Confused About Salt-Free Water Conditioners?

Confused About Salt-Free Water Conditioners?
By Mark Timmons
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Confused About Salt-Free Water Conditioners?

Mark, I’ve read a couple of your posts and it seems to me there are a lot of people out there that are looking for salt-free water softener/conditioner.  I’ve looked at Easy Water and had a response from a representative.  I feel that Easy Water doesn’t work as it is more or less a gimmick.  On the other hand, Pelican™* NaturSoft (was looking at combo series) seems plausible but according to what you’ve mentioned in your posts it doesn’t do what the web site stated.  The representative I spoke with indicated that the hardness number will not change after the system is installed (which would be a fact) and the minerals would still be present but crystallized so I don’t get the hard water side effects.  Does that mean I’d use less soap, etc?  And how long would the minerals remain crystallized?  Also, the web site indicated that the build up (scale) in the copper pipes will eventually be removed after the system is installed and apparently with water softener the existing scale doesn’t go away and it simply slows down the scale build-up. Granted, it’s very difficult decision to make and I certainly don’t want to make an expensive mistake.  A family friend has water softener for years and she mentioned she has Kinetico.  It doesn’t require electricity and, apparently, it is replenished with salt once a year.  I know Kinetico makes quality systems however I heard they are very expensive, perhaps overpriced.  I’m not entirely sold on the idea of the soapy feeling.  I’m guessing I need some more answers before I make a decision.  I know I do have hard water and I don’t recall the numbers when I had a local company come by to test the water and tried to sell me water softener.  When I told the salesman that I will think about it and almost on a daily basis I get a call from him asking whether I have made a decision.  He was pretty pushy and I decided to put it off (been a year now) and I know I need a system to treat hard water and prolong appliances that are only a few years old as well as filtered water at every tap.  Not to mention, easier to clean in the bathrooms especially the shower stalls. Thanks for your time. Ethan
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Water Doctor replied: Ethan, I have been getting this question quite a lot, and so I have decided to re-visit this issue in this blog.   The two companies you mentioned (Easy Water and Pelican™) are the two main companies that we get questions about, although there are a multitude of other companies selling similar products.  First of all, I think that it needs to be established that the two companies you mentioned are what I call "One-Trick-Ponies"  and I don't necessarily mean that as a bad thing, I just mean that they basically sell ONE PRODUCT - Salt-Free Water Treatment Systems.  Oh, they may say that they have a few other products, but they essentially have one product which they "push."  That is the biggest difference between US Water and these companies - we have the largest selection of water treatment products on the planet BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE TECHNOLOGY WHICH SOLVES EVERY WATER PROBLEM. Many people say that the Easy Water system, and systems like them do not work.  That is not my position - I think there is some validity to the technology, however it does not work like they insinuate, and now we have proof! First of all, the technology behind Easy Water is Electromagnetic or Radio Frequency (RF).  Electromagnetic Technology (ET) consists of a wire wrapped around the water pipe that transmits electronic frequencies (a magnetic field) and claims to precipitate hardness into aragonite crystal, forming a soft scale as opposed to calcite.  While the exact mechanism is not clear, it is theorized that dissolved oxygen, silica and the carbonate ion may play a role.1 The Pelican™ system uses a process which may be characterized as similar to Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC).  US Water has a product called the Green Wave which utilizes a process substantially the same as TAC, called MEP (Matrix Enabled Particulization) .  Pelican™ uses a similar method.  Filtersorb SP3 and nextScaleStop are also two similar methods or medias.  These methods employ a special surface-treated resin bead to act as a catalytic nucleation site for the conversion and growth of hardness crystals, which are subsequently released and remain in solution without forming scale.1 In a recent study, funded by the Water Research Foundation (which is still on-going and not yet complete), it was found that the TAC Technology reduced scale by 96.4 percent, while the electromagnetic technology only reduced sale by 41.7%.1 By my math, the electromagnetic technology was less than half as effective.  Do you want a product that reduces scale by 96% or 41%?  I think that's an easy answer.  Force fields work in Star Trek, but maybe no so well in water treatment! Assuming that Pelican™ has viable technology (and I am not saying that they do - just assuming so), I have problems with the way they market their products.  On the site where they have their products for sale, they say the following: "The Pelican™ NaturSoft Salt Free Water Softener is the most environmentally conscious hard water softening/conditioning system available."  According to the Water Quality Association (WQA) "softened water"  "is water that contains less than one grain per gallon (gpg) of hardness ions."  