Ecowater Refiner / Softener (ERR3500) Opinions
I'm thinking of having the Ecowater ERR 3500 installed. What interests me is that the carbon and resin are guaranteed for life and apparently can be regenerated indefinitely. I'm considering Ecowater because it has been around for a while and does business globally. Also, Costco has partnered with the local dealer and is offering several purchasing incentives. Beyond that, though, I've had a lot of trouble finding reliable information and therefore have some concerns about the purchase:
1. Quality of local service: Reviews of the dealer are nonexistent. I have no idea whether the dealer will do a good job or whether it will try to inflate prices and exploit customers. All I have to go off is Costco's reputation.
2. Price: The initial price I was offered for a softener/RO combination was $5500, which strikes me as excessively high. I am considering the softener only, and even after Costco's discounts, the total is about $3700. Other threads here about Ecowater mentioned paying around $3000 without any sort of discount. To me, this suggests that the local dealer might be trying to exploit customers. If I purchase the unit, I will have to work with a potentially underhanded dealer for the life of the hardware and pay whatever it says for maintenance.
3. Effectiveness of the unit: Ecowater provides almost no information about how well the softener removes various contaminants. Other manufacturers provide fairly detailed information, have gone through some kind of third-party testing, or offer other reasons to believe that their systems will perform well. For example, Aquasana claims to use the same carbon media in its whole-house system (the EQ-1000) as it does in its POU system, which is certified to NSF/ANSI 53. Aquasana also provides a long list of what contaminants are reduced by what percentages, and it specifies what particle sizes the filters can remove (0.35 microns). All I got from Ecowater regarding system quality was "we are a large corporation and have been around for a long time."
Is there anyone out there that can offer feedback about the ERR 3500 or Ecowater in general? In particular, I'm interested in what other people paid, how well the softener has functioned, and what experiences customers have had with their dealers. If Ecowater is no good, which manufacturer should I go with? Researching water treatment has been very confusing, so any advice from experienced people would be greatly appreciated.
For what it's worth, I'm on municipal water (fairly high chlorine, hardness of 9). Household size is two, and my primary interest is broad-spectrum removal of toxins (VOCs, heavy metals, etc.).