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Podcast Q&A 8: “I’m looking for a no-salt water softener for our very hard well water”

No-Salt Water Softeners for Well Water?

Hello and welcome again to the Clean Water Made Easy Podcast Q&A, this is Q&A Episode 8. In this episode, I am going to answer a question about No-Salt Water Softeners for well water.  Actually, they should be referred to as no-salt water conditioners, not softeners since they do not soften the water.

NO salt water conditionersI’m Gerry Bulfin and I’m a WQA- Certified Master Water Specialist and Water Treatment Contractor here in Northern CA. I have a main podcast where in each episode I talk about various types of well water problems, well water treatment systems and solutions.

I also have these quick Question & Answer episodes. Every day we get a lot of phone calls, e-mails, chats through our website and I pick a pertinent or interesting one and then answer it.

This one came in through our chat box on our website from Sheryl and she asked:

“Hello, I’m looking for a no-salt water softener for our very hard well water, I can’t find any on your website about how much hardness each of your models removes, do you have that information?”

Hello Sheryl,

I did another podcast episode (Episode 9) and this goes in-depth about no salt water softeners or actually, no-salt water conditioners as we call them. They don't soften the water, but rather, they transform the hardness in the water into a form that won’t build up as scale, so they prevent scale build-up.

They don’t remove anything from the water and especially, they don’t remove any hardness. You can test the water before and after, and it's the same hardness. They’re pretty popular because people don’t want to deal with the salt even though the new water softeners have been out for some years now and use a lot less salt than the old style water softeners. But still, the softeners need brine or salt water to regenerate or clean the softening resin inside the softener.

So folks think, well, the no salt water softeners sounds a lot better because it doesn't use any backwash water or salt. But the thing is that it just depends on what your expectations are. Theoretically, that will work up to 50 grains per gallon of hardness. 50 grains per gallon is very high and it depends on what you mean by working. If the water evaporates on the surface, you’re going to see hard water, you’re going to see the minerals there and you're going to feel hard water in the shower.

Generally, we wouldn’t recommend a no-salt water conditioner for very hard well water unless you’re only after protecting your water heater, or say you had an instant water heater or boiler. If you have just clean hard well water with no iron, no manganese, no sediment then that’s what the no-salt water conditioners like. If you have a little bit of iron in the water or any manganese, hydrogen sulfide or sediments in the water, then the resin inside these TAC- type template assisted crystallization water conditioners will become fouled very quickly.

This can be very expensive and it could lead to an unhappy conclusion, so generally you’re better off sticking with the water softener. Then really looking at and making sure you dialed it in to use as little salt as possible, you can even bypass partially some of the water so it only softens some of the water. So instead of being 30 grains hard, it might reduce it to 5 grains, so that it’ll save the amount of salt you use and the hardness of your water.

Typically we do NOT recommend no-salt water conditioners for very hard well water.

You can blend a little bit of hardness in if you can live with water say up to 10 grains per gallon and if you’re looking to reduce the amount of salt that it uses or salt in the wastewater. Just dial in and work with your regular softener, but to answer your question in short, we generally do not recommend no-salt water conditioners for very hard well water for the reasons that I just said. Unless you’re just after preventing scale inside a boiler or instant water heater type system.

Okay, well thanks again to Sheryl for contacting us and I hope this information was useful.  Any questions or comments?  Are you using a no-salt conditioner or water softener on your well water?  Please email me and let me know how that is working for you.


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