Therefore, any device that is effective in reducing the water hardness to less than one gpg is a softener. Conversely, and water treatment device that does not reduce the hardness of the water to less than 1 gpg cannot be called a softener and it dos not produce soft water. Pelican™ says that they have "naturally softened water, without salt" and calls their product a water softener.  It may condition the water, but it absolutely doesn't soften the water by causing it to contain less than 1 gpg hardness ions.  In fact, they go on to say:   "The Pelican™ Natursoft keeps the healthy minerals in the water so you can enjoy naturally softened water." Naturally softened water contains no minerals and they say that they keep the minerals in the water, so the two statements are contradictory and misleading.  Pelican™ may be a water "conditioner" but to call it a water "softener" is extremely misleading to a consumer.  I have tested both Easy Water and Pelican™ and can find no basis for claims that you will use less soaps and detergents or that you will have whiter and brighter clothes.  I know that they have some glowing testimonials, but I wonder if some of the endorsements are by people who have seen these "little green men" as well. Also, when looking at a Pelican™ NaturSoft Combo System, look at the size tanks.  On the carbon tank, they say that theirs is 11" x 57.5" for the 15 GPM Model.  A tank that size holds 1.5 cu/ft of carbon.  Each cubic foot of carbon will successfully treat up to 5 GPM.  Oh, you can get more water than that through it, but it won't be properly de-chlorinated.   They don't have any specifications on their pre-filter but it looks to be a 4.5" x 10" while the Green Wave has a 4.5" x 20"  - Twice the Size! Let's compare the Pelican™ Combo with the US Water Green Wave Plus:
Pelican™ Green Wave
Model PSE-2000 GWP-1500
Maximum Flow Rate 15 GPM 15 GPM
Pre-Filter Size 4.5” x 10” 4.5” x 20”
Pre-Filter Type String Pleated
Carbon Tank 10” x 54” 13” x 65”
Amount of Carbon 1.5 cu/ft 3.0 cu/ft
Scale Tank 10” x 54” 10” x 54”
Cost $2,349 $2,295
You can't expect to properly de-chlorinate and treat 15 GPM with 1.5 cu/ft of carbon. PERIOD!  The Green Wave Plus has a prefilter TWICE THE SIZE, an upflow carbon filter TWICE THE SIZE and costs less.  What do you think makes the most sense?  You can't cheat "contact time" in carbon filtration.  You have to have a properly size tank and the right quantity of carbon.  If not, the water will be wet, but it won't be properly filtered and some contaminants will pass through. Insofar as soft water verses conditioned water, here's a chart as to what each product will do:           So, you have a choice:  You can eliminate scale with the proper type of salt-free water conditioner or with a salt-based water softener.  Some salt-free conditioners as well as some salt-based water softeners will also remove chorine and chemicals, but if you want to use up to 50% or 60% less soaps, cleansers, shampoos, detergents and things like that, your only choice is a salt-based water softener.  It simply isn't happening with a salt-free system, no matter what the people who have seen the little green men say (I call them the "lunatic fringe"). Some people say "I want to be green and don't want to put salt back into the environment."   That's a noble thought, and it's not the salt that's the problem, it's the chloride, but let me ask another question:   If you are "green" and don't use salt when you have hard water, you will end up using 50% more soaps, detergents, chemicals and water conditioning chemical compounds and THOSE ARE DISCHARGED BACK INTO THE ENVIRONMENT - Which is worse?  Think about it. Maybe now you will understand why we sell a full line of water treatment products, including salt-free water conditioners, as well as salt-based water softeners.  We aren't "one-trick-pony" and we tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 1. Michaud, Chubb, Softening Alternatives, Water Conditioning & Purification Journal, January 2011. * - Pelican™ is a registered trademark of Pelican Water Technologies. US Water Systems has no affiliation with the company.
February 9, 2011
Comments
Irmi Swan
February 27, 2011 at 8:47 PM
I'm not a plumber or did any big research, just a consumer that purchased an Easy Water over 2 years ago after our very old water softener started leaking, thinking the saltless feature was more environmentally responsible, cheaper to operate, and healthier than drinking salt water. Even though our plumber did an annual flush, our pipes kept getting so built up with scale that the flow rate of our tankless water heater was so low, the heater often wouldn't kick on when taking a shower, unless we would turn on the water at the sink at the same time. We just now purchased a traditional water softener, and the difference is amazing. Hot showers again, with actual water pressure, no calcium deposits on the faucets, I can comb my hair easier. We definitely wasted our money with Easy Water.
Jenny W.
July 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM
How about reverse osmosis systems? don't them remove calcium and magnesium as well as using no sodium salts? do understand that you will need electricity to run them. your comments on RO will be much appreciated.
mark
July 15, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Jenny, Yes, properly applied, a reverse osmosis system removes the calcium and magnesium. To do it for a whole house, you would need a booster pump and may have to have some pre-treatment to prevent the calcium and magnesium from scaling the RO membrane.
