RATES THIS PAGE ON WHOLE HOUSE WATER SYSTEMS
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latest sales programs being promoted by dozens of high-pressure direct
sales personnel in American homes is based on a concept called "whole
house" water treatment.
what is this program?
is selling it?
these equipment really necessary?
there variations of what types of equipment constitutes the "whole
these products be purchased at equal or less cost in retail establishments?
should the consumer be aware of when purchasing such a system?
try to answer those questions now.
is a "WHOLE HOUSE" Water System?
"whole house" water system normally consists of two basic
a water conditioner(softener) designed to provide soft water to the
"utility water(both hot and cold) outlets throughout the interior
of the home; and
some type of under-sink or countertop water filtration or purification
system designed to provide a few gallons of high quality drinking
water at the kitchen sink and/or refrigerator.
water conditioner(or softener) converts the incoming water "hardness",
consisting primarily of calcium and magnesium to sodium(or potassium)
salts; reducing scaling and spotting of dishes, showers and water faucets
but also placing a significant amount of sodium or potassium chloride
salts into the entire home water system.
sodium salts are known to be a health concern to about 25 percent of
the population which is known to suffer from hypertension, high
blood pressure or other medical problems such as diabetes, heart and
an in depth discussion of water softeners, how they work and precisely
how much sodium may be placed in your home water system, go HERE.
Chloride salts are sometimes recommended by water dealers if the customer
plans on drinking the softened water but does not want to invest in
a water purification system to remove these salts.
and Chloride are both EXTREMELY DEHYDRATING salts for the body - in
other words, they prevent consumed water from entering the body's cells.
Try drinking seawater which is high in chlorides and potassium salts
and see how long you live!
conveniently neglect to tell you about these dehydrating salts.
come cases the water softener may be combined with a carbon filtration
component(usually in the softener media tank) to remove chlorine from
the incoming house water. (We discuss below why this is NOT a good idea.)
portion of the "whole house" water system that treats the
drinking water is usually an under sink reverse osmosis system, producing
a few gallons of filtered water to a separate faucet on the kitchen
sink as well as to the refrigerator if that device dispenses cold water
and/or ice cubes.
drinking water appliance can also be other types of water treatment
devices, primary steam distillers, providing much higher water purity,
removal of bacteria as well as more thorough and long-lasting protection
against the consumption of the copious amount of sodium being discharged
into the home water system.
will discuss these other drinking water appliance options below.
is selling these "whole house" water systems?
the last 10-15 years, the market for home water softeners has diminished
dramatically for both environmental and economic reasons, leaving these
water softening companies with a basic survival problem.
drinking water quality throughout the country began a downward trend,
opening the market for home water filtration and purification systems.
water softening companies began to expand their marketing into the home
drinking water business, quietly attempting to delete references in
these marketing activities to the water "softening" business,
which had been getting a bad name because of the sodium/health link
issues and instead began using the term "whole house" system
and "water conditioning" to distance themselves from this
sensitive health issue.
this metamorphosis from water softening company to "whole house"
water treatment specialist, they also decided to employ high powered,
in-home direct sales personnel who would go home to home and now sell
equipment that originally would cost only a few hundred dollars as most,
now for several thousand dollars.
if you have had a phone call from a friendly sounding person offering
to come to your home to do a "water test", it is simply the
precursor for a grueling, multiple-hour, high pressure in home presentation
by a pretty slick salesperson, attempting to extract thousands of dollars
for equipment that can be purchased at local retail stores for thousands
of dollars less.
of the "whole house" water sales organizations are legitimate
members of your local business community. Others who may call on you
at random, for the "free water test" or other inducement,
may simply be what are called "boiler rooms": a crew of phone
operators and sales personnel housed at a local motel or short term
business office rental, exploiting unknowing citizens(and many seniors)
of thousands of dollars for equipment that may not even be necessary.
the following discussion.
this "Whole House" water treatment and filtration equipment
depends on two things:
is your house water exceptionally "hard", imposing a burden
on housework related to dishes, clothes, shower doors, windows, bathroom
is the house drinking water objectionable from the standpoint of taste
or is there a concern about municipal water treatment chemicals or
other pollutants such as bacteria, parasites, heavy metals such as
lead, industrial or agricultural residues, septic tank leach line
drainage intrusion into co-located well water or others.
the Water Conditioner Necessary?
water is a subjective thing to most people. However, when water has
a hardness exceeding 10-15 "grains", a water conditioner makes
a significant difference. Less than 10 grains of "hardness"
is usually acceptable and does not cause significant degradation of
household utility water uses.
salesperson who may come to your home(or who perhaps has already visited
you) will try to make a big deal out of a simple water test when that
test shows more than a couple of grains of hardness. In reality, water
with 5-10 grains of hardness would be water most housewives would give
their left arm for in many parts of the country.
if your water tests less than 10 grains of hardness, the benefits of
a water conditioner/softener are truly questionable. From 10-15 grains
it may be of significant benefit.
than 15 grains means that you will notice a significant difference in
utility water conditions with a water conditioner and you will also
notice new smile on your wife's face because of easier water conditions
in the parts of the house normally plagued with scale or spotting.
with greater than 20-25 grains of hardness usually means that the standard
water conditioner which the "whole house" water salesperson
is promoting may not be adequate for your needs. A more robust water
conditioner/softener with commercial grade and size components(such
as those described in the following discussions) is strongly recommended.
conditioners/softeners offered at hardware or "big box"
discount stores are normally out of the range of compatibility with
serious water hardness and should therefore be avoided.
