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How to Get Clean, Purified Water (at The Best Price)

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Normally, I'd have my holiday gift guide ready for readers today. However, I've been sucked into drama on my "Is Home Depot’s Water Test from RainSoft a Scam?" article from almost 18 months ago. If you stick through this, I'll give you details on a great, unrelated deal that's 65% off of what I personally paid for the service... (or you can just scroll to the bottom, I'll never know the difference.)

Regular readers know that I often write about multi-level marketing (MLM) and the scams there, but this non-MLM topic has exploded to almost 150 comments now. In at least three cases, I've had RainSoft dealers comment and leave a review of how wonderful their system is.

The latest drama came when commenter John, left this glowing review. I recognized that some of the language sounded like it came from a RainSoft salesman. The commenter also left an email of "JPetrich@"... I put two and two together and decided to see if John Petrich was a RainSoft salesman. It turns out that there was a LinkedIn profile for a John Petrich who appears to be a Water Treatment Sales Professional with RainSoft listed as his company. This John Petrich is based out of the Houston, Texas. The comment I received came from an IP address in Houston, TX.

I asserted my logical opinion that the comment from the suspected RainSoft dealer was indeed the John Petrich of that LinkedIn profile. The commenter went crazy, saying that I was "way off" and "an internet stalker." A few hours later a John Petrich emailed me saying that he's getting email on his LinkedIn profile and he's going to sue me for defamation because he's not the same John Petrich who left the comment. That's been going back and forth and the RainSoft debate rages on.

Catching people up on the RainSoft debate

My RainSoft article is long, but tells the story of how we signed up for a free water test at Home Depot and instead of getting water analysis as you might receive from your city or county, we received an in-home demonstration, a "magic show" according to my wife, of RainSoft's EC-4 purifier. We were told it would be a half hour long, but it went on for 3-4 hours. It was filled with fear-inducing stories about the danger of chlorine. It went on about how much money we'd save vs. buying bottled water.

In the end, we were told we could buy a system for $4888 that would purify our water. We could spend another $1200 on a reverse osmosis machine for the drinking water in our kitchen sink. They were happy to let us finance this purchase at 17% interest, essentially like a credit card.

The representative offered to "throw-in" $2700 worth of soap, detergents, etc. Though he wouldn't say what brand it was and I'm guessing it is an inflated price for some no-name soap that people don't typically buy.

Then they topped it off by cashing a $100 deposit that they said they'd hold on to while we decided. I probably shouldn't have given the money in the first place, but I wanted to buy time to research and this deposit held the soap offer, which is normally only available if you buy the same day. After a fight with the independent dealer and reporting them to Home Depot, RainSoft corporate saw my article and offered to give me the $100 deposit back.

It seems that other commenters have had the same experience with the "magic show" based on the dozens of comments.

RainSoft's Assurance Guarantee

The latest thing that RainSoft dealers are pushing is their Assurance Guarantee. This guarantee says that if a RainSoft customer finds the same or better performing product at a better price in 30 days the RainSoft product will be free. Here is the text of that from a RainSoft Dealer. There's no real fine print that I could see and the terms are ambiguous enough to have multiple interpretations.

The problem is that you have to validate it is better and I'm sure that RainSoft is going to challenge your validation. They may find one contaminant in a list of a hundred that wasn't done as well and say, "Sorry, but our product performed better here, so the product you bringing to the table is inferior... no free RainSoft for you. Next!"

Additionally, according to the text, you can't put together a couple of systems like I illustrate below, which would cost 1/5th what RainSoft is charging. That's not one brand's product, and they have different warranties.

It is almost like trying to prove that Babe Ruth is the best baseball player of all time. It may seem obvious to some, but worded as RainSoft does, they'd be free to say, "Umm, Vince Coleman was a lot faster, stole more bases, and played much better defense, so no Babe Ruth is not the same or better than Vince Coleman."

