What is the best water softener for a one-person household?

I have to bite the bullet, and buy a new water softener. Is there a better brand to buy, and what prices are we speaking of? Should I rent, (i.e., Culligan, etc.)? It's a one-person household.
Thanks in advance. -- pj
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I was just talking to my neighbor who is an expert with Water purification and softening. He says most name brand units are a gamble because all of their equipment is proprietary. He is an independent and like to fit people with the appropriate tank(s) & valves that fit their needs.
My recommendation is go to the local plumbers supply house NOT HOME DEPOT and ask them what brands they sale. There is one proprietary unit that you can recalibrate over the phone. I would find you a local independent whose knowledge and experience will lead you to buying individual parts to make up a system rather than buy a branded system like Culligan or Hauge etc. sale one brand but rather sales all brands.
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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It depends on your ability to maintain your own system. If your capable of doing it yourself it will be cheaper, there's not really much to it. Sears supplies decent models to purchase at around $800 - $1000 if you install it yourself and Sta-Rite is a good brand. But if your not comfortable doing it yourself then culligan is a good company to deal with. Either way you should install a system that will support the amount of people that could live in the house not just for one person.
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I suggest any softener using the Clack WS-1, or the Fleck 7000. They are non-proprietary, a DIYer's dream to repair if needed and parts can be bought from any local or internet independent dealer. And they are less than what someone says the Kenmore sells for. You can find them on the internet with a google search. If you can do or learn how to do simple plumbing you can install a softener yourself in a few hours. Buying over the internet will save you hundreds of dollars and you get the best quality available.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin Board www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2
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Take a look at the water softeners available at WhytePlumbing.com
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