The Hard Truth About Salt-Free Water Softeners

The Hard Truth About Salt-Free Water Softeners
By Mark Timmons
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The Hard Truth About Salt-Free Water Softeners

For about the last ten years salt-free water softeners have become the dream of many marketing companies.   It’s not like they haven’t always been out there – I’ve been in the water treatment business for 42 years and I have seen plenty of these types of companies come and go – but they are now here en mass. I have often wondered why it seems that there are so many of these companies that have popped up lately.  It seems to me that it started with Easy Water, who at one time called their system a saltfree softener but later had the conscience to change the name to a salt free conditioner.  However, today if you Google Salt Free Softeners, you will come up with the following: There are also many other companies selling what are purported to be "salt-free water softeners" but these are the ones that consumers ask us about the most.  To be clear, the problem I have with these companies that they call their products "Salt-Free Water Softeners" when the definition of "Soft Water" is this:
  • Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with "soft water"). - Wikipedia
  • Water that does not contain high levels of dissolved solids such as minerals that make it hard to lather. Soft water lathers easily. - Black's Law Dictionary
  • Water containing little or no dissolved salts of calcium or magnesium, especially water containing less than about 85 parts per million of calcium carbonate.  - Your Dictionary
  • Water that is free of magnesium or calcium salts. - Engineering Dictionary
  • Water that is not hard (does not contain salts that interfere with the formation of lather with soap).  - Webster's Dictionary
  • Water lacking those ions, such as Mg2+ and Ca2+, that form insoluble salts with fatty acids, so that ordinary soap will lather easily in it. - MediLexicon 
  • Softened water is “any water which has been processed in some manner to reduce the total hardness to 17.1 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm) (1.0 grain per gallon) or less expressed as calcium carbonate equivalent.” - Water Quality Association
So, it is widely established by multiple sources that "soft water" is water that is low on dissolved minerals.  Yet, none of the above-mentioned companies remove the minerals.  Let's read what they say about the minerals:
  • Pelican -  "Leaves in beneficial minerals"
  • Aquasana - "prevents minerals from binding and forming scale"
  • EvoClear - "Hard water (calcium and magnesium) is transformed into microscopic nano crystals that are suspended in the process.  When the calcium and magnesium become suspended, the hard water is unable to form scale or lime scale deposits while it travels through your home."
  • Futura -   "When water comes into contact with the catalytic surface of the media, hard water agents calcium (CaCO3) and magnesium become attached to the ceramic granules and are instantly converted into a scale resistant crystalline form."
  • NuvoH2O - "Our CitraCharge formula stops the mineral ions from causing hard water problems by making the typically troublesome minerals stay apart in the water, so instead of attaching to the metal in the pipes the water passes through. Since they’re bound, those minerals also freely wash away from your body, hair, dishes, pipes, fixtures, and appliances."
It is surprising to me that they call it softened water but then admit they don't take out the calcium and magnesium?  How can it be softened water when the minerals are not removed?  Some companies call it "Naturally softened water" which is pure unadulterated sales hyperbole which has no basis in fact.  Naturally softened water falls from the sky and is called RAIN!  Try a soap test with any of them and compare it to soft water - you will see the suds form and stay in soft water but not in the salt-free systems. We get dozens of calls everyday asking us about this.  We also have a salt-free system, called the LimeBlaster,  but we call it a conditioner, not a softener because it does not soften water.  It does condition it, but most of the benefits that you get with softened water are not benefits you will get with a salt-free system.  Things like spot-free glasses and dishes, whiter, brighter and softer clothes, and reduced soap usage are not benefits you receive with salt-free systems.  The main benefit is the reduction of scale.  W also have a full line of salt-free system that use no energy and waster no water while removing dramatic amounts of contaminants, called Pulsar Water Systems. So the question is, why do these companies persist in calling these "salt-free water softeners?"  Let me attempt to answer this.  The "baby boomers" are getting up in years and don't like carrying salt, and it has become en vogue to ban softeners in some areas.  This is America - the land of opportunity and marketers see an opportunity to sell a salt-free softener, but if they called it a conditioner, would it be as easy to sell?  I doubt it!  In my opinion, the use of the word softener instead of conditioner is an attempt to deceive the consumer.  At the very least, it confuses them. Earlier, I mentioned that these companies are "Marketing Companies."  Do they have any Certified Water Specialists on staff?  Usually not.  Their focus is on salt-free systems.  Whatever you problem, a salt-free softener is your solution.  On the other hand, US Water System is a Water Treatment Company - we have nearly 10,000 products because no one product is the solution to everything.  If it filters, we call it a filter.  If it produces ozone, we call it an ozonator.  If it softens, we call it a softener and if it conditions, we call it a conditioner.  We don't call a squirrel an elephant.  We call them what they are. We are not a marketing company - we are a full service water treatment company with a dozen Certified Water Specialists on staff, the least of whom has at least seven years experience.  We have sales and tech support seven days a week and we are all about finding the right solution for your water, whether it be salt-free or not.  The fact is, a salt-free conditioner may or may not be right for you, but we can help you decide.  However, a salt-free softener is never right for you... because it doesn't exist! Personally, I think it's time for the US Justice Department and State Attorneys General to investigate these claims and put a stop to them if they are deemed deceptive!  I had someone ask me last week "What company are you so worried about?"  I'm not worried about any company in particular.  I am worried about the consumers being mislead! Nietzche
February 8, 2015
Comments
Deanna
March 4, 2015 at 5:34 PM
What are my options for a town that has banned salt-softeners, but provides hard and dirty water.
Mark Timmons
March 5, 2015 at 8:06 AM
Deanna, Many people successfully treat their water with this system: https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-edge.html It utilizes micron filtration, carbon filtration and salt-free scale removal technology to provide exceptional water. Let us know if you have further questions.
bheur
April 11, 2015 at 9:29 PM
Yes, a number of companies are sneaky claiming water softening with saltless system, And then there are conventional salt based water softener companies that claim these saltless system are snake oil exactly because they do not remove the hardness. No wonder consumers are confused - they're expecting the soft water feeling and feeling taken when the saltless systems do not meet this expectation. I prefer the saltless system for a number of reasons: 1) the environmental impact of adding salt to the natural water ways, 2) added salt intake in drinking water 3) extra water usage required for the backwashing.
Michael
July 3, 2015 at 4:45 PM
IMHO, anything that removes the dissolved minerals, which make water "hard", is a type of water "softener". Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems can certainly be considered softeners, as can distillers.
Mark Timmons
July 3, 2015 at 7:20 PM
Michael, You are correct that a distiller and RO can be considered to be a water softener. However, the point of the post was to emphasize the fact that most of the systems that claim to be "Salt-Free Water Softeners" don't actually soften the water.
Michael
August 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Is there a salt-free system that does work?
Mark Timmons
August 3, 2015 at 3:36 PM
I guess it depends upon what you want it to do. Our Green Wave does what we say, but what do you want it to do?
Jack
August 15, 2015 at 1:36 AM
My only goal is to prevent the scaling on appliances and in pipes, so I'll be buying the basic Green Wave. I am no plumber, will I need to hire one or can I install myself with a bit of trial and error? Also, is there a noticeable difference in the 10/15gpm versions?
Mark Timmons
August 15, 2015 at 3:01 PM
1. We have tech support 7 days a week. We are not fond of plumbers. Read this: https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2015/06/5377/ It's easy to install with our support. 2. I would use the 15 GPM model if I have more than 3.5 baths and more than 5 people in the family.
Jason
December 9, 2015 at 11:56 AM
Hello Water Doc Do you have any proof that your competitors water conditioners don't do what they claim? It appears all you have is the fact they are calling them "salt free water softners", I don't have a problem with them calling them that. They don't claim to remove the minerals but claim or state the results are the same as your product. Congress changed the definition of a word last year, diffinitions can be changed when people understand the meaning. I also understand the marketing aspect behind the term. My conclusion is if there is no such meaning of "salt free water softner" , but the term exists and people understand "salt free water softner" means water comditioners, then the term "salt free water softner" must be eccepted by all as the definition of water conditioner. What I'm trying to figure out is, does this technology actual do what they are claiming? I don't care what they call it, but does it actually work!
