Do Salt Free Water Softeners Work?

Actually, before you ask that question, you really should ask “Is there really such a thing as a salt free water softener?” You see, some companies are selling what they call “salt free water softeners” as well as “salt water softeners.”  That begs the question:  If salt free water softeners worked, why on God’s Green Earth would they sell salt water softeners?  No one would buy them. Salt water softeners would be a thing of the past.  It makes no sense, but it will once you understand that most (if not all) “salt free water softeners” do not soften the water.

If you could really soften water without salt, “salt water softeners” would be obsolete! Think about that one.

Why do they call them “salt free water softeners” if they do not soften the water?  It’s very simple – people would not buy them if they did not think they softened the water!  So, they call them “salt free softeners to dupe people into buying them. Think I’m making this up?  There are a number of credible water testing kits that test for “hardness and softness.”  The hardness scale runs from zero to infinity.  To be considered soft water, it needs to be below one (1) grain of hardness. Here is the hardness scale:

You can buy a Hardness Test Kit HERE. There are also many other methods on the market including THIS ONE as well as THIS ONE. There are also HARDNESS TEST STRIPS, but they are not as accurate as the aforementioned titration tests. So, if you are considering buying a salt free water softener, I would recommend that you e-mail or call the company you are considering and tell them that you are buying a Hardness Test Kit.  Then ask them if their system will make the water soft according to a scientific test.

If they say “yes,’ have them put it in writing as you will find out that it does no such thing.  Most likely they will say “Well, it doesn’t ACTUALLY soften the water, it just puts the hardness in a condition whereby it cannot stick to pipes and surfaces.”  Oh, they call it a softener, but it really dos no such thing. Imagine buying a furnace or heater, that actually doesn’t heat! What they are describing is a “salt free water conditioner.” It is also very debatable how effective these devices are as well, but all I am saying is “Call your product what it is.”  If it doesn’t actually soften the water, it is not a water softener!  Period! Just tell the truth and let the buyer beware!

Salt free water softeners do not exist, unless you want to say that a whole house reverse osmosis system is a salt-free softener.  Even that is problematic. US Water Systems has salt water softeners and salt free conditioners, but we do not have salt free water softeners  – those products only exist in marketers minds… marketers who simply want to trick you into buying their product.  That’s deplorable in my opinion.

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This article has 2 Comments

  1. Mark:

    I was tempted to post this comment on Linked In as a reply to your posting, but I felt that might do more harm than good. In general, I whole heartedly agree that almost all “salt free” water softeners are no more than snake oil, claiming some magical magnetic of electrical properties that change the chemistry of water. I am responding on this site so that I do not in any way dilute the message you are delivering, because I believe it is important to de-bunk this pseudo-science (If you haven’t found Dr, Lower’s site yet, I highly recommend it.)

    BUT – there are systems that I know of that soften without salt; 2 that I have worked on, both electrocatalytic, and both expensive relative to the consumer market. One uses EDI, an the other precipitates hardness. Both have multiple installations, and track records going back a few years. I am telling you this as, though we have never met, I believe you are a knowledgeable professional in this business, and I believe in sharing information to expand the cause.

    Best Regards.


  2. Bob,

    I am aware and agree technically with EDI and other similar systems, however in the residential market, they really are not commercially viable… and that was what I was referring to.

    I am familiar with Dr. Lower’s site.

    Thanks for your comments.

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