Article Last Updated: May 2021
In this article, I will warn you about the biggest dangers linked to buying and using a “saltless or salt free water softener”.
Now let’s face it, the appeal of getting a saltless water softener makes complete sense. I don’t imagine there is anyone that likes the idea of buying or hauling around large bags of softener salt.
Enter the “no salt water softener”, the answer to all our problems. But “no-salt” really? Salt is essential to the softening process as oxygen is to keeping human beings alive.
So how exactly do you remove salt from the equation? Does it do as good a job as traditional water softeners?
I am asked about the quality of no salt or saltless water softeners all the time so let’s go ahead and get some answers.
What Is A Salt Free Water Softener?
They are normally called “descalers or “water conditioners”.
The idea is to dissolve pre-existing calcium scales while also reducing the chances of new ones forming. Since they don’t use salt (the active ingredient for water softening), they only reduce and delay the effects of hard water.
Facts (& DANGERS) About “Salt Free Water Softeners”
- The name is slightly deceiving because a “water softener” is a machine that removes hard water by definition. However, a saltless water softener does not completely remove water hardness. (Read: Water Softener: Secrets Only A Handful Of People Know).
- Salt free water softeners are sometimes designed to look like regular water softeners. However, they can only reduce odor, sediment and perhaps some chemicals like chlorine. Yes, these devices can greatly improve the quality of your drinking water. But it will not create the “soft water” you’re expecting.
- Technologies that are incorrectly marketed as a salt free water softener can prevent scale build up but wont give you soft water. So if your main concern is preventing hard water from “scaling” then this is a good option for you. For instance, if you want to use it to prevent hard water damage to expensive equipment.
- Companies can sometimes call a “salt free water softener” a “descaler” or “water conditioner”.
- Some companies will call a water softener “salt free” because it uses potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride (salt). Yes, it is true that this version of “saltless water softeners” WILL REMOVE hard water minerals. But be careful because potassium is about 5x more expensive than regular softener salt and about 30% less efficient!
- If you have severe hard water issues then the only appliance that will 100% effectively protect your plumbing, expensive appliances, clothes, hair and skin is a traditional water softener machine that uses salt like one of my favorites, the Nuvo.
Benefits of Using A Salt Free Water Softener
- One of the biggest benefits you get from a saltless water softener is that it is maintenance free.
- It is also a chemical free alternative to using a salt-based water softener.
- A salt free water softener will very often use no electricity, create no waste water and, of course you won’t need to continuously buy softener salt. All of this saves you a lot of money in the long run.
- Saltless softeners are much cheaper than buying a full water softener.
- Ideal if you simply want to maintain expensive equipment. E.g. you are a dentist and rent your space. So can’t tamper too much with plumbing to install a water softener but need to keep scale away from your expensive equipment.
- If you only have mild hard water and want a hassle free option to keep your pipes descaled and make your appliances last longer, the saltless water softener is perfect for you.
Salt based water softeners will completely eliminate hard water. This will leave you with a more “slick” feeling in your water. You will notice the soap creating more bubbles etc.
The reason soft water has a “clean feeling” is because of all the removed minerals that are no longer present to dry your skin.