So after thinking about getting a water conditioning system for over a year, I finally had one installed a month ago. This is not a very interesting topic, but I am guessing that someone out there is thinking about it, and via the magic of Google, might find my experience interesting.
What is a "water conditioning" system? Well, it is just a softening system combined with a filtration system. I had mine put in by Ben Franklin Plumbing after getting bids from specialists that were absurdly high.
My water was not particularly bad....the hardness and chlorine levels were moderate, not severe. But, my daughter has had weird eczema for a long time, and several pediatricians thought that the water conditioning might help. Our water did not taste bad, and overall it just seemed like, well, water to me.
It took a whole day to do the install. The equipment is not attractive, but it went in our "waste area" by the garage, where the air conditioning compressors are. For the first week, I wondered what I had done. Our water tasted funky, taps got clogged with little carbon particles, and our water had lots of little bubbles. The plumber said to hang on....a week of weirdness is normal while the system settles in.
Sure enough, after a week, our water tasted great....slightly more neutral than before. I notice that I use less soap, and we use less detergent. My daughter's eczema is getting better. It actually feels a bit weird...the water has a slightly slimy feel to it because it does not immediately strip the oils from your skin.
So, it basically works as advertised. Worth $6k? I think so, over the long term.
btw...the filters don't remove fluoride, which would be a hassle.