Water Softeners and Salt- Free Water Conditioners

Water Softeners and Salt- Free Water Conditioners

What is a Salt-Free Water Conditioner and do they live up to their marketing claims?

water softener and sediment filter
Water Softener with Brine (Salt) Tank

Salt-Free Water Conditioners claim to deliver the same results without the size and hassle of salt-based water softeners. These salt-free setups promise no more large salt (brine) tank taking up room, no more spending money on salt bags, and no more back pain from hauling them home to refill the system. Sounds great, right? So, how do they really measure up?

A ” Salt-Free” Water Conditioners sole purpose is to prevent scale Build-up. Preventing scale build up in your plumbing, appliances and water heaters is important, however, it is only one of the many features of a real water softener.

Pressure tank, water softener for hard water and a sediment filter
Water Softener with Brine (Salt) Tank and Pressure Tank

The truth is that salt-free water conditioners aren’t water softeners at all. The hard minerals exist in crystallized form, but are still present in the water. Your laundry will still be dulled and stained. Soap scum stains will still be prevalent in your bathrooms, sinks, and on your dishes. Your plumbing and appliances will still have a shorter lifespan. The only solution to eliminate all these water quality issues is to soften the water.

Water Softeners prevents scale build up by removing the source of the problem: the hard minerals in water. Hard water damage extends beyond just scale build-up. Laundry washed in hard water comes out of the machine very stiff and with discoloration. Dishes washed in hard water become streaky and have foggy soap spots. Cleaning products, such as soap, build up in a thick scum, as hard minerals prevent soap from lathering properly. Hard water also is miserable to shower in as it dries out skin and hair. Additionally, hard water also means more money spent. More cleaning products needed to remove residue, shorter lifespan on dishwashers, water heaters , as well as all other appliances, fixtures and plumbing.

Water Softener for hard water
Water Softener with Brine (Salt) Tank and Chemical Feeder

The common trade name “salt-free water conditioner” is very deceptive. As mentioned, salt-free water conditioners do prevent scale build-up, but to associate them with all the benefits afforded by a water softening system is very dishonest. Only salt-based water softeners are certified by the NSF and can meet NSF/ANS 44. In some states, only salt-based systems can legally be installed in new construction projects. If a system doesn’t meet industry standards and building codes, it should not be installed in your home.

The choice is clear, only a salt-based water softener is proven to provide softer water, healthier skin & hair, with no scale buildup or soap scum.

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