We are planning on installing a water softener. The main water source is located outside, about 20 feet from the backyard. The water heater is located in the garage. We are wondering if we have to install the water softener next to the water heater in the garage or if we can install it outside by the main source. The reason we are asking is because it would take significant work to install it next to the water heater. What would be wise to do in terms of installation and preservation of the water softener?