Looking for advice on a water softener for very hard water

I’ve been very fortunate so far asking for advice and once again I thought I’d tap into the wisdom of crowds to see if I can get some help regarding water softeners and hopefully narrow the field a bit. I’ve been doing a bunch of research online though I have yet to reach a conclusion. I found this site which seemed helpful but locating unbiased information comparing various products has been hard to come by. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports doesn’t even seem to review water softeners, at least searching their site didn’t turn up any good results.

The Scotts Valley Water District provides a report each year on the quality of our water and it states a “Total Hardness of 216” which I believe by any means qualifies as “very hard”. I do know our water is reeking havoc with our appliances not to mention our hair and skin. On top of the hardness I’m not at all fond of the taste and use a Watts Premier 5 filter reverse osmosis system which fortunately corrects that problem.

Anyway, I’m looking for a whole house system for a family of five with the understanding it’s likely to be several thousand dollars installed. I’ve asked a number of friends and neighbors but have yet to reach any real conclusion though I’ve found many cases where admittedly systems are not well maintained. Do you have advice regarding whole house water softeners for a family of five with extremely hard water?

[Updated: July 30] Fix the spelling of “advise”. Doh! At least I caught it myself.

3 thoughts on “Looking for advice on a water softener for very hard water

  1. Steve,
    I would recommend for a family of 5, a 52,000 grain capacity water softener. I would recommend that you stay away from department store models, because they only last a few years, whereas dealer systems last 12-15 years. A local dealer in your area could test your water, diagnose it not only for hardness, but also for iron and other elements. Personally the best systems out there come with Fleck control valves or WS1 control valves, metered on demand, so the system only regenerates based on water used. So if you are on vacation, the system will not run, it is very nice. Most dealers across the country sell these between $700-1200.00. These are the most universal selling systems in the country, and the manufacturers have been around for years.
    If you have any chlorine issues, take a look at a carbon stack system to soften the water and remove the chlorine. Most dealers have these units as well. As long as you have minimal iron levels, your softener will do a great job of eliminating the iron. A reverse osmosis system removes up to 99% of contaminants, but it will not correct your hardness problem, especially with that high of a hardness number. I hope this helps, this comes from many years of experience. Thanks.

  2. Hi Craig,
    Thanks for the detailed comment. We went with a Hellenbrand Promate 6.0 unit with a carbon filter. It’s complete solve all of our problems and has worked well for a few years now. The total unit was well over $1200 but I’m very satisfied with the unit, results and install.

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