Salt-Free Water Softeners

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brokenrecord
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Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brokenrecord » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm

I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.

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brokenrecord
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brokenrecord » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:09 pm

No love for the homies

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 pm

Years ago I had one that used potassium chloride tablets. Worked well. no complaints. I think the company I used was Rainsoft. They allowed one move (so they'd take out the system and move it to your next house once for free, per contract).
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TLB
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TLB » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:01 pm

Today I installed a Pelican Natursoft salt free water softener/conditioner. I will let you know in a few weeks how the water conditions changes. Easy install, I have had salt units in the past so I wanted to try something different with low maintenance. I’m only using it on the hot side, since that’s how my house was plumbed for soft water.

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brokenrecord
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brokenrecord » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:35 pm

Sweet thank y’all for the replies.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TheOscarGuy » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am

brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am
brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.
I too would like to hear more, primarily because I am getting tired of lugging around 40-pound bags of salt. I can get Lowes to load them in my trunk (after maneuvering car to loading zone) but I still need to unload them myself when I get home: salt from trunk to hand cart; cart through and past the clutter to back of garage; salt from cart to safe and dry platform. Then there is the hassle of remembering to, and then actually loading, a bag or two into the tank every so often.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

brianH
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brianH » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:50 am

Salt-free softeners don't work as well as conventional units.

What problem are you actually trying to solve? What is your current GPG hardness and do you have some medical reason to avoid salt?

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HueyLD
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by HueyLD » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:00 am

Bertilak,

You can buy two 20 pounders and it will be easier on your back.

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jainn
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by jainn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:20 am

There are companies and people you can pay to deliver and put the salt you want into your softener each month if needed. Don't hurt yourself.

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bertilak
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:10 am

HueyLD wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:00 am
Bertilak,

You can buy two 20 pounders and it will be easier on your back.
Never seen any of those in the places I shop!
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

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bertilak
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:13 am

jainn wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:20 am
There are companies and people you can pay to deliver and put the salt you want into your softener each month if needed. Don't hurt yourself.
Yes,

Culligan will deliver but unless I give them a key to the house they will have to leave the bags outside. Perhaps I can come up with some water-tight place for them to put the bags.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

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HueyLD
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by HueyLD » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:26 am

In my area, big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's only sell 40 pounders. However, grocery stores sell smaller bags and that's where I go to give my back a break.

One disadvantage of buying smaller bags is that you will pay more on a per pound basis. But the trade off is worth it.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by Sconie » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:24 am

In my experience, non-salt water softeners just don't work all that well. What these "non salt" systems actually do is not soften the water----rather, they change the calcium and magnesium in your water, making "harder" crystals, with the result that the minerals are less prone to precipitating out of solution.
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jainn
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by jainn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:58 am

bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:13 am
jainn wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:20 am
There are companies and people you can pay to deliver and put the salt you want into your softener each month if needed. Don't hurt yourself.
Yes,

Culligan will deliver but unless I give them a key to the house they will have to leave the bags outside. Perhaps I can come up with some water-tight place for them to put the bags.
True - but I was leaning more towards the idea if not a company then any number of high school or college kids in the neighborhood would love to get paid $20-40/month to drive to store and buy some bags of salt and bring them to you on a Saturday and put them in your softener..kind of like a yard service- or if you have maid service, they would do the same, perhaps for an extra $10-20 per cleaning they put a bag into the appliance.

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brokenrecord
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brokenrecord » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:12 pm

brianH wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:50 am
Salt-free softeners don't work as well as conventional units.

What problem are you actually trying to solve? What is your current GPG hardness and do you have some medical reason to avoid salt?
How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.

As for the purpose: I’m looking to preserve my appliances without the space requirement of a salt system. We just got a tankless water heater and want to start off on the right foot.

