to get express approval from your landlord to make modifications to the water pipes and other areas as you need. You’ll also need to consider apartment space and water hardness level before making the decision on which water softener to buy.
Legal or Landlord Approval
Every rent agreement is different, and you might have stipulations in the agreement for your current living space that you may not have had in your previous one, so we advise that you read your agreement carefully.
Small appliances like blender or microwave generally aren’t mentioned in any rental agreement, unless to say not to covet or dispose them if they’re the landlord’s property. However, while portable water softeners don’t take up much space, they do require you to modify your apartment, which means that your landlord needs to be informed.
Modifying the apartment in any significant way requires express approval from your landlord, and while the water softener itself may not cause any damage to the apartment, you’re still going to be altering the water pipes.
Water softeners need to be attached to the water pipes in the apartment in order to do their job, and that requires certain pipes to be detached and others to be re-fitted in order to make space for the water softener to be slotted in.
Your landlord shouldn’t have cause for concern unless you break something, but even then, an agreement to cover any possible damages should be enough to alleviate their concerns and get their approval to install the device.
The first requirement is space. Consider the height, width, and depth measurements of your apartment and get the appropriate water softener to fit available space.
The other requirement is placement. Water softeners can either be point of entry (POE) or point of use (POU).
Whole house water softeners (point of entry) typically connects to the main water line from outside the building. They’re the best option for an apartment complex but can also fit inside a spacious apartment. Point-of-use water softeners are portable systems that fit small spaces. They’re the ideal option for an apartment.
If you want soft water in your apartment, then your best option is to connect the water softener to the stopcock on the main water pipe and feed it to all of the necessary POU.
We’ll assume that you’re contracting professionals to install the water softener rather than doing it yourself so we won’t go into the process itself. All you really need to do is find out where the stopcock is located in your apartment and see if it’s possible to install the water softener in that place.
If this isn’t possible, then you can always get a separate portable unit for both your kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as several other devices that can help alleviate some of the problems that come with having hard water in your pipes. We’ll get into those in a bit.
Water Hardness Level
Water that contains less than 75 grams of hard minerals per litre is considered soft, anything between 151 and 300 is considered hard, and anything above 300 is considered very hard.
If the water test results show that you have incredibly high levels of calcium and magnesium in your water, then you’ll need to get a high-end water softener. However, if the water is just moderately hard, then you might want to consider saving a few dollars and just getting a standard model.
Best Water Softener Systems for Apartments
The Yarna CWD24 is a descaler system that connects to the water pipe to prevent hard water minerals from bonding and sticking to the inside of the pipes.
It technically doesn’t “soften” water, but it prevents pipes and the valve connection from getting damaged by calcium buildup.
SoftPro Portable Water Softener
The SoftPro Portable Water Softener is small enough to be used in an RV, which means that it’ll easily fit into either your kitchen or your bathroom.
It uses regular table salt, has a single input and output point, it’s incredibly easy to hook up, and you can either get a model with an 800-gallon or a 1680-gallon capacity.
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener
Much like the previous model that we described, the PRO+AQUA pPortable RV Water Softener is an incredibly compact appliance that can fit under any sink. It has a flow rate of 5 gallons per minute, a capacity of 16,000 grains, and a regeneration time of under 30 minutes.
AquaBliss Shower Filter
The AquaBliss Shower Filter solves the issue of soap scum that’s formed when hard water combines with soap on your skin. This device allows you to take a shower with hard water without having to scrub for minutes just to rinse off all of the shampoo and soap.
It’s incredibly easy to install, very compact, and the filter cartridges that it uses are simple to replace.
Springwell Water Softener
The Springwell Water Softener is a particularly useful water softener for an apartment complex because of its GPM (gallons per minute). There are different models that you can choose from, but they can all deliver water to all of the apartments quicker than most of the other water softeners on the market.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Water Softener for Condos
- Easy to install and maintain
- A must-have if you have a hard water problem
- Not every bathroom or kitchen has enough space to spare, so finding a place for it can be tricky
- Some models get really noisy during the regeneration period
Trying to install a full-sized water softener in your apartment will more than likely result in using all of the free space in your kitchen or bathroom. The regeneration process is also pretty loud, and while this isn’t an issue in houses where the tank is in the basement, it can be pretty noticeable in apartments.
Portable water softeners are a lot easier to install, don’t take up nearly as much space, and are a lot quieter. However, the salt in these units needs to be frequently replaced and they generally only have one POU. This means that you might need a portable water softener in both your kitchen and bathroom, as well as a shower filter.
Water softeners are a definite must-have for apartments with hard water problem. They should be installed either in the kitchen or the bathroom