Salt or Salt-Free?
Over the last decade or so the salt-free water softeners have been gaining market share. Springwell has emerged as one of the best in the industry. Why? Simply because it actually works, and it has a lifetime warranty. They are made of fiberglass, like a boat, they can never rust or leak.
There are a few negative articles online about salt-free water softeners. I suspect that most of these are written by folks in the salt-based business, and they are upset that they are slowly going out of business. In fact as of this writing, almost 50% of the counties in greater Los Angeles have banned salt-based water softeners. Salt-based systems release too much salt into the environment, damaging the multi-million-dollar sewage treatment plants. And I have seen for myself how homes with salt-based systems go through water heaters faster than those that do not. The salt seems to speed up the rust inside of a regular water heater ( but the stainless steel tankless units are immune to this).
The only time a negative review of a salt-free system is warranted, it was probably the fault of the installer, or the unit was sized wrong. In Arizona especially, our water is so hard that we really need to make sure to get the right size unit. It also helps tremendously if the salt-free system is paired with a whole-house charcoal filter. Removing the chlorine & other impurities helps the salt-free system to work better.
Here are the main differences and reasons to go with a salt-free system:
1. No salt- well this is obvious, but having to buy & carry 3 x 40-pound bags of salt every few months is heavy and annoying
2. No damage to water heaters from salt
3. Salt-free lasts 50 years (FIFTY- not a typo). Salt-based usually only 10-15 years.
4. No noise. No drain, no motor going off for an hour at 2am.
5. Again, No drain- nothing to leak.
6. No electricity- no need for outlets, extension cords, or splitters.
Cons: salt-free generally costs more, especially if you get a combo system (which you pretty much have to in Az). And Springwell systems come with a sediment-filter that must be changed each year. But the sediment filter only costs $25, and is very easy to do it yourself. I charge $75 to change the filter each year, basically it's the cost of the filter and $50 for the trip.
Look at this recent customer. We removed his Kinetico salt-based system and replaced with a Springwell Salt-free system. Look at the transformation!