Water Softener Magnets and KDF Minerals:
When you see magnets and KDF minerals, run for the hills. Especially if they are used in the same tank system. None of the magnets we have seen on the open market pass ANY of our tests. Some companies use other names for so called "salt free" softening such as alloys, electronic devices, Beotron, SWC and many others. Don't be fooled when they tell you these units soften the water. The only way to truly get your water soft is to use a conventional water softener. If you have an environmental concern about sodium you may want to switch to a water softener substitute called potassium chloride. Also remember it is normally a bad idea to drink water directly from the water softener. It is best to drink bottled water or add a Reverse Osmosis ($199) drinking water filter to the kitchen sink to remove sodium and other unwanted contaminants. You can also run up to two full sized water using appliances, such as a water using refrigerator or ice maker, from one Reverse Osmosis unit. The vast majority of people who have water softeners that do not have reverse osmosis, are drinking water that is not fit for human consumption. Especially if they have a private well, as private wells generally tend to have much harder water than most city water supplies. Although there are places like Midland-Odessa Texas, State College PA, Las Vegas, Nevada and numerous other communities around the country who have extremely hard water. What a conventional water softener does is take out the hardness and replace it with an equal or greater amount of sodium. If you add reverse osmosis, this is not an issue at all and the water will be wonderful to drink and cook with.
Any company that puts KDF media in a softening tank is just plain taking advantage of you. A KDF bed is for well water only in our opinion. It should only be used alone in a tank with an undisturbed mineral bed. We see a lot of companies put a small KDF cartridge in a tank with other media. It is not large enough to do anything other than allow these companies to claim it can remove certain contaminants. To be properly applied, KDF requires a solid bed of 10" or more. It loses its effectiveness when mixed with other media. It can cause is what is known as "channeling". While we sell KDF on occasion and have it available if you truly decide you want it; it is a rare occasion indeed when we would recommend such a thing. This goes for Coconut carbons as well. In most cases where carbon is needed, we find that activated carbon is far more absorbent and quite inexpensive to replace. Remember we sell everything or have it available. We have all types of minerals and carbons. We know what is appropriate to use and when. One type or size of filter does NOT fit all applications. Of course on well water applications there are usually far better ways to remove things such as chlorine with minerals that do not get used up and rarely if ever need replacing. For example our "Terminox™ ISM" filters remove iron, sulfur, manganese, dirt, turbidity, smells, tastes and even harsh chemicals such as Chlorine. They use no salt or chemicals and are virtually maintenance free. Just "set it and forget it". You can find them on this page:
Watch out for slick operators selling water softeners as iron filters! You should virtually never use a water softener as an iron filter.
If a company tells you they have carbon that will last forever or carbon that will last for 15-25 years: BEWARE! Any carbon eventually needs to be replaced. Some companies give a lifetime warranty on the mineral. What they don't tell you is that if it needs replacing, it is the expensive SERVICE CALL to replace it that gets you! Even if they provide the mineral for free. And most people have no idea how to tell when that mineral goes bad. It is simply a sales gimmick designed to make it easier for that commissioned in home salesman to close the sale on the first visit. That is just like when they offer cheap soap products and infer they are worth thousands of dollars when the water dealer is getting them for $100 to $200; or air filters; or vacations; or coupon clubs or any number of other sales tools designed to make you impulsive so you won't shop around and find people like us who only sell you what you need and at a FRACTION of the cost. And we properly apply ALL products we sell. No one here works on commission either.
We have seen KDF offered by a number of companies, including a company called Rain Dance who tend to mix the beds on their products. There is rarely a case where mixed mineral beds are a proper application and we can think of none that are appropriate with KDF or any other carbon. You can't remove one without removing the other and they deplete at different rates. The only way to replace such minerals is to replace them all!
If someone is offering a mixed bed with KDF or a mixed carbon bed softener of ANY type, don't be fooled.
For more magnet information and companies to watch out for, please check here as well: Alloy Softener Info.