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Clean Water Hacks ® - May 19 - 13 min read

Best Salt-Free Water Softeners [2021]: Reviews & Buying Guide

In the United States, limescale is one of the biggest problems when it comes to water quality. In some states, tap water is harder but limescale is the most common problem. If you want to enjoy the advantages of salt-free water, you can invest in a salt-free water softener. In this guide, we have featured some of the best salt-free water softeners. We have ranked these units with respect to value for money, performance, and build quality. Without further ado, late check out these units one by one.

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98.2

out of 100
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πŸ₯‡ SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener

  • Prevents and cleans existing scale

  • No salt needed

  • Never needs to be replaced 

96.3

out of 100
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πŸ₯ˆ SoftPro Elite Salt-Free Water Softener

  • Easy installation

  • Lifetime Warranty

  • Free Shipping

93.3

out of 100

πŸ₯‰ Aquasana Salt-Free Conditioner

  • No pressure drop

  • Smart design

  • Easy filter replacements

92.1

out of 100
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Pelican NaturSoft Water Softener

  • Eco-friendly

  • 99.6% effective

  • No electricity or salt

90.8

out of 100

Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Water Softener

  • No salt or electricity needed

  • Guaranteed quality

  • Guaranteed price

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πŸ₯‡ SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free Water Softener

CWH Score ®

97.0

/  100

Highlights

  • 1,000,000 gallons per year

  • Removes iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese

  • Lifetime warranty

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Product Overview

If you want to reduce scale in your tap water without using salt, you can invest in the Springwell Futuresoft Water Softener. With is Hi-tech unit, you can prevent up to  99.6% of limescale. And the good thing is that it does not produce wastewater or reduce water pressure.

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Features

Water filtration and softening: This unit uses a stainless steel tank to soften its media. Besides, it has a pre-sediment filter that helps dust, dirt, and other big particles that may cause damage to the softening media in addition to reduce the lifespan of the system.

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Installation parts:

The package comes with all of the required things for installation, such as a mounting bracket, fittings, a spanner wrench, and a bypass valve.

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Softening tank:

With a stainless steel softening tank, this unit can stand the test of time. Based on the number of bathrooms in your house, you can go for either a small or large unit. For example, you can go for a medium-sized filter if you have between 4 to 6 bathrooms in your house.

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Functionality

The Springwell water softener employs a technique called TAC, which helps filter out hard water. Besides, the system contains a bed of media that turns hard water ions into crystals. As a result, they don't stick to different types of surfaces in your plumbing system. Therefore,  you can access scale-free water across your house. Besides, you can also enjoy the health benefits of drinking water that contains calcium and magnesium.

Another great benefit of using Springwell’s water filter is that it needs not to regenerate. Apart from this, the water filtration process does not generate wastewater. Similarly, there is no need for sodium ions for this process. The beauty of this system is that it has no effect on the water flow or pressure. All you need to do is make sure you go for the right size based on your needs.

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Springwell is quite reliable as they use certified materials in the manufacturing process. Besides, the salt-free water softener comes with a lifetime warranty in addition to a money-back guarantee of 6 months.

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Pros

  • Does not use salt

  • Requires an annual replacement of pre-filters

  • A money-back guarantee of 6 months along with a lifetime warranty

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Cons

  • It can be expensive for some users

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Installation Video

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πŸ₯ˆ SoftPro Elite Salt-Free Water Softener

CWH Score ®

96.3

/  100

Highlights

  • Easy installation

  • 500,000 gallons/year

  • Up to 125 PSI water pressure

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Product Overview

The SoftPro Elite is another great unit for busy families. This system requires almost zero maintenance. You can just forget it once you have set up everything. All you need to do is install and configure the settings based on your needs. If you have 1 to 5 bedrooms in your house and Ithe water hardness level of 17 GPG, you can go for this unit.

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Features

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Softening tank:

The SoftPro system features a chlorine pre-filter and 5-micron sediment. Besides, the media inside the system can help filter large sediment particles. If not filtered, these particles may cause damage to the softening resin or appliances in your home.

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Neoprene jacket:

You can wrap the unit in a washable neoprene jacket. The role of this jacket is to protect the system against cold temperatures, humidity, and condensation.

