Homeowners who want to protect their plumbing, water fixtures, and water appliances from limescale formation without worrying about their septic system integrity should get the best water softener for septic systems.
Salt-based water softeners are still the go-to system for removing hardness minerals that cause limescale buildup in water-related objects.
However, there are at least two concerns that prevent homeowners from choosing this water treatment type. Many families are distressed about the water softener’s impact on their septic tank performance and capacity.
The good news is that homeowners need not worry about such things by getting the right water softener with their septic systems.
In this review and guide, we identified at least three crucial factors that prospective water softener buyers must consider.
- Water Hardness Capacity: A water softener’s size or capacity reflects its ability to remove water hardness molecules using the least amount of salt. For example, a 64,000 grains per gallon (GPG) system is better than a 48,000-GPG water softener. The former can accommodate up to 1.094 kilograms (2.4 pounds) of water hardness molecules before regeneration.
- Salt Regeneration Requirements: The best system can soften water without using too much salt. That is why it would be best to check a water softener’s salt requirements for regeneration. For example, a product that requires 25 pounds of salt is better than a similarly-sized system with a 30-pound salt requirement.
- Tank Configuration: Water softeners come in single-tank and dual-tank designs, with many experts recommending the latter. A dual-tank water softener eliminates water softening disruptions secondary to regeneration cycles.
These factors are not the only things prospective water softener buyers must consider. One can see the other parameters in our succeeding product reviews and buying guide.
Table of Contents
Top 7 Water Softeners for Septic Systems
1. Pentair WS48-56SXT10 Fleck Water Softener
The Pentair WS48-56SXT10 is a dependable and affordable water softener for homes with septic systems. It has a revolutionary on-demand metering technology, a robust control interface, and a high-performance ion-exchange resin to soften water without undermining septic system integrity.
Like a high-end water softener salt for septic systems, this product can accommodate up to 48,000 grains before regeneration.
This device can soften water for up to 24 days (for a household with a water hardness level of 10 GPG and daily water consumption of 200 gallons). Of course, it will not last that long if there is a higher water hardness level or higher water consumption.
I am fascinated with this product’s reengineered ion-exchange resin, improving its water softening capabilities by ten percent. It also provides a higher flow rate than other products on the market at a maximum of 14 GPM. Families will never complain about reduced water availability, ensuring more efficient water use.
The product’s core is an ingenious 5600SXT Fleck digital control valve head with robust construction and high-tech circuitry. Operating the system is pain-free while giving users more savings because it only kicks in on demand. People can also program the device, a noteworthy feature when the family is away on a holiday vacation.
Installation is as effortless as connecting the device to an existing water line. However, I still recommend professional installation for people who are not confident about its setup.
2. AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter
AFWFilters is a trustworthy brand that offers high-quality and affordable water treatment products, including a water softener septic system. The Iron Pro 2 is among the best on the market because it combines a water softener’s hardness mineral-removal capabilities and a ferrous iron filter’s rust protection technology.
This product is excellent for households with high ferrous iron levels in their water. The water softener has a built-in iron filter that removes up to six parts of ferrous iron per million (6 mg/L).
I am glad this water softener can protect water fixtures from limescale buildup and rust formation. It can also remove up to 6 ppm of manganese, rust, sand, silt, sediment, and other particles.
As for its water softening capabilities, I am pleased to learn the product can exchange up to 64,000 grains of water hardness minerals. An average family can use this device for up to six weeks before replacing the salt in the brine tank.
I also commend the company for using the 5600SXT Fleck system to control the water dynamics. The digital screen is large, and the user interface is straightforward to operate. I only wish the device had blue backlighting for easier reading.
I love this water softener’s flow rate at 16 GPM. Other brands can only provide about 12 to 15 GPM, which some families may find insufficient.
The accompanying installation instructions are detailed for DIYers to install the system within one to two hours. Of course, one can always opt for an expert installation.
3. Tier1 Everyday Series Digital Water Softener
Many folks think water softeners and septic tanks are not a good pair because the former can undermine the latter’s performance and lead to flow issues and other problems.
However, that is not the case with the Tier1 Everyday Series Digital Water Softener. This system effectively softens the water without impacting a septic system’s functionality.