Mark Timmons
December 9, 2015 at 9:55 PM
Jason, I'll address each issue individually <strong>in bold</strong>: Do you have any proof that your competitors water conditioners don’t do what they claim? <strong>Yes, we have tested them all with a water hardness test kit. A water softener makes water "soft" a conditioner does not. Their systems all test "hard."</strong> It appears all you have is the fact they are calling them “salt free water softners”, I don’t have a problem with them calling them that. They don’t claim to remove the minerals but claim or state the results are the same as your product. Maybe you work for them... which may be why you don't have a problem with it. I don't know. <strong>Maybe you don't have a problem calling an airplane with a propeller, a jet, but it's not. A jet is an airplane, but a propeller airplane is certainly not a jet... which is why normal people don't call it that.</strong> Congress changed the definition of a word last year, diffinitions can be changed when people understand the meaning. I also understand the marketing aspect behind the term. <strong>OK, you understand it, but many people are "duped" into thinking it softens, when in fact it doesn't! </strong> My conclusion is if there is no such meaning of “salt free water softner” , but the term exists and people understand “salt free water softner” means water comditioners, then the term “salt free water softner” must be eccepted by all as the definition of water conditioner. <strong>I have to respectfully say that is one of the dumbestest things I have ever heard. It's obvious from all the typos that you are not a linguist or English major. Those words all have specific meanings and to call a conditioner a softener is grossly misleading. Period!</strong> What I’m trying to figure out is, does this technology actual do what they are claiming? I don’t care what they call it, but does it actually work! <strong>It doesn't do what they say - it doesn't soften - So, yes it doesn't do what they say. If one of them can prove that it softens the water, I'll buy their system.</strong>
Kristin
February 22, 2016 at 12:01 AM
I have a water well and softener that I put salt in. I have raised and lowered the level on how much salt it uses and still get hard water spots and my skin breaks out. When I test the water it is always same level of hardness whether salt is up high or low. The ice out of the fridge melts into a milky color. Is there a way to test the water besides DEQ? Any suggestions on how to fix or improve it?
Mark Timmons
February 22, 2016 at 8:22 AM
A water softener has to be set properly and what are the proper settings is determined by the Total Hardness of your water and the size (in grains) of your softener. Also, if you ever run out of salt, you have to use 15 pounds of salt per cubic foot to restore the capacity. If you don't do that, it will never deliver soft water. What size is your tank? What is your water hardness (any iron)? Is it a timer or a meter?
Bryan
February 28, 2016 at 5:26 AM
I've done some searching online and I understand that the salt variety water softeners will remove impurities in the water to prevent water spots and remove the buildup on lines. I also understand that the salt-free "water softeners" do not remove the impurities, but rather modify them so it won't build up on the lines. My question is: Since my home just finished construction, is there a benefit to installing the traditional setup vs salt-free? My concern also lies in the fact that I am on a septic system and that the impurities in the water that would normally eat/process the septic, will not be able to do so if they're removed. Lastly, I'm also considering a whole-home filtration system; would that be redundant if using a water softener? Would that in conjunction with the salt-free system do anything more/less than a water softener? Thanks
Mark Timmons
February 28, 2016 at 10:20 AM
Before I can answer, can you tell me about your water? Are you on city water or well water? If you are on well water, what can you tell me about the water quality?
Paloma Achlen
June 4, 2016 at 8:18 AM
Hello Mark, Yes, I totally agreed with you that from about last ten years salt-free water softeners have become the dream of many marketing companies and it’s really very beneficial for us.
Fernanda
October 2, 2016 at 11:46 PM
I just want to have a better water for a better skin and hair, what is the best option, and what exactly that will do? thank you!
Mark Timmons
October 5, 2016 at 10:14 AM
There is absolutely nothing that can deliver better water than a water softener like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/matrixx-water-softener-with-smartphone-programming.html However, if you are on city water that is chlorinated, this will do even better because it softens as well as removes the chlorine, chloramine and chemicals: https://www.uswatersystems.com/synergy-twin-alternating-metered-water-softener.html
Joe Greene
October 21, 2016 at 9:47 AM
Mark - Thanks for all this information. My son and I are currently researching this right now, trying to figure out what type of system is best for a new house he just purchased. Let me ask you a specific question or two. I've read that the nucleation process used in salt-free systems will prevent corrosion and scale build-up in the plumbing, but that you can still get the staining and other undesirables on your surfaces where the water remains standing (including the bottom of your water heater). Is this true? Also, if you don't care about the "slippery" clean feeling in the shower, do you think the lower maintenance requirements (and cost, both up front and ongoing) of these systems outweigh the benefits of a true water softener? Thank you for any info. - Joe
Mark Timmons
October 31, 2016 at 11:15 AM
Joe, We have discontinued the use of the nucleation process as the results have been less than stellar. We are now using this:https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/salt-free-water-conditioners The upfront cost is much lower and the results are dramatic and predictable. We were never able to predict when the TAC or NAC process would work. The best thing is that we have a one-year money-back guarantee. What do you have to lose? We have NEVER had one returned because they work!
Dominic
February 2, 2017 at 5:25 PM
What are your thoughts on salt vs no salt for homes with septic system? I have a new build house that is on septic that I would like to start getting conditioned or softened depending on the effects to the septic system.
Mark Timmons
February 5, 2017 at 12:08 PM
My opinion is that having a water softener dramatically down on the amount of soap, detergent, chemicals, lime removers and the like, all of which harm the septic tank. There are studies that actually show soft water can improve the operation of va septic tank.
Jessica
February 7, 2017 at 11:02 AM
Mark, I wish I would have found your article a couple years ago. At that current time, my husband and I were looking for a softener, but didn't want to be using salt. At that time, we didn't realize not only does our water have ferric iron, but it also has ferrous iron as well. We purchased an Aquasana system, thinking we would be fine. But we have learned the hard way and are now kicking ourselves for our decision. We since have posted a YouTube video on our Aquasana system and have tried to inform others of their deceptive claims. There have been a lot of active responses from potential buyers of Aquasana, turning away from purchasing the system, thanking us for posting our video. Just wanted to say thank you for remaining to keep this article posted, as it is informative and will continue to help future customers make the correct and right choice for them.
Tracy
March 1, 2017 at 9:55 AM
Hi, I am researching under the sink water filters, but found your information on water softeners interesting. We have a Kinetico water softener - it was at our previous home which was well water and now in our new home that has city water but from a city well. I've never felt the slippery feel in either home, but my hair actually feels less silky now in our new home. Our towels feel rougher. I don't know if either has to do with the water softener. Can all water softeners be adjusted to perform better? When we don't use the water softener, we start to get rust residue in the sinks and tubs and soap doesn't lather well. If we switched to your saltless water conditioner, will the rust be eliminated? Do clothes come as clean as with a water softener? I'm also looking to get a whole house filter for the chlorine and am considering replacing our Kinetico, if the saltless unit gives good results. Thanks so much for your information & help!
Mark Timmons
March 2, 2017 at 3:20 PM
We would need to know more about your water. This is the first step: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Don
April 20, 2017 at 12:34 PM
I have very hard well water (36 gpg). I would like to condition my water with a no-salt system but have not found a no-salt system that can condition water with my hardness level. Is there a no-salt system that will effectively reduce hardness level that perhaps I have overlooked in my research that you would recommend? Is it possible to use two different no- salt types of appliances, i.e.. magnetic/electric impulse in conjunction with carbon filtration system, to help reduce hardness to acceptable level?
Mark Timmons
April 21, 2017 at 9:41 AM
The magnetic/electric impulse products do not reduce the hardness in fact most do nothing except take your money. Hard water scale only occurs in the hot water as heating causes the limescale to precipitate. This product coats the pipes so that the limescale cannot stick: https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-edge.html It works every time and we have a 1-year Performance Warranty on it.
Nestor
April 23, 2017 at 12:56 AM
Our well water is above 140gpg/1300ppm. We need to know exactly what USWater has for us as another tech/ sales rep from one of your competitors refused to sell us any system claiming our water is beyond help. His remedy is ship in water, then soften it with a water softener and filter our well water for use in our pool and irrigation...sparingly. We prefer it if we can find a system that's supports our use of the well w e just spent nearly $30,000 installing, especially some our area suffers drought conditions frequently and water trucked in gets very expensive plus we have to purchase the 2500 gal water tank.
Mark Timmons
April 24, 2017 at 11:12 PM
We can definitely fix it, but we need a good water test, like these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html No one can size a system without that.
SteveA
June 12, 2017 at 8:26 AM
The distinction is between DISSOLVED minerals vs CRYSTALLIZED minerals and it is a perfectly valid distinction, is very likely to cause a difference in scaling. Whether this changes "hardness", depends on the specific definition used. That particual"water hardness test kit" doesn't show a difference is a limitaiton of the test, and does not show TAC provides no benefit wrt scaling. The temporary hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium carbonates) are only poorly soluble in neutral water. No reasonable persons would say that tossing a stick of chalk or a hunk of coral (crystallized calcium carbonate) into a bucket of water makes it hard until and unless it dissolves. This article fails to recognize and address this important distinction. I have no opinion on whether the TAC physical water treatment systems actually creates crystalline carbonates from dissolved carbonate salts, however the theory is sound.
Mark Timmons
June 12, 2017 at 8:46 AM
In theory, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus may seem sound, but we know how that works out. The rest of your argument is so silly it deserves no response. None of it is factual.
Stuart Mattson
July 16, 2017 at 10:46 AM
Hi! My story is typical of finding ones self facing hard water in a new town and location. First, we noticed the calcium deposits on our dishes that were run through the dishwasher and then the deposits on shower stalls was the most obvious area of concern. We had a consult with Culligan and tried Eddy and Clearwave Salt Free Electronic Water Conditioners with no significant changes. I was ready to purchase a Salt Free Whole House Water Conditioner from Aquasana and fortunately my wife found your article and this website. YAH!!!!!!!! SMATT
Mark Timmons
July 16, 2017 at 9:36 PM
Thank you. We will not let you down!
Brad
August 30, 2017 at 7:22 PM
Hi Mark, I bought a house in Minnesota and the previous owner did NOT have a water softener in the fifteen years he owned the house, and I can feel it in the shower and see the results in the dishes coming out of the dishwasher. I'm interested in the Greenwave ( if you like it) but I'm also concerned about buildup in the pipes. If there is extreme buildup, short of ripping out old pipes, is there something to de-scale the buildup in the pipes? Thank you very much! Brad
Mark Timmons
August 30, 2017 at 10:28 PM
We now have a better systems than the Green Wave: https://blog.uswatersystems.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated Not only does it prevent scale formation, but it slowly dissolves existing scale.
Brad
August 31, 2017 at 7:42 PM
Hi Mark, That link didn't take me to the system that you were talking about. I'm interested in getting it put in my new house so if you could type it out again, that would be great Brad
Mark Timmons
September 1, 2017 at 3:57 PM
Fixed the link. It works now.
Ken
October 15, 2017 at 9:40 PM
Hi Mark, we have a 60' drilled well (I think mostly in ledge) and have been dealing with hard water for almost 40 years. I bought a Sears "water softener" about 15 years ago when we had a forced hot water furnace installed (with domestic hot water coil). I was hoping this would prevent scale build up in the coil and hot water pipes. I think the "softener" helped but not sure how much. It did reduce the white mineral deposits on pans when we boiled water. What we DID NOT like was the slimy feeling after a shower and having to add salt. I removed the "softener" and for the last 8 yrs or so we've been living with the problem. The hot water now has less pressure (I think the inside of the coil is scaling up) and I have to constantly clean little hard white and brownish crystalized sand like nuggets from all the faucet screens, shower etc. I recently had our water tested and the analysis showed the Hardness (calc.) to be 164 mgCaC03/L. What do you think is the best solution to our hard water problem? My wife and I are the only ones living at this residence. I would appreciate your advice. Thanks, Ken
Mark Timmons
October 16, 2017 at 12:11 PM
I would recommend this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html A properly sized water softener would work too (Sears are usually very small) but if you don't like the slick feeling then the Limeblaster will prevent scale. It also helps dissolved existing scale.
Ken
October 17, 2017 at 9:17 PM
Thank you
Breann
October 26, 2017 at 12:02 AM
I’m in a rental home and it’s impossible to hook up a salt-based softener cause of where the pipes are and the clean out, so what do you suggest as an alternative to treat the water? I’m mostly concerned about my hair & skin, having had a salt system for the last 10+ years. Thank you.
Mark Timmons
October 26, 2017 at 11:57 PM
Here's a two step economical way: https://www.uswatersystems.com/aquapurion-big-blue-4-5-x-20-commercial-filter-housing.html With the Radial Flow Carbon Filter Followed by this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html It's not soft water, but it will be a lot better than tap water.
Laura
November 10, 2017 at 1:17 PM
I have very hard water that leaves residue and buildup on all my counters, fixtures and pipes. I would like to purchase a system that resolves that issue, but does not cause issues with watering my garden and is environmentally friendly. I currently have an appointment to have a Rayne Defender system installed on Thursday...then I found your article. Is there a better solution?
Mark Timmons
November 10, 2017 at 1:48 PM
Our approach is a modular one and we have a number of "modules" to address a number of issues. However, the hard Water issue is the easiet and least expenive way. Here is all you need: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Sandra Kraus
November 19, 2017 at 2:35 PM
GREAT WEBSITE!!! I just got here but still can't find info you're referring to in the part of the blog shown below....Can you help me please? Thanks! "Mark Timmons says: August 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm We now have a better systems than the Green Wave: https://blog.uswatersystems.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated Not only does it prevent scale formation, but it slowly dissolves existing scale."
Mark Timmons
November 21, 2017 at 10:42 PM
Here's the link: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
joey
December 16, 2017 at 5:09 PM
Okay...I got a couple of serious questions here...I've decided to go with the aquasana option, can I get the "scm" filter from some other supplier other than aquasana themselves? If so, why should I spend $550+ on their(or any other companys) when I can build my own for under $100? I can get a pentek ws20 filter for $37 and a 20x2.5 head unit for $40. Why are these guys charging so much for such inexpensive materials? Is it all a scam? Or just unsuspecting victims. Enuff of that, sorry. Which filter should I use for a tankless water heater? And should I use a pre or post filter? Thanks.
Mark Timmons
December 17, 2017 at 2:39 PM
As far as I am concerned the SCM filter is a scam. We have used that same media and we no longer use it because we do not feel it works. If you want to; protect a tankless water heater, here is what we suggest: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html It has a one-year Money-Back Guarantee - That's how sure we are of it.
joey
December 17, 2017 at 4:23 PM
Thanks Mark, what about pre or post filters. I live in a mobile home park and they have a water system all their own from a well. Definitely hard water but not sure of actual hardness. The wife is complaining of dry skin and hair and dingy clothes. Will this help in reducing these little problems and can I make icecubes?
Mark Timmons
December 17, 2017 at 4:28 PM
It prevents scale and it will help with skin and hair... how much is the question. Whether it solves all your problems is questionable. Reverse Osmosis is the only sure way to produce great ice cubes.
joey
December 17, 2017 at 4:51 PM
Thanks Mark, what about pre or post filters. I live in a mobile home park and they have a water system all their own from a well. Definitely hard water but not sure of actual hardness. The wife is complaining of dry skin/hair and dingy clothes. Will this help in reducing these little problems and can I make icecubes or should I get a post filter for that after the blaster?
joey
December 17, 2017 at 5:06 PM
I must say, you are on it, Mark! Thanks for the info. Just trying to save some money and keep the little lady happy at the same time. Seems like a never ending circle. Any other filter would you recommend along with your pulsar limeblaster? I do have an RO system just not sure which filter goes where. Last time I hooked it up the water coming out of the dispenser was bubbly and tasted funny.
Mark Timmons
December 17, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Joey, Call 800-608-8792 between 8 AM and 8 PM and we will try and help you. This requires a conversation.
joey
December 17, 2017 at 7:28 PM
Thanks, but it'll have to be after the first of the year. I'm out of country for the holidays. But I will call as soon as I return. Thanks again.
TuacaTom
January 18, 2018 at 7:11 PM
True on conditioner vs. softener, but there are some reasons for the salt-free systems: + Condos/Apartments with no drainage + No desire to kill vegetation with the salt systems + Avoidance for litigation (some areas banning salt systems) + Low desire for added sodium and/or removal of minerals in water Living in a Condo, I have to select from the no drainage systems which are all salt-free.
Mark Timmons
January 18, 2018 at 10:10 PM
But, they are not all created equal and none are water "softeners" although they call themselves that. If they can pass that stuff off as water "softeners" maybe I can pass myself off as Brad Pitt...
Ashish
February 1, 2018 at 8:14 AM
Hello, Your article is very informative. Do you think the ban on salt based water softeners will grow, forcing consumers to buy conditioners?
Mark Timmons
February 10, 2018 at 8:39 AM
Possibly in some areas, but most peopole I know who have had softeners are not happy at all with conditioners if they live in an area of the country that has extremely hard water.
Veronica Lucas
February 14, 2018 at 3:39 PM
Hi Mark, I am wanting to improve my water, and just as a lot of Boomers don't want to carry salt, I'm in line right behind them. but I really need help!. I have a carbon filter for minerals a Scale Blaster, to ionize the water. and I had a UV light which is now not working. I am drawing water from my well. I have High levels of Iron and sulfur I think its Sulfur. I have an egg like the smell of my hot water. do you have any suggestions? I was going to get a new UV. but I still need to filter the water when it comes into the house. Or is the problem with my water heater? The water heater was here when I bought the house and was sitting for I don't know how long. I had the Well tested when I bought the house and there wasn't anything to worry about in the well. let me know what you think.
Mark Timmons
February 18, 2018 at 5:35 PM
Sulfur has to be oxidized to be removed. We use a system like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/aquatrol-oxi-gen-economy-iron-and-sulfur-removal-system.html However, before you do anything, you need to get a detailed water test like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Veronica Lucas
February 14, 2018 at 3:47 PM
I was also told to if it's the water heater that is causing the egg smell, then i should pour a bottle of peroxide in the tank. Let me know what you think Veronica
Mark Timmons
February 18, 2018 at 5:29 PM
Water heaters don't cause rotten-egg smell unless sulfur is present in the water. If you want to waste money, you can pour hydrogen peroxide into the tank. You could also pour champagne into it, but it probably won't be very effective either!