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Free installation kit:

Currently, SoftPro allows you to upgrade the system for free of charge. Besides, you may choose to check the box and get a quick-connect kit without paying a dime. You can then use the kit to install the system.

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Functionality

SoftPro uses scale control Technology (SCT) to prevent limescale by 99.6%. This unit targets and dissolves the hard water ions making them inactive. Since the system leaves behind some of the crystal particles, you can still drink quality water. Actually, most of the crystal particles are turned into minerals. Therefore, they tend to stick to different types of surfaces.

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Apart from preventing limescale, SoftPro may help reduce limescale already stuck inside your plumbing system. Plus, the system is easy to use as it does not use water softener salts. Therefore, you can consume scale-free water for as long as you want.

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This system lasts for 6 years and doesn’t need electricity to run. It also doesn’t make wastewater during the SCT process, making it one of the most environmentally friendly, cost-effective softener systems on the market today. For peace of mind, when buying the SoftPro Water Conditioner, it comes with a lifetime warranty and customer support.

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Pros

  • Can be installed using the free installation kit

  • Uses a water filtration cartridge

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Cons

  • Installation may not be easy for every user

  • Doesn't come in multiple sizes

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Installation Video

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πŸ₯‰ Aquasana Salt-Free Water Conditioner

CWH Score ®

93.3

/  100

Highlights

  • Ready to install with 1” inch standard connections 

  • Remove dangerous heavy metals from home 

  • KDF Filter

Product Overview

The Aquasana Salt-Free Water Conditioner is an easy-to-install, affordable, and salt-free water softener. The good thing is that you can install it with other filtration systems by Aquasana. So, this unit can solve the problem of both water contamination and hard water. For instance, if you want to filter well water, you can purchase and use this system along with the Aquasana 500,000 Gallon Well Water Rhino filtration unit.

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Features

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Pre-filter:

The unit comes with a high-quality pre-filter. While the website doesn't offer much information about the type of particles this filter can remove, chances are that the unit can remove sediments such as dust and rust.

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Softening tank:

Aquasana’s water filter can condition hard water. It has a diameter of 9 inches, a width of 27 inches, and a height of 46 inches.

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Basic installation equipment:

The package comes with a couple of installation components, such as a pre-filter support bracket, a wrench, a shutoff valve, and the conditioner. If you want to go for a professional installation kit, you can pay a bit more money for this upgrade. The upgraded unit contains a support bracket and brass fittings.

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Functionality

The Aquasana uses a high-quality scale control media for changing the formation of hard water ions. Basically, this unit turns the hard water minerals into crystals. Therefore, they don't stick to different types of surfaces to form limescale. Besides, this is an ideal technology when it comes to the treatment of existing limescale. And the good news is that this unit can perform its functions without salt.

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Another great thing about the Aquasana filter is that it can still leave some healthy minerals behind. Although some hard water crystals are still there, they won't create scale anymore. Another benefit of the system is that it requires low maintenance, does not require electricity, and does not require you to top it up with salt. Plus, you have peace of mind as the unit comes with a 6-year warranty and 3-month guarantee.

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Pros

  • Affordable

  • Can be installed alongside other water filters

  • Minimal maintenance

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Cons

  • Does not come in multiple sizes

  • The official website does not offer enough information

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Video Walkthrough

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Pelican NaturSoft Water Softener

CWH Score ®

92 .1

/  100

Highlights

  • Best for the family of four

  • Coconut shell carbon filter

  • Up to 15 gallons/min flow rate

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Product Overview

The Pelican NaturSoft is a maintenance-free, saltless water softener. With NSF/ANSI Standard 6 certifications, the filter can remove 99.6% of the limescale. With a limited lifetime warranty, you can rest assured that the unit will continue to work for years to come. This system is so reliable that it has a service life of 12 years post the purchase date.

Features

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Sediment pre-filter system:

The unit features mounting hardware so you can install it near the water conditioner unit.

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Pelican NaturSoft system:

For easy installation, the unit comes with a media that's easy to install as it's pre-loaded.  The bypass valve and the 1-inch fittings can help you to install the unit on the main water line.

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Installation guide

The installation guide included in the package can help you install the Pelican Natursoft water filtration system without any problem.

