If you’ve been looking into a saltless water softener, you’ve probably come across the Pelican™ NaturSoft Salt Free Water Softeners. Pelican makes some of the most popular saltless water softeners on the market. But while many sites promise unbiased reviews of these water softeners, most turn out to be affiliate advertisers. While this article is not an actual review of Pelican’s saltless water softeners, it does attempt to sort through the myriad opinions on how well they work.
Because they don’t strip out calcium or magnesium, or add in sodium, Pelican systems produce better drinking water than salt based water softeners. Pelican also offers combo packages where you can add on a water filtering system that will remove chlorine and other chemicals from your tap water. By most accounts, Pelican systems produce exceptionally clean-tasting water.
Whether Pelican systems can accurately be called “water softeners” is a matter of debate. As with other saltless water softeners, Pelican systems do not remove the dissolved minerals in hard water. Instead, they cause changes in the minerals that make them bond with each other rather than precipitate out in your pipes. Pelican claims their systems not only prevent new scaling, but break up existing scale.
Pelican states that their systems are designed for homes with up to 75 grains of hardness per gallon, which is more than most salt based alternatives. However, there’s some debate about how effective Pelican systems are at stopping scale. Some people with extremely hard water report that they continue to suffer with clogged shower heads, reduced water pressure, etc.
That’s not to say the systems don’t work as advertised under the right conditions. The trouble is that there’s no simple and objective way to measure them – because they aren’t intended to remove calcium or magnesium, traditional hard water testing can’t tell you how well they’re working. Bottom line, this is relatively new technology and there’s some risk to spending a large amount of money on it.
Durability and Maintenance
By design, Pelican systems are less prone to breakdown than other water softeners. Since they aren’t electric and don’t feature a large storage tank, there’s not as much that can go wrong with them. However, the systems haven’t been around long enough to verify that they last as long or longer than other water softeners.
As with all salt free water softeners, Pelican systems aren’t as much of a burden to maintain as conventional water softeners due to the fact that you don’t have to purchase and transport water softener salt.
Pelican systems cost about $1500-$4000, depending on the size of your home, what options you choose, and whether you the purchase the product during a sale. That’s far more than what you would pay for a typical water softener at Sears, but roughly in line with the medium- and high-end systems. Keep in mind that the low-end systems may not last for more than a few years, at which time you’ll have to pay for a replacement.
If you have a serious problem with hard water scaling in your home, you should probably go with the proven technology of a salt based water softener. On the other hand, if you’re looking for good-tasting water from an eco-friendly and low-maintenance system, a saltless water softener like the Pelican systems might be right for you – provided you can afford them, of course.