I'm on well water that has high tds (880 ppm ) and has high iron and manganese content that quickly clogs the resin beds of ion exchange softeners.
Hot water heaters require frequent draining to remove foul smelling residue (from the sacrificial anodes?).
The IP plumbing simply dissolves in a few years.
Solution that is working for our small domestic well is to inject ozone into a 2500 gallon tank along with filtering out the precipitate.
There is a company (TripleO.com) that makes units that do this.
I built my own unit from scratch using the same principle of combining the ozone injection and filtration into a single process.
The next day after powering up, the results were dramatic. No rotten egg smell and the filter had already changed from white to a rust color.
Tests showed a drop in TDS from 880 to 780 ppm showing something is being removed. The ph remained the same and the water was still terribly hard (7g) but now has the pleasant taste of spring water.
Guests have compared the treated well water with bottled RO water and so far, all say the well water tastes better.
Nevertheless, I still use a regular, automatic water softener which now reduces the hardness from 7 to 0 grains more efficiently since it doesn‚Äôt have to deal with as much iron, manganese, and sulfates.
Out of habit , we still use RO water for making coffee rather than the softened water which still tastes better than that made from chlorinated city water.
Fortunately, I have broad enough science and engineering background to avoid being suckered by unsupported, anecdotal claims such as ‚ÄúChanging the molecular structure of water‚Äù.
Where are the credible, verifiable, peer reviewed studies supporting all these claims of ‚ÄúSalt free water conditioning‚Äù?
You don‚Äôt need to pay for expensive water analysis to verify the results claimed by these guys selling gadgets that sound too good to be true. My $30 TDS meter gets nearly the same results as the $700 model which is close enough. Low cost pool/spa test strips will let you compare ph, hardness, nitrates, bacteria, etc‚Ä¶. No reason to guess at the results of these devices.
Personally, I think it is time for some DA‚Äôs to get their fraud people on these claims that cash in on people‚Äôs concern about our environment.