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Functionality

The role of Pelican NaturSoft is to filter hard water without using chemicals or generating wastewater. Besides, it contains a media that can filter calcium carbonate structures. Also, the media tracks hard minerals dissolved in water. Plus, it pulls all the minerals into the crystal surface that it has. Therefore, the crystals become larger in size.

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Also, newly formed crystals of hard water break off and go back into the plumbing system. Also, their outer crystal form prevents them from sticking to a surface.

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And these suspended particles of crystal prevent the formation of scale in the future. Apart from this, they can also prevent the formation of existing limescale. The unit uses the same process that a softening system uses to pull minerals that create scale.

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With this third-party scale prevention method, you can extend the lifespan of your home appliances. Besides, it offers a number of cleaning benefits, such as reduced use of soap.

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Although different types of salt-free softeners are out there, The Pelican NaturSoft has the longest lifespan. Moreover, the media can be good for up to 12 years. But you will need to change the pre-filters every 6 to 9 months.

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Pros

  • Long life

  • Salt and maintenance-free

  • Available in two sizes

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Cons

  • Can be expensive for some users

  • You will have to pay additional to purchase brass fittings

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Pentair Water Softeners Alternative with Natursoft Salt-Free Technology Owners Manual Here

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Eco Series Tier-1 Whole House Water Softener

CWH Score ®

90.8

/  100

Highlights

  • 7-year warranty

  • Best in class against iron and manganese

  • 600,000 - 1,000,000 gallons/year

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Product Overview

The Eco-Series Tier 1 Whole House Saltless Water Softener employs a free-of-salt softening technology. Therefore, this filtration system requires low maintenance and offers high performance. Like other saltless systems, this one uses Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) in order to prevent limescale.

Features

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Sediment pre-filter: 

Eco Series Tier1 comes with a pre sediment pre-filter. Besides, it also comes with the filter housing. You need to install it before you insert the softening unit. Apart from this, you will have to purchase replacement filters separately once you have installed the softener.

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Softening tank:

The water softening tank of Tier 1 can be good for you if you have a home with 3 bedrooms. The installation of the tank is a piece of cake for most users. However, it is better that you hire the services of a professional instead.

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Installation components:

Apart from the filter and the softener, the package comes with all the required components for installation, such as Flexi connectors, shut-off valve, and the mounting bracket. Besides, the system is compact, which is why it just takes 3 square feet of space. Therefore, even if you have a small space in your house, you can still install it.

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Functionality

Since the Eco Series Tier1 uses TAC technology for softening hard water, this unit does not require a constant supply of salt for proper functioning. On top of this, it does not require a control valve as it does not produce wastewater. Unlike regular water softeners, this unit cannot filter calcium and magnesium from your tap water. This water filter change is the hard water ions into crystals that cannot attach to your plumbing system or expensive appliances.

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Plus, the Eco series media is already loaded. Therefore, it can save you a lot of time on installation. Besides, you don't need to worry about programming while you are setting up everything. Another plus point is that you don't need to spend a lot of time on maintenance as the system does not require to be topped up with salt or resin.

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You just need to replace the sediment pre-filter every few months. Make sure you don't forget to replace the pre-filters as they are vital for the removal of large particles. They can clog the softening tank. As a result, the system will find it difficult to filter hard water.

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From the security and safety point of view, the Eco Series Tier1 comes with NSF/ANSI certifications. Therefore, you have the peace of mind that the system will work properly.

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Pros

  • A good alternative to Salt-based softener

  • Easy installation

  • Minimal maintenance

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Cons

  • Available only in one size

  • Pre-filters needs to be changed every 2 months

  • Saltless Water Softener Buyer’s Guide

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Tier1 Water Whole Home Solutions Whole House Salt-Free Softening System WH-WS-WF's Owner's Manual

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🧭 Water Softeners Filters Super Buying Guide

The buyer’s guide will help you understand why it’s important to use a water softener for well water, its mechanism of action, and the constituents of a water softener. Moreover, it will explain the critical features to see before buying a water softener.

What is a Salt-free Water Softener?

As the name suggests, this water softener can work without salt. This type of water softener uses a different process, which involves turning hard water minerals into crystals. Therefore, they don't need to be removed from the water entirely. These systems are also known as water conditioners.