JARAN
September 30, 2011 at 1:15 AM
I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THE BEST DEAL ON WATER SOFTENERS TO HELP PROLONG THE LIFE OF MY APPLIANCES. I AM ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT THE DRINKING WATER AS MY HOUSE IS OLDER AND NOT PLUMBED FOR A SOFTENER IT WILL HAVE TO BE A COMPROMISE PREFERABLY SALT FREE. I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY I AM VERY DISCOURAGED HOW PELICAN HAS SENT OUT THERE SPY'S TO EVERY BLOG SITE OR WEB POST TO TALK SMACK ABOUT EVERY OTHER BRAND. I'M TO THE POINT WHERE I AM JUST GOING TO GIVE UP BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL SO CUT THROAT I DONT KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE OR WHO TO TRUST NOW NO ONE WILL GET MY MONEY. HOPE YOU SELFISH PRICKS ARE HAPPY
mark
September 30, 2011 at 6:34 AM
Jaran, It's certainly a free country and you can believe whatever you want, but how are we cut-throat and selfish? We just tell the truth. We sell more salt water softeners than salt-free because of that. They don't soften water and we don't infiltrate other websites' or blogs. We go to great lengths to tell you exactly what a salt-free system will and won't do. Other companies only tell you want it will do and they stretch the truth by a long distance. I can't change your mind. Only you can do that, but what you say flies in the face of the facts.
larry burden
December 13, 2011 at 9:45 AM
what is the best salt system on the market today for the money for a 3 bedroom housr?
mark
December 15, 2011 at 8:50 AM
Larry, This is the best one: https://www.uswatersystems.com/matrixx-water-softener-with-smartphone-programming.html
Lee
December 22, 2011 at 4:38 PM
What about a well with iron. Right now we use Resup to remove the iron. Is there anything better that we could use instead? Maybe something friendlier to use. Do you know if those chemicals get through the resin and into our drinking water and bathing water? I sometimes get a rash on my skin and I notice when I stopped using resup for a week it started clearing up. Wasn't sure if that was just from the softening of the water or the chemical was getting through. Thanks.
Jack
December 29, 2011 at 3:54 AM
Hi Mark... thanks for taking the time to answer our questions... I was looking into a tac system but I have been turned off because apparently it does not remove the minerals that cause hard water... but it is safe to drink salt softened water... I hear some people saying soft water has very little salt in it so it should be safe... my other question is if you think a system setup with a salt water softener followed by a whole house filter with work... I'm thinking that I get softened water with the added protection of ultrafiltration... soft showers and clean drinking water... Thanks again.
Jack
December 29, 2011 at 3:56 AM
Sorry... meant to say "is it safe to drink salt softened water?"
mark
December 30, 2011 at 5:06 PM
Lee, The latest this is chemical-free iron removal system ahead of the water softener. The softener doesn’t use nearly as much salt and doesn’t have to work as hard, plus the life is extended … and there are no chemicals to leach into the water. Here’s the infusion Chemical –Free System: https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/filters/iron-filters
mark
December 30, 2011 at 5:14 PM
Jack, A lot depends upon what is in your water. The amount of sodium added in most cases is small, but if your water is extremely hard, it could be higher. A good water analysis is paramount. I recommend this one: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html Another issue is taste. Frankly, I don’t like soft water and ultrafiltration won’t do much for that. Reverse osmosis is the only practical way to remove the sodium. Depending upon your budget, you may want to consider whole house reverse osmosis. This involves a commercial reverse osmosis system which doesn’t waste nearly as much water. In fact, in many instances and with proper pre-treatment, we can recover 75% of the water. Get that water test done first and then we can tell you how to proceed. Let me know if you have more questions or need further information. We look forward to working with you. Remember, we are here 7 days a week from 8 AM until 11 PM for technical support and we will beat any price on a comparable system. Regards,
mark
December 30, 2011 at 5:14 PM
Jack, A lot depends upon what is in your water. The amount of sodium added in most cases is small, but if your water is extremely hard, it could be higher. A good water analysis is paramount. I recommend this one: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html Another issue is taste. Frankly, I don’t like soft water and ultrafiltration won’t do much for that. Reverse osmosis is the only practical way to remove the sodium. Depending upon your budget, you may want to consider whole house reverse osmosis. This involves a commercial reverse osmosis system which doesn’t waste nearly as much water. In fact, in many instances and with proper pre-treatment, we can recover 75% of the water. Get that water test done first and then we can tell you how to proceed.
nancy konechne
April 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM
we need a water softener and looking at saltless. One reason is that we can't carry the bags of salt downstairs. But want one that leaves dishes in DW clean & water soft. what do you recommend? nancy
mark
April 28, 2012 at 5:05 PM
NANCY, You should check out these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/salt-free-water-conditioners If you need help in deciding which one is right for you, please give us a call at 800-608-USWA.