I acknowledge that it doesn’t actually soften the water, but “conditions”. However, even with the conditioning, you eliminate a lot of the symptoms of hard water such a scale, etc., making life easier on the appliances (as well as hair, skin, etc,)

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:38 pm

My dishwasher has a water softener built in, and the salt for it is small and light. It of course doesn’t affect the hardness in the rest of the house ...
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by VaR » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:10 pm

brokenrecord wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:12 pm
How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.

As for the purpose: I’m looking to preserve my appliances without the space requirement of a salt system. We just got a tankless water heater and want to start off on the right foot.

I acknowledge that it doesn’t actually soften the water, but “conditions”. However, even with the conditioning, you eliminate a lot of the symptoms of hard water such a scale, etc., making life easier on the appliances (as well as hair, skin, etc,)
I bought a cheap TDS (total dissolved solids) meter on Amazon for less than $15, but your water company will sometimes publish water hardness levels in one of their water quality reports. You could also just call them and ask. They know it, it's just a matter of finding someone who can tell you what it is.

Grains per gallon (GPG) and milligrams per liter (mg/L) are both units of measurement of total dissolved solids, which is the measure of water hardness you want to know.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by fru-gal » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:20 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:26 am
In my area, big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's only sell 40 pounders. However, grocery stores sell smaller bags and that's where I go to give my back a break.

One disadvantage of buying smaller bags is that you will pay more on a per pound basis. But the trade off is worth it.
My local independent market was only selling the type of kitty litter I buy in 20 lb bags. I emailed them that the cat's litter box was nicely filled by a 10 lb bag and that the 20 lbs bags were hard for an old lady to manage. And that two 10 lb bags probably take up the same shelf space as a 20 lb bag. Viola, now they stock both. In fact, I don't recall seeing the larger bags lately, so perhaps the smaller ones are more popular.

littlebird
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by littlebird » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:31 pm

bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:13 am
jainn wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:20 am
There are companies and people you can pay to deliver and put the salt you want into your softener each month if needed. Don't hurt yourself.
Yes,

Culligan will deliver but unless I give them a key to the house they will have to leave the bags outside. Perhaps I can come up with some water-tight place for them to put the bags.
At least in my area, where there are many seniors, smaller, possibly more flexible, water softener installation and maintenance companies deliver and install salt. Without that service, there’d be no way I could have a water softener.

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NateH
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by NateH » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:33 pm

bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am
brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.
I too would like to hear more, primarily because I am getting tired of lugging around 40-pound bags of salt. I can get Lowes to load them in my trunk (after maneuvering car to loading zone) but I still need to unload them myself when I get home: salt from trunk to hand cart; cart through and past the clutter to back of garage; salt from cart to safe and dry platform. Then there is the hassle of remembering to, and then actually loading, a bag or two into the tank every so often.
If you are putting 40-80# of salt into your unit 'every so often' you may want to check the hardness of your water every couple of years and make sure the unit recharge settings are appropriate for your water. Hardness of well water varies. Even municipal water varies as the municipality will draw from different wells which may have different hardness.

If your unit is recharging prematurely, you are overusing your salt and overusing your back.

re: 'saltless' conditioners - I worked in the design engineering group for the worlds largest manufacturer of water softeners, sold under many labels and brands. No 'saltless' unit works as well as the standard ion (NaCl) exchange softener. Potassium Chloride is just another kind of salt, with less affinity for reaction, making it less efficient. There are some medical reasons for avoiding Sodium, so there is a real market for Potassium based units. However, if you buy one believing it doesn't use salt, you are being misled.
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steveyg50
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by steveyg50 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:43 pm

You can buy water hardness tests strips... Just immerse in water a few seconds... Bit like a pH test strip.

Or you can buy a digital hardness meter.... We got one at work, it matches the test strips so seems to be accurate enough. It was only approx $30/40 I believe.

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jainn
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by jainn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:47 pm

on the plumbing site terrylove.com, this is the most recommended and accurate hardness test. Very easy to use too.

Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit, Model 5-B https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FM7WLU/re ... KDbPGNBHH6
Last edited by jainn on Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bertilak
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:33 pm

jainn wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:47 pm
on the plumbing site terrylove.com, this is the most recommended and accurate hardness test. Very easy to use too.

Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit, M ... KDbPGNBHH6
The link doesn't work, but I do have and use a Hach test kit. Once a year the Culligan guy comes, mostly to check on our under-the sink reverse osmosis filter system. Whenever he is here I have him check the hardness both into and out of the water softener. I'm pretty much on top of this!

I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/Hach-145400-Tota ... 00N3YPOUG/
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

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jainn
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by jainn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:03 pm

sorry yes, that looks like mine I was referencing, hach 5b.

https://www.amazon.com/Hach-145300-Tot ... B008FM7WLU

GrowthSeeker
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by GrowthSeeker » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:13 pm

I have had a few different whole house water softeners over the years. In my limited experience, you get what you pay for.
For several years, I've been using Kinetico whole house water softener. It uses salt, but doesn't go through the salt very fast (I'm not sure how hard my water is there), but there is supposedly some better technology that doesn't require as much salt.
I have one of the "Premier" series for the whole house.

And then I have a K5, reverse osmosis under the sink for drinking water.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:52 am

NateH wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:33 pm
bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am
brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.
I too would like to hear more, primarily because I am getting tired of lugging around 40-pound bags of salt. I can get Lowes to load them in my trunk (after maneuvering car to loading zone) but I still need to unload them myself when I get home: salt from trunk to hand cart; cart through and past the clutter to back of garage; salt from cart to safe and dry platform. Then there is the hassle of remembering to, and then actually loading, a bag or two into the tank every so often.
If you are putting 40-80# of salt into your unit 'every so often' you may want to check the hardness of your water every couple of years and make sure the unit recharge settings are appropriate for your water. Hardness of well water varies. Even municipal water varies as the municipality will draw from different wells which may have different hardness.

If your unit is recharging prematurely, you are overusing your salt and overusing your back.

re: 'saltless' conditioners - I worked in the design engineering group for the worlds largest manufacturer of water softeners, sold under many labels and brands. No 'saltless' unit works as well as the standard ion (NaCl) exchange softener. Potassium Chloride is just another kind of salt, with less affinity for reaction, making it less efficient. There are some medical reasons for avoiding Sodium, so there is a real market for Potassium based units. However, if you buy one believing it doesn't use salt, you are being misled.
This is very informative post.
Can you tell me how can one find out whether unit it recharging prematurely?
I always felt I am using way too much salt, but then I have had water heater break due to heavy deposits on the heating element due to hard water so maybe I am not using enough salt? For reference I need to put two bags every other week.

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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by deanbrew » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:54 am

How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.
I called my municipal water department and asked how hard the water is. They know, but for some reason don't indicated it in their annual water report.

The water softener should be set to recharge based on the water hardness and how much you are using. Many newer systems actually measure the amount of water and recharge based on usage. Older systems often use a timer and recharge every x number of days, based on how many people live in the home. I have a newer system and it usually uses about one 40 lb. bag of salt every month or so, with three of us in the house.

I am not an industry insider or expert, but I have researched softeners. The "no-salt" ones really don't work very well, and it seems to me it's a snake oil gimmick. The salt doesn't actually go into your water, BTW. The salt is used to clean the softener beads, which are then rinsed. A little bit of residual salt probably makes its way into the water, but your water doesn't end up salty or loaded with sodium. Someone who is an expert can confirm or contradict this if they wish, but this is my understanding.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

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brokenrecord
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by brokenrecord » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:57 am

deanbrew wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:54 am
How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.
I called my municipal water department and asked how hard the water is. They know, but for some reason don't indicated it in their annual water report.

The water softener should be set to recharge based on the water hardness and how much you are using. Many newer systems actually measure the amount of water and recharge based on usage. Older systems often use a timer and recharge every x number of days, based on how many people live in the home. I have a newer system and it usually uses about one 40 lb. bag of salt every month or so, with three of us in the house.