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The Problems With Hard Water

You have already read about the signs of hard water. Now, let's find out what type of problems they can cause for you.

1. Hard water accumulates limescale in your plumbing system and appliances and reduces their efficiency

2. Hard water can cause staining and reduced cleaning capability

3. It can irritate your skin

4. Water may look murky

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Benefits of Soft Water

If your tap water is hard, you can use a water softener to enjoy a lot of health benefits. Given below is a list of some of those benefits.

1. Prevents the damage caused by limescale

2. Better efficiency of appliances

3. No staining

4. Cleaning clothes will require less soap

5. Softens your clothes

6. Improves your hair and skin

7. Improves the taste of your cooked food

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How do Water Softeners work Without Salt work?

If you are wondering how these water softeners work without the use of salt, here is the answer for you. Manufacturers assign different names to the processes that treat hard water. Similarly, they use different techniques for this purpose. However, all of these processes and techniques produce the same reaction, which is called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC).

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This process changes the composition of the hard water minerals. As a result, these minerals don't stick to the surface of your appliances or inside your plumbing system. And this helps prevent limescale formation. You can achieve TAC in more ways than one. For example, some of these units make use of a special resin bed, while others use magnetic or electric current.

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In the case of a resin bed, the minerals of hard water remain attached to the resin. And they stay there until their structure has been changed. Afterward, they are released back into the system in crystalline form.

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What Are the Advantages of Tankless Water Softeners?

Salt-free water conditioners are rising in popularity due to a number of reasons. Given below are some of the advantages of these systems:

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They occupy less space

Saltless water softeners can work without resin and brine tanks, they feature a relatively smaller footprint. Generally, they only have one resin tank for the  TAC process. Therefore, if you go for a magnetic water softener, there will be no tank at all. The reason is that it uses magnets that are fixed on each side of the waterline.

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They don't use electricity

Salt-based water softeners require electricity to operate. Some saltless water softeners need to be connected to the main power. However, most of these units don't require electricity at all.

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They don't waste any water

Another great benefit of these units is that they don't generate wastewater during this process. On the other hand, salt-based systems waste plenty of water no matter what. Moreover, as soon as the resin tank is full of calcium and magnesium ions, you have to flush it with water. In the case of TAC systems, there is no wastewater due to the absence of the regeneration process.

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They are low-maintenance

If you want to purchase a salt-based water softener, you have to be committed. For example, you will have to add more salt from time to time, which is important to deal with different types of issues, such as bridging.

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Besides, these systems require deep cleaning every few months for proper functioning. On the other hand, salt-free water softeners require no maintenance at all. All you need to do is replace the media after 6 years. But if you get a magnetic softener, there is no maintenance required at all.

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They don't remove healthy minerals

Although magnesium and calcium minerals may cause water hardness problems, these two minerals are important for your health. Besides, they are responsible for making your tap water taste alkaline. Salt-based systems filter all of these minerals, but salt-free ones change the structure of these minerals. Therefore, you can still enjoy a lot of health benefits from drinking filtered water.

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They don't add salt to the water

Although salt-based systems add only a small amount of salt, they will cover your daily sodium intake needs. On the other hand, salt-free water softeners don't mix any salt in your water. Therefore, this type of water is an ideal choice for you if you follow a low sodium diet or you don't want to like more salt in your water.

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What Are the Disadvantages of Salt-free Water Conditioners?

Given below is a description of some disadvantages of salt-free water conditioners

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Won’t create soft-feeling

If you go for a salt-free water conditioner, the filtered water won't feel soft. The reason is that the hard water minerals are not filtered in this process.

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Less effective than a salt-based softener

Salt-free water softeners leave some hard water minerals in the water, you may still notice some limescale in the plumbing system. Although these systems are quite effective against scale, they are not as efficient as salt-based systems.

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Slower than other systems

Compared to salt-less water softeners, the salt-based systems show results quickly, partly because of the salt bridge softening process.

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No solid proof

If you use a salt-based water softener, you can easily notice the difference. Due to the absence of hard water minerals, you will feel a difference in the taste. If you want to test the hardness level of pure water, you just need to drink some of it.