Bonnie
January 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM
We have a 3 member household in 1450 s. feet all women who likes to feel soft. What is ypour reccomendation for capacity and cost?
mark
January 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Bonnie, I would recommend a 35,000 grain softener like one of these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/water-softener-system
Rick
January 15, 2013 at 8:50 PM
Mark- I have been looking at EasyWater for 2 years; never purchased because I could never find any empirical data showing it works. Yours is the only other salt-free conditioner I have come across. Here's my story: I live in the Northeast and have beautiful spring-fed well water. It is hard and it builds up scale in my copper pipes and faucets. All pipes, fixtures and appliances were new 13 years ago and run fine except for scale in pipes, faucets and showerheads. I want to get rid of the scale but do not want to change a thing about the taste or feel of my water. I do not need to use extra soaps or detergents. Our dishes are spotless. (My wife says the white clothes could come out whiter) I have a whole house filter for sediment only and another filter in the refrigerator. All waste discharges to my undergound cesspools. So, what is my best option for a salt-free water conditioner to add to my current system that will prevent new scale, remove existing scale and leave everything else the same?
mark
January 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Rick, This is currently the best option: https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-advantage.html Salt free systems are not perfect and you won't get the results you do with a salt-based softener. The Green Wave is currently the best available technology. If there is something better, we will sell it.
Janet
January 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM
I am looking for a water conditioner that will keep hard water scale off the shower walls and from clogging up the shower head as well as sink stoppers. I do not care about lots of suds and a silky feel to the water. My main concern is hard water deposits making everything difficult to clean. I also prefer not to use salt. We have 6 grains per gallon of hardness. Would the Green Wave work on this amount of hardness and if so which one would be the most appropriate for a 3 bathroom house? Any recommendations would be helpful.
mark
January 28, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Janet, I would recommend this Bodyguard: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-bodyguard-whole-house-chemical-removal-filtration-system.html I think you will be very happy with it.
Karen
January 22, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Will the Pelican or the Green Wave make our hair and skin soft, as well as our laundry? We have 38 grains of harness here, where we've lived about a year. I noticed the shower only felt slippery some of the time. My hands and hair have become unbelievably dry. Also, our towels are very scratch. Is that from so much potassium salt in the water, or from the softener not working, and too much minerals in the water.Our softener is now on its last legs. I would like a salt-free system, so that I wouldn't have to lug around 40 lb bags. But, with this much hardness, the system has to really work or we'll end up having to replumb the house.
mark
January 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Karen, In a word - NO! There are a lot of people who will tell you that, but is simply isn't true. With water that hard, you will need a salt-based water softener or a whole-house reverse osmosis system. Call us if you have questions...
Tim Fox
May 13, 2013 at 12:04 PM
i think the confusion is in the semantics. Water Doctor did clear up things quite a bit, but "naturally softened" water does not mean that it is free of minerals. That is softened water via salt or some similar application. Pelican's use of the phrase "naturally softened" means that they don't really take anything out of the water or use pellets to soften the water. Instead, their system makes the ions inert so that they cannot produce scale on your plumbing components. The simplest answer for whether to use a saltless system is this: If you like your water as it is, but do not want scale, get a saltless system. If you do not like your water as it is and want softer towels, more of slimy feel in the shower, etc. then get a traditional softener. I live in Minneapolis where we have less than 8 grains of hardness, very little chlorine, etc. but I completely ripped out all of my copper plumbing less than a year ago and replaced with PEX. Within one year, I had massive scale built up on some components on my radiant heat pump. I like my water, but I don't want it ruining my components. So a saltless system will do exactly what I need - keep everything in the water, but keep the scale off the components. Hope that helps a little.
Rose Lake
November 8, 2013 at 9:04 PM
I have a question about "spot-free dishes - NO." If the TAC technology massively reduces calcium deposits (scale) on the inside of pipes and appliances, then why wouldn't it do the same for dishes? When our softener starts to wear out, we don't just get "spots" - which can be taken care of with products like Jet Dry, and special detergents. We get hard white deposits on silverware, glasses, and dishes which are *very* difficult to remove. Wouldn't the TAC technology reduce *that* to a minimal level? If it does, I wouldn't care about a few easily removable spots, or soap that doesn't produce oceans of suds. Also, I *like* minerals in my water, and dislike soft water (so we drink bottled mineral water, which seems crazy when our water naturally has so much calcium and magnesium). But we didn't leave the kitchen tap water unsoftened because, with 19 grains of hard water, the stainless steel sink accumulates scale way too easily. Also, with soft water, it takes five minutes to rinse a little soap off your hands, which never does feel like it's actually gone, and just ends up on the towel I guess. But with water this hard we can choose between having the slimy feeling, or buying all brand new appliances once a year - so the slime wins every time.
