Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 10/25/2013

Which is better system for area with very hard water: salt water softener versus salt free water softener?

I'm in Santa Fe, NM and had a Culligan water softener system installed a couple of years ago. (I use potassium chloride in it.) My plumber was just here on a different matter and said that a salt-free system would be better. Of course he partly has a sales incentive behind his recommendation, but he seemed pretty certain that salt-free conditioners are better, less expensive in the long run, and healthier. What do you think?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

2 Answers


Prior to making the decision, ask a medical doctor about the incidence of heart attacks & death among people who have salt systems (as opposed to those who have non-salt systems).

You may be willing to risk your life.

However, if you have a family, you may not wish to risk their lives.

If you decide to have a salt system, you can also take up skydiving.

Answered 7 years ago by ProfessorWonderful


There has been a tremendous amount of advertising and scare tactics on this, including the argument that a salt-based system is terrible for your health - just not true unless you are on a strict sodium-reduction diet or have some other medical condition where salt is dangerous for you already.

Some of them are just plain scams - a few relying on old gasoline engine fuel economy scams where they claim putting magnets around the fuel line "activates" (or some such word) the ions so they give better mileage, some claim putting a fancy electromagnet around the water flow miraculaously change the iron and sulfides and lime so it no longer clogs pipes - this has been proven to be baloney - see Consumer Reports and American Waterworks Association reports if interested. Others claim they have a "proprietary miracle filter" that removes it - many of these are just plain sediment filters in disguise.

Basically speaking, only three types of systems for residential applications remove dissolved water hardness - distillation (rarely used due extremely high energy cost and low floow rate), salt-based systems, and resin-based systems. Some of the others can remove most man-made toxins and poisons, but the few that will remove hardness also plug off with the buildup VERY quickly - I saw one commercial system in Missouri where the environmentalist resort owner insisted on salt and resin free activated carbon (at about $500 per recharge) - they ended up gettting less than a week on a charge that should normally last 6-12 months. Needless to say, they changed systems at great cost.

For contaminants or bad taste carbon filters and reverse osmosis can do the job, but they just plug up too quickly to be practical as the primary treatment system in areas with hard water or iron/sulfur bacteria buildup.

You can see more comments on various types of water treatment systems for the home in the Home > Water Treatment link right under your question.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy