Salt or salt free system...that is the question

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Floridalady, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Floridalady

    Floridalady New Member

    Jan 27, 2020
    Central Florida
    We are just looking for a straight answer to that question. In Leesburg, Fl, we are on city water, two adults in the house. A Culligan salesman tested our tap water. Results are 150 TDS, 13 g/gal calcium and magnesium, 2 ppm chlorine, 120 ppm alkalinity, 7.0 ph. We want a system that will stop the white scale around faucets and on shower tile and glass. We did get a taste test from a neighbor using Culligan softener using salt, and weren't thrilled with the brine taste. We got another water sample from a neighbor using a Westinghouse salt free system and that taste was great. However...since our biggest concern is getting rid of the hard water residues, dingy laundry and itchy skin, we want to make the best decision and not regret it next year, or even next month. Which way should we go...salt or salt free?
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    What is this salt free system? What does it do? Your television and water heaters are salt-free systems.

    Could be a big carbon tank that removes chlorine and some other stuff, but not hardness. Could be a reverse osmosis system for drinking water but not bath and laundry.
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  4. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    A salt softener would be the appropriate choice to resolve the issues you listed. Salt-free methods are not softeners as they do not remove hardness.

    Not sure why you would be tasting the brine. While salt brine (sodium chloride dissolved in water) will be used to regenerate the softener's capacity, no brine will be added to the softened water. During softening, calcium and magnesium ions (the most common cause of hardness) will be exchanged for sodium ions. While the quantity of sodium will be proportional to the amount of hardness in the water, the resulting sodium is generally quite low and will not be tasted.

    See the info on the left of this link:

    See also post #5 in this thread:

    For Chlorine to measure 2 ppm at your home seems excessive. You may wish to also consider a backwashing carbon filtration system to remove chlorine prior to the softener.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
    taylorjm likes this.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Jan 9, 2012
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Ontario California
    Agreed, a carbon backwashing system and a salt softener will give you the best results.
  6. Keith Frank

    Keith Frank New Member

    Jan 24, 2020
    Phoenix, Arizona
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