Mark Timmons
November 20, 2013 at 9:21 PM
Lots of questions. I'll answer them individually: <em>If the TAC technology massively reduces calcium deposits (scale) on the inside of pipes and appliances, then why wouldn’t it do the same for dishes? When our softener starts to wear out, we don’t just get “spots” – which can be taken care of with products like Jet Dry, and special detergents. We get hard white deposits on silverware, glasses, and dishes which are *very* difficult to remove. Wouldn’t the TAC technology reduce *that* to a minimal level? </em> "Velocity" through the pipes prevents the buildup, but there is no velocity in the dishwasher. TAC or any salt-free method does not remove the hardness so it is still there on the dishes and when it dries there are spots. No reduction with TAC - end of story! <em>If it does, I wouldn’t care about a few easily removable spots, or soap that doesn’t produce oceans of suds. Also, I *like* minerals in my water, and dislike soft water (so we drink bottled mineral water, which seems crazy when our water naturally has so much calcium and magnesium). But we didn’t leave the kitchen tap water unsoftened because, with 19 grains of hard water, the stainless steel sink accumulates scale way too easily. </em> Drink what you like - Mineral water is fine! <em>Also, with soft water, it takes five minutes to rinse a little soap off your hands, which never does feel like it’s actually gone, and just ends up on the towel I guess. But with water this hard we can choose between having the slimy feeling, or buying all brand new appliances once a year – so the slime wins every time.</em> It does not take 5 minutes to rinse off the soap. You are just feeling you own skin oils and confusing it with soap. Here's proof: Wash a hand in hard water with IVORY SOAP, rinse it and it won't feel slick (you say slimy). Then lick it - you will taste the soap. Do the same with soft water. You will feel slick (you say slimy) but you won't taste the soap. GUARANTEED! To top it off you save 50% on soaps because you don't use as much. You say slimy - I say silky - it's a matter of perspective.
Jason
April 12, 2014 at 4:23 AM
I personally am very disappointed with Pelican. They have been very misleading and deceitful with me. I have a water hardness level of 26, a TDS level of 1000, and high iron and manganese, along with a chloride content of 400 and extremely high sodium. When it came time to sell me something, they were very helpful. After reviewing my water test, they recommended my setup. I bought and installed everything exactly the way they told me. I installed the following in order: 5 micron sediment filter chlorine injector pump (@ 3 ppm) with 35 gallon storage tank Greensand iron/manganese remover carbon series filter tank NatureSoft salt free water softener The iron and manganese problem did go away. However, the hardness ans TDS are still a major problem. Our shower doors, fixtures, dishes and inside the dishwasher itself are covered in a white film....badly. After not even a month, the filter in our furnace humidifier was pretty much a solid block of salt. My coffee filters look like someone sprinkled kosher salt into them. The white calcium carbonate sediment in my beverage glass after the ice melts looks like someone shaved a pile of skin off the bottom of their calloused foot into my drink! I started calling within a few weeks of installation trying to get help. I used the Lemi-Shine rinse aid they sent me and it does nothing. Every time I called (within the 90 satisfaction guarantee), they told me, "Just give it time, it's cleaning the scale out of your system." All the piping supplying their equipment, I installed new at the same time. I have checked various places around the whole house and there is no scale. Now, I call just outside my 90 day guarantee and their story changes. They now tell me that nothing they have to offer can deal with my water conditions and that the only thing that will help me is either RO or distillation. They also tell me I probably shouldn't be drinking the water. So when I told them to come get their equipment and refund my money, they told me it was too late because the 90 days had expired. I told them they knowingly sold me equipment that would not address my problem and they said, "No, we sold you the best that WE had to offer." They claimed that I wasn't specific enough in the results I was looking for to begin with. I'm sorry, but after spending $3,800 on your equipment, at the very least,I expect the results to be drinkable water. I did contact the lab that did the testing (Pelican sold me the test) and they told me that all of my issues were EPA secondary and unless I was on a no sodium diet, posed only asthetic issues, but are not detrimental to my health. And to be honest, the water tastes fine. Their website is misleading calling the NatureSoft a softener at all, and in the FAQ's right after saying yes it's a softener they answer the next question no, after installing the NatureSoft salt free softener, the hardness level in your water test will not be reduced. Not exact words, but you get the gist. Also, Pelican is Operated by Enviro Water Solutions, who incidentally has consructed a fake website. When I searched on Yahoo for sites reviewing water softeners, a link to www.watersoftenerscompared.com popped up. When I clicked on it, it took me to a site making the Pelican system look like the be all end all in water treatment systems compared to some others. This is a misleading tactic and if you ask me, Pelican is guilty of some serious false advertisement calling this system a softener. Lesson learned. I have been told that our water conditions are worst than most, and everyone up and down our street has similar problems, but they went different routes. I should have gone local from the get go but being new to the area, I didn't know where to go. I figured everyone would just be looking for a sale. Well, BINGO! So was Pelican.
Jason
April 12, 2014 at 4:27 AM
I forget to add that at the bottom of the water softeners compared website is a small link to a disclaimer saying that the site is run by Enviro Water Solutions.
Navneet
April 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM
How do you compare to James Water Softeners? They are the only ones to hit the magic 17 GPM needed for a 2 bathroom home. 16.8 GPM is needed for such a home according to the water quality association of america.
Mark Timmons
April 13, 2014 at 12:41 PM
1. I have never heard of James Water Softeners. 2. They are not the only ones who hit 17 GPM - we have many softeners that flow over 17 GPM! 3. Where does the Water Quality Association say you need 16.8 GPM for a two bedroom home?
nadia
April 15, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Hi, really need help deciding what we need. We have a Pelican whole house filter but still deal with hard water. Our water smells at times and it's ruining all our appliances and laundry soap stays on clothes very irritating. We are looking into a water softener but have no idea. I called the people at Safe way and still no reply back so that put a red flag up for me. Are salt water softeners going to do harm longterm? I've read salt less water softeners really don't soften water at all so I'm very confused. Please help....
