Can you recommend a very efficient water softener?
March 12, 2018 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Since Consumer Reports doesn't review them, I'm having trouble finding non-sketchy reviews of water softeners. Can anyone recommend one that uses the least amount of water in its recharge cycle? Or a table that compares them? We had to have the heating element in our 2.5 year old water heater changed because it was so badly calcified (pic for the curious) so I'm slowly being convinced that it is indeed a necessity like all my neighbors tell me. I just want one that doesn't waste a ton of water.
posted by exhilaration to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Not sure where you are located, but you might consider contacting a local well driller (or three). They often have experience with less than ideal local water, and know which solutions will work well. My current system uses a catalyst and readily available salts, and one at my previous residence had an injection pump. The injection pump obviously uses the least water since there is no recharge cycle, but I think the catalyst is more effective. If you haven't had the water analyzed yet, might be worth it to find out exactly what is precipitating out.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 2:01 PM on March 12, 2018

Unfortunately by design water softeners use a significant amount of water in the recharge cycle which is governed mainly by how much ion exchange resin it has. Bigger softeners have more resin and trap more dissolved minerals in the water. It ultimately boils down to how hard your water is, which determines how large your water softener needs to be to handle your daily water needs, which in turn determines how much water is used in your recharge cycle.

If using this amount of water is a big concern for you, I'd follow OneSmartMoney's suggestions to find something that doesn't use ion exchange resin. You might be able to use one of their suggestions or even something like a whole-house filter. I would go with finding a reputable well driller or plumber to help find a solution that's sized to your needs. A good plumber would also be able to put your garden hoses on a separate non-treated line which depending on how much water you use outside could be a significant amount of savings.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:09 PM on March 12, 2018

get a Kinico system
posted by patnok at 1:36 PM on March 13, 2018

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