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Help me decide on a Water Softener/RO system

13 years ago

Just received quotes for a water softener/RO system from 3 different dealers in my area. Our townhome has 2.5 baths and we don't have any jacuzzis, etc. Based upon the public water reports for our area (suburbs of Philadelphia), we have approx. 13-14 gpg hardness. We don't have issues with iron or other contaminants. Residual chlorine was tested at .4 ppm (early in the morning, I'm sure it would vary throughout the day).

We had Kinetico, Culligan, and EcoWater quote a softener and RO system. A fourth company who is quoting a furnace/AC replacement offered to provide a water softener from a local company as well. I didn't ask them about RO systems.

We plan to live in the townhome for 3-4 years, and then move into a larger house and rent out the townhome. So ideally, I'd like something that can accommodate a larger family and with as little maintenance as possible. I mentioned this to all the sales reps.




$2908 installed + tax

- with K5 Drinking system $4207 installed + tax

The rep tested the hardness at 24 gpg. He didn't mention the frequency or cost of RO filter replacements, or the frequency/cost of filter replacements for the dechlorinator. He did say that Kinetico would not warranty the resin in the softener for 10 years if it was not installed along with the dechlorinator. He also said they would install a 3 valve bypass. Didn't specifically mention any other warranty information.


-Culligan Medallist series water softener (8x44 inch size)

-Culligan RO Appliance

$1799 installed for the softener, $597 installed for the RO (if it was installed along with the softener)

The rep tested the water at 25 gpg, and said the softener included a whole house carbon filter (20 inch size?) that would have to be replaced yearly for $75. The RO filters cost $149 to be replaced yearly if a tech came out to do it. He said a 3 valve bypass was unnecessary, as the softener came with a bypass. Also didn't provide any warranty information.


The rep quoted a variety of different softeners.

-ECR 3500 w/ separate salt tank $2249 installed + tax


-ERR 3502 w/ separate salt tank $2549 installed + tax


-ESD 2502R30 w/ separate salt tank $1699 installed + tax

She did mention that the ERR included a dechlorinator, so the warranty on the carbon and resin was lifetime. The valve body was a 10 year warranty, along with the electronics. They also included a dealer-specific warranty on the "3500 series" that includes 3 years on-site labor.

For RO:

ERO 375 $849 installed + tax along with a softener installation

HERO 375 $949 installed + tax along with a softener

She tested the water at 18 gpg, and also said a 3 valve bypass was unnecessary. I liked the water usage monitoring features of the 3500 series model, along with usage monitoring of the RO system. She said the RO filters cost $89 to replace the 2 filters (approx. ever year), along with a $150 cost to replace the membrane every 5-7 years.

The HVAC contractor quoted $1377 installed + tax for a local softener (model: 7-LX-100)(

Looking at the specs, it looks more impressive than most of the other systems, but he did not mention filters, warranty, or anything else that the other water softening reps did.

So is there a best value among these options? I don't need the absolute best, because we won't be living here that long. I also want something that will either be easy for renters to maintain or won't require anything more than annual maintenance. This excludes the RO system, as we would likely take that with us. Thanks in advance for your help and post if you need more information to help advise me.

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