I am not an industry insider or expert, but I have researched softeners. The "no-salt" ones really don't work very well, and it seems to me it's a snake oil gimmick. The salt doesn't actually go into your water, BTW. The salt is used to clean the softener beads, which are then rinsed. A little bit of residual salt probably makes its way into the water, but your water doesn't end up salty or loaded with sodium. Someone who is an expert can confirm or contradict this if they wish, but this is my understanding.
This + NateH’s response have been the most helpful. Thanks to everyone for your time in responding.

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bertilak
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bertilak » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:05 pm

deanbrew wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:54 am
IThe salt doesn't actually go into your water, BTW. The salt is used to clean the softener beads, which are then rinsed. A little bit of residual salt probably makes its way into the water, but your water doesn't end up salty or loaded with sodium. Someone who is an expert can confirm or contradict this if they wish, but this is my understanding.
Neither am I an expert but I have different understanding.

Salt water isn't used to CLEAN the softener beads but toi RECHARGE them -- with sodium ions. The softening process replaces hard water's calcium and magnesium ions (that's what makes the water "hard") with sodium ions. According to Diamond Crystal (water softener salt supplier) the residual sodium in the treated water "falls within the Food and Drug Administration's definition of "very low sodium.""

According to Water Tech Blog Reverse Osmosis removes "98 percent of all sodium left in the water from the softening process."
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

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deanbrew
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by deanbrew » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:33 pm

bertilak wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:05 pm
Neither am I an expert but I have different understanding.

Salt water isn't used to CLEAN the softener beads but toi RECHARGE them -- with sodium ions. The softening process replaces hard water's calcium and magnesium ions (that's what makes the water "hard") with sodium ions. According to Diamond Crystal (water softener salt supplier) the residual sodium in the treated water "falls within the Food and Drug Administration's definition of "very low sodium.""

According to Water Tech Blog Reverse Osmosis removes "98 percent of all sodium left in the water from the softening process."
You're right. Thank you for the correction. Here's another article that gives some perspective on how much sodium is added to water by water softeners.

https://www.h2oequipment.com/how-to/sal ... ing-water/
EXAMPLE: Say your water is 5 grains hard. CT waters have typically low hardness between 3-5 grains.
So the math is 5 x 2 =10. This means your glass of water will have about 10 mg of sodium added from your softener.

Think that’s a lot of sodium? Take a look at ANY food or beverage item in your kitchen and you will be shocked. A cup of low fat milk (8 oz) has over 100 mg of sodium. A piece of bread has over 200 mg of sodium.
The general recommendation for an adult is less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
I guess you have to consider how much water you actually drink from the tap, or use in food preparation. For most people, under most circumstances, the sodium added by a water softener is inconsequential. People on low-sodium diets should examine the issue more closely.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

bberris
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bberris » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:18 pm

VaR wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:10 pm
brokenrecord wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:12 pm
How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.

As for the purpose: I’m looking to preserve my appliances without the space requirement of a salt system. We just got a tankless water heater and want to start off on the right foot.

I acknowledge that it doesn’t actually soften the water, but “conditions”. However, even with the conditioning, you eliminate a lot of the symptoms of hard water such a scale, etc., making life easier on the appliances (as well as hair, skin, etc,)
I bought a cheap TDS (total dissolved solids) meter on Amazon for less than $15, but your water company will sometimes publish water hardness levels in one of their water quality reports. You could also just call them and ask. They know it, it's just a matter of finding someone who can tell you what it is.

Grains per gallon (GPG) and milligrams per liter (mg/L) are both units of measurement of total dissolved solids, which is the measure of water hardness you want to know.
Water providers don't provide hardness numbers because it is not a health issue. Hard water is healthier to drink because it contains calcium and magnesium. The indicator sticks work well, but if you want to be cheap, put a little liquid soap (real soap, not detergent) in a small glass bottle, shake it up with the water you want to test. If it's cloudy, it's hard.

