Saltless water softeners came out on the market roughly around the late 1990s and early 2000s. They reached the peak of mainstream adoption from around 2010 to 2011, and the adoption curve has now gone down drastically. As it turns out, most people have discovered that these products just don’t work.
The bottom line is, it’s scientifically impossible to remove hardness from water without adding something back. Effective water softeners use salt (or similar molecules such as sodium chloride) to do their job. Saltless water softeners claim to break down hardness molecules, which are already invisible to the naked eye. These already dissolved molecules are claimed to be broken down so small that they will not stick to pipes, plumbing fixtures, shower doors, or dishes.
The reality is, however, that claim simply doesn’t hold up. It’s not possible to break down an already tiny hardness molecule to the point that it will no longer become a solid. Think about what would happen if you took a pot of hard water and boiled it until all the water had evaporated. You would be able to observe a chalky residue left in the pot. This is very similar to using a saltless water softener. The same chalky residue will remain in solid form, just as it does in water heaters and shower heads. Supposedly reducing the size of the molecule wouldn’t even be a step towards solving that challenge.
One of the benefits of having soft water is the tremendous savings on soap and cleaning products. It takes less shampoo, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and body wash if these products don’t have to compete with hard water. If the hardness remains in the water (but is supposedly composed of smaller molecules) there would be no money savings from reduced soap use. Why install a saltless water softener if it isn’t going to actually give you the benefit of having soft water?
Saltless water systems just cannot prove their effectiveness. We should be able to see demonstrable, testable results after installing these products. These units aren’t cheap—they usually cost over a thousand dollars. If you’re thinking about spending that much money on a product that can’t demonstrate its effectiveness, it might be worth reconsidering your investment. After taking a water sample before the unit and after the unit, the hardness results would be similar because the water’s makeup isn’t changing. (Remember, the unit is supposedly changing the hardness molecule’s size).
We think that people should be aware and educated about saltless water softeners. These products are declining in the water treatment industry because word has finally gotten around that they do not work. People who have installed these units are very unhappy with the lack of results. In fact, we just finished taking out one of these units for someone and replaced it with an effective water softener that uses salt. It’s becoming more and more common for us to have to remove saltless water softeners from people’s homes.
If you have any questions about why we do not recommend installing a saltless water softener in your home (or if you have a saltless water softener and need it to be removed), contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.