I like this water softener’s upflow regeneration technology, conserving unused resin and regeneration salt to extend its use. Less brine also goes to the septic system during regeneration, allowing families to feel more confident.
The product’s water softening capacity is suitable for a small family, removing up to 48,000 grains of calcium, magnesium, iron, and other water hardness chemicals before recharging. An average household can enjoy soft water for at least two weeks before replenishing the system’s brine solution and regenerating the cation resin.
I admire the cation resin’s design with a 1.5 cubic feet capacity. It replaces the hardness minerals in the water with either potassium chloride or sodium chloride.
Operating the device is also effortless, thanks to the digital control interface. The LED indicators make monitoring the water softening status easier, while the adjustable cycle times make for a more convenient operation.
I am surprised with this product’s dimensions. It is several inches shorter and narrower than other water softeners on the market. Its space-saving design is perfect for houses with cramped spaces.
4. Aquasure Signature Series AS-SE1500A Water Treatment
The Aquasure Signature Series AS-SE1500A is a more comprehensive product because it also incorporates three other water treatment systems for the modern home.
This whole house water filter for septic system has four stages. It includes a sediment filter, a granular activated carbon filter with KDF technology, a water softener, and a reverse osmosis system. I am blown away by the water treatment system’s thoughtful design and robust construction.
As water passes through the first stage, the filter removes rust, dirt, debris, sand, silt, and other particles that clog water appliances and plumbing fixtures. The water then goes through the GAC and KDF filter, removing harmful chemicals, VOCs, and other substances, and inhibiting microbial growth.
The third stage is where the water softening magic occurs, thanks to the product’s 64,000-grain capacity. This component can supply a large household of four to six bathrooms with safe, softened water. While it has a large volume, this water softener will not undermine a septic system’s integrity and functionality.
By the time the water goes out of the last stage (reverse osmosis), people will have the safest and cleanest water they can ever drink or use in their daily activities. The RO component reduces water contaminants by 99%, including bacteria, chlorine, lead, arsenic, mercury, fluoride, and more.
5. DuraWater 9100SXT Fleck Metered Dual Tank Water Softener
One does not need to worry about where to discharge water softener backwash if the DuraWater 9100SXT Fleck Water Softener is in place. Not only is this system one of the most efficient water softeners on the market. It is also one of the best in limiting the amount of salt discharge.
I am vocal about my love for twin tank systems, and this product is no different. I can recharge it anytime I want without sacrificing soft water for the whole family.
Programming it to regenerate automatically is also more straightforward than other products. The operation manual provides a clear, step-by-step procedure for setting the machine.
Installing it is hassle-free, although one will dedicate about one to two hours of hard work. At least, people will not have to shell out hundreds of dollars on expert installation. The family can use the savings they get on more worthwhile activities.
The 91000SXT Fleck valve controller is a venerable system for ensuring optimum water softening performance on the fly. It is an on-demand system that translates to more substantial savings for the budget-conscious family.
One can expect to reduce water and salt expenditure by 15 percent and maybe even higher if people observe water conservation measures.
I am surprised to learn that the tanks are shorter than most water softeners, making them suitable for small houses. While it is heavy, two people can set the system running in a jiffy.
6. AFWFilters WS-96K-91SXT Fleck Water Softener
One of the top-rated twin tank systems on the market is the AFWFilters WS-96K-91SXT. Not only does it have two water softening tanks, but it also has the highest capacity of all the products on this list.
This system is perfect for the budget-conscious family or the large household because it can remove up to 96,000 grains of hardness minerals. It lasts longer than any other product, requiring less frequent regeneration. If a 48,0000-grain capacity water softener can last one to two weeks, I would expect this product to last up to six weeks before I regenerate it.
As mentioned, I love the dual-tank configuration. I can regenerate the system without disrupting my loved one’s water consumption.
While I am not against single-tank systems, I can be more efficient if the product allows for unscheduled regenerations. There is no waiting for the family to go to sleep before embarking on a two-hour regeneration process.