Mark Timmons
April 15, 2014 at 3:10 PM
Nadia, Saltless water conditioners DO NOT soften the water, PERIOD! First of all, we need to know about your water so that we can fix it. I would advise you to give us a call. One of our Certified Water Specialists can put you on the right path. 800-608-8792 and no one is on commission.
nadia
April 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM
Thank you for such a quick response really appreciate that!! I will be calling thanks again.:-)
Joseph
July 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Can you tell me whether the saltless water conditioners are safe for tankless water heater? Especially since I have learned today the difference between a saltless and salt using water softener/conditioner. Thanks
Mark Timmons
July 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM
They are indeed safe and we use them a lot. We just advise putting a hot water filter ahead of the heater: https://www.uswatersystems.com/black-high-temperature-filter-housing.html With this cartridge: https://www.uswatersystems.com/harmsco-polyester-high-temperature-801-5-micron-2-75-x-9-75-cartridge-801-5-ht.html That keeps the solids from accumulating in the coils of the heater.
Mike
September 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM
I already have a descaler that works very well at descaling, I need some kind of filter to filter the residue that appears as a milky cloud on everything like my sink, shower, and dishes. SO is there a filter I can use without using salt, or electricity?
Mark Timmons
October 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM
Mike, I would have to know more about your water, but it sounds like you are talking about hardness, which can only be removed by a water softener or reverse osmosis system.
wendy
September 18, 2014 at 3:19 PM
I am in Montana, I have a well and hard water but my biggest problem is Iron content. I had it tested and was told it is very high. I have a RO system also. my water softener works well so my issue is hauling and filling it up with salt. I'm getting older and woould rather not deal with salt but if I can't get something that will take care of the iron it wont do me any good. I have seen some that do say they can take care of the iron but I don't know. I don't mind harder water, i grew up with a well and the water tastes much better but i need to take care of the iron. can you help me?
Mark Timmons
October 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM
Sorry, for the late response. Your e-mail was stuck in my spam filter. Here is what we recommend for iron: https://www.uswatersystems.com/infusion-backwashing-filter-for-iron-sulfur-and-manganese-removal.html
Ed
October 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM
It's to bad there's not a simple solution to the hard water problem. I have a deep well that has good smelling great tasting water. the only problem is the water has tons of minerals that causes the pluming to get a lot of white deposits on them. I would like find a reasonable priced water filter system that doesn't use salt. WELCOME TO THE CROWD.
Mark Timmons
October 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM
WE HAVE REASONABLY PRIICED SYSTEMS THAT CAN FIX YOUR WATER. GIVE US A CALL AT 800-608-8792.
Steve
November 7, 2014 at 5:59 PM
I have very hard water (around 15 gpg), but I also want the effects of a soft water system. Can I use a water conditioner for the calcium buidup and then a water softener for the water that comes in the house, in series with the water conditioner?
Mark Timmons
November 8, 2014 at 9:37 AM
Steve, I guess I fail to see what the benefit would be. The water softener also removes the calcium. If you want a water softener, a conditioner is redundant!
steve f
November 9, 2014 at 6:56 AM
Mark, I have read your post with interest and from what I have read I don't think I want a salt less system(was going to buy a pelican model)to get rid buying salt and the furnace guy tells me that the salt conditioner's are hard on the boilers) I have 12 grains of hardness, ph is 8.07 and the iron is .8 ml. Any suggestions would a great help. thank you steve
Mark Timmons
November 9, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Steve, I hope the furnace guy isn't your brother or something, because that is a totally false statement. In fact, it is reckless to say such a thing. Under no circumstances would you want a saltless system with a boiler, as I have seen them plug in a matter of days. Most boiler manufacturers DEMAND at least soft water, and high-pressure steam boilers require reverse osmosis water. Many commercial boilers use deakalizers as well. Cleaver Brooks. who is one of the oldest and most respected boiler manufacturers has an entire water treatment division with salt-based water softening at its core. http://www.cleaver-brooks.com/Products-and-Solutions/Water-Systems/Water-Treatment/Index.aspx You absolutely do want a water softener for a boiler, and with your small amount of iron, I would suggest this to prevent any hard water from entering your boiler system: https://www.uswatersystems.com/synergy-twin-alternating-metered-water-softener.html Now, one final word of advice: Even with softened water, the total dissolved solids will gradually concentrate in the boiler, so it is important that you "blow it down" periodically... like once every week or two. If you have further questions, please let me know.
steve f
November 9, 2014 at 4:38 PM
thanks mark for the great info. is there another choice that takes less space as we don't have a lot of room now w/ the old 1 tank and separate brine tank. I have been using the iron out salt with the current softener to help with the rust. we have a whole house filter (Omni u25) then it goes into the softener then furnace and into another house filter(taste GAC BB 10" filter). would like to have an all in one system is that is possible. thanks again steve
Marcelinne
December 24, 2014 at 1:21 AM
I am interested to know the impact of saltfree filtersorb sp3 on life of the RO membrane, vis-a-vis the conventional resin based softening system. The hardness of water is about 500ppm. My membrane manufacturer says, try time tested conventional method to save th elife of membrane. What is the truth? can you please throw light on this.