It is unlikely that you'll be able to get another system set up in 30 days, get the proof, submit it, and get it RainSoft to validate your claim. Heck, the claim might even sit for a few days, costing you valuable time in getting a claim for another system in.

At the end of the day, I feel like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy covered the value of this guarantee best:

So How Do You Get Clean Water?

The John Petrich the RainSoft dealer seems to think that I'm not qualified to give water purification advice. Perhaps he's correct, because I have no background in it. Instead he suggests that we take the expert advice. I'd agree, except that the expert advice he suggests is from a salesman. In particular, he's a salesman for one brand of water purification system and his previous comment scam attempt along with the RainSoft experience that I and numerous others have experienced.

There's a big difference in getting car buying advice from Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book than getting advice from Larry Lemon the Used Car King. If there's a better deal elsewhere, Larry Lemon isn't going to tell you about it.

Instead, I suggest using a little common sense and some typical problem solving skills. Here's how I'd, and any smart consumer, would go about solving the problem.

1. Ask, "Is there a problem with my water?" Perhaps your water is fine. Rather than have a salesman come to your house, pick up this Watersafe Drinking Water Test Kit or this First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit. It will give you details about the chlorine levels, hardness, etc. in your water.

2. Analyze the results. These kits will tell you where the results should be and they test to EPA standards. This should tell you if you have a problem or not. Save the magic show for Penn and Teller.

3. If you have a problem, research products to fix it. Here are few greatly-reviewed products that have solved customer's problems:

I may not be a water filtration expert, but combining these three systems would appear to be formidable water purification system... one that is probably overkill for 99.9% of homes. And you'd walk away with all three for under $900, plus tax. That's less than 1/6th the cost of what RainSoft was going to charge me for the EC-4 and reverse osmosis systems.

It is worth reading the comments on Lowe's site for the Whirlpool products. For each product, there are numerous reviews about a local company charging $5000 to $6000 for similar products and that they are very happy with these solutions.

RainSoft dealers will claim that their products are of a higher quality. They'll say that the perform better. They'll say that this is a comparison of a BMW to a Yugo. They've said all this in the comments of my previous post. The difference is that you aren't taking a journey with the water. You don't care about the luxury of how your water travels. You only care about results. With the water kits that I provided, you can test and ensure you are getting quality results. Still got a problem? Return it Lowe's and/or Amazon and get something else. It certainly is worth a shot at these extremely highly rated products for under $900 than simply saying, "Okay, I'll just shell out $6000 and finance it at 17% interest."

My guess is that some 95% won't need one system and 99.5% of people will be happy with these systems at a greatly reduced cost. I'm not saying that RainSoft won't be happy with the results of their system. I'm just saying that I bet they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two. I'm also sure most people don't want to pay $5000 more when the job can be done at 1/6th the cost.

If RainSoft wants to give out a real Assurance Guarantee let them give out one that guarantees all contaminants will be reduced by 6 times as much as the one above for 1/6th the cost. Then we are starting to get to the point of performance per dollar spent.

But what does Consumer Expert Clark Howard have to Say?

Again, I'm not a water purification expert, but I know basic problem solving, scientific process, and consumer scams... all of which are very useful skills here. You don't need to take my word for it though. Clark Howard is well-known for being a consumer advocate. I love his radio show and have mentioned him many times in this website in the past.

So what does Clark Howard have to say about these water filtration systems. He doesn't say RainSoft by name, but I certainly recognized what he's talking about on his website:

"After years of Clark's prodding, Christa has finally made the switch from bottled water to tap water. What finally made her cross over from the dark side? She got hold of the Watersafe All-In-One Test Kit at Whole Foods. For just about $20, she was able to test her family's tap water for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness. Well, the water passed with flying colors, and her brood has been drinking from the tap ever since." - (Source)

See, test the water first. Maybe it's fine and you don't need anything. You will have saved yourself thousands and thousands of dollars before just trusting the RainSoft salesman.

