A major point of confusion when purchasing a water softener is whether to buy a salt-based unit or a salt-free system. Many people are under the impression that salt-free water conditioners do the exact same thing as a salt system. This is not the case. Salt-free water conditioners CONVERT the hardness minerals into a different substance, they do not actually REMOVE the hardness minerals from the water supply like a salt-based unit.
Salt-free water conditioners come in a variety of configurations. Some use magnetic, catalytic, electric or an electro-dialysis process to convert hardness minerals. There are even systems that use citric acid to accomplish this conversion.
At Sawtooth Inc., we have salt-free options available; however, in our experience these units will only keep plumbing pipe clear of hardness buildup. These units do not provide the other benefits that a salt-based unit will provide such as softer skin and clothes, brighter dishes, faucets and fixtures that are free from buildup etc.