HERE TO REVIEW INFORMATION ON TOP QUALITY, AFFORDABLE WATER CONDITIONERS
FOR AVERAGE OR LARGE HOMES.
the Drinking Water Appliance Necessary?
need for the drinking water appliance portion of the "whole house"
water system is equally important to evaluate, as well as the specific
type of water treatment process being used by the appliance being offered.
need is highly dependent on local water conditions and your family's
commitment to the need for better water as part of better nutrition
and health for the family.
whole house water sales companies offer an under-sink Reverse Osmosis
filtration system(go HERE for more details
on this type of system or HERE to
compare reverse osmosis to other types of home drinking water appliances).
short, reverse osmosis is a "water filtration" system which
removes taste, odor and a portion of the dissolved minerals present
in the incoming water. The unit fits under the kitchen sink and is connected
to a separate faucet on the sink top as well as the nearby refrigerator
if it makes cold water and ice from the house water supply.
osmosis is not a "water purifier", simply meaning that it
does not remove or eliminate biological problems such as bacteria
and other micro-organisms that may reside in the incoming water(and
immune to chlorine or other water treatment processes) or from the
house or water system plumbing.
in-home "whole house" salespersons will usually play fast
and loose with the word "purifier" when discussing this multi-thousand
dollar investment(with him) in your living room. The word "purification"
strictly means the destruction or elimination of bacteria from a water
supply; something reverse osmosis does not do.
the first issue you face is:
you and your family concerned about the possibility of unwanted chemicals,
minerals and bacteria in your family's drinking and cooking water
or are you interested in just better tasting water.
the answer is simply "better tasting" water, a simple carbon
filter costing less than $100 will more than suffice and you can dismiss
the salesperson and get back to your evening with the family.
the other hand,
existing or potential water contamination is truly an important issue,
then you need to consider not only the reverse osmosis option for
your drinking water appliance but also a system such as steam distillation
which far outperforms reverse osmosis, not only in the total destruction
of any bacteria which might be in your incoming tap water, but also
the complete removal of all the sodium being inserted into house water
supply by the water conditioner portion of this "whole house"
leads us to the next question.
are the types of drinking water appliances which can practically be
combined with a water conditioner/softener in a "Whole House"
are two types of drinking water appliances which can be combined with
a water conditioner in a "whole house" water system.
Reverse Osmosis(described and referenced above) and
features of a reverse osmosis system are:
it is usually compact and hidden away under the sink, requiring only
yearly replacements of filters and membranes.
it can be purchased separately from a water conditioning company or
"whole house" water treatment salesperson for anywhere from
$150 to $1000, depending on water output and other features.
it can provide up to 25 gallons of filtered(not purified) water during
a 24 hour period(although only 2-3 gallons at most are usually required).
features of a reverse osmosis system are:
fails to remove potentially dangerous bacteria which may evade water
treatment by the municipal water system or which may reside in your
own house plumbing, water well, water storage system or other area.
Most in-home salespersons will not tell you this during their presentation.
have a brochure illustrating the reverse osmosis portion of this "whole
house" system you will most likely encounter the caveat:
be used with potable water supply",
meaning, it is not capable of purification of water to remove or destroy
any microorganism which may be present in the incoming water and which
may or may not be hazardous to your family, your pregnant wife, your
elderly parents, your children or yourself.
wastes an substantial amount of water during the water treatment process.
Water waste of several thousand gallons per year is not unusual. The
water waste goes down the sanitary drain under your kitchen sink and
is not recyclable or recoverable. This is another one of the problems
which the "whole house" salesperson hopes will not arise
during his/her presentation.
it provides gradually poorer and poorer water quality as the filters
and particularly the membrane deteriorate due to exposure to bacteria
and chemicals in the incoming water. Even simple chemicals such as
chlorine will destroy the most popular reverse osmosis membranes on
the market without frequent changes of some of the filters preceding
the membrane processing stage.
means that more and more sodium is coming through the water treatment
system into your drinking and cooking water as the system progressively
ages. At the end of a few months, with a typical reverse osmosis system
you are drinking what essentially is tap water, mixed with a huge
dose of sodium from the water softener/conditioner and of course any
bacteria entering your home water plumbing as well as bacteria which
may grow internal to the reverse osmosis system.
reverse osmosis has a practical lifetime of only a couple of years
before the entire system, including the water storage tank, needs
to be replaced. Distillation, on the the other hand(described below)
can provide up to 20 years of useful lifetime.
the cost of operation is nearly equivalent to that of the steam distillation
process. With a decent reverse osmosis system, one is replacing delicate
membranes and filters on a yearly basis which typically will cost
close to $150 if you do the servicing yourself. Add the cost of the
water wasted water by the system and the cost per for typical family
yearly useage approaches 35 cents per gallon.
house salespersons typically like to say that the cost is only a few
cents per gallon but that is certainly not the case.
finally, some reverse osmosis system, particularly those sold at discount
houses as well as earlier designs may contain dangerous chemical residues
used in the actual construction of the system itself. One such toxic
chemical, known for its carcinogenic and mutagenic characteristics
is 1,4-dioxane, banned in California by state decree(Proposition 65)
as harmful to humans.