Joe
February 24, 2018 at 11:47 PM
The reason some cities ban water softeners is it cost money to remove salt from waste water. This also the reason you see do not dispose of this medication in toilet or sink.
MARVIN CONANT
February 27, 2018 at 12:52 AM
Though your article was most insightful and useful, I was seeking more specidfic suggestions for softening north las vegas water.
Marlene Wiegand
March 9, 2018 at 1:46 PM
Hi Mark I always had only a water softener. We are now in Arizona. My main concern is showering and my hair! AZ water is very hard. I want to buy a water softener but some are trying to convince me to go saltless. I think I understand the differences due to your great article. We don't plan to drink the water and we have the RO system in our new house that we just built anyway. Do you think the saltless system water conditioner system will have the same affect on my hair as a water softener? Not sure which chemical makes the water so bad on hair, is it chlorine? So would the water softener help remove chlorine in the water any different than saltless system? Thank you so much Thank
Mark Timmons
March 11, 2018 at 4:00 PM
If you have ever had soft water, you will immediately dislike a salt-free system. It absolutely does not have the same effect on the hair as a water softener. By itself, a water softener does not remove the chlorine, but you can add a carbon filter. Let me know if you need help in picking out a system.
Gauri Rao
March 11, 2018 at 7:31 PM
We had a Rain Soft water softener system installed somewhere around the 1980s. When the company disappeared we got Sears to maintain it and then of course from there on the entire system began failing. So we shopped and finally bought one from Sears. Don't know the name since it has been a few years. Now our contractor who remodeled our home tells us salt free softener "Nuvo" is good since it is small, occupies less space and he does not even need an RO for it. Somehow I was not convinced so I did some research online and chanced on your explanation which is that of a professional working in the field. So I am now convinced that salt free is not what it is made out to be. Although carrying 25-40 lbs of salt is not a joke for a 5 feet something woman. So now the $128K question. Name a couple good whole house water softeners please. Thank you for clearing up our doubts.
Mark Timmons
March 11, 2018 at 10:22 PM
Well, I would be remiss if I did not tell you about two water softeners we have that we have engineered to be the best in their class: <strong>AQUATROL</strong>: This is a system that will last 10-15 years with little to no maintenance https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-aquatrol-premium-metered-water-softener.html <strong>FUSION NLT</strong>: This system will last 15-25 years with little to no maintenance and save up to 75% on salt and waste water due to it's Next Level Technology https://www.uswatersystems.com/fusion-nlt-professional-grade-metered-water-softener.html
Robin Clark
April 11, 2018 at 12:39 PM
Why didn’t you include the Aquios whole Home water filter / softener in your review? I researched all the units you mentioned against the Aquios system and pretty much found the same information about them as well. However, I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of my Aquios system! No Salt! No Electicity! No Hard Scale! No Oder! Great Taste! Best of all it only costs $127 a year to replace the filter every 6 months
Mark Timmons
April 11, 2018 at 5:14 PM
First of all, it is not a softener and secondly, we don't run into it very often. It uses basically the same technology as our Limeblaster units.
George G Higgs
April 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Very well written article, happy to get the real scoop on water treatment solutions. Have a customer who asked me about the difference yesterday but did not have a truthful answer for them. My reply was to do a Google search and read all they could about the two systems. Also advised them to not make a decision until much research was done by them and myself as well. Thanks for setting the myth straight. Will bookmark your article and let them read it.
Sue
April 18, 2018 at 6:46 PM
I am moving to a place with very hard water. where I live now I do not have a water softener. When I visit my soon to be new home area there is softener. ( I don't know what kind of water softener the corporate housing has )It is horrible on my hair my hair is frizzy and overly soft. I hate it. So question is we are building a house and must get a softener what softeners should I get? Move from Cincinnati water to San Antonio to water.
Mark Timmons
April 28, 2018 at 1:46 PM
Sue, We sell a lot of systems in San Antonio which has very hard water. This is our most popular: https://www.uswatersystems.com/pulsar-commercial-nlt-metered-water-softener.html
Ken Larsen
April 20, 2018 at 6:51 PM
My water hardness is 24-29 GPG, according to the city website. I've replaced my water heater four times in the last ten years because the capacity is so reduced by scale that you have to hurry while showering. I buy a gallon of vinegar a month to clean my coffee pot. I'm not too concerned with how much lather I get when I bathe, etc. I'm just tired of carrying thirty gallon water heaters full of scale deposits. I really haven't got the space for another appliance either, I live in a trailer house. I think that salt-free would be the way to go for me. I've been looking at ScaleBlaster mostly, but they all seem to do the same thing. They say they will reduce or remove the deposits that are already formed in my water heater and pipes also, which would be great. Am I thnking correctly?
Mark Timmons
April 28, 2018 at 11:04 AM
We do not believe in the Junk Science of the Scaleblaster. Our Limeblaster works and is backed with a 1-yqar Money-Back Guarantee: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Ramin
May 2, 2018 at 1:30 AM
The more I read, the more I am confused. I do not want a softener, I want a conditioner. I believe the softeners will be outlawed here soon and I don’t want to waste my money on it. I have a very porous rock in the shower. House is 3 weeks old and I can already seem the scale build up. What particular salt free equipment or combination of equipments would best reduce the build up in my showers? Thank you
Mark Timmons
May 5, 2018 at 10:03 PM
This will do a great job: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Derick
May 4, 2018 at 7:34 AM
Thanks for full breakdown and the TRUTH on the (so called) salt free softeners. I live in the Valley Stream area of Long Island NY, and recently had a Whole Home water system installer visit my home. After doing several water tests with little white strips with colored dots on them. We were advised that yes, we had hard water, and these are the soft water system we needed. He recommended the DEEPMAX- Natural Filtration by Water Tech ($2800), and also the CareSoft Pro RC Softener by Water Care ($3200). He was also willing to include the Clear Flo - Reverse Osmosis Drinking water System by Water Care for free (normally $1200) and a five year supply of free merchandise vouchers to order all kinds of cleaning and household items from www.pureandgentlesoap.com/shop/ for free. The total for equipment and installation is $5000 and I would get my first year of maintenance free, each year after, it will cost me $500 to maintain the units, unless I refer a client to him, to which he will waive the fee. I find this to be extremely expensive! Also, for some reason, I can't find any real reviews on any of the equipment ( DeepMax or CareSoft Pro RC) other than the manufacturers website info. I can't find any price points to compare he cost with. It feels like the rep is throwing in all these freebies just to get my attention away from the HIGH price. I can't really agree with that price when I'm seeing other units like the Pelican Combo Whole House Filter & Salt Softener ( Pelican Model: PAC3) for $2400. We are really tired of the calcium residue feeling on our skin after taking showers and just want something to get rid of the hard water ( our glass cups and plates always have the white residue after hand washing them and we are blowing through laundry detergent like water, I already replaced a bathroom faucet cartridge due to residue from the water which totally dissolved and cracked a plastic nut fastener within the cold water faucet knob), Is there anything you can recommend, we are new home owners (6 months ) and a family of three - 2 adults and a 6yr old, we live in a one family home which has 2 full baths. Any recommendations are really appreciated. Also, let me know if you have any affiliates in this area. Thanks
Mark Timmons
May 5, 2018 at 9:55 PM
I hate to call that a scam because this is how many dealers go to market, but as you have already seen, it is not a good deal. The Pelican PAC3 is an OK system which really does soften the water, unlike some of their other "softeners" which do not. The valve on that softener was obsoleted by Fleck almost a year ago. We never sold that valve - for a reason - it is very unreliable. Here's what I would recommend: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-bodyguard-whole-house-chemical-removal-filtration-system.html - $1,195.00 https://www.uswatersystems.com/pulsar-commercial-nlt-metered-water-softener.html - $1,395.00 TOTAL COST - $2,590.00 PLUS there is an additional 20% off with MOMDAY Coupon Code. Discount $518.00 Final Cost with Free Shipping - $2,072.00 Pelican's softener has a 5-year warranty on the valve - Ours has 10!
Donna
May 10, 2018 at 12:37 PM
I live in Fort Mohave, AZ. My home built in 2002 initially had a water softener. Husband's doctor suggested we get rid of it because of the negative side effects of salt with his high no and heart problems. 2006 we installed the H2o Concepts whole house water system @ cost of $6300.00. Our water quality is good all levels of contaminants except the ph 8.5 ppm is at the high end and the LR Total Hardness @/or above 425ppm. All faucets, washing machine, toilets, shower walls are built up with calcium deposits, replaced 2 water heaters and can't even use a new dishwasher as dishes/glass wear come out milky white, even with using vinegar, LemiShine, etc and then difficult to get it off by hand washing and immediately drying. After a few washes of new clothes they seem dingy, let alone hair and body after a shower is extremely dry, this in turn adds more expense in lotions, shampoo and conditioners. What solutions do I have without spending another fortune?
