What is the difference between a metered head and a timered head on a softening system?


Most systems use one of two types of heads to regulate their function: a head that operates with a timer, or a head that operates via valves that measure water flow, or meter the water (think of your electricity meter).

Each one has their merit depending on the application, but when it comes to the harsh Las Vegas extreme hard water, the metered head stands out for efficiency, economical water and salt use, and preserving the life of a water softener, conditioner or refiner, like the systems offered here on Soft Water by Melissa, which are custom-made by H2OToGo.

The main reason why we use a head that meters (measures) water use is based on the fact that the Clack Fusion valve allows us not only the durability that the hardest water in the country requires to prevent failure, but it also allows for “smart” technology to be used by the computer in the head, which responds to actual water use. This means it performs regeneration cycles only “as needed” because it is based on the number of gallons run through the tank (or tanks, as in our SSR, Seven Stage Refiner), which is based on actual family water demand. Our tanks use resin that is specifically designed to deal with extreme levels of hard minerals in our water, which for us ranges from an average of 20 — 25 grains per gallon. Most standardized equipment is designed to handle about 7 grains, which seems very low by comparison, but that is because the average around the country falls in the range of 0 — 10.5 grains.

What does this mean?
Well, it means that in our tri-city area of Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas, you need a system that has been designed for the exception to rule about hard water. Let’s use a practical example to break it down. If a system has been designed for 7 grains of hardness, in our market it will have to work 3 times harder (maybe even 4 times harder) to clean out 20 — 25 grains of actual hard minerals in the water. Because it was never intended for water this hard, it will struggle to clean out the minerals, and that requires it to clean out what it has collected much more often. With a timered head, that will get set for the unit to run about 3 times a week to get the job done. Unfortunately, that means 3 times the water use (for each regeneration/cleaning session), and 3 times the salt. For a family of 2-3, that requires refilling the brine tank about once every 4-6 weeks. For a family of 4-6, that means filling the brine tank about once a month. At an average of $20 per refill, that is $120 in salt per year – just for salt! That doesn’t include the spike on the water bill!

Now let’s compare that to a metered head.
A “smart head” like ours is set to run at 1,200 gallons of water flow through the tank(s) based on the resin (“media”) we use that is specifically designed to handle 25 grains of hardness. This means that the frequency of regeneration of the tanks is GREATLY reduced, making it more water and energy efficient, as well as using far less salt each time it cleans itself out of the minerals or contaminants it has collected. A practical example looks like this: A family of 4-5 people will use enough water to cause the tanks to regenerate about once a week. It will require the brine tank to get refilled with salt about once every 4-5 months. A family of 2 people will only have to refill the brine tank about once every 6 months. A single person can sometimes go as long as 7-8 months before refilling the brine tank. That is a big savings on salt – especially for the smaller families. It’s also a savings on your water bill each month because your home is more water efficient. And best of all? A system that runs 1/3 or 1/4 less than the rest is going to last MUCH longer, which is why nearly all of our H2OToGo systems come with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

So, in a nutshell, a timered system may be okay for bigger families or for water less hard than what is found in the greater Las Vegas area, but they generally are cheaper and won’t last as long, or hold up to the punishing scale buildup. But for here in Summerlin, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Las Vegas, Boulder City, Southern Highlands, Mountain’s Edge, Inspirada, Lake Las Vegas, Cadence, Sunrise Manor, Spring Valley, Providence, Skye Canyon, and all the communities that make up our ever-growing region, a high efficiency softener, conditioner or refiner with the right type of media to remove the extreme minerals works BEST with a head that measures and adapts to water usage to maintain optimal efficiency. It will preserve the life of the system, save the homeowner money that definitely adds up over time, and also allows all of us to do our part to not waste water in our lovely desert region of Clark County.

For questions or a free bid, please use the Soft Water by Melissa contact page to arrange for an appointment or a call. In-home appointments are available six days a week, for your convenience.