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On the other hand, if you taste conditioned water, you won't feel any difference in the hardness level. Therefore, you cannot say for sure whether the water will cause any limescale or not.   So, you will have to wait and see.

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Things to Consider When Opting for a Salt-free Water Softener

Given below are some of the most important things that you must consider before purchasing a salt-free water softener.

 

Unit Size (Capacity)

Regardless of which water softener you go for, you can choose from two sizes. The smaller unit is suitable for a home with one to three bathrooms. On the other hand, the bigger units are ideal if you have 3 to 5 bedroom bathrooms in your home.

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Generally, if you have a lot of water-based appliances in your home, you will require a lot of soft water. Similarly, you will need to get a bigger unit to cover your needs. Besides, if your tap water has a high level of hardness, we suggest that you go for a system with greater capacity.

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Water Flow Rate

Before you purchase a salt-less water softener, make sure to consider the water flow rate. For example, if your water consumption is high, you need to purchase a water conditioning system that can keep up with the flow of water.

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If the flow of water is insufficient, your appliances will be less efficient. Apart from this, it will reduce the water pressure in your shower when other appliances are also running at the same.

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Other Contaminants

Apart from treating hard water, you also need to make sure that the system will remove other contaminants from your tap water. If you want to improve the water quality and taste, we suggest that you invest in a saltless water softener as well as a whole house water filter.

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Besides, some manufacturers offer an All-in-One package. Therefore, if you want to purchase a whole house water filter, you can just go for this all-in-one package instead.

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System Control and Features

Another great thing to consider is the installation method of the system. Most of these units feature a digital control panel, which allows you to monitor the system and receive notifications as soon as a media requires to be changed. The touch display and backlit screen allow you to navigate the system without any problem.

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Physical Space Available

Generally, salt-free water conditioners occupy less space than other systems. However, you still need to free up plenty of space for installation and maintenance. Therefore, you should make sure that the area of your house has plenty of space based on the size of your unit.

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Certifications

A water softener system has third-party certification, you can rest assured that the system will perform as added advertised. So, you may want to look for certifications, such as NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and NSF/ANSI Standard 61 when purchasing these units.

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It is important to keep in mind that these certifications don't mean that the system will reduce the hardness level or reduce the limescale formation.

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Costs Involved

Once you have purchased the system, you may have to spend a little bit of money on the maintenance of the water system. For example, since these units require electricity to work, you may have to spend a little bit higher electricity bills. However, they don't use a lot of power.

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It is to purchase the softener media, especially if you have a resin-based softener. This component is not that expensive. If you have a magnetic water softener, you will not need to change the media bed. This is the reason these units are called maintenance-free.

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Installation and upkeep of Water Softeners Without Salt

You need to install your water softener at the point of entry in your home. Therefore, you can get access to filtered water across your home. Due to scale formation, water heaters may lose their efficiency. Therefore, you may want to prevent the formation of scale using the system.

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Generally, it is easy to install a water softener even for beginners. If you have some basic plumbing knowledge and you are confident enough, you can easily install these systems. Given below are the step by step instructions you set up these systems:

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1. First of all, you need to install this unit at the point of entry of the water.

2. Your next move is to stop the water supply. Plus, you need to drain the water from all of the pipelines.

3. Mark the water lines to help you install the system. You can then use a pipe cutter to cut out the pipe.

4. Set up the bypass valve

5. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer to install the unit at your mainline

6. Finally, you need to tighten everything. Afterward, you should Resume the water supply gradually so that trapped air could come out.

7. If you are going to install a magnetic water softener, the installation process will be even simpler.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there any way to tell if my salt-free water soft is working properly?

A: Your appliances will tell you if the system is working. For example, you will notice less scale formation on your appliances after installing a system and using it for 7 days. What is there is no test to find out if the water has been softened. The reason is that the water is conditioned not softened.

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Q: Should I go for a salt-based water softener?

A: If you can take care of the maintenance of a salt-based water softener, you can go for them to enjoy great results.

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Q: How can I benefit from a salt-free water softener?

If you install a saltless water softener system, you can reduce the hardness level of your tap water. Apart from this, you don't need to clean your appliances and water systems frequently. And these units will also increase the lifespan of your plumbing system and domestic appliances. Plus, if you regularly use soft water, it will improve the health of your skin and hair.

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