Aquasana is a brand that’s very famous for its durable, complex systems that can be customized to address various water treatment needs. The EQ-1000-AST model stands out as one of the best water treatment systems from the company as well as on the market.
It’s an innovative whole-house unit that combines an effective water conditioner with an advanced water filter system to provide a comprehensive solution to a broad range of water quality issues.
This system is part of Aquasana’s EQ-1000 series which consists of two other models, the EQ-1000 and EQ-1000-AST-UV. In this review, we look at the EQ-1000-AST model which is our top pick on this list and you are going to see why we consider it as the best whole house water conditioner.
System Design and Performance
The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST is a water conditioner and a filter system in one unit. It features 4-stages of water treatment which include, a sediment pre-filter, salt-free water conditioner, activated carbon filter, and a post filter.
The EQ-1000 which is the base model of the Aquasana EQ-1000 series is only a filter system without the salt-free water softener. The EQ-1000-AST-UV, on the other hand, is the more advanced model of the series equipped with the water conditioner and filter system plus an extra UV sterilization filter.
The Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers an entirely salt-free water treatment process using its Simply Soft descaling system.
Simply Soft descaling system is an innovative and proven SCM (Scale Control Media) softening technology that naturally conditions water without using added sodium.
First, the water from your main supply line goes through a pre-filter that clears out sediments, silt, sand, and rust.
Once filtered, it’s sent through the Aquasana salt-free water conditioner tank where the SCM technology modifies the structure of the minerals that cause water hardness (calcium and magnesium) by transforming them into a crystal structure which inhibits the minerals from bonding and creating scale build-up.
It’s an all-natural and chemical-free approach to preventing scale from forming and at the same time, it also protects your plumping and pipes from corrosion in the long run.
The descaler will also not demineralize your water. The beneficial calcium and magnesium minerals will not be removed, but you will still get the benefits similar to soft water.
In terms of water harness level, this Aquasana descaler can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG. However, it works well at 15 GPG or below. If your water hardness level is above 15GPG, then it may not be that effective.
Filter System Performance
When it comes to the filtration system, the EQ-1000-AST uses a four-stage filtration process that efficiently removes a wide range of common contaminants found in water.
The 1st stage consists of a sediment filter that strips out dust, dirt, rust, silt and any other particle or sediment larger than 5 microns to protect the media in the later filtration stages. From there, the water is sent through the water conditioner tank for descaling.
After the softening process, the now descaled water enters the 2nd stage of the filtration process which takes place in the top tank right after the descaler.
Inside this tank is a combination of a copper-zinc oxidation media (KDF-55 medium) and crushed mineral media which effectively draw out 97% of chlorine in the water, and also reduce scale along with some water-soluble heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
Both media are bacteriostatic too meaning they will prevent bacteria and algae growth within the system. Moreover, they can equally enhance the pH of the water like an alkaline filter in an RO system making it slightly alkaline which is commendable as alkaline water is an antioxidant and considered better for our bodies.
The 3rd stage is an activated carbon filter that sits in the bottom tank below the 2nd stage. The activated carbon media is sourced from coconut shell and it helps in further removal of chlorine alongside other harmful chemical contaminants like VOCs, herbicides, pesticides and industrial solvents.
The 4th and final stage is made up of a 0.35-micron post-filter which is an important if not necessary addition in the system. It’s the finest filter you will find in any conventional whole house water system and ensures no sediment, organic particle or microscopic cysts remains in your water.
With this really impressive filtration process coupled with a reliable descaling technology, the EQ-1000-AST is not only capable of stopping limescale buildup within your plumbing system, but will also give you a cleaner, great-tasting drinking water.
The only thing missing is the UV sterilization filter which is an optional upgrade you can get if your water has high bacterial or microorganism contamination.
However, it’s included in the EQ-1000-AST-UV model and it’s the only feature that differentiates it from this EQ-1000-AST model. It does drive up the price a little bit, but it will destroy up to 99.99% of all microorganisms in your water supply.
Besides the highly-effective water treatment system, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers one of the largest filtration capacity out there for a whole-house unit.
Its descaler system can process up to 1,000,000 gallons of water which translates to about 10 years of service for small to medium-sized families with average water consumption.
What’s more, the multiple stages of the unit don’t have a significant effect on the water flow. The system maintains a maximum flow rate of 7 GPM which is sufficient for small to large homes.
Installation and Maintenance
Installing the EQ-1000-AST is relatively easy, but it will need a bit of plumbing knowledge because it may require doing some little changes on the piping for most houses.
You can do it yourself although it’s not advisable because according to Aquasana, the installation must be done by professional plumper in order to engage the warranty.
Once installed, maintaining this system is pretty simple. There is no backflushing or draining needed. The only maintenance needed is replacing the filters.
The pre-filter, KDF-55 and carbon filter require changing every 3 to 6 months depending on your water quality. The post-filter should last about 12 months while the water conditioner tank will last for 10 years.
In addition, the unit comes with brass fittings and shut-off valves to enable more straightforward and mess-free filter changes. Its unique up-flow dual-tank design also does well to prevent any chances of clogging.
There are no serious drawbacks to worry about with this Aquasana system. You should, however, bear in mind that it will require professional installation so as to engage the maximum 10-years warranty which is the longest we’ve encountered in our reviews.
The other thing is that this system is not ideal for well water treatment due to high levels of iron and other contaminants that require specialized filters like an iron filtration tank and UV sterilization filter.
To sum it all, from our thorough assessment, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST indeed has all it takes to stand out as the best whole house water conditioner in a crowded market. Its price may fall on the high end, but what you get is one of the most effective and long-lasting units that’s worth every penny.
- Stops limescale buildup without removing beneficial minerals
- It can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG
- Remarkably effective at reducing chlorine levels
- Removes a wide range of other common contaminants in water
- Capable of descaling and filtering water in an entire house
- Larger capacity of up to 1,000,000 gallons
- Little maintenance required and easy filter changes
- Impressive 10-year warranty plus a 3-month money-back guarantee
- Requires professional installation to engage warranty
- Not ideal for use with well water