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I want to install a water softener for my house.I am using a salt based softener now which requires me to change salt frequently.Is there any salt free and low maintenance softener exists ,is it effective and how do they work?

  • Your only other option is to use a system that needs cartridges/tanks replaced on a schedule. You gotta remember, those minerals have to be removed (causing filter to clog) or be exchanged (causing loss of salt). – diceless Jul 16 '14 at 4:37
  • Well, there is always a desalination device. Those don't need salt and require only minimal maintenance. However, to run the whole house would require a fairly large unit. This one is good for 75 gallons per day. This one would be overkill at 83 gallons/hour, but if you can share with neighbors, it might be viable. – wallyk Jul 16 '14 at 5:32
  • I don't know there, I would think this is getting dangerously close to a "shop for me" type of question... Your first question is about whether something like this exists at all, but your second and third imply that you know of their existence. The next step would be something like "where can i find one, and what brands do you suggest?"... Naah. – alt Jul 18 '14 at 18:14
  • @wallyk: can you elaborate on your comment above? Both links no longer work, and I'm not sure I understand the comment. "Desalination" means a process that removes salt, so of course it wouldn't need salt. But it also wouldn't replace a water softener. Are you suggesting that a desalination system could be used downstream of a water softener, to remove the sodium added to the water? – Peter Duniho Sep 9 at 22:10
  • @PeterDuniho: Darn link rot! The archived entries are here and here. There are probably newer and better units available since April 2014. A reverse osmosis filter removes salt so it should remove many other troublesome components in hard water. – wallyk Sep 9 at 22:31
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The only thing that comes to mind for a practical "salt-free-softener" is a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. You could also distill the entire water supply, but it's not practical unless you happen to be sitting on a lot of excess power/heat.

An RO system is rather costly and wastes a considerable quantity of water, so they are more commonly used for drinking & cooking water rather than for the whole house. The principle of operation is that the water is forced through a membrane that does not allow dissolved minerals to pass through it, but a significant amount of water has to be diverted to carry that material off.

I don't think they normally are set up this way, but it's always seemed to me that the waste-water from the process could be collected and used for toilet-flushing, irrigation or the like.

Depending on the age and condition of your salt-based softener, and the hardness of your water, you might find that you can reduce salt use considerably with a more modern unit - many older units simply recycle on a time switch, while newer ones actually pay attention to the amount of water used.

  • +1 Make sure the hardness setting is calibrated correctly, and switch the head to one that does a flow-based recharge. – gregmac Jul 16 '14 at 21:34

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