What's in a
As it turns out, quite a lot. Salt-free water softeners have
been walking a line between vaguely misleading and downright
confusing since their emergence into the water treatment market.
Where the confusion starts is the "softener" portion of their name.
By definition, softeners remove hardness from water, which
typically includes minerals like calcium and iron that give water
its hard qualities. So, if we follow this definition and
understanding of what a water softener is, a salt-free softener is
a bit of a contradiction.
What Do Salt-free Softeners
salt-free softeners rely on the process of ion exchange to
reduce sediment, odor, and chemicals from water, so the taste and
smell of treated water ends up being much more agreeable, but won't
actually provide the benefits most people are looking for from a
water treatment system, like removing scale buildup or increasing
the efficiency of washing machines and dishwashers.
In salt-free processes, the actual minerals remain in the water;
their chemical form is simply manipulated so that it is less likely
to adhere to surfaces. Technically, this process falls under the
category of water treatment referred to as "water conditioning."
This solution may also provide some results in terms of scale
reduction and softer laundry, but not to the extent most people
think of when they think about water softening.
Benefits of Salt-free
While salt-based systems will generally outperform their
salt-less counterparts when it comes down to salt conditioning,
there are some advantages to a salt-less system:
- Relatively maintenance-free
- Some reduction in scale buildup
The best way to know which type of system will be right for you
and your home is to
talk with your Culligan Man after he or she tests your
water. Once you know what kinds of minerals you'll need to address,
you can discuss the most optimal options for your water.
It's that time of year again! Starting May 1 we'll be
celebrating Drinking Water Month by kicking off our first ever
Hydration Celebration promotion.
Spring is the perfect time of year to make, or remake, some
healthful resolutions, and what you drink can be one of the
simplest changes you can make. We know the health and personal benefits of drinking more water are many, and as it turns
out, there are even more advantages that come in the form of
creating more economically and environmentally friendly drinking
water choices. Rather than spending more on single-use plastic
water bottles, an under-sink system or Culligan water cooler is an
easy way to get bottled-water taste, sans the price and the
recycling hassle that comes with them.
Drink More Water,
With our upcoming promotions around drinking water systems, water delivery, whole-house systems, and bottle-free coolers, we're
helping make it easier than ever to access cleaner, fresher, and
better-tasting drinking water. Now that's a change we could stick
We're committed to helping residences and offices alike make
accessing better water easier, so you can benefit from drinking
water solutions at your workplace as well as at home. During
Hydration Celebration, find deals on everything we provide that
makes it easier to drink better water - from discounts on whole-house systems to reverse osmosis drinking water systems and deals on water
delivery service and bottle-free coolers. Your boss can thank us
Your local Culligan Man will be able to fill you in on all the
specific offers and promotions available in your area, so be sure
to take advantage while you can and set up an appointment or call
today - hurry, Hydration Celebration ends June 30!
Like most filtration systems, reverse osmosis works by funneling
contaminated water through a semi-permeable membrane that removes a
specific set of impurities. Unlike some other solutions, the system
applies pressure to the water as it flows through the membrane,
using the natural tendency toward chemical equilibrium to trap
offending ions (like salt) in order to achieve the desired state of
contaminant-free water. The membrane traps impurities, usually
around .001 microns or larger, so that what exits the membrane to
your faucet is purer, potable water.
Reverse osmosis technology was developed during the 1970s, and
is most commonly used to desalinate water in areas where fresh
drinking water may be hard to access. RO is also common in
industrial applications, like our very own Culligan Matrix Solutions Reverse Osmosis, where it can be used
to treat water for facilities and recycle commercial
How does reverse osmosis work to treat my
Residential systems use the same pressure membrane technology to
separate contaminants from municipal water, and may include
additional filtration steps like sediment filtration or UV
sterilization. Our residential reverse osmosis systems, for example, include
pretreatment as a matter of course, and post treatment as needed.