I am also blown away by its large-diameter port capable of passing up to 20 gallons a minute. Most products can do less. At least, the whole family will have more enjoyable showers, wash times, and other water-related activities without worrying about insufficient water supply.
7. Abundant Flow Water WS-48K-91SXT Complete Softener
Homeowners do not need expensive Kinetico water softener and septic systems. They can get the Abundant Flow Water Complete Softener System.
This water softener may have a straightforward design, but its water softening performance is what matters. I like its high-capacity ion-exchange resin, capable of accommodating up to 48,000 grains.
For an average household, the system should last about two to three weeks before requiring regeneration (with an average of 4,000 grains per day).
I am also glad the product comes with a 9100SXT on-demand water flow metering system instead of the conventional timed technology. Families can extend the resin’s water softening performance by another week or two if they adhere to several water conservation activities.
The digital controller makes it effortless to monitor the water softener’s performance and control the different parameters.
I also like its dual-tank design, capable of holding 1.5 cubic feet of resin. There will never be an instance where one sacrifices water use because of the system’s regeneration cycle requirements. It automatically switches between tanks to regenerate and soften water simultaneously.
The control head has a fiber-reinforced polymer body, giving the system exceptional durability. Also, this system’s 12 gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate is also suitable for most households, ensuring optimum water use every time.
What to Look for When Buying Water Softeners for Septic Systems
Not everyone needs water softeners in their homes, particularly those living in areas with sufficiently low groundwater minerals. However, for people who need such a device, choosing the right product can be intimidating. Part of the challenge is determining which water softener from various options is best for one’s home.
This section helps prospective buyers pick the correct water softener to use in their homes with existing septic systems. It would be wise to consider the following factors when buying a water softener for such a purpose.
- Water Hardness Capacity
Consumer Reports say manufacturers rate their water softeners in terms of their ability to remove hardness minerals from the water, expressed in grains per gallon (GPG). Ideally, one should get a water softener with a greater water hardness capacity to allow less frequent regeneration.
It would be best to determine the household’s water hardness level. Unfortunately, most manufacturers of water hardness level meters express the results in milligrams per liter (mg/L). One should not fret because it is easy to convert mg/L to GPG values. If the device reads 100 mg/L, one can divide this value by 17.1 to obtain 5.85 grains per gallon.
The next step is to determine the average daily water consumption by looking at the previous month’s water utility bill and dividing that by the number of days for that month. For example, if the family consumed 7,500 gallons in June, it would be safe to assume the average daily water consumption is 250 gallons (7,500 divided by 30 days).
Going by the example above, one can compute the average daily water softening requirement. Multiplying 5.85 GPG by 250 gallons results in 1,462.5 grains per day.
Most water softeners require a weekly regeneration. Multiplying 1,462.5 grains per day by seven days results in 10,237.5 grains per week. Hence, a water softener with a 12,000-grain capacity is sufficient for people who do not mind regular weekly regeneration.
If one chooses a 24,000-grain water softener, one can expect it to last about 16 days before regenerating the ion-exchange resin.
In general, the higher the water softener’s water hardness capacity rating, the less frequent is the regeneration cycle. It can also translate to more substantial water and salt savings while securing the septic system’s integrity and functionality.
- Salt Regeneration Requirements
One of the most pressing issues people have about water softeners is the amount of salt discharged into the septic system. While studies show brine does not reduce the septic system’s biological activity, it remains a concern for many people. That is why a water softener must serve its purpose without requiring too much salt.
Unfortunately, this is where the tradeoff comes in. High grain-capacity water softeners tend to use more salt for regeneration than devices with low-grain ratings. As such, it would be wise to check the salt regeneration requirements and compare them with the product’s water hardness capacity.
Suppose one must choose between two products. Water softener (A) has a 48,000-grain capacity but requires 300 pounds of salt for regeneration. On the other hand, product (B) has a 24,000-grain rating and 100-pound salt requirement.
The choice depends on which the buyer values more. Product A requires less frequent regeneration, offsetting any cost concerns with the salt. On the other hand, water softener B requires weekly regeneration that can increase the cost of salt.
- Tank Configuration
Water softeners come in two tank configurations: single and twin or double. The advantage of a twin tank system is its uninterrupted water softening capabilities. One tank takes over the water softening duties while the other undergoes regeneration.
