Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Truth About Saltless Water Softeners

Hello - I have hard well water and we have problems with white scale buildup and mineral deposits on our fixtures and in our pipes and water heater.  My wife does not want a water softener that uses salt.  What is the truth about saltless water softeners? My neighbor says there is no such thing as a salt free water softener.
William T.


There is a growing demand for water conditioners that don’t use salt.  Water softeners physically remove hardness minerals from water, making the water "soft" and eliminating problems with scale and white deposits. Water softeners are automatically cleaned or regenerated in a process that uses salt water.

So-called salt free water softeners, do not actually remove hardness minerals.  These devices treat the hardness minerals in water so the minerals cannot precipitate out of solution and cause scale to build up on surfaces and in pipes. The result is conditioned water with a lot of the benefits of softened water, but without the need to use salt.

What is the main difference to softening with a standard salt-based water softener?

Water softeners use ion exchange media to remove hardness. These ion exchange resins remove calcium and magnesium ions from water and attach to the surface of the resin and replace these with sodium ions. Softening units require water for backwashing and use brine “salt water” for regeneration. The increased sodium content of the water is a concern to more and more government regulators. Water for backwashing and the salt ($200 to $400 per year to purchase salt) are an added expense. The Filtersorb conditioner requires no salt and no water for backwashing.

Within the Filtersorb system, the water hardness is transformed into firm lime crystals and but are not physically removed. These microscopic crystals are brought out of solution, but the crystals cannot attach to pipes or appliances. There is no need for regeneration of the bed because the Filtersorb system works like a catalyst (the media is not used up in the process).

You should have your water tested first before considering a saltless conditioner. The water should be very low or practically free of iron and manganese as the Filtersorb resin can become fouled if they are present.

If you have any other questions on salt free conditioners please let us know.