Mark Timmons
December 26, 2014 at 10:26 PM
I do not recommend any salt free solutions for RO pre-treatment, including SP3. It doesn't work well.
Krish
February 14, 2016 at 11:33 AM
We have 50 gpg hard water with no iron. ls saltfree conditioner a good option? What are the bad effects of such conditioned water compared to normal ion exchange softner water? Thanks
Mark Timmons
February 17, 2016 at 8:57 AM
In my opinion, no! While it keeps pipes from scaling, you still have 50 GPG hard water and it leaves behind massive amounts of white residue. Showers, sinks, fixtures, washer, dishwasher and all appliances are impacted. There is a lot of hype on salt-free systems and it is just that - <strong>HYPE</strong>, especially with water as hard as yours. In the 10-15 GPG range, it works better. Of course, there are numberous companies out there who are more than glad to relieve you of your money based upon empty promises. They give a 90-day money back guarantee and then are professionals at getting you to keep it 91 days, in which case "<em>Sorry, you are out of your warranty period!"</em> A softener is the only logical answer.
Chas
January 28, 2017 at 6:16 PM
Mark From you website (https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/salt-free-water-conditioners) "The Green Wave pays for itself within one year due to savings. You will use less cleaning products and will also save energy because equipment like water heaters, boilers, dishwashers, washing machines etc. work more effectively." You say in this post "but if you want to use up to 50% or 60% less soaps, cleansers, shampoos, detergents and things like that, your only choice is a salt-based water softener" Which is it? It seems that even amongst yourselves there is confusion on this matter. I appreciated this blog in educating me further until I started looking at the US Water Systems site in more depth and frankly feel it's not much different than the Pelican site -- making claims that your own experts refute or take exception with. It would be nice if someone actually did create a true objective standard to hold all system manufacturers to with an actual test as to water quality. A lot of this NSF stuff doesn't speak to water quality at all, it speaks to manufacturing standards.
Mark Timmons
January 29, 2017 at 9:42 PM
Chas, Our blog is a living, breathing thing that have evolved for 15 years. We are currently on our Green Wave 3.0 which is by far the best. That said, the two statements are hardly at odds. Especially now, the Green Wave pays for itself in a year and "<em>you will use less cleaning products and save energy because equipment like water heaters, boilers, dishwashers, washing machines etc. work more effectively.”</em> However, <em>"if you want to use up to 50% or 60% less soaps, cleansers, shampoos, detergents and things like that, your only choice is a salt-based water softener”</em> There is no confusion - read the words written and understand the meaning. I am not trying to be mean, but you what did we write that was false? By the way, how can you compare us to Pelican who calls their system a "salt free softener?" when it does not even soften water. You are right about an objective standard, but you are trying to pick a fight when there is nothing to fight about!
Kathy
August 24, 2017 at 1:27 PM
What can you tell me about the NuvoH2o water treatment system. They use the citron/chelation process. Their unit for a 1000 to 2000 sq. ft. Home is $649 and $63 cartridges every 6 months. Is this system any good?
Mark Timmons
August 24, 2017 at 4:22 PM
They use citric acid to drop the pH. We have tested and it seems to work at lower flow rates, but I don't like the idea of creating acidic water. Try this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html For a home up to 3,000 square feet, it is $279 and the cartridge is $39.95 every 6 months. It doesn't drop the pH and it works better.
Nick
October 10, 2017 at 12:06 PM
Hi Mark, I have a home 4,000 sq ft, - moved in 3 years ago, 4 people, 4 baths. No water softener. My wife has been complaining about scale on fixtures and worry about appliances. Just bought a 44k Whirlpool unit, had a plumber over for installation and there is no place to drain it. I don't want to create a dry well. So, back to square 1. We don't care about the hard water, only prolonging appliances and fixtures. We have all PVC piping (1996 house) so doubt scale build-up in pipes is too important either. We're in Jacksonville, FL where our hardness is 308 ppm, 18 gpg. What is my best solution? GreenWave, Aquos, Nuvo, Pulsar Limeblaster, etc.? Hoping to spend under $700! Thanks! Nick
Mark Timmons
October 16, 2017 at 12:23 PM
The Pulsar Limeblaster does and incredible job at prevention and eliminating scale: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Daisy Adkisson
November 10, 2017 at 5:03 PM
Hi, I have read most of these comments and, of course, still feel confused. We have tons of scale on our evaporative cooler filters and parts. We have 7.1 grains of hardness, 2500 sq. ft and 4 bathrooms. I am concerned about the evap cooler, water heater, boiler which has 10 station for radiant heat floors. (Big model). Also am concerned with our drinking water and my dogs and plants. My fridge filtered water is what we currently use but I don't think that it's safe for us. The last person to come over and test the water is recommending the Puronics Micromax 6000 and a RO under the kitchen sink for dogs, plants and our drinking water and ice (as it will go to the refrigerator as well). PLEASE HELP
Mark Timmons
November 10, 2017 at 7:57 PM
The Puronics Micromax 6000 is an undersink RO system. This is vastly superior RO system because it provides higher pressure which is needed for a fridge and it also Kills Bacteria: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-aquapurion-5-stage-permeate-pump-ro-system.html What did they recommend for the whole house?
