Water Treatment – “The Salt Free Water Softener”

The Keystone Clean Water Team is a 501c3 and the main goal of the organization is to educate and inform the public on issues related to watershed management, water quality, groundwater, conservation, and the links between the environment, ecomony, and living within a community.    As a group, we provide educational outreach via are webportals, workshops, and other training programs.  During the past year, one of the most common questions we get ask is:  “What do you think of the “Salt Free Water Softener”,  my normal answer is “It depends”.

For some “salt free water treatment” systems by most common answer is quarky.  I will not mention these systems, but I will refer you to a great website so we do not have to worry about liability  (H20.con).   Of the softener and “salt-free” systems we have been able to seen the field the ones that appear interesting would include the following:

Water Softener (Conventional and With A Twist)

In general water softeners reduce the level of total hardness in the water and when this hardness is removed it is replaced with ions of sodium or potassium. The total hardness can include elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and other divalent/or mulivalent cations, i.e., ions that have a positive charge of more than one.  These ions are replaced by ions with a positive charge of one.   The system requires an internal resign that acts as the treatment area and a brine tank that is used to backwash and recharge the resin.   These have a long-history of use, but can increase the level of sodium and potassium in the water.  These systems can be vulnerable to bacterial regrowth, chlorine interaction, and in some cases “Iron Out” needs to be added to the brine tank.   A water softner can add in dealing with issues related to more significant scale formation and problems with iron and manganese.  If you are considering this treatment system, we recommend that you conduct a comprehensive water quality test and seek the advice of a local expert.  If you are a DIY, get your water tested and  please visit this portal (Whole House Water Softener / Alternative No-salt Softener (just reduces hardness- Using a Crystal Eagle Anti-scale media ) ).   For the record, we have seen problems when a water softener is added to an older home and system. In these cases, we have seen that water softener was typically removing too much of the water hardness.  When this softened water was introduced to the system, the system experience elevated levels of lead, copper, and other trace metals and because the line was not properly shock disinfected intermittent water quality problems with “dirty and discolored water” (PS: this is Flint Michigan in a nutshell).

Aquios Systems (Aquios FS-220)  (Salt Free)

The Aquios technology uses a polyphosphate/silicate additive in the media to bind or sequester the hardness as a mineral form.  The media is known as Siliphos Data Sheet. Rather than feeding a polyphosphate chemical into the water like is done for corrosion control and sequestering for some municipal water sources, this is accomplished using a point of entry or use treatment system.  The filter has a fixed capacity for hardness reduction, so it is critical to get a detailed water quality test so the system can be properly sized.  In addition, the system normally included prefiltration to reduce or remove sediment and chlorine.

(Aquios FS-220)

Nuvo H20 (Salt Free)

This systems uses a chelatin approach to reducing the total hardness of the water. Therefore, the hardness is bound and sequestered within the media, which is very similar to the Aquios approach, but they use CitraCharge.  CitraCharge appears to be an additive that includes citric acid, which is a weak organic acid.  From the companies website, “The chelant in CitraCharge creates a ring structure to bind the ions to the CitraCharge instead of to other ions, which is what typically causes scale and hard-water deposits.”  A CitraCharge powder is also available to help clean and remove stains in your dishwasher.

Nuvo H20 System

Other Products

General Electric – Citric Acid Cleaner  (Dishwasher, etc)

Citic Acid based cleaner-Clean Environment Bathroom Cleaner

Please make sure to get your water quality tested.  For this problem we would recommend, the following for  Well Water or City Water.