"The complimentary water test the marketer was offering Christa likely would have involved a hard sell in the home. As Clark says, they practically convince you that if you love your children and want them to stay healthy, you must buy their product. " - (Source)

This is exactly what I experienced with my RainSoft dealer. There is really no reason to have anyone visit your home. Anyone should be able to give you performance testing data of their water filtration device that you can compare. If they won't give you that data and instead try to do some kind of in-home demonstration/magic show run, run, run away.

"So what to do if you're afraid of tap water? Try a cheap filtration system. They're available for your whole house, your faucet or just by the pitcher -- and they all address water impurities and improve taste." - (Source)

I mentioned the whole house system here. I figure everyone else knows about the faucet and pitcher systems. After testing with a water kit that I mentioned above, I got a faucet system and installed it in about ten minutes.

At the end of the day I'm simply stating what should be obvious by now... you don't need some kind of water filtration expert. The kits make it very easy for you to test yourself. And stay away from a brand-specific salesman who pitches himself as an expert. He's probably getting paid on commission to sell you that brand's product, which might not necessarily be the best fit for your wallet/needs.

Deal Time

I spent $70 on this PlayOn and PlayLater lifetime service and feel it is some of the best I've spent. It is available for only $25 (for HD) now, which is a no-brainer. Big thanks to Rick Broida's CNET Cheapskate article for mentioning it.

Last updated on August 11, 2016.

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20 Responses to “How to Get Clean, Purified Water (at The Best Price)”

  1. ON says:

    I bought the rainsoft system 2 weeks ago, I am very disappointed because the water cames white with salty taste and don feel any difference.The dishes are left with white spots. I call customer service twice and promise to call back, which they never did. After calling the salesperson many times, I received a response. They said is because the system is cleaning the plumbing. Two rep came, one performed a test and found 23 grain of hardnes. The second technician said that the levels of hardenes of my house water went up. He adjust the system, but I still with the same problem. This unit cost more than 9,500.00

  2. James mason says:

    Lazy man,,, my grammatical errors are of no importance as far as I’m concerned…. I mean think about it………… Typing with one finger….. On an I-Pad ………. On a so-so website with a one inch x two inch #7 font window…….? Is that the extensive knowledge measure… How a man types.? BTW … I’m using my one middle finger to type this note ……

    point from me is you stir up unnecessary crap that frankly I don’t agree with and judging by your appearance in your photo, I was by all probability selling water systems before you were born. You continually insult people that I respect at RainSoft. True water professionals in legitimate businesses know and represent multiple brands of equipment and don’t go around spouting garbage and throwing accusations at people like what I have read on this site. Seriously though, you should take a step back and think real hard about what you are trying to accomplish with your slanderous comments. People are watching. Not to see what useful information you may think your offering, but instead to see when they have had enough of your bullcrap. I know that moment is about to arrive. BTW, I haven’t sold residential water treatment in 7 years. Do yourself a favor ,,, focus on viable water systems and performance and quit picking out your perceived negatives on everything that has to do with RainSoft. You really sound le you have a bone to pick with them. You might find out that bone is a very large bone indeed.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Holy-hell James…

      I have no problems with grammatical errors. However, you previously commented on my article at Is Home Depot’s Water Test from RainSoft a Scam? over multiple months. The comments didn’t separate paragraphs. They lacked any kind of logic. Most importantly, they countered your unsubstantiated claim that you earned two degrees.

      All that said, I don’t require that people leave comments on iPads. Usually people with two degrees are don’t have iPads as their only response.

      If don’t “continually insult people that I respect at RainSoft” as I don’t “continually” write about any people at RainSoft.

      James said, “Seriously though, you should take a step back and think real hard about what you are trying to accomplish with your slanderous comments. People are watching. Not to see what useful information you may think your offering, but instead to see when they have had enough of your bullcrap. I know that moment is about to arrive.”

      Which slanderous comments are you referring to? I hate slander and defamation of all kind. Which people are watching? Why would they care about an article around two years ago?

