Thursday, June 4, 2015

Do Salt-Free Water Softeners Work?

A neighbor got a new salt free water softener, and I am wondering if this type of softner will work for my water?  My water, I was told, has 12 grains of hardness in it.  We also have a strong chlorine smell in the water sometimes.   Right now we have nothing and we do get scale problems in the pipes and water heater, and the showerheads plug up after a year or two.  My wife does not like the salt type softners due to the fact she has high blood pressure.

Alex D.


Thanks for emailing.  This question comes up a lot.  We do not call the no-salt systems “softeners”, as they do not soften the water.  Softening refers to the removal of calcium hardness minerals.  

Remember when looking at one of these is that they do not “soften” the water, but rather “condition”. 
One distinct benefit of this type of system however is it is quite maintenance free, there is no backwash, and no power consumption whatsoever.  The “slippery” feel also isn’t an issue due to the hardness minerals are still there, just “changed” so as to not cause staining, etc.

Scale Stopper systems utilize an advanced type of filtration media which is much more effective than other technologies when changing the chemistry of the hardness minerals.  This can be an effective treatment as long as you are not expecting “soft” water.  Scale can still show up, however when operating correctly it will just be easier to simply wipe up, and the nice thing is the pipes would be protected.  Essentially the Hardness particles transformation is a “permanent” so to speak process as the hardness minerals have been changed/accelerated to a form not likely to attach to piping, glassware, counter tops, etc.

For additional information please see the attached document which covers the Scale Stopper media by NEXT Filtration and compares to some of the other common technologies used in “green” softening.  Specifically the comparison starts on page 17 however the study is quite informative nonetheless.

An important note is pre-filtration.  I’m recommending to upgrade from the 10” to a 20” Big Blue Carbon Filter as this will be installed on city water so as to remove Chlorine and protect the medium inside from premature failure.  The 20” cartridge simply provides additional water flow without unwanted pressure loss.

As far as effectiveness goes and knowing your water is at approximately 17 Grains per Gallon (GPG) I think you will be quite pleased with the results using the Scale Stopper system.  These units have been installed on waters much higher than yours with happy customers.

Please see below for product links, pricing, and images on this recommendation.

Scale-Stopper Salt-Free Water Conditioners

Scale-Stopper Salt-Free Water ConditionersSystem comes complete with ¾” or 1” pipe connectors, bypass valve and  “X” Liters of conditioner media.  All systems should be designed to be up-flow and we use 1 liter of media for every 4 gallons per minute of recommended flow.  This doesn’t backwash or use electricity.

Media volume recommended by tank size and peak flow.
Size                       liters of media                   recommended peak flow

844                                      3.0                                       12 GPM       
948                                      4.0                                       16 GPM       
1054                                    5.0                                       20 GPM
1252                                    7.5                                       30 GPM

For more information, you can visit this link.