If water quality is especially concerning in your area, you'll want
to make sure your RO system is used in conjunction with a
sterilizing filter to ensure water is not only free from saline and
other particles, but any harmful contaminants like E. coli or
arsenic. These features are always included in Culligan reverse
osmosis products to ensure the highest-quality result for your
What types of water problems does it work best
RO works best for water with high saline content and relatively
few other impurities. Beyond salt-water fixes, reverse osmosis can
also be used to remove chlorine and fluoride from drinking water,
and in general, be used to remove a variety of:
It can be challenging to know exactly what type of filtration
product is right for your home and your water supply. Whether
you're considering reverse osmosis, or any other type of
filtration, it's helpful to have your local Culligan Man test your water in order to make the best recommendation
based on the unique needs of your tap.
Ever wondered if there was a way to filter water, no nasty
chemicals or salt hassle required? Culligan has been on the front
lines of breakthrough technology like UV filtration for
generations, and we're hard at work expanding on the technology
that allows us to provide effective filtration for every kind of
How UV Systems Work
UV disinfection has been used for decades in various capacities
after the germicidal properties of sunlight were discovered. It
wasn't long before this naturally occurring phenomenon was
harnessed to focus specific spectrums of ultra violet light toward
eliminating harmful microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and
certain pathogens from water.
In general, UV light is applied through a combination of gas
applied with a voltage that creates the desired disinfecting
wavelength. This is all contained in, typically, a quartz sleeve
that water passes through during the disinfection process. Ultra
violet light can, when properly applied, eliminate most of the
leading causes of waterborne illness like:
Benefits of UV Treatment
Using ultra violet treatment can come with a variety of
- Low maintenance,
- Reduced carbon footprint
- No treatment by products like salt
- No chemicals (chlorine etc.)
- No change to taste, smell, or appearance of water
Will it Work for My Water?
Well water generally has the highest risk for carrying or
containing protozoa like giardia because of the availability for
ground water contamination and/or runoff, so while it may be useful
for those using municipal water, there's generally more need for
those served by wells.
What's also important to understand about UV water treatment is that it is only effective in water
that is already mostly pure. For example, dissolved sediment and
minerals like iron, manganese, and sulfur can impact how
effectively ultra violet exposure renders microorganisms inert. If
water is hard to begin with, pathogens can essentially hide behind
iron or sulfur particles, making the treatment ineffective. In many
cases, ultra violet applications are used as the last in a series
This in mind, if your water is already soft but you're concerned
about contaminants, UV treatment may be a perfect solution. In
order to know for certain, it's easy to have a Culligan Man test your water and evaluate flow rate to see if a UV
filter makes sense, or if it should be used in conjunction with
another type of filtration like a softener.
We probably all have a general sense of what water should look,
smell, taste, and feel like, but sometimes it's not always obvious
when there's something wrong with your water.
Self-Diagnosing Problem Water
While some contaminants are better at hiding than others, there
are a few telltale signs that something is causing a problem with
- Odor: If something smells suspicious, it
probably is. Common pause-giving smells you might come across in
tap water include:
- The Pool Smell: Easily identifiable from our
associations with swimming pools, high chlorine levels in water are
usually to blame for this olfactory affront.
- Something's Fishy: This
you-know-it-when-you-smell-it water scent (also often
associated with rotten eggs) is perhaps the most unpleasant one,
and is typically the nose-wrinkling result of dissolved sulfur not
so subtly stowing away in your water supply.
- A Little Too Natural: We all want our water to
be fresh from the source, but sometimes there can be too much of a
good thing. If water smells earthy, grassy, musty, or moldy,
there's a good chance bacteria could be to blame.
- Anything but Nothing: A good rule of thumb is
that if water smells like anything - organic, chemical, or
otherwise - it's time to call in a Culligan Man to test it and ensure it's safe to
- Taste: Not unlike the smell situation, you
want water to taste like water. If it doesn't, it's likely you've
got a problem - how big or small can sometimes be determined by
what exactly you taste.
- The Metal Head: If you've ever come across the
singular tinge of iron in water, it's likely you'll remember it.
Other causes for metallic tastes can include dissolved mercury,
lead, copper, manganese, zinc, or arsenic.