David Smith
February 5, 2018 at 10:36 AM
What are your views on technology like these http://softerwaterconditioners.com/water-softener/ They are claiming their system will condition for softer water and it is priced low. One more company that is of same technology is http://watersofteningrsa.co.za/what-is-pth/
Mark Timmons
February 10, 2018 at 12:32 PM
We have tested many systems like this. I use one word: BOGUS!
Andy
February 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM
Hi Mark, We are currently upgrading our heating system with a gas-fired boiler. Our well water is unfit to use in this boiler because of high levels or iron and calcium. Do you recommend using distilled water, or would that leach metal molecules from the stainless steel and copper components? Would RO water which retain "some" minerals be a better choice? I'm assuming a neutral pH in both cases. Thanks.
Mark Timmons
February 18, 2018 at 5:52 PM
Distilled water would be a bad choice. RO is usually excellent. I would need to know more about your water.
Jan
March 28, 2018 at 7:23 PM
Hi, What is different TAC v.s. TIC...Which one is better for water softener. Pelican has TIC media system no need to replace it. Watts use TAC needs to replace. Please let me know which is best for water softner.
Mark Timmons
April 1, 2018 at 2:27 PM
The difference in the delivery. Watts is telling the truth. Pelican? No so much. Pelican even says it softens the water, which is also not true. IT DOES NOT SOFTEN THE WATER. Pelican is hoping that you are gullible enough to believe them.
Jan jager
April 25, 2018 at 10:21 PM
Hi Mark. We just moved into a 3-year old home without a water softener. I used to have a softener using salt or potassium and I used both. This time I am looking at an Enviro Water Products system, Pro-combo 1044. Have you tested one of these and could you give me some comments about the system? Thank you!
Mark Timmons
April 28, 2018 at 10:55 AM
It's the same as Pelican - check their addresses - just dressed up differently. We sold that type of technology for a while and the results were very unsatisfactory. It is my opinion that this type of system is based upon "junk science." This is where a scientific misconception is madly over-applied for sales purposes. The fact that they call it a "softener" when in fact, it dos not soften the water should tell you volumes. It is really a "conditioner" and not a very effective one in our testing. This system beats it hands down: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-bodyguard-whole-house-chemical-removal-filtration-system.html. Choose the "Limeblaster" option which does and amazing job of preventing scale. It does not "soften" the water and neither does theirs.
Bob Hickman
October 6, 2018 at 8:05 PM
Hi Mark, Interesting info. I am on the hunt for a water softener. From what I have been reading, I think I will pass on the salt-free systems. Would you compare your Fusion NLT Pro, 068-FNLT, to the Pentair Fleck 5810 XTR2? The local dealer wants $2500.00 installed. Yours for 20 GPM unit is $1500.00. So $1,000.00 less, but i would have to install myself ,or hire an installer. I would need to run the discharge drain pipe up the wall to 7" high to clear a door frame, then 23 feet along the wall, 90 degree turn then 5 to 10 more feet to be able to tap into the drain pipe in the wall. Thanks Bob
Mark Timmons
October 7, 2018 at 10:37 PM
Running a discharge pipe like that is no problem. The Fleck 5810 XTR2 is an entry level ecomony 3/4" valve. It has a 5 year warranty on the valve and electronics but not the piston, seals and moving parts. The Fusion NLT is a 1" valve with a 10 year warranty on the valve and electronics and the warranty covers the piston, seals and moving parts. The Fusion NLT is also dramatically more efficient and it is easy to install.
Tim Stein
October 12, 2019 at 12:58 PM
Hi Mark, I live in Orrville Ohio and my wife and I just built a 4000sq ft home with 3.5 bath rooms. If your not familiar with this area, there is a salt mine 4 miles away this we have 3000 ppm salt in our well water along with the usual rust and calcium hard water. Could you recommend a system that can deal with softening first and foremost and if possible what can be used to remove the salt in solution? We have been told no way to remove the salts without expensive RO. Thanks and much appreciated.
Mark Timmons
October 15, 2019 at 10:54 PM
Don you have a detailed water analysis? That is where I need to start...