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NateH
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by NateH » Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:48 pm

bertilak wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:05 pm
deanbrew wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:54 am
IThe salt doesn't actually go into your water, BTW. The salt is used to clean the softener beads, which are then rinsed. A little bit of residual salt probably makes its way into the water, but your water doesn't end up salty or loaded with sodium. Someone who is an expert can confirm or contradict this if they wish, but this is my understanding.
Neither am I an expert but I have different understanding.

Salt water isn't used to CLEAN the softener beads but toi RECHARGE them -- with sodium ions. The softening process replaces hard water's calcium and magnesium ions (that's what makes the water "hard") with sodium ions. According to Diamond Crystal (water softener salt supplier) the residual sodium in the treated water "falls within the Food and Drug Administration's definition of "very low sodium.""

According to Water Tech Blog Reverse Osmosis removes "98 percent of all sodium left in the water from the softening process."
you are both correct, it is a recharge of the resin bed, by washing the resin beads with concentrated brine.
The softener bed is recharged with Sodium ions, but it is highly diluted when used in the home.
4X top-twenty S&P 500 prognosticator. I'd start a newsletter, but it would only have one issue per year.

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NateH
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by NateH » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:00 pm

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:52 am
NateH wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:33 pm
bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am
brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.
I too would like to hear more, primarily because I am getting tired of lugging around 40-pound bags of salt. I can get Lowes to load them in my trunk (after maneuvering car to loading zone) but I still need to unload them myself when I get home: salt from trunk to hand cart; cart through and past the clutter to back of garage; salt from cart to safe and dry platform. Then there is the hassle of remembering to, and then actually loading, a bag or two into the tank every so often.
If you are putting 40-80# of salt into your unit 'every so often' you may want to check the hardness of your water every couple of years and make sure the unit recharge settings are appropriate for your water. Hardness of well water varies. Even municipal water varies as the municipality will draw from different wells which may have different hardness.

If your unit is recharging prematurely, you are overusing your salt and overusing your back.

re: 'saltless' conditioners - I worked in the design engineering group for the worlds largest manufacturer of water softeners, sold under many labels and brands. No 'saltless' unit works as well as the standard ion (NaCl) exchange softener. Potassium Chloride is just another kind of salt, with less affinity for reaction, making it less efficient. There are some medical reasons for avoiding Sodium, so there is a real market for Potassium based units. However, if you buy one believing it doesn't use salt, you are being misled.
This is very informative post.
Can you tell me how can one find out whether unit it recharging prematurely?
I always felt I am using way too much salt, but then I have had water heater break due to heavy deposits on the heating element due to hard water so maybe I am not using enough salt? For reference I need to put two bags every other week.
40# of salt per week is a ton of salt. A carwash doesn't even use that much water.
Your unit is likely regenerating far too often and sending all that salt down the drain. But I doubt even nightly regeneration would use 40# a week. I think you should check if you have a leak in your control valve or brine tank.
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TheOscarGuy
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TheOscarGuy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:22 pm

NateH wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:00 pm
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:52 am
NateH wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:33 pm
bertilak wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:48 am
TheOscarGuy wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 am


I was hoping you would get more responses to your post. I currently have the salt one and it gets old hauling bags regularly in basement regularly. I am curious after seeing your post that there was such an option. Are they really maintenance free as the claim? From what I can tell the pre filter needs replacement regularly, but other than that no maintenance is involved. And what about their lifetime warranty? I wish I was comfortable cutting copper pipes etc. but it does sound like a job for professional, so this will be costly.
I too would like to hear more, primarily because I am getting tired of lugging around 40-pound bags of salt. I can get Lowes to load them in my trunk (after maneuvering car to loading zone) but I still need to unload them myself when I get home: salt from trunk to hand cart; cart through and past the clutter to back of garage; salt from cart to safe and dry platform. Then there is the hassle of remembering to, and then actually loading, a bag or two into the tank every so often.
If you are putting 40-80# of salt into your unit 'every so often' you may want to check the hardness of your water every couple of years and make sure the unit recharge settings are appropriate for your water. Hardness of well water varies. Even municipal water varies as the municipality will draw from different wells which may have different hardness.

