There is a big difference between water softeners and salt free conditioners. It is important to note that the salt-free systems sold by many companies cannot be considered water softeners because they do not provide the qualities or benefits of truly softened water. The salt-free systems should accurately be described as "conditioners" because the water will test just as hard after the system as it did before. These systems do not provide the soap savings that a water softener does, and they only offer very limited and unpredictable descaling capabilities. You also will not experience the soft, smooth feel that you get with truly softened water. One other key difference is that the resin used in salt free conditioners must be replaced on average every 3-5 years and it is very costly. The bottom line is that the most effective and efficient way to achieve the benefits of soft water is with a conventional water softener system.

A water softener will save you money in multiple ways. One of the biggest savings will be energy savings by making it easier for your water heater to heat the water. Hard water scale can act as a barrier between the heat source and your water making it work harder and take longer to heat your water. By eliminating hard water scale, your water heater can work more efficiently. By eliminating scale buildup in all your water using appliances, you will save money on maintenance costs. Another big savings that you will see with soft water is the soap savings. You will use up to 75% less soaps and cleaning aids from laundry to dish washing and bathing. Your clothing and linens will last longer as well. These are just some of the many ways soft water can save you money.

A prefilter is a filter that is typically installed before the main treatment system to help extend its maintenance life by removing things like larger particulates or chlorine. For example, prefilters are used in reverse osmosis drinking water systems to extend the life of the reverse osmosis membrane.

Our free water analysis includes testing that we can do using a standard field test kit at your home. These tests typically include hardness, iron, manganese, sulfur, pH, alkalinity, total dissolved solids (TDS), chlorine, and nitrates. There are a few other field tests we can perform but some are not always needed. The tests we perform can depend on the water supply and what is determined to be necessary based on known water problems in the area. We provide these tests for free when making treatment recommendations because we cannot accurately recommend proper treatment without performing a proper analysis. Other tests such as coliform bacteria that require laboratory analysis are not free.

The frequency for replacing filter cartridges varies greatly depending on many factors. These include but are not limited to the type, size and capacity of the individual cartridge, the amount and type of contaminants being filtered, and the amount of water being filtered. As a rule, it is not possible to accurately predict the frequency that filter cartridges will need to be replaced. In some cases, filters will have specific capacities for contaminants such as chlorine that will limit those cartridges to a specific number of gallons based on a known level of chlorine but since the amount of water being used and the actual chlorine levels vary from one home to another, it is still very difficult to predict how long that filter will last. If you are using a sediment filter, you should notice a drop in water pressure as the filter begins to clog.

Water softening is the process of reducing hardness minerals such as calcium and magnesium through a process called ion exchange. Filtering water is a process that reduces contaminants such as particulates, chlorine or other unpleasant tastes or odors by obsorbing or capturing those contaminants.

The size of your system will depend on water hardness, usage and flow rate. With a free, in-home consultation, your local Culligan Water expert can determine these answers and use their expertise to make a custom recommendation for your home.

A water softener is typically installed on your main water line coming into the home just after the main water shutoff valve.

Water that has been softened through the process of ion exchange is generally safe to drink but does contain an amount of sodium that is directly proportional to the amount of hardness minerals being removed. For example, if you have a hardness level of 10 grains per gallon and use an ion exchange softener, the resulting softened water will contain approximately 75 milligrams of sodium per quart. As a comparison, a typical slice of white bread contains approximately 161 milligrams of sodium. If you are concerned about the amount of sodium that would be in your softened water, there are drinking water options available such as reverse osmosis that can dramatically reduce the amount of sodium in your water. It is always best to consult with your doctor if you are concerned about the amount of sodium in softened water.

This will vary from one home to the next depending on several variables including water hardness, capacity of the water softener, capacity of the salt storage container, and how much water is used. Your Culligan man can estimate the frequency once these variables are known. Initially, it is best to check every few months until you get an idea how long a tank full of salt will last and then adjust the frequency that you check based on that.