Living in an area with older pipes means lead could be in your water. In my home, I have gone out of my way to make sure the water my family and I drink is 100 percet safe, which includes reviewing tons of lead filters. We also have hard water, so I have looked at dozens of products that tackle both problems.
With over 25 years of experience in the water filtration, I bring a unique perspective to my water filter reviews. Together with our water treatment expert, James Layton, I conducted hands-on testing and consulted customers and industry-leading experts.
My hope is after reading this impartial review of the SpringWell LCRFS-1, you’ll have decided whether this system is a good fit for your home.
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System with Salt-Free Softener is a reliable solution to serious contamination, such as lead and cysts in drinking water and also conditions mildly hard water using an efficient salt-free water softener. If I were dealing with lead- or pathogen-contaminated water, I’d feel confident using this system to protect my family.
Who Is the SpringWell LCRFS-1 For?
Every house has unique water requirements, and it’s perfectly normal for a water filter system to not be suitable for you, even if it is of high quality. A few factors can tell you if this water filter is right for you.
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 is for you if…
- Your plumbing system is older than 1986, meaning it could include lead.
- You’re in an area with known lead contamination.
- You’ve tested your water and found cysts and other germs.
- You live in a state or locality where salt-based water softeners are banned.
- You’re looking for a complete solution to tackle lead, cysts, and hard water.
- You live in a place where authorities frequently issue drinking water advisories.
The LCRFS-1 is not your cup of tea if…
- Your area has a low risk of lead contamination.
- You’re dealing with issues like rotten egg smell, rust, arsenic, nitrates, and magnesium.
- You’re searching for a whole-house filter for general filtration rather than something specific.
- You have a private well or deal with extremely hard water; think about using SpringWell’s LCRSS-1 or WSSS1 with added UV purification instead. If you want an additional information, I’ve conducted a comprehensive review of the SpringWell LCRSS-1 and SpringWell WSSS1.
SpringWell LCRFS-1 Features Breakdown
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 filtration system offers a comprehensive solution for removing extremely dangerous water contaminants, along with an added system for mild to moderate hard water. Here is a detailed breakdown of the features you can expect from the LCRFS-1.
The LCRFS-1 utilizes a specially designed 0.5-micron filter to remove both soluble and particulate lead from your water supply.
In my hometown, the water is at risk of containing lead due to most plumbing systems being older than 1986, when the official ban on this substance began. After installing SpringWell’s filter, I found no detectable lead in my water sample, which is extremely reassuring.
Mind you, there are NO safe levels of lead. So, for your water filter to be effective, it must completely remove lead from your water source. A trace amount can have serious effects on health, some of which can be fatal. Also, lead is difficult to detect since it has no foul smell or color. The only way to detect it is by having your water tested.
Some states in the US are at a higher risk of lead contamination than others. Thankfully, the Washington State Department of Health has created a map for lead exposure in each US state, making it easy for you to determine the risk factor in your area.
Removal of cysts and similar elements
Cysts from Giardia and Crypto — no, not Bitcoin, the parasite Cryptosporidium — are germs that can seriously make you ill and can be present in untreated well water. Cysts and related microorganisms can cause serious stomach distress, including diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. They’re resistant to chlorine and other disinfectants, which makes them pretty scary.
Sometimes, due to defects in supply pipes or unsanitary practices, these pathogens can sneak into city water as well.
Whatever the cause, you don’t want to end up with them in your water.
SpringWell’s 0.5-micron filter effectively removes these parasitic germs, making your tap water safe for both drinking and cooking. The SpringWell LCRFS-1 not only takes care of all the above, it also removes chlorine, chloramine and PFOAs.
Hard water treatment
SpringWell’s LCRFS-1 offers an eco-friendly and efficient solution for hard water. The SpringWell FS1 FutureSoft salt-free softener is a separate system from the lead and cyst removal filter, perfect for a hardness gpg (grains per gallon) max of 81, which means it can effectively neutralize mildly or moderately hard water.
However, keep in mind salt-free softeners don’t change hard water to soft water and won’t remove the hardness-causing minerals calcium and magnesium.
Instead, they use a process called template-assisted crystallization to neutralize these minerals, making the particles less likely to stick to surfaces and cause limescale buildup in pipes and on fixtures.
It worked wonderfully for my mildly hard city water supply, but if you have a private well, I’d suggest going for the SpringWell LCRSS-1, which includes a salt-based water softener, with everything else the same.
Groundwater can have iron and manganese, which could be tough on the filter media of salt-free softeners. So, if you use a private well your options are either to install a salt-free softener with a whole-house filter that will remove these things or simply go for a salt-based combo system.
Remember, any damage to the FutureSoft salt-free softener from untreated water can void the warranty.
Installing SpringWell’s LCRFS-1 turned out to be much easier than I expected. The company’s website provides a helpful video guide that’s easy to follow.
