Citrus-Based Water Softener Resolves the “Slimy” Feel of Salt-Based Systems

The NuvoH2O Manor Trio's citrus-based system outperforms salt-based water softeners on three metrics: cost, health, and sustainability.

The science of water softening has always been something of a mystery to me. I learned the hard way, however, what happens when you don’t use one if your home lies in a “hard water” region. 

I had several appliances fail within three years of purchase from hard water buildup, including my reverse osmosis supply line. I can’t afford not to remove calcium and magnesium from my water.

Which brings me to the NuvoH2O Manor Trio Water Softener. Before recommending this product, I did some research. The idea of using citrus instead of 40-lb bags of salt crystals appeals, but does it work, and how expensive are these filters? What’s the return on investment versus a salt system? 


I haven’t looked at other types of softeners, such as ion-based systems, because I want to stay focused on the more mainstream products homeowners are likely to use.

Let's start with the bottom line first, the ROI details.

  • Initial Cost. The NuvoH2O is marginally more expensive up front than most salt-based packages, at about $1508.99 (now on sale), versus $600 to $1200 installed for a single-tank salt-based system. However, that additional purchase cost can be quickly recouped in operational savings (see below), and the NuvoH2O looks like an easy DIY install.
  • Operating Cost for Salt-Based Systems. The annual operating cost for a whole-house softener can range from $500 to $1,500 for an average-sized home, including salt and electricity.
  • Operating Cost for NuvoH2O System. Replacement filters cost around $90, and can treat up to 50,000 gallons of water per year. The average U.S. home uses about 109,000 gallons of water annually, so two filter replacements would equal $180 per year.
  • Volume Handling. Both systems can handle a similar volume of water, but the NuvoH2O system does it at a fraction of the cost.

Traditional water softeners use salt to remove minerals from water, but very little, if any, salt should be left behind.  Citrus-based systems use citrus oils. Neither system, operating properly, should leave any aftertaste. 

People sometimes complain that salt water systems taste slightly salty, but manufacturers assert that this should occur only if the system isn’t operating properly. Another common complaint about salt-based treatment is that water feels “slimy,” perhaps a side effect of removing the hard minerals. Citrus systems don’t seem to have this side effect.

Two other “perks” you get with a Citrus-based system:

  1. No Electricity Needed. Unlike many salt-based systems that require electricity, the NuvoH2O system operates without it, reducing your energy costs, but of perhaps equal importance, it keeps working in a power outage, assuming the water is still flowing.
  2. Less Maintenance. Salt-based systems need regular salt replenishment. Citrus systems like the NuvoH2O only require a filter change about twice a year, making it easier to maintain.

Here are a few other facts to take away, if you’re considering a citrus softener, or replacing an old salt model. The citrus approach:

Retains Some Minerals. A citrus-based system retains some of the natural flavors of your water, unlike under-counter reverse osmosis filters, which can strip water of its natural minerals. It’s possible to add certain minerals back in with a different filter, but this incurs more costs and maintenance.

Produces No Harmful Waste. The citrus-based formula is biodegradable, and does not need the frequent “regeneration” of salt system resin beads, which deposit salty brine into waste lines or groundwater.

Saves Water. Citrus filters simply use less water during the filtration when process compared to salt-based system. 

Energy Savings. the NuvoH2O citrus system operates without electricity, contributing to lower energy bill and increasing resilience.

Longer Appliance Life. Both salt- and citrus-based softener systems prevent scale buildup, extending the life of your water-using appliances.

For more information, or to purchase a NuvoH2O system online now, visit the BuildwithRise website.