No Salt Water Softener - Salt Free Home Water Treatment System

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The Differences Between the Water Treatment Technologies

Water Softeners, Water Conditioners and Water Filters.

The Primary Purpose of this Webpage is to clarify the various terms used by many retailers when selling water treatment products.

We receive many phone calls from customers that believe they need a traditional salt based water softener but after some discussion we find they are only interested in purifying or making their drinking water taste better. This is not the purpose of the GMX System.

We also get many call from customers with various other problems that can be solved without the hassle of salt based systems and the maintenance involved.

Yes, we are in the business of selling a salt based water softener alternative, the GMX No Salt Water Softener System, but we believe this webpage will help educate those customers who are not sure what they really need and do it in a passive way.

The term "Water Treatment" encompasses all the technologies below.

The term "Water Filter" describes a device that removes something from the water. IE: chlorine, heavy metals, dirt, and/or other contaminants. Minerals cannot be filtered out of the water with a water filter.

The terms "Water Softening" and "Water Conditioning" are used interchangeably in the industry and does cause some confusion.

The term "Water Conditioning" usually applies to water softening without salt and sometimes includes water filtration.

The term "Water Softener" describes a device that removes or neutralizes the minerals in your water. Water softeners are not water filters.

A Bit of History:

Prior to the 1900's people were dealing with hard water build-up, spotting and scaling throughout their homes with no real solution. Around the beginning of the last century it was discovered that magnetic load stones piled around their main water pipes could be used as water softeners to improve this situation with minimal effectiveness. A more effective solution needed to be found.

During the US industrial revolution of the 40's, 50's and 60's the ion exchange water softening process was developed using large amounts of salt. These very effective salt based water softener systems have been sold all over the US by many companies under different brands names for the past 40 years or so. Until recently, this was the only effective solution to solving hard water problems in your home. Well, that is no longer the case.

Please don't confuse water filtration with water softening. These are two very different ways to treat your water and have very different results. Many companies blur the lines by selling salt based water softeners, reverse osmosis system and water filters together as a system. Here are the differences:

A Reverse Osmosis Unit: Removes salt and some contaminates from your drinking water at a very slow rate and they waste a lot of water. These are point of use devices (kitchen sink) that need their expensive membranes replace on a regular basis.

A Water Filter: This method removes contaminates, but not the minerals or salt, from your water. Water filters do nothing to solve hard water problems in your home. They primarily make you water taste better and healthier to drink. Filtration is also used to remove sediment from the water on well systems. These can be either point of use or whole house filters and the filter elements need to be replaced quite often.

A Water Softener: Removes or neutralizes the minerals in your water only. This method makes cleaning easier, soaps lather better, eliminates scale build-up and spotting, keeps your plumbing clear and helps your appliances and clothes last much longer. These are usually whole house systems that may or may not add salt to your water.

There are two type of water softening systems on the market today: Salt or Potassium Based and Salt Free or No Salt systems. Many companies say their systems are salt free because they use potassium instead of salt. Potassium is a type of salt and it has more potential health drawbacks than salt. For the discussion below, we will concern ourselves with salt based water softener systems only.

There are four primary drawbacks to salt based water softeners:

  1. You need to add 40 pounds, more or less, of salt to the salt container every couple of weeks. This typically adds up to 800 pounds of salt, or more, per year. You will also need a place to store and then a way lift those 40 pound bags of salt.

  2. These systems add salt to your water during the softening process which has been found to be unhealthy in recent years. The solution, was and still, is to install a $200 to $400 reverse osmosis unit under the kitchen sink to remove the salt from your drinking water. This salt will still be present in the water throughout your home and in your shower where it causes a slippery or slimy feeling on your skin. Some have called this a silky feeling. Most people do not like this sensation as it makes you feel like you cannot completely remove the soap from you skin after showering and washing your hands.

  3. These system are usually trouble free for the first few years, then the $30 to $75 service and repairs costs come into play. This, obviously, depends on the quality of the salt based water softener system purchased. Life expectancy of these systems have been anywhere from 2-3 years to 15 years or more.

  4. It has been recently discovered that these salt based systems pollute our fresh ground water supply during the backwashing or regeneration process. This has caused many communities around the US to ban salt based or automatic water softeners. Primarily in California. Click here for one example.

A fifth drawback can be the initial cost of the unit and installation. If you have ever been the target of one of those high pressure in home water softener salesman, you have been quoted prices anywhere from $2000 to upwards of $5000 installed. If you go to your local home improvement store you will find various salt based units ranging anywhere from $700 to $1000 plus $200 or so for installation. This does not include the cost and installation of the reverse osmosis system to remove the salt from your drinking water.

In conclusion: We, and many others in our industry, believe salt or potassium based water softeners use outdated and potentially harmful technology. Especially because these are effective alternatives on the market today. For a description of how a salt based water softener works, click here.

Present Day Solutions:

Back in the 1980s, the public and local governments were becoming aware of the potential hazards of using salt based water softener technology. This prompted the development of effective alternate technologies because the salt based technology was being banned in various locations around the US.

Since that time, three effective salt based water softener alternatives have come on the market. They are:

  1. GMX Magnetic System - A perfected magnetic technology sold by Clearwater GMX.
  2. Catalytic units - Various dissimilar metals in direct contact with the water.
  3. Electronic units - Boxes with wires wrapped around pipes.

For detailed discussion of these three different salt free
water softener technologies, please click below.

What is the difference between the GMX Magnetic
System and the other no salt alternatives?

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