Mark Timmons
May 19, 2018 at 9:52 AM
I will respond to this in a video blog shortly!
S Whitney
June 1, 2018 at 11:29 AM
Mark - we purchased a Pelican salt free water softener about 3 months ago. Pelican is offering to switch out the system to their actual salt using system with no add'l charge. Will it work like my old culligan system did? Per our water report we have 18 grains per million hardness. I don't care for the salt free system as dishes are no longer getting clean all the time and it seems like my shower door is constantly cloudy even though I scrubbed it well and put rain Ex on like they suggested and now continue to scrub it every other day. . My husband and I are on different sides of the fence about the system. He likes the non slick feeling of the water and I feel like I have something stuck on my skin, my hair is yucky. I don't care if I have water spots on the dishes, but it seems like I can't keep anything clean anymore..
Mark Timmons
June 2, 2018 at 10:36 AM
Well, you are correct. You do have soap and hardness stuck in the pores of your skin with hard water. To prove it, you can wash one hand in hard water and one hand in soft water with a soap that has a strong taste like Ivory. Then rinse each and in the soft water and the hard water and after you dry them, you will noit taste the soap on the softnwater but will on the hard water. POSITIVE PROOF that your skin is clogged with soap and hard water scum. Do you still trust Pelican after they sold you what they called a Salt-Free Water Softener, which does not soften the water? If so, go for it, or demand your money back and buy ours. https://www.uswatersystems.com/pulsar-commercial-nlt-metered-water-softener.html Ours are much larger and have DOUBLE the warranty!... and we don't lie about having salt-free water softeners" That is purely fiction. They do not exist.
renato
June 1, 2018 at 6:45 PM
I work in a textile mill, and we have a current resin ion-interchange system to obtain soft water using salt. Our hard water has 130ppm Hardness. Is it safe to use TAC technology to obtain conditioned water to avoid scale on pipes and Boilers? Does the final crystal seed has any ionic charge that could affect dyeing or bleaching? We normally use a disperse/chelating agent to avoid hardness from water and cotton affect dispersion of reactive dyestuffs used into the dyeing process. Thanks
Mark Timmons
June 2, 2018 at 10:26 AM
1. We used to use TAC Technology and don't because it has a poor "predictable success rate" in our opinion. 2. When we did use it, we would never and I mean NEVER put it on a boiler. In our experience, ity NEVER works there. 3. I think the "seed crystal" is more fiction than fact. Just my opinion based upon 45 years of water treatment experience. I would need more information, but I would think that a twin-alternating system like this would be your best bet: https://www.uswatersystems.com/synergy-twin-alternating-metered-water-softener.html
ROBERT s FISHER
June 18, 2018 at 5:12 PM
How do these work? Are they ion exchange or membrane based?How do they cause minerals to precipitate out? Basically, I need to know how they work before considering a purchase.
Mark Timmons
June 24, 2018 at 3:36 PM
They don't work. There is no such things as a salt-free water softener. That's the point!
Tara D
June 25, 2018 at 10:49 AM
You mentioned Easy Water in your article. Would you say the salt-free conditioner is effective and worth the cost? We purchased it in Indiana about 3 months ago and I have not noticed a difference. I'm considering returning it.
Mark Timmons
June 26, 2018 at 12:00 PM
We are also located in Indy and very familiar with Easy Water. Your observation is typical of our testing. We have one and could not discern any difference between the treated and untreated water. Our salt-free conditioner is about 25% of their cost and has a one-year money-back guarantee: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Lance
August 7, 2018 at 9:13 AM
Mark at the plant I work at we have 2 U.S Water, softeners up stream of that we have 3 of their multi media filters the problem we have is that when the softners switch the one that was on standby has a huge hardness spike for awhile then goes away. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Mark Timmons
August 11, 2018 at 1:15 PM
There are many factors at work here. You should call our tech support at 800-608-8792 for help.
John H
August 11, 2018 at 7:51 AM
Do you have any updates on this issue? I contacted Pelican, ask for tests to backup claims, all their test were done in Germany, I have no idea what their water is like over there. I asked if it was tested in Florida, they based there after all, answer no it wasn't Looks like scam
Mark Timmons
August 11, 2018 at 12:59 PM
Pelican does not soften water, even though they call it a "softener." What else is there to know? It's not what they call it and it is easily proved. If they start by calling something a water softener and yet, it does not soften the water... what more is there to talk about. Fool me once...
Sample
August 21, 2018 at 11:52 AM
Good artical as a chemical engineer it was bs free. I have struggled for years with hard water and installed an iron filter it works great. I always wondered if similar technology was available for mg and ca Now I know.
Eric
August 29, 2018 at 1:25 AM
Hi, Mark I had a problem getting my washer to drain the detergent out during the rinse cycles. I tried several popular methods I read about online such as using very low amounts of detergent, using vinegar, cleaning the machine with Affresh type cleaners, and such but with no improvement (not to mention those methods felt pretty off to me). The only thing that worked satisfactorily was a liquid called Calgon. I don't think it is perfect, but it is satisfactory for me. The problem is that with the amount of laundry our family goes through every week, it seems rather expensive and not so environmentally friendly to constantly be buying the little bottles it comes in. Do you have any salt-less products that can deliver similar or better results that can be installed either for the whole house or adapted to the washer and perhaps the shower head?
Mark Timmons
September 3, 2018 at 5:43 PM
There is nothing that will improve that, except a water softener. Of course there are some people who SAY that have something that will. Be careful what you believe...
Josh
August 29, 2018 at 10:05 PM
The tankless water heater in our new house is installed outside the house. There's no good drainage option out there so I think we're stuck with one of these "conditioning" systems. But it seems like many of them say to avoid direct sunlight, which it will undoubtedly get for at least a couple of hours a day. Are any options better than others in this situation?
Mark Timmons
September 3, 2018 at 5:24 PM
This is the best we have ever found: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html If we find something better, we will sell it. Right now, there is nothing better!
Alfred Engling
September 1, 2018 at 12:33 PM
Do you have anyone near Peosta, IA 52068
Mark Timmons
September 3, 2018 at 5:19 PM
We sell all over the country, but only sell direct. We have no dealers or middlemen. That saves you a lot of money. About half our customers do it themselves (we have SS flex connectors) and the other half use a handyman.
Victor walker
September 5, 2018 at 12:42 AM
Mark I have been researching systems till I am ready to slit my throat. So many inconsistencies on the web. I live in Temecula, ca Our water is 184 mg per liter / 10.7 per gallon. The water flow in our house (10 years old) is terrible. I am ready to replace the hot water heater and all of the shower valves. Before I do I know I need a system. We have a 5 bed/5 bath house but only 3 people live in it. I want a slightly oversized system just so I have some peace of mind. Can you suggest a system? Also...will your system do anything for the buildup that ghas already occurred? Is there anything I can do to repair the current buildup other than replace everything?
Mark Timmons
September 8, 2018 at 12:28 PM
Victor: Here's your asnswer: https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2018/09/salt-free-water-softeners-and-water-softeners-whats-the-difference/
Duy Pham
September 13, 2018 at 2:50 AM
Hi Mark: I live in San Jose, CA. The water report in my area says it has 63 ppm Calcium and 57 ppm Magnesium. I currently have a RO system under the sink for drinking water. I had a Culligan salt water softener but it broke down 5 years ago. Can you recommend a whole house saltless water conditioner system for me? Also do I need professional installation for the system? I already have a drainage line built in where the water softener was placed. thank you in advance.
Mark Timmons
September 15, 2018 at 9:30 PM
We sell the Limeblaster salt free conditioner. If we find a better one - we will sell it. https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html No professional installation is required.
Danielle Budau
September 18, 2018 at 3:21 PM
I have a softener system & my boys love it. However, the salt is destroying my skin & hair. I don't know what to do at this point. If I am in the city & wash my hair, it's amazing. As soon as I go home & have to wash it at my own home, it's horrible. We have a water person that comes out every month and he's tested the levels, all is good. Do you have any suggestions?
Mark Timmons
September 18, 2018 at 8:49 PM
Elaborate more about your problems. How is salt destroying your skin and hair? By the way, it's not salt that is in the water. It's sodium bicarbonate. There's a big difference...