Even so, some manufacturers continue to market such products, without
the state mandated warning labels(I wonder why) to individuals who are
purchasing a system they presumed would REMOVE such chemicals rather
than have residues from its construction in the product water.
details HERE, and news articles HERE)
presents an attractive alternative for those who are concerned about
the downside effects of reverse osmosis as noted above.
features of a distillation system in a "whole
house" water treatment system are:
it can be compact and located on the countertop(as illustrated in
one of the system configurations below) or located in a remote location
such as a garage, basement or laundry area. Reverse osmosis occupies
most of the valuable under sink space the lady of the house usually
reserves for dozens of frequently used items(garbage can, cleaning
it provides consistent, 99+ percent pure drinking water not only upon
installation but for a lifetime ranging from 5 to 20 years, depending
on system configuration. It removes the bacteria, chemicals and salts
that a comparable reverse osmosis system would allow to pass through
and its purity is consistent versus the gradually deteriorating water
quality one can expect with a reverse osmosis system as the membrane
deteriorates prior to replacement.
unlike reverse osmosis, steam distillation systems do NOT waste any
water during the process of producing purified water.
most distillation systems are constructed of surgical grade stainless
steel and have warranties of up to 15 years. Compare this to reverse
osmosis systems which are made of plastic and brass with warranties
of one(1) year.
can be easily removed from one location and moved to next. This is
unlike reverse osmosis which is permanently attached to the waterline
and drain under the sink. With a projected 15-20 year lifetime, relocating
a water distillation system to your new residence is a real possibility
in today's mobile society.
size does not fit all. This simply means that compared to reverse
osmosis, which may be oversized for even a family of 6, one can select
a water distillation system to match the family size or space available.
See the details below.
US made products. Many reverse osmosis system components are manufactured
out of country. Perhaps sending your money to a foreign country is
not an issue; to some it is an issue.
features of steam distillation are:
must be periodically cleaned to remove chemicals, salts and metallic
residue collected from the evaporation process. Fortunately, newer
distiller designs are easy to clean and service and never require
plumber assistance during these maintenance activities.
uses electricity to boil and condense the purified water. When electrical
costs, plus water and filter costs are added together, the cost of
producing one gallon of steam distilled water will range between 15
cents and 35 cents per gallon, depending on electrical rates in your
area(go HERE to find electrical
costs in your area, multiply by 2.8 and you have the cost per
do these "whole house" water treatment systems cost, are they
available with comparable performance at retail outlets and what else
should I be aware of?
costs of some "whole house" water systems sold by in-home
presentations can be a financial shock. It is not unusual to find the
costs of a modest water softener/conditioner and inexpensive reverse
osmosis system ranging from $2500 to $7000, usually "whatever the
traffic can bear".
customer balks at the price or seems hesitant, direct sales persons
are known to cut a thousand dollars from the price, add a free VCR or
even in some cases a trip to Hawaii.
no free lunches in the direct sales business of "whole house"
water systems. The water dealers who employ such sales practices make
huge profits on these systems, usually paying the professional salesperson
upwards of $1000 for a couple of hours of high-pressure sales activities.
other hand, as can be seen from accessing the links below, costs of
a COMMERCIAL GRADE water softener, combined with a Steam Distillation
system can range between $1500 and $2500, depending on distillation
system capacity and convenience.
cases, whole house water systems are sold on a "contract"
basis, requiring some type of collateral such as a second mortgage,
etc. because in some cases the fully amatorized contract can approach
provide a "cooling off period" of 72 hours during which the
customer can withdraw from the contract without penalty.
the water dealer will attempt to install the water system during that
72 hour period and once again use undue pressure on the customer(senior
citizens are most vulnerable to this pressure) when asked to remove
the system should the 72 hour recinsion be exercised.
state laws to see if this applies before you sign any contract for long
term payments for such a system from a local dealer. State law may or
may not protect you from legally being bound to pay for the system,
even if you found out 10 minutes after you signed the contract that
you did not want the system.
you can visit our website links which describe the various types of
"whole house" water systems we have discussed above and that
can be provided by our company at huge cost savings compared to the
three-piece suit, high pressure sales program presented in your living
In each of the following links, touching on the individual system components
on the linked pages will take you to other pages which provide in-depth
desciptions, installation diagrams, component identification, operating
manuals, etc. for the various components.
more information, call toll free: 1-800-478-7342.
No salesperson will call and information you may furnish to us during
this sales activity will NOT to furnished to any other party.
ON CONFIGURATION YOU WISH TO REVIEW