- Essence of Ocean: There's a reason we react
negatively to consuming salt water, so if your water has that
beachy tang, it's a possibility there may be certain kinds of
bacteria and/or sulfates affecting the supply.
- Appearance: We also have certain expectations
of our water's visual quality. You should be able to see through
it, for instance.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Contamination: This
particular visual distraction also masquerades under the guise of
turbidity. Essentially, any time your water is cloudier than you
expect, and/or lingers after water is allowed to settle, that's a
sign of problem water.
- Off-Color: This may be a bit harder to tell,
but if water has any sort of hue to it, you'll want to get a water
test. You might also notice colors left behind by water in the form
of rust-colored stains around drains and fixtures.
The way water looks, tastes, and smells is often a product of
location and geography. To read more about the qualities of water
near where you live, explore our state-by-state problemwater resources.
They're common questions we hear:
- What's the difference between a water softener and a
- Which one is better for my home?
Maybe you've had the same questions. Let's start by looking
closely at what each of these solutions does, and how they can help
out around the house.
As you might guess from the name, water softeners generally only
refer to products that remove hardness-causing minerals and
contaminants from water, like magnesium and calcium. While this
still covers a variety of products, it's generally fewer than those
considered "water filters." Softeners also typically use salt as
the primary chemical agent in modifying the properties of water,
while filtration can encompass many more methods to alter water,
like reverse osmosis.
Filters generally refer to any methods or systems that remove
contaminants from water, including:
- Metals such as arsenic, iron, or copper
- Industrial and pharmaceutical byproducts like pesticides
- Sediment and other organic troublemakers
As such, the term "water filter" can refer almost equally to
systems that filter water throughout your home, smaller products
that filter at the point-of-use, reverse osmosis filtration
systems, and others in between.
How Can I Tell Which One To Use?
Since each of these solutions focuses on different water-related
issues, deciding on a softener or a filter should largely depend on
what's in your water. For example, if limescale buildup is a
constant headache for you, that's usually a sign that water is hard
and a softener will alleviate some of those frustrations. If your
water tastes or smells strange, a filter might be the more
effective choice to remove culprit contaminants from your
A good way to find out, if you don't already know or suspect
what's in your water, is to have a
Culligan Man test it for you. The results will help you
and your Culligan Man evaluate the best solutions, whether it's
softening, filtration, or a combination of both.
Whether you're on a municipal water supply, your own well, or
you're not quite sure where your water comes from, the best way to
find out what's in it is for a Culligan Man to evaluate it in
person. This is key because of the nature of infrastructure and
other factors, water quality within the same neighborhood can vary
widely, and even differ from house to house.
To make sure we're providing the best possible service and
support, it's important for us to know exactly what kind of water
we're dealing with before we make any kind of recommendations.
Before The Visit
There's really nothing you need to do in advance of a Culligan
Man visit. Schedule your appointment online, or call to set up a
time that works for you. Then, just plan on being at home during
that time to meet your local Culligan Man or Woman.
Expect your Culligan Man to show up promptly and be kind and
courteous, as we'd expect of any guest in any one of our homes. As
part of the standard water test, he'll take a sample of your tap
water - probably from the kitchen sink - and use the Culligan
testing kit to see how hard or soft your water is, as well as look
for any impurities, like iron or dissolved solids.
The whole process is free and usually takes less than 10
minutes. Once he's tested the water, he'll discuss the results with
you. If water is hard, for example, he may be able to tell you
what's causing it (minerals like dissolved calcium or magnesium)
and ways to fix it.
He'll also want to know if you have any concerns about your
water, and if there's anything in particular you're looking to get
out of the visit. Additionally, he'll be able to recommend more
advanced lab testing if the standard test comes back without
conclusive results, or if it looks like it will need further
What Happens After
Based on the outcome of your Culligan Man visit, he or she will
follow up with you to set a time to come back and install any of
the solutions discussed. If you're still in the process of deciding
how to deal with water concerns, he'll set up a time for a follow
up call or visit to answer any additional questions you have in
order to get all the information you need to make the most of your