  3. Karl P says:

    I went through the whole water-filtration saga awhile back. I was on well-water and we had significant issues to be addressed.

    Being more than a little handy and an avid researcher I went looking for options.

    It quickly (practically instantaneously) became obvious that with vanishingly few exceptions water purifier or filtration companies are all about hard-selling substantially overpriced systems. That isn’t to say they are all garbage or that some don’t even work well. Just that they are usually incredibly, embarrassingly, overpriced.

    Additionally as you noted above they are often systems which are incredibly more complicated than they need to be to solve the problem at hand.

    With an hour or so research I found a couple great online companies which were knowledgeable box-sales companies. There model was to sell the equipment with direction to be installed either DIY or with the help of a local plumber. The 6000$ systems other people around me were selling were little more than 2000$ worth of parts and some install labor (free for an advanced DIY or maybe 700$ for a plumber).

    But before I bought anything, I needed to know what I needed to buy. So I called one of the companies I found. The first conversation I had with the first person listened to what I was concerned about and then didn’t even want to continue the conversation unless we had a real water test done. As in spend 200$ and overnight-critical ship halve a dozen vials to a recognized EPA National Lab water test.

    Turns out this is the best thing they could have done, a few weeks later I had a 8 page document of hard numbers on everything I could ever want to know and more.

    At the end of the day, I needed about 1000$ worth of stuff with an ongoing maintenance cost of less than 100$/year. DIY install took 5 hours.

    I talked to the same company a few years later when we had city water which we knew was perfectly safe, but tended to taste a little funny. 500$ and a few hours later my problems were eliminated (in fact it went on to be our favorite drinking water ever).

    I guess all this is to say that if people reading this are concerned about their drinking water enough to do something more than a Britta filter about it, do some research and find a good company who can sell you a real EPA lab water test and then talk with them about how to address the issues that arise.

    Also, try to use commercial or industrial components where available. Water filtration has long been a need in everything from ice production to commercial process plants. There are a wide variety of cost effective and incredibly robust systems that exist.

    Karl P

  4. James says:

    For thoseof us that got suckered into the Rainsoft years ago and now own a system that is OBSOLETE and can’t get parts for them to keep them going, what do we do?? I think the old Rainsoft systems are good, just not worth what we paid for them. If parts were available, we could avoid the $900.00 you mentioned above for a new system. Let’s cut to the chase, I just want parts to maintain what I already have!!

  5. Hammer says:

    Two things to consider with purifying house water:

    1. A whole house purifier will remove chlorine from water, which could cause more mold buildup in showers, clothes washers, dish washers, etc..

    2. Many community water systems add fluoride to water for healthy teeth. Most filtration systems remove this fluoride.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I hadn’t thought of the chlorine working against mold.

      Some people consider removing fluoride a good thing, but I’ll stick with the established science for now and want to keep it in. So if I’m removing it, then I figure out how to add it back in at a later stage.

  6. Sherry says:

    I’d be very curious to know where Karl find the company to provide the 8 page document on what’s in his water (if anything). THAT’s what I’m looking for and can’t find it. I was suckered into the Rain Soft Dog and Pony show, via Home Depot myself. The guy left and I had zero information on the system he was selling and ZERO information on what was ACTUALLY in my water. All I have as proof of his visit is a sheet of paper showing all the “freebies”, with a bunch of number scratched out, circled and crossed out and of course the 3 hours of time, I will never get back. I just want an honest soul to tell me WHAT is wrong with my water so that I can make an honest effort to resolve the issues in a cost effective manor. And if they are truly honest I’d love suggestions on ways to fix it. I just don’t understand why the # 1 thing that is the MOST important part of our health and well being has become such a daunting task.

  7. LeoV says:

    Thanks for all the info! In the article above you reference three systems: 1.Whole House Filtration 2.Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System 3.Whirlpool softener

    My question – how do these systems fit together? Could I install the softener and the osmosis system first and then revisit the whole house filtration at some point in the future? Or would it be more practical to just plan on installing all three systems at the same time specifically the softener and whole house filtration together?