On the other hand, a single tank system requires shutting it down for at least two hours for regeneration. Scheduling the regeneration cycle is a must in a single tank water softener, with most people opting for the procedure at night when everyone is asleep.
- Valve Controller Type
One can choose between a timer-controlled and a meter-controlled water softener, with most homeowners preferring the latter because it is more efficient. They can go on a holiday, and the water softener will not automatically regenerate since there is no water consumption.
Meanwhile, a timer-controlled water softener will automatically regenerate at the preset time. For example, if one sets the device to renew the resin every 48 hours, the water softener recharges itself every two days, regardless of water usage.
- Flow Rate
A water softener works by pushing the hard water through a resin to remove the hardness minerals and attach them to the matrix. The water then goes out through the other end as soft water ready for distribution to the rest of the house.
It makes sense to choose a water softener with a water flow rating as close to one’s existing flow rate. For example, if the house has a water flow rate of 10 gallons per minute, getting a water softener with a flow rating of 12 to 15 GPM would be best.
- Ease of Installation and Operation
The majority of water softeners have a simple design that one can connect to an existing water line. However, some products have other components that can be challenging to install. If one is clueless about plumbing, it would be best to consider expert installation.
Operating the water softener should be as effortless as possible. One must look at the owner’s manual to check for clear directions or instructions, especially in the water softener’s initial setup.
Are Water Softeners Ok for Septic Systems
Yes, it is okay to use water softeners for septic systems. Studies have disputed the popular notion that introducing brine solution into the septic tank interferes with bacterial activity.
Researchers say that salt can increase a septic system’s biological performance, allowing the microorganisms to break down organic matter for discharge into the drain field.
Another issue that people have with water softeners is the risk of tank overflow. Scholars have conducted many tests showing water softener system regeneration has almost the same effect as any other domestic appliance draining water into the septic tank.
However, experts agree that only a high-quality water softener can provide these advantages. It is also worth checking the septic system integrity, which can deteriorate over time. The combination of an outdated septic system and a mediocre-quality water softener can lead to bacterial activity disruptions and potential septic tank overflows.
Can You Use a Salt Water Softener With a Septic Tank
Yes, you can use a salt water softener with a septic tank. Many homeowners fear that using salt-based water softeners can harm their septic system. The two most pressing concerns are reduction of biological activity and increased risk of tank overflow.
People base their thinking on the observation that sodium chloride can kill or inactivate bacteria. However, investigators at universities and research laboratories refute this notion. The brine solution discharged into the septic system can improve bacterial activity, allowing the microorganisms to break down organic matter more efficiently.
As for the second reason, many people think that the volume of water needed to regenerate a water softener can overflow the tank or cause the drain field to backflow.
Again, researchers dispute this thinking by saying that the once or twice weekly water softener regeneration does not produce sufficient volume to cause a backflow or overflow.
Should I Choose a Single Tank or Twin Tank System
It would be best to get a twin tank water softener system to ensure the continuous supply of softened water.
A single-tank system has the brine and water softening media in the same container. During regeneration, you must disconnect the system to empty the tank and refill it with salt. The regeneration process can last about two hours, translating to a cessation of all water-related activities.
You cannot use your water heater, refrigerator water dispenser, shower, kitchen faucet, and other water fixtures and appliances. While it is possible to use these devices, doing so can introduce hardness minerals into the pipes and water fixtures because of the still-regenerating water softener.
On the other hand, having two tanks solves this issue. You can switch to the secondary tank to continue with the water softening chores while the primary tank undergoes regeneration and vice versa.
If you must buy a single tank water softener, you can schedule the regeneration cycle at night when everyone else is asleep and no one is using the water.
The best water softener for septic systems provides homeowners with two distinct benefits. First, it protects the household’s plumbing system and water appliances. Second, the best water softener improves the septic system’s biological performance without the risk of tank flow issues.
It would be best for homeowners to consider the buying advice we provided in this article.
My work as a freelance copywriter allows me to work with Stephen later join Usawaterquality as a content producer. Our team works together to produce high-quality contents that cater to the needs of large companies and households.