It hasn’t been too long since we moved into our home, approximately two months, and we were eagerly anticipating water softener sales people to come to our door so that we may purchase one and not go through the hassles of going to Sears or Home Depot and installing one ourselves.
You can read through my experiences or you can go to the bottom and get the specs on the sales pitches from four Pflugerville water softener vendors.
So the first salesperson that came to our door was from Everclear Water Softeners. I have to say that a few days prior to his visit we had heard that we could rent from Culligan for about $35 a month so we thought it would be in our best interest to purchase one instead. Okay so the guy form Everclear comes over one day, he does the water hardness test. Informs us that we are @ 10 grams per gallon which is pretty high. He also tells us how water softeners contribute to the elimination to scum, calcium and lime build up. He demonstrates how under a water softener pure soap will lather much better. Essentially the more lather the better since that will result in cleaner clothes, dishes, etc. He also allowed us the sample the difference between treated water and our tap water. And there was a difference. The treated water did not leave that “squeaky clean feeling”, which according to the sales person should not be there since it is soap build up, and instead the silky moisturized feel that the treated water left is what we should be looking for. Great job informing us on all the points. In fact he did not have to go through it because we were already convinced that we needed a water softener. So it came down to pricing. I forgot to add that at an earlier point he estimated our soap, detergent and other cleaner consumption as a percentage of our weekly grocery bill. This plays in later during the sales pitch.
Okay so it is pricing time. Before that he mentions that the company, as an incentive for us to make a decision that day, will add on a 3 or 5 years supply of various concentrated pure soap base detergents, shampoo and other cleaners. This overtime would be the equivalent of spending $2100 in soaps and other cleaners (based on our estimated consumption of cleaners). Plus the soaps offered were Eco friendly. So then the pricing comes in. I believe the intermediate system was the one of interest to us. That one was about $3990. Financed we would face a $90 payment at a 17% interest rate or 17.99, I can’t recall. It did have a limited lifetime warranty (for mfg defects) which is great but, only six months of that would extend to service calls. Service calls were $85 bucks a visit regardless if something is wrong or not. And every five to six years the resin on the softener tank has to be replaced @ approximately $200 plus the service call fee ($85). I had to ask if he could reduce the price of the softener by their cost on the soap. He was nice enough to call his mgr. and ask so the price went down by $200. Quite frankly I don’t know that we would make an overnight change on all our hygiene and detergent products. Maybe gradually but not overnight.
So I told him I would need time to think it over. Well two out of the four water softener sales folks really push for the decision to be made there and then. So he was kind of upset that we weren’t completely sold. Sorry Bubba, can’t always be hasty.
Next visitor, home depot. The salesperson my wife spoke with, the one who set the appt, said that we would receive a $20 gift card just by accepting the appointment. We never saw that. No biggie though, I forgot to ask about it anyway. So basically their softeners are GE brands. On a comparable system he went down to $2600 and financing through them our payment would have been $61. Carbon tank never has to be changed out on GE softener. The softening system was based on electrically charged beads. The warranty it came with was for 4 years and was full service. They also had a promo for 1 year no interest/no payments. Can’t remember the interest rate. It may have been a few points less than Everclear though. So I told him that I would think about it and thanked him for coming out. Great guy, no pressure. Gave enough info about his product and did not push any ultimatum structured incentives.
Then I decided to call Culligan. We received a postcard in the mail from them. So I asked how much it was to rent the equipment. The salesperson on the phone confirmed that it was $31.95 plus tax. Since we already have a loop, there was no installation fee. Also, they had a promo for $10 on the first 3 months. Resin gets changed every 15 years at no cost. You can use salt or potassium, which I think are pretty much the same thing. I think they are both salts. And my favorite, no charge for service calls if anything. Of course, that is the beauty in renting. But there were purchase options. I didn’t save that spec sheet but from what I recall the mid level tank was about $1,700 with a 5 year full service warranty (i.e. parts and labor).
So I signed up for the rental since we need one, it affects our cash flow minimally and there was no commitment. It gives me more time to shop around too.
Lastly, after signing up with Culligan, I met with one more person just to see what else was out there. Actually these guys were the most expensive of the four but I really like their water softener. Revolution water. They have two models. One is manufactured by Steel Tek and the other by GE. Since they knew I was concerned about pricing, they placed their best offer on the table. Steel Tek price, $3100, no install fee and a 9.9% rate. I might as well just go with Culligan since I found it to be comparable. Then there was the GE which really caught my attention. Mainly because of the warranty and partly because of the looks and the structure of the chamber. Get this, they’ll replace the resin chamber free every 7 years. They’ll deliver and install the potassium every 2-3 months but you pay for the salt of course and the softener itself is pretty high tec. Reg price. $5393, my price if I acted on impulse, which I didn’t, $4500 and my payment would have been $45.00. Plus the same soap deal offered by Everclear.
I really liked the system but I don’t like being pressured. I hope that when I call them and ready to buy then can offer me the same or similar deal. Otherwise, Culligan has my biz for my purchase.
Okay here is the price run down: (Probably what you wanted to know all along).
Everclear: $3,990 or $90/month. In the $3,990 is a 650 install charge. Handles 27 gallons per minute. Enough to have everything on. Other sales people said that was overkill. Limited lifetime warranty. Service calls $85.00 and recurring $285.00 cost every 5 years for resin replacement.
Home Depot: $2,600 or $61/month. 4 year warranty. Full service. Never a need to replace resin/resin chamber. Softened by “electrically charged beads”. Flow rate of 12 gallons per minute.
Cullingan: $1,700. 5 year full service warranty. Flow rate at 12 – 14 gallons per minute. GE water softener. I don’t know how much it will be to replace the resin/resin chamber after the warranty expires. Should have asked.
Revolution Water: Reg: $5,393, one time offer of $4,500 with no install charge due to loop in garage. $45 monthly payment. Nicest looking and probably performing softener of all. Can handle up to 50 gallons per minute. Good for a large family.
My pic was renting from Culligan at $32 + tax.
Plan to buy from Revolution if they provide same or similar deal. I changed my mind on who I plan to buy from. After a while I found out three things I did not like about Revolution. The deal they were giving me, they are giving everyone. It was not a once in a lifetime type of deal. From what I gathered it seems to be their regular deal. Second, the sales person mentioned their tanks use potassium instead of sodium chloride. This was better for the environment since deer will not be drinking the discharged highly salinated water thus preventing high blood pressure in deer. WTF? Potassium, or potassium chloride is also a salt. Dude, way to mislead. Lastly, they were to aggressive after I told them no, not now, but later. I’ll probably continue renting.
And also, don’t buy into the salespeople’s comparison between buying a water softener and buying a home. The water softener does not build equity. Your home does.