  8. Anthony says:

    I have an RO system for 6 years and counting. There are pros and cons about it. Since both you and I aren’t experts I can’t say with absolute certainty if my belief is right. BUT even experts can’t often agree such as the use of fluoride which is a hot debate. It is a 1950s science and well we have progressed to be smarter technologically and found out some other science to be actually bad. In this case fluoride can damage your brain so if you value your teeth over your brain good for you. You do realize we’ve use asbestos in building material in the past and we now know it causes cancer and have stopped using it. It’s the SAME concept. And even though chlorine is used in water it doesn’t mean it’s SAFE to drink in small quantities.

    So back to my RO system. It does remove minerals which they say is essential for you. IF you read this article by the WHO, https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiUpoPUtozLAhWjnYMKHScKCjgQFggiMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.who.int%2Fwater_sanitation_health%2Fdwq%2Fnutrientschap12.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEZ7DCI9Xs4h5OeDI2XClrdgcTB5g&sig2=Nziemb0rGanjVi_Xl_hn5g&bvm=bv.114733917,d.amc

    It says how bad demineralized water is. OK however we get minerals from food not just water so my question to the WHO is why would it matter if there is zero minerals in the water when I’m getting it from food. I can get magnesium from vegetables and chocolate etc. Why is it such a big deal whether water is deprived of it. It would obviously be more of a concern in poorer countries who do not have quality food but not here.

    The next problem with RO is that it is acid water that’s 100x more acidic than ph7. I read about that and did my own research. Basically if PH5, it’s 100x higher to neutral.

    So if you are endorsing these systems I don’t think you’ve clearly discussed the pros and cons.

    I don’t think any of the filtration systems are perfect. Kangen water however I have not made a conclusion about though I am leaning towards it as the best available option over RO, distilled, and tap water.

    Cheers!

  9. Lisa Herbertson-Crouch says:

    My husband and I bought the rainsoft system which was termed to be the “Cadillac ” of water filtration… let me just say right now that I doubt Cadillac sells craptactic lemons like the rainsoft system we bought… within about three or four days the system was already malfunctioning with huge amounts of calcium or lime being left on everything; by the time I got back from a trip that I went on shortly after that, the water stank badly like rotten chicken and was essentially unusable. When we called to have the system repaired the idiots from the company we bought the system from made us wait a week to a actually to get it repaired. To state the obvious, since we had to take off our other filtration system to put the rainsoft on, they should be a lot more prompt in their repair times. We were left having to do our dishes and bath in water that smelled like raw sewage by they time the got around to “repair” the system… keep in mind that all of this happened within much less than a month of us buying the system. Since then, we have had to have them come out to “maintain” the system numerous times… the repairs only last a couple days, then we are back to the same mediocre results, which are no better, if not worse, than our previous system.

    How much did we pay for these mediocre results? Over $8000 with 17% interest… I would strongly recommend that anyone considering buying one of these systems do their research first, and save themselves a lot of time, effort, energy, money, and justified anger… speaking of energy, another thing that has bothered me since the beginning is the fact that the system takes two hours of running huge amounts of water through itself to clean itself… two hours a day, and ours (since we have had so many “repairs” done to it) is now running at about four. Every time I confront anyone about this, they claim that it is normal for it to do that… sometimes it uses so much water that it temporarily shuts off water to the rest of the house! Buyers beware is all I can say

  10. Dr James says:

    “DIY” Here is my plan of action.

    From watching a couple demonstrations of Magic from sales reps and coming to similar conclusions as others have come to. I have decided to start with a (RO) reverse osmosis under counter system from COSTCO.COM at $139.00 plus less than $20.00 in miscellaneous plumbing parts and now! I have it installed by my own process, I call falling forward to success.
    The system is in and no leaks after about 5 hours of my free time (No, Time is Not Money-unless you could trade it for money) but as of yet no-one has offered to pay me for water system installation advice or help? I would advise you if you can put together a small “LEGO” item you can do a R.O. Water System.