Milton Roberts
September 20, 2018 at 12:23 PM
Hello Mark, I am researching this stuff because my wife told me to. Probably like every other guy. I had her discuss what she really wants and it turns out to easier and cheaper (maybe) than I thought it would be. I talked to her about soft vs hard water because our water lathers just fine. It turns out that she hates the taste of our town water and will settle for an under sink unit that can fix the taste of the water out of the kitchen sink. Of course, that could mean something for both hot and cold lines. What kind of unit do you think will do this for us? We moved from a property that had a very deep well for household use, the water was terrific. Our current neighborhood will not allow anyone to put in a well for this type of use. Only shallow wells for watering the lawn. Thanks for any help you can give me. Milton
Mark Timmons
September 21, 2018 at 11:35 AM
You do no want to treat both hot and cold for drinking. Just drink water from the cold side. If you are on city water, this is our system that removes the widest spectrum of contaminants: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-cobalt-hyper-safe-reverse-osmosis-system.html
Steven McIlvaine
September 21, 2018 at 5:36 AM
Would there be any benefit to adding a chelating conditioner on your cold distribution if you already have a softener on your hot, or would the calcium and magnesium fall out of solution and cause scale when the two mix?
Mark Timmons
September 21, 2018 at 11:28 AM
In a word: NO! That makes no sense.
John A Buck
October 28, 2018 at 3:59 PM
I am building a house in Troy, Missouri. The house will be on well water. What type of a water filtration system and water softening system would work best.
Mark Timmons
October 28, 2018 at 7:16 PM
Step 1: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html Once we know what is in the water, then we can fix it an guarantee the results.
Janice Flaherty
November 1, 2018 at 3:12 PM
We are building a house outside Portland Oregon in the farm area. We will be using a Septic. The water tastes wonderful but leaves a scale that can be chiseled. I am not looking forward to chisel cleaning. Any ideas?
Mark Timmons
November 2, 2018 at 10:59 AM
Janice, Start with a detailed water test and we can tell you exactly what to do: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Melvin O Kennon
November 2, 2018 at 6:22 PM
I live in an area where Radium is common. We also have a very high iron content that will turn your whites orange, Does a salt-free system remove the Radium and the iron? https://www.aahealth.org/radium-testing-area-june-2007/
Mark Timmons
November 4, 2018 at 12:41 PM
I can't say without a detailed water analysis. We have one on our site. Just enter Lab Water Test in our search boxc.
Calv
November 11, 2018 at 7:06 AM
I live in IL and we get municipal treated water from Lake Michigan, looks like the water in my home is around 7 grains/125 ppm hardness, TSD is around 201 PPM Im looking at getting a conditioner system VS a salt based system for my older home built in 1969, all copper piping. I dont really have any major issues so far (knock on wood) except some light spotting on glass wear but want to be proactive to keep my copper piping and appliances clean as a new home owner. Any suggestions would be great! I noticed the limeblaster but looks like I cant just use this as a stand alone system correct? thanks again!
Mark Timmons
November 12, 2018 at 8:52 AM
You can use it as a stand alone system, but many people use it as part of this system: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-bodyguard-whole-house-water-filtration-system-with-limeblaster-salt-free-conditioner.html
Anthony Spadafora
November 20, 2018 at 7:14 PM
Hello Mark, I am Master Plumber of 35 years. The last 10 years I have been installing tankless water heaters, I am a certified Navien service specialist. Navien accepts up to 10 grains hardness without equipment but require a annual acid cleaning of the exchanger. They now will allow up to 75 Grains of hardness if you install their peak flow anti scale filter before the unit, this unit is not a phosphate injector. The unit specs can be viewed here https://www.airsolutions.ca/images/Products/Navien/Products/PeakFlowE/PeakFlow%20Specification%20Sheet.pdf What is in it and how does it work/ Navien will honor their 15 year exchanger warranty with this installed on water up to 75 gpg. Navien is not some fly by night manufacturer, obviously this thing works or they wouldn't sell it.
Mark Timmons
November 20, 2018 at 7:28 PM
This is not a new product. I know exactly what is in that cartridge. It is made by Watts and called nextScaleStop TAC Media. We sold it at one time and the results were not very good. There is no scientific way to prove it works! You said "<em>obviously this thing works or they wouldn’t sell it</em>." I have seen scale PACKED inside a tankless and tank water heater on this media many times. Obviously, you believe it, so all I can say is "watch and learn." I would be glad to go into more detail if needed.
Gaylon Mccorkle
December 2, 2018 at 9:04 AM
I am on a tight budget. I would like a saltless softener or conditioner which ever is best. I don't want to be spending a lot of money on filters. I did have a water softener that used said a few years ago. Got tired of carrying bags of salt down the stairs .What is best, I do have city hard water. Thank you.
Mark Timmons
December 6, 2018 at 2:17 PM
The BEST and Least Expensibe Options are one and the same: https://www.uswatersystems.com/water-filter-module-5-us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner.html
Vincent Salsano
December 4, 2018 at 2:03 PM
We are primarily concerned about mineral build up on pipes, water heater, appliances, etc. Will a salt less water filtering system like following address this"LimeBlaster", "Aquasna", "Pelican", etc. Unfortunately, we prefer not to install a salt waters oftener.
Mark Timmons
December 6, 2018 at 12:48 PM
A saltless system utilizing the right technology can prevent scale build up. Not all are created equal. We used to use the technology Pelican and Aquasana now use, and were not satisfied with the results. The Limeblaster is less expensive and works WAY better!
cori
December 12, 2018 at 2:14 PM
Maybe they call it a softener because it's easier for consumers to understand. Just like an aerobic water treatment system is often called an "aerobic septic tank." Because most consumers don't care to split hairs, as long as the end result is what they are looking for. I would be in this group. You can call it Lucy, or Daisy, or a whatsit. As long as it keeps my pipes from clogging up, who cares?
Mark Timmons
December 14, 2018 at 1:49 PM
An aerobic water treatment system in not an aerobic septic tank, but under your reasoning, it's OK to call it that? People that do are ignorant of what it really does, but I can see them making that mistake. However, what if a septic tank manufacturer called their septic tank an aerobic septic tank? That would be deceptive. Would you like to use paper towels as toilet paper? A paper towel is closer to toilet paper than a water softener is to a salt free conditioner. A conditioner can keep pipes from plugging up, but a softener cuts soap usage by 50%, makes clothes whiter and brighter and eliminates spotting on dishes. A conditioner does none of that. Thank you for making my case with the aerobic septic tank. I appreciate it!
Rich Huner
December 14, 2018 at 12:52 PM
We are on a well with the following analysis. Probably, a worst case scenario. HAH. Older Culligan water softener that's now inoperable. Results in mg/L Ca - 111; Iron - 1.50; Sulfate - 117; Mg - 45.9; Na - 14.6; K - 1.57; F - 0.32; Cl - 6.74; NO3/N - <0.07; Al - 34; As - 1.70; Be - <0.55; Ba - 139; B - 138; Cr - <5.8; Cu - 0.91; Mn - 46; Ni - 21; Zn - 7.3; Alkalinity CaCO3 - 385 (7.70 meq/L); Silica - 22; Hardness (as CaCO3) - 466; Total Dissolved Solids - 558.
Mark Timmons
December 14, 2018 at 1:40 PM
While your water may seem awful, as problem water specialists, it is easy for us to fix. There are several ways to do this. I will have one of our water specialists reach out to you after I consult with them.
Steven Johnson
December 31, 2018 at 7:13 AM
Mark, we are planning on installing a whole-house water filter and a water softener, what is the ideal sequence-of-devices? Here's my best guess: 1-water flows through a "pre-filter" 2-water flows through a water softener 3-water flows through a whole-house water filter (sediment + carbon) 4-water flows to hot and cold house lines and throughout house Thanks for taking the time to read my question. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Mark Timmons
January 10, 2019 at 9:51 AM
ANSWER: Sorry for the delay – I have been on vacation. Depending upon your water analysis, I would likely put the sediment and carbon ahead of the softener. We would just need to know more about what is in your water – well or city?
Sean Vinci
January 1, 2019 at 5:59 PM
Hi Mark, Thank you for this informative article. I came across this product from Cascadian. The product claims to solve all the usual problems that come from hard water (we're also looking to remove or reduce the sulfur smell from our water which is why we're looking at this combo system). https://www.cascadianwater.com/product/ics-stp/ Any thoughts you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Mark Timmons
January 10, 2019 at 9:34 AM
It says it is a saltless water softener. If it softens the water I will buy it for you. That is simply untrue. It might remove sulfur smell for a few days. My opinion? Run!
Patrick Castenie
January 18, 2019 at 8:03 AM
Hi Mark, Water conditioners and septic tank- are they an issue? Thank you, Patrick
Mark Timmons
January 18, 2019 at 9:22 AM
If you don't have soft water, you use a lot more soaps, chemicals and cleaners. That is hard on a septic tank. The new softeners are extremely salt efficient and use very little water and it is very likley that soft water actually helps a septic tank.
