Water softeners, filters and salt free alternatives

Scale is our biggest water problem, more so since we’ve had a tankless water heater installed and the scale bits continually clog the aerators in all faucets. We draw from a well, have no odor or discoloration issues going on, and actually the water tastes great, just like Ice Mountain water :wink:

I know a water test is the first step, but I am looking for any opinions on salt free alternatives, like this and this which may be the same technology.

I have several reasons for not wanting a salt based system. Storing salt, adding salt, the sliminess, the way it tastes. Also the township is looking to limit water softener discharges to our sewer system because the salts remain in the effluent and are transferred to the soils.

Mostly our water is fine, it just produces extra minerals that need filtering out somehow, any suggestions?

Good cartridges work. If you just want to catch particles, that’s all you need. If you have a broad range of issues, various chemicals, iron, sulfur etc… you need something more than cartridges.

I used to use potassium chloride, then the price of a forty pound bag went from $11 a bag to $40 a bag, so I went back to salt. It has come down a bit since then, but $25 a bag is still too steep for me.

I’m not aware of any whole house reverse osmosis systems. The only ones that I know of will feed just a kitchen sink and maybe an ice maker in the fridge. Any whole house sized system would waste an enormous amount of water by flushing the filter. Skip it.

You either need to remove the dissolved minerals in your water through a water softener or don’t give the scale chunks a place to get caught. If you don’t like traditional water softeners then your best best is to remove the aerators from your faucets. You’ll still have problems with your shower head and probably (eventually) the toilet tank valve and washing machine.

You could install a whole house water softener and have your kitchen sink cold water tap fed with untreated, unsoftened water.

Had a sales rep out to the house yesterday to “educate me” about the salt free alternative they sell. Our water is not real hard, 21 grains , what little iron showed up may be tannins according to salesrep/WQA expert.

NTL he talked himself out of the sale, it was apparent he had no faith in it, had no experience with it, and told me that my Township and state agencies are most likely lying to us about the results of the soil tests they took. He also tried to take me to task about voiding our tankless warranty by not having a softener, yet he had no experience hooking up a system to a tankless. Over and over again he lost the sale.

He quoted the same price for both systems but the conventional water softener system would have to be routed and flushed into our shower stall, being the closest drain or a dry well dug 10ft from the house which would put it our neighbors property. Neither scenario is acceptable. I bumrushed the rep out of my house, what a mistake that was!

OTOH the people at Pelican, have been really helpful, and seem to have the products that fit our needs. We’d have to order direct, then install ourselves, so we are a little leary about that…

Anyway thanks all for the replies!

At 21 grains your water is extremely hard. Our water is 17 grains and the water softener was shocked at it’s hardness for this area.


He would really have a fit about the hardness of the water where we stay part of the winter (an RV park Bouse AZ). It is over 50 grains per gallon - it’s hard to tell exactly because the test strips I use only go to 50 gpg… Here in western CO where we just spent the summer it is about 20 gpg.

We live full time in a motor home and have a small RV water softener that is regenerated by a box of common table salt - every 10 days in AZ and every 30 days or so in CO.

Wow, over 50 grains! Is it even transparent?

Yeah you can see through it okay, but if there is a faucet drip a white deposit builds up as the water evaporates. The water in that RV park is why we got a water softener. I wanted to keep the scale from building up in my plumbing. Oddly enough it tastes okay.

You sound like people I talk to everyday, you can’t have soft water without removing the hardness. Salt is the most practicle way to do this. You mentioned the slimy feeling, this means you are clean. When your skin is not slippery after a shower, you have the same soap scum or film on your skin, that is all over your shower wall. That’s why you’re not slippery.:rolleyes: This will also cause dry skin and itching. As to the hardness, anything over 10 grains is very hard. You will be able to see the hardness around your house, the streaks under the rim in your toilet, film on your shower walls, white scale buildup around your faucets, chalky looking dishs coming out of dish washer, white clothes turn gray, etc. I have nothing to gain here, I’m just trying to help you. I’ve been in the water industry for over forty years. The salt free systems don’t work. Check the Purdue University Study. Potassium chloride is a salt but it is fine to use in any water softener, it just cost a lot more and reduces the capacity of your unit. Good luck.:slight_smile:

your outdoor faucets should be hard water, kitchen sink could be hard water if you don’t want to have the salt taste.

you need to have softened water to keep your water heater working well.

what the town is looking at is the discharges during the regeneration cycle of the water softener. if you can run that into a sump pump or otherwise outside onto grass (you want to move the hose around to not over salt any spot on your lawn) then it won’t go in the sewer.