    PS: worst case senerio is call the plumber for about $500 to $600.
    MAN UP!

  11. Dr James says:

    Kangen Water System?

    I personally believe Kangen water is another, “Water Sales Magic Show”. Google “Alkaline Water Systems”.
    Here is some professional advice on the subject: PS: My opine as I have no connection with any filter makers.

  12. Pat says:

    Last night I had a salesman come from Rain Soft and gave me the same bla…bla…bla… I signed the contract, they gave me 3 days to cancel, I read this article of yours and called them up and cancelled. The man came and picked up my signed cancelled paperwork ( I got a copy with his signature )and tried to sell me on keeping their products. They even gave me a better price to buy it. Thank you for posting this and saving me $7,790.00 for filtering my well water he said was not good enough to use for washing, but at least he found no harmful chemicals, that we had already tested. But what he did find, was that our salt levels tested 260, which state regulations requiring no more than 200. The salesman said at that level, the water that we are drinking would dehydrate us and give us high blood pressure. I will now go online and research that information.

  13. Lina says:

    Thank you. I signed yesterday for a Rain Soft system. I don’t deny that it’s of excellent quality, but the sticker shock has set it and I’ll be cancelling within the 3 days as per the contract. Your blog and links to other great options is very much appreciated by me and my family. Thanks again.

  14. Kim says:

    Thank you for all the information about this, it’s very helpful. I experienced the ‘magic show’ for the system Home Depot tries to sell. I’m glad I had presence of mind not to buy it. There’s no way I could afford it anyway & didn’t need all the extra soap products they tried to add on. The guy really tried to convince me I used that much stuff every month. I purchased the Whirlpool whole house treatment system mentioned here. I was about to have someone hook it up & the guy said I needed to buy the water softener unit also, because the manual showed this as part of the ‘proper setup’.
    I don’t think I really need this additional item for my house as there are only 2 of us & the water isn’t terrible. It seems the Whirlpool manual is just showing different hookup schematics which include the softener and the treatment unit. I was wondering what the opinion is on this. Thanks

  15. Jeff M. says:

    I was very nearly taken by the con-artists. Oh I’m sure the system works, but it’s the sheisty sales tactics that’s the con. They overprice these systems by about $2-3000.

    I was out front planting some new plants when a nice girl came walking down the street asking if I’d want to have a water test. I’d wanted to install a softening/filtration system since we bought/built the house but wasn’t ready to buy. Curious about the quality of my water I said yes with no intention to buy. Fast forward a day and a four hour presentation later, my partner and I had hitched our horse to a sinking barge of debt at an outrageous interest rate. It was like a whirlwind as the door closed behind the guy. WTF did I just do. So I called my mom who about and broke a hip. She confirmed what I was in denial about– I’d been had.

    I was lucky to catch these scoundrels within the 3-day right of rescission. However they don’t make it easy. The e-mail address on this particular office’s website returns to you address unknown. You can’t leave a voicemail on their phone system without knowing a mailbox number. So I sent the carbon copy with our cancellation signatures next day express with signature confirmation. I also sent a fax.

    A few days later I got a call from a butthurt sales guy saying he needed to deliver my originals. Mail them to me. Don’t let these guys in. You can mail a water sample off to a reputable lab or buy one of the store-bought tests.

    I’ve since installed my own system for around $1000 and it feels and tastes exactly like the sample he brought for us to try. Haven’t done any tests, but I don’t need to I’m quite satisfied with my water now.

  16. Nick says:

    Jeff M:

    We had a similar experience, but praise the Lord, we bought some time to research the product and found this helpful site!

    We are now curious what system you purchased for your home with the $1000??

    Sorry for your experience and time wasted!

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