If your unit is recharging prematurely, you are overusing your salt and overusing your back.

re: 'saltless' conditioners - I worked in the design engineering group for the worlds largest manufacturer of water softeners, sold under many labels and brands. No 'saltless' unit works as well as the standard ion (NaCl) exchange softener. Potassium Chloride is just another kind of salt, with less affinity for reaction, making it less efficient. There are some medical reasons for avoiding Sodium, so there is a real market for Potassium based units. However, if you buy one believing it doesn't use salt, you are being misled.
This is very informative post.
Can you tell me how can one find out whether unit it recharging prematurely?
I always felt I am using way too much salt, but then I have had water heater break due to heavy deposits on the heating element due to hard water so maybe I am not using enough salt? For reference I need to put two bags every other week.
40# of salt per week is a ton of salt. A carwash doesn't even use that much water.
Your unit is likely regenerating far too often and sending all that salt down the drain. But I doubt even nightly regeneration would use 40# a week. I think you should check if you have a leak in your control valve or brine tank.
Thanks. I don't see any visible leaks but I am getting someone to come in. That was a big reason why I was thinking of going salt-free so if it gets resolved by having a professional look at it I think that would save me some money. And from the looks of it, it sounds like salt systems are better anyways.

dcabler
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by dcabler » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:42 pm

brokenrecord wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:12 pm
brianH wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:50 am
Salt-free softeners don't work as well as conventional units.

What problem are you actually trying to solve? What is your current GPG hardness and do you have some medical reason to avoid salt?
How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard.

As for the purpose: I’m looking to preserve my appliances without the space requirement of a salt system. We just got a tankless water heater and want to start off on the right foot.

I acknowledge that it doesn’t actually soften the water, but “conditions”. However, even with the conditioning, you eliminate a lot of the symptoms of hard water such a scale, etc., making life easier on the appliances (as well as hair, skin, etc,)
I live in Central TX, outside of the city, and our water is also hard. You can go to a pool supply store and get a hardness testing kit - Leslie's Pools, for example, has them. Just know that the reading is in ppm and you'll need to do a conversion to get to CPG. Some website have calculators or you can just divide the ppm result by 17.1

Cheers.

Student2
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by Student2 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:55 pm

Seems like several Bogleheads with more expert knowledge have weighed in. The only thing I didn't see was that to minimize the amount of salt you use, you may want to consider getting a metered tank. Someone alluded to that, but didn't mention this option. Many water softeners regenerate the resin at night or on some other cycle, but the meted water softeners base the regeneration on the amount of water you've used. That means you won't have to add salt as often.

For what it's worth, I will be installing a tankless water heater in an upcoming renovation and I did a lot of reading about water softening. I also found that the salt-free systems are really not that good -- and I really wanted to find one, since replacing 'good' salts, Mg++ and Ca++, with sodium isn't a very green option -- but if you live in a hard water environment, you really don't want to install the tankless system without the water softener. One option I read about was to only run the softened water to the hot water system and leave cold water unsoftened. That's not what I'm planning on doing, but I will leave a tap in the kitchen without softening and also the pipes to the garden. Plants don't like softened water and benefit from the Mg++ and Ca++ in the hard water.

Finally, the valve in the water softener is important and seems to be one of the key determinants of the quality and 'hardiness' of the system. Experts routinely mentioned 'Fleck' control valves. They're more expensive but as they seem to improve the hardiness of the system, seem like a good idea. There may have been another type of control valve with equally good reviews, but I can't recall the name at the moment.

bberris
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by bberris » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:13 am

Metered softeners also regenerate overnight, but you can set the regeneration time for your schedule. After the meter runs down to 0, it regenerates next night. During the regeneration cycle, the softener is bypassed so hard water is delivered. Not so bad, but if you use hot water during the regen, hard water enters the tank and you have harder water for awhile after regeneration.