Alan J Smith
January 19, 2019 at 12:01 PM
Mark let me say that you are a godsend. Over the years I have contemplated soft water systems and did ample research though never installed one for various reasons. My only concern is scale buildup and the environment/conservation. I want to install a tankless water heater or a couple point of use water heaters. Water hardness as you know is an issue for this equipment. I live in San Diego, California and the water report states a hardness of about 16 GPG for 2018. After stumbling onto your blog I'm convinced I will use the Limeblaster. However I'm not sure what size to purchase and how often to change the filter. I plan to harvest rain and possibly use grey water for watering plants which reduces my daily water use to about 50 gallons per day for 1.5 people. Any landscape irrigation using city supplied water would be upstream of the Limeblaster. So I can't imagine ever exceeding the 12 GPM flow rate of the smaller unit even would I add a Granny Flat on my property. However my main water line will need to be upsized from 3/4" to 1 1/4" to accommodate the number of fixture units as stated in the code. So should I get the higher flow rate unit. Also the filter life is about 100,000 gallons but at what GPG? With 16 GPG at even 100 gallons per day I would only have 36,500 gallons flow through the Limeblaster. How long would the filter last at this rate?
Mark Timmons
January 22, 2019 at 10:03 AM
I would go with the highest flow rate as it will consistently keep the pipes in peak condition. I would just replace it every year.
Mickey LAVOIE
January 20, 2019 at 4:34 PM
Hi, I have 2 water problems. I live in South Florida and our water is hard. I would like to soften the water to prevent scale build up and have cleaner clothes and feel clean when I take a shower, not like I have dust on my face..... Problem no. 2 We have a condo in Canada. Water is hard. We hardly harvest room to install a salt tank. The water is HARD, please help us save money while taking care of our problems in an efficient manner. You seem like the only company who seems genuinely interested in properly informing people and guiding them to something that will work.
Mark Timmons
January 22, 2019 at 9:56 AM
If space is an issue, the system takes up the least amount of space: https://www.uswatersystems.com/flexxtm-pro-series-water-softener.html Choose the Spacesaver option. It's "footprint" is 11" wide by 20" Deep. Do you need anything smaller?
Rich
January 30, 2019 at 5:49 PM
Mark, My 3 bedroom 2 bath house is on a septic tank, and I need to do something about the hard water. Looking into a traditional salt softener, I have read that the backwash of brine into the septic tank will damage the septic system. What can I use to treat the water without damaging my septic tank? (The house is connected to city water and not a well.)
Mark Timmons
February 3, 2019 at 1:53 PM
Short Answer: That is simply an untrue Urban Legend! The fact is: A water softener may actually help a septic tank. Read this: https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2018/11/do-water-softeners-harm-septic-tanks/
Keith
January 31, 2019 at 11:53 AM
Hi Mark, I recently moved into a new house which has an existing Culligan Medallist Series water softener controller and tank, but it does not have a salt tank of any kind. The water flows from the well pump through the Medallist tank, then through a UV lamp. There is half a bag of "Fine Calcite Neutralizer" media I was told to use to top off the tank when I change the UV lamp each year. What is this system doing for my water?
Mark Timmons
February 3, 2019 at 3:36 PM
Probably not a lot, but in order to understand what is happening, I would need to see a detailed water test like one of these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-watercheck-with-pesticides-lab-water-test.html https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html This falls under the category of “Measure twice – Cut once!”
E Thomson
February 2, 2019 at 5:39 PM
We are primarily concerned about mineral build up on pipes, water heater, appliances, etc. We live in Las Vegas and Colorado River water is full of minerals. We have been disappointed with the hassles of water softeners, including hauling salt. You say the Limeblaster does not require professional installation. How is it installed and does it condition both hot and cold water?
Mark Timmons
February 3, 2019 at 3:24 PM
The Limeblaster will indeed stop and prevent mineral buildup on pipes, the water heater and appliances. It is installed on the main water line and treats all the water in the house. Simple in and out!
Michele
February 3, 2019 at 10:23 AM
Hi Mark, I recently moved to a house with a well that has a softener system. The color in my hair fades within 2 weeks. To combat color loss, I shampoo less frequently but this isn't helping. The sodium levels in our softened water tested at 190 mg/L. I'm wondering if the sodium is the reason for the loss of color. Do you know if switching to potassium chloride might help? Everything on the web says how great softened water is for your hair. No one talks about the effects of sodium chloride on color. I suspect it is because everyone who is writing articles wants to sell you a softener. Thanks!
Mark Timmons
February 3, 2019 at 3:03 PM
It always puzzles me why everyone is so quick to blame sodium for something when there could be any number of contaminants that would cause that. It is extremely doubtful it is sodium. My wife colors her hair (don't tell anyone), and it lasts for 8-10 weeks. If you are on city water, it could be chlorine or chloramine or other contaminants. Potassium will not help. Tell me more about your water.
Shane Borowski
February 21, 2019 at 11:51 AM
Hi Mark- Thank you for this opportunity. We have a small 3 bedroom 2 bath home, and last year installed both a high end water filtration (carbon based) and water softener system, along with an RO unit under our sink (our daughter was diagnosed with a skin disease and we felt the city water may have contributed to the problem due to a toxic plume in our ground water supply....that's w hole other post though!) With our water softening system, we used sodium chloride the first 6 months and could noticeably taste the salt in th water. We switched to potassium and it's been a bit better, but when I fill the container full with the potassium rocks, we immediately get the salty taste back. I noticed when the container is only about 1/3 full of potassium rocks that we don't get a bad taste. I'm thinking about keeping the container only 1/3 full. What do you think? We must get rid of that salty taste!
Mark Timmons
March 6, 2019 at 8:16 PM
If you are drinking RO water, you should not get any taste of sodium or potassium. I would only drink RO water. Do not “starve” your water softener. Keep salt in it. However full the tank is has no effect on taste. If it were me, I would not use potassium, but I would drink RO water.
Ben
February 27, 2019 at 2:38 PM
I have a home where the water is hard (11 grains) and want to put in a salt free water softener because I live in the country and have a septic system. I am looking at the Pelican and Rainbolt water softener. What is your opinion on these systems? Thanks!
Mark Timmons
March 6, 2019 at 6:49 PM
First of all, not only does water softener brine not hurt a septic tank, but it can also improve the performance of the septic tank... just to be clear! OK, here's the deal I will make with you: If the Pelican or the Rainbolt soften the water, I will pay for it. How's that? See, they are not telling the truth if they say they will soften the water. Our tests show that you could wrap a cardboard box around the pipe and do as well in softening the water as either of those products. No way, no how do they soften the water. When someone says that they have a salt-free water softener, but it does not actually soften the water, well they lose all credibility with me. I don't know many people who like to be lied to, but that is what they are doing. You asked - I answered! This is really a pet peeve of mine. These guys give our whole industry a black eye.
Dave
June 30, 2019 at 10:38 PM
Hi Mark. I have a scaling problem in my hot water system (commercial installation); I have had two water tests done, one providing a total hardness of 72g CaCO3/m3 the other at 50g/m3 both with a pH of 7.7. The solution provided by our plumbers is to install a salt softening plant. As the water is not particularly hard, is a softener the correct solution?
Mark Timmons
July 18, 2019 at 10:18 PM
It may be, but I would need to see a detailed water analysis like this to know for sure: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-systems-professional-lab-water-test.html
Lori C
July 7, 2019 at 6:09 PM
Hi Mark My head is spinning, I am so confused....no actually, I understand how the two systems are different. I live in south Florida, the city water is terrible and has gotten worse the last 19 years I've lived in this house. We have never drank the water, but over the years, all of my dogs have. Fast forward about three or four years ago, the chlorine smell when you turned on the faucet or the shower was overwhelming. My hair and skin dry and brittle, I started using about once a week, a swimmers shampoo to remove the build up of chlorine! Then all four of my very large dogs were getting sick with the runs, it was like a never ending cycle. After numerous tests, change of food, countless trips to the vet, it came to me in the middle of the night, I sat straight up in bed and was like, OMG....it's the WATER making my dogs sick! Sure enough....I stopped giving them city water and bought 15 to 20 gallons a week of drinking water or spring water and within a couple weeks, no more runs. For almost two years I bought and hauled water and we have never had a problem since. So, after some research and saving for a new system, I chose a Kinetico system by Aqua Soft. It's a whole house dechlorinator and water softener and under the kitchen sink installed their RO system which is what we all drink, including the dogs. But here's the kicker....and the questions....at the same time that was being installed, I had a Stiebel Eltron electric tankless hot water heater installed, along with a sediment filter. The sediment filter is installed before the tankless heater but after the Kinetico System. Should my tankless system be using a salt free softener instead of a softener that uses salt? I thought I had done my due diligence on this project, but now I'm second guessing myself. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Mark Timmons
July 18, 2019 at 8:47 PM
I would prefer a water softener 100% of the time. Many salt-free systems are just gimmicks.
Nancy Wheeler
July 25, 2019 at 10:01 AM
We need advice. We want a no salt system that will help eliminate calcium or scale buildup in our old home pipes. Don’t want to keep lugging salt to our basement, but feel we need something.
Mark Timmons
July 27, 2019 at 2:40 PM
We have excellent results with our Limeblaster: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-limeblaster-salt-free-water-conditioner-25-gpm.html
Al Klecanda
July 27, 2019 at 7:44 PM
Will the Limeblaster prevent scale buildup on the heating elements in an electric hot water heater?
Mark Timmons
July 28, 2019 at 7:49 AM
Yes, that is one of the areas where it shines!
Sorina Neaverth
August 6, 2019 at 6:35 PM
I live in Fernandina Beach, Fl in Nassau county Florida. The water hardness here is 17. I don’t want scale build up on my appliance elements, shower heads, and stainless steel sink and fridge. I don’t want cloudy, spotted dishes. I want the chlorine removed. I want better tasting water. Will a salt-free system do this since the hardness of my water is 17? Does a salt-free system remove anything from the water like chlorine and other harmful chemicals or things? I know it leaves the hardness in the water and prevents it from scaling. Does it do this 100%? Do the minerals still stick to your skin and cause dryness? I dislike the slick feeling of a salt system and hate buying salt, lifting it, and storing it, but if a salt system is better for my water, then I will get one. I want the right system for my area’s hard water. Also, do I need a complete water analysis to make this decision?
Mark Timmons
August 9, 2019 at 1:50 PM
It sounds like you are pretty particular and I am too. Salt-free systems do not stop the build-up of hard water deposits on glasses, dishes, showers, faucets, and fixtures. Salt-free systems do not make your white clothes whiter and colors brighter and softer. You won't save 50% or more on laundry detergent and the like. The slickness you feel is because the minerals do not stick to your skin and plug your pores. Some salt-free "conditioners" will help prevent scale in the pipes and water heater, but they are complete frauds when it comes to spots, scale, streaks, and hard water deposits. Our systems are precision programmed with a Smartphone and use up to 75% less salt than ordinary water softeners. Here's what I would suggest to remove chlorine, chemicals, pesticides and provide soft water. <strong>STEP 1: </strong> Bodyguard Whole House Chemical Removal System - https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-bodyguard-whole-house-chemical-removal-filtration-system.html <strong>STEP 2:</strong> Matrixx Water Softener with Smartphone Programming - https://www.uswatersystems.com/matrixx-water-softener-with-smartphone-programming.html <strong>STEP 3</strong>: (Drinking Water Only) https://www.uswatersystems.com/galaxy-5-stage-reverse-osmosis-system-gx-5050.html If you like, I can have one of our Water Specialists quote you a system.
Timothy Werner
August 23, 2019 at 10:42 PM
I'm blown away by your knowledge in your field and the confidence to direct it toward such a potential uninformed media. I've been in the plumbing industry for 15 years and a recently been trying to hone my knowledge on the principles of softening and conditioning. I think you could potentially offer me a lot of education in the market and would be extremely keen on learning more about how to inform a customer of the fact that your product is the best for them. I would love to talk to you more about it if you want to reach me via email I would appreciate it. Thank you.
Mark Timmons
September 2, 2019 at 3:51 PM
Thank you. You can contact me at support@uswatersystems.com and ask for Mark
Ardy
September 1, 2019 at 10:56 AM
Hi Mark, great post. I have been tricked into buying the salt-free water "softener". I now realize that it is not "removing" anything and changing the minerals into "crystals" that are not supposed to scale. I am just worried that I am still drinking and having "crystals" in my water lines. Probably answer is to switch to salt based softener system. For my understanding, there are "combo" system with water filter and salt-free conditioner for whole house. Does the filter component remove the "crystals" formed by salt-free system? That way you get advantage of salt based system without using the salt (with help of combo system)? Thanks.
Mark Timmons
September 2, 2019 at 12:36 PM
Ardy, Thank you for confirmation of what I have been preaching for a dozen years. The problem is that there is no scientific validation or proof from “disinterested third-parties” that it actually works. Since the crystals are allegedly visible only with an electron microscope, it is impossible to filter them out, unless you are using reverse osmosis which also takes out the mineral themselves. There is no value to using a salt-free system ahead of a water softener unless you are talking about the Micron Filtration and Carbon Filtration component of a “Combo System.” That does serve a valuable purpose, but the salt-free component might as well be a cardboard box. The answer is a salt-using water softener. Water softeners like our Matrixx Smartphone Programmed Water Softener use a small amount of salt while producing all the money-saving benefits and luxury of real “soft water.” Here’s the link: https://www.uswatersystems.com/matrixx-water-softener-with-smartphone-programming.html I would follow that up with a reverse osmosis system that removes the sodium and over 30,000 other potential contaminants, like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/galaxy-5-stage-reverse-osmosis-system-gx-5050.html
Dennis Tanguay
September 2, 2019 at 4:44 PM
Hi Mark: What do you recommend for the pan handle area which has very hard water. I am also installing a tank-less water heater.
Mark Timmons
September 2, 2019 at 5:21 PM
If the water is very hard, I would always recommend a water softener, such as one of these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/water-softener-system/city-water-softeners
S Wilson
October 14, 2019 at 8:15 AM
Hello Mark, We have had our water tested in every way including naturally occuring uranium levels. Our current water is actually excellent. However scaling and water stain deposits on dishes and fixtures is a bit annoying. I do agree with you regarding the marketing or conditioners as softeners. That said, I have no need or desire to add salt to my water or septic. Do the salt free systems work? In changing the mineral structure using a salt free conditioner is the digestibility of my drinking water changing? In other words will my body me able to digest the beneficial minerals that are currently present in my water? How do the salt free systems work? Is the media harmful to humans in any way? Will the salt free system help reduce scaling and water staining at any level? I do not want to add a salt based system. The water I have is excellent in every way except from a cleaning perspective.
Mark Timmons
October 20, 2019 at 10:23 PM
Saying that <em>"Our current water is actually excellent. However, scaling and water stain deposits on dishes and fixtures is a bit annoying."</em> is a lot like saying "my health is great except for the lung and heart disease I have." I can't imagine scaling and water stain deposits on dishes and fixtures. That's what a softener eliminates, but salt-free systems do not do that... even our Limeblaster. If you don't want a salt-based softener, you will never get the benefits of a true water softener. However, if you don't want one, I respect that. I am just not going to lie to you and make you think a salt-free conditioner will do what a softener does. Here's something else to think about: Water is not a significant source of minerals. If you drank a bathtub full a day, you might get 10% of what your body needs. There are numerous methods and media used in salt-free systems and insofar as I know they are all safe... however some are worthless. Again, the salt-free system may help reduce scaling, but not water staining at any level.
FilterSmart
December 10, 2019 at 8:21 AM
Amazing blog. Keep doing the great work. Love to see such blogs more.
Rick
December 16, 2019 at 2:13 PM
Our water is from a well & it has an sulphur odor in the hot water even though we have the anode rod in the water heater for that. When the hot water heater was new with the new anode rod we didn't notice the smell. It's 4 years old & the smell came back so I put in a new anode rod for smelly water. It isn't as bad but the smell is still there. Would your Limeblaster system help?
Mark Timmons
December 22, 2019 at 5:49 PM
No, the LimeBlaster is not going to help. First, you should sanitize all your water lines and water heater with chlorine, like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/granular-chlorine-8oz-jar.html Please call our Technical Service Department about proper use of this. If that does not work, you will need to oxidize the sulfur with something like this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/flexx-oxi-gen-aeration-iron-and-sulfur-filter.html
FS
December 17, 2019 at 7:17 AM
Very informative post! I really liked it. It helped me alot.
Jhon Martin
December 28, 2019 at 3:38 AM
Nice blog. It will surely help beginners update their knowledge. The efforts you have put in to create the posts are quite interesting. Looking forward to seeing you soon in a new post. You will be shocked to know that more than 85% of American homes receive hard water. However, you may feel that they are at a loss when confronted with a wide variety of water softener available these days.
Diane Carr
February 27, 2020 at 9:36 PM
A few Q. Does a softener that uses salt lower the PH?, Does RO encourage acidic water?, And is the crystalized calcium and magnesium, in a salt free unit, usable or good vs harmful for the body ?
Mark Timmons
March 8, 2020 at 11:47 AM
First of all, I do not recommend drinking soft water, although it is probably fine to do so. I simply don't like the taste. I drink RO water and when the water passes through the cell wall, it becomes the pH of your body. There is no issue with it.
Jhon Martin
March 11, 2020 at 3:13 AM
Nice blog. The efforts you have put in to create the posts are quite interesting. Looking forward to seeing you soon in a new post.
WS
March 19, 2020 at 1:58 AM
I am really impressed that you put together good and useful information on water problems.