Measuring the hardness of water at the outlet of the softener has an issue. Once breakthrough has occurred, the softener still has to wait until night to regenerate. However, if you have two softener beds, one can be regenerated while the other is in service.

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HueyLD
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by HueyLD » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:45 am

Ah, now I understand why the owner's manual says not to use any water during the regeneration.

I have a metered unit with Fleck control valve. It is programmed to run at 2 a.m. when the meter registers zero and typically runs about two hours. It has been very reliable and I like the demand driven system as every household's usage is unique.

Three is a company that heavily promotes its so called "salt free and maintenance free" system. The system is very expensive and I am not sure how effective the system actually is because online reviews are very inconsistent (either five star or one star with virtually no two, three or fours star ones).

TheOscarGuy
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by TheOscarGuy » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:45 am

Student2 wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:55 pm
Seems like several Bogleheads with more expert knowledge have weighed in. The only thing I didn't see was that to minimize the amount of salt you use, you may want to consider getting a metered tank. Someone alluded to that, but didn't mention this option. Many water softeners regenerate the resin at night or on some other cycle, but the meted water softeners base the regeneration on the amount of water you've used. That means you won't have to add salt as often.

For what it's worth, I will be installing a tankless water heater in an upcoming renovation and I did a lot of reading about water softening. I also found that the salt-free systems are really not that good -- and I really wanted to find one, since replacing 'good' salts, Mg++ and Ca++, with sodium isn't a very green option -- but if you live in a hard water environment, you really don't want to install the tankless system without the water softener. One option I read about was to only run the softened water to the hot water system and leave cold water unsoftened. That's not what I'm planning on doing, but I will leave a tap in the kitchen without softening and also the pipes to the garden. Plants don't like softened water and benefit from the Mg++ and Ca++ in the hard water.

Finally, the valve in the water softener is important and seems to be one of the key determinants of the quality and 'hardiness' of the system. Experts routinely mentioned 'Fleck' control valves. They're more expensive but as they seem to improve the hardiness of the system, seem like a good idea. There may have been another type of control valve with equally good reviews, but I can't recall the name at the moment.
I have a metered one, but no idea why salt consumption is so high. I am going to have to get it inspected by a professional.

VaR
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by VaR » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:48 pm

bberris wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:18 pm
Water providers don't provide hardness numbers because it is not a health issue. Hard water is healthier to drink because it contains calcium and magnesium. The indicator sticks work well, but if you want to be cheap, put a little liquid soap (real soap, not detergent) in a small glass bottle, shake it up with the water you want to test. If it's cloudy, it's hard.
It is true that water providers in many/most states aren't required to provide hardness numbers.

Here's the water quality report from Suez Water showing the TDS number: https://www.mysuezwater.com/sites/defau ... CR2018.pdf
Note the TDS between 141 and 319 ppm.

It seems that municipal water providers are required to report this in New Jersey because the State Department of Environmental Protection may require it:
https://www.nj.gov/dep/standards/TDS_Standard.pdf

Here's the full list: https://www.nj.gov/dep/standards/drinking%20water.pdf

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AerialWombat
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by AerialWombat » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:03 am

brokenrecord wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm looking into salt-free water softeners to save on space. There are dozens of options, and I've become overwhelmed.

Does anyone have a salt-free water softener that they recommend? I am really attracted to the SpringWell FutureSoft, but can't find reviews anywhere! Help would be much appreciate.
As others mentioned, salt-free softeners just don’t work well.

However, there is another option that I’m surprised nobody has mentioned: Whole-house reverse osmosis systems. They are expensive to install, and waste quite a bit of water, but they do exist and are certainly an option.

A typical system is in the $10k-$20k range for equipment and install. You can order a DIY system for around $6k-$8k and install yourself, if you’re handy. Annual filter and RO membrane replacements will run you several hundred a year.

But, absolutely pure, clean water. No scale on your faucets. And no more salt.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

succulentcrazy
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Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Post by succulentcrazy » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:43 am

What brand Water Softeners (with salt) are good? I'm looking at a Pelican one.

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