But if you’re not completely confident in your DIY skills, it’s probably best to hire a professional. Any installation mishaps on your part might just, you know, void the warranty (no pressure).
Also, consider buying the $150 installation kit because it really makes installation a breeze. I was a bit disappointed with SpringWell, though, as I expected the kit to be free.
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 system has three components: a 0.5-micron filter, a salt-free conditioner, and a pre-filter. The softener doesn’t require any maintenance and can last up to 8 to 10 years before requiring a resin replacement.
However, the 0.5-micron filter needs replacement after 100,000 gallons or a year, whatever comes first. It comes with a digital notification head that keeps track of filter health and will display a warning when it needs a change. It’s pretty convenient.
The same goes for the sediment filter, which needs to be changed every six to nine months and only costs about $20 to replace.
With timely replacement, you can expect an optimal flow rate for one-to-three-bathroom homes. For bigger homes, you’ll need larger varieties of the same SpringWell LCRFS series. Speak to the SpringWell customer service about upgrade options.
I don’t mind replacing the .5-micron filter because they’re easy to install, but they do come at a cost of over $400 annually. However, for a safe and healthy water supply, it’s definitely worth it.
SpringWell offers a six-month money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with the water quality, you can send it back. There’s also a lifetime warranty on the outer body, fittings, and valves. Additionally, there are warranties based on filter performance as well, which you can read about here. All in all, they have the best warranty in the market.
What I Like About the SpringWell LCRFS-1
The main thing I like about this filter system is it’s a complete package. It targets chlorine, chloramine, PFOAs, lead, cysts and, of course, hard water. Unfortunately, all these contaminants are pretty common in tap water, and a holistic solution like SpringWell LCRFS-1 is quite appealing and economical.
While it may take longer than you expected for your flow rate to improve after installing the FutureSoft, keep in mind the removal of years of scale buildup will take a few weeks. Eventually, you’ll see improved flow rate throughout the home, and lower energy costs as your washing machine and hot water heater begin functioning more efficiently.
An included 5-micron sediment pre-filter also clears your water of sand, silt, and debris, enhancing the filtration efficiency and protecting your appliances, including the rest of your filter. Unfortunately, some combination whole-house filters don’t come with a sediment filter, requiring you to purchase and install one separately.
That this sediment filter is included is a real bonus in my book.
The water pressure is great, and you can contact customer support to get the right filter variant suitable for your needs. There isn’t much to maintain — just an annual filter change that takes a maximum of ten minutes. What’s great is you don’t have to set a reminder on your calendar to change it. The filter itself will tell you when it’s approaching a filter change. I love that.
Plus, the six-month money-back guarantee provides enough time to evaluate performance, iron out any kinks in the system or get a full refund if you are unsatisfied.
What You Might Not Like About the SpringWell LCRFS-1
There aren’t many things to dislike about LCRFS-1. It does what it says, and it does it pretty darn well. However, when I found out the annual maintenance cost was $400+, it was a bit off-putting at first. Sure, it removes extremely harmful elements like lead and cysts, but still, that might be steep for some folks.
The subscription price, while lower, doesn’t improve the cost by much, so be aware of this before going in. Of course, if your water has lead, the cost of not filtering it is much greater.
Also, you need to be really mindful when installing big systems like these because every house has unique requirements. For example, using the salt-free softener that comes with the LCRFS-1 with a private well may cause problems for you. The reason is iron and manganese, common in well water, can damage the resin in your salt-free system.
I recommend you have your water sample tested and discuss your needs with SpringWell’s customer support before making any purchases. You may need to add an additional filter that removes manganese, particularly an air injection oxidation or reverse osmosis system.
If you’re on well water, there are other factors you should consider. Your well water test will guide you, but you need to keep in mind this filter does not remove industrial contaminants, such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, or other harmful chemicals. For those, you need a filter with activated carbon.
As I said, all water quality issues are different, and the solutions vary just as much.
The lead and cyst removal system is great at what it does, but it’s important to have realistic expectations for the salt-free softener. It’s not a sure-fire solution to hard water. If you have very hard water and a large house and family, or you want to solve problems with skin, hair, and laundry, a salt-based water softener may be the answer.
However, SpringWell’s FutureSoft water softener alternative is eco-friendly and more efficient than other products in the same category, and it will reduce and prevent scale buildup.
Such a thorough water system review wouldn’t have been possible without my seven-step research method. Here’s a brief explanation of the steps I followed.
Step 1: A list of SpringWell water filtration systems
My main objective was to find a filter system that effectively removes lead and other contaminants. A combination system is much more economical and efficient because you can’t always realistically install a separate system for each water contaminant.
Thankfully, SpringWell’s LCRFS-1 was a perfect test subject. A lead and cyst removal system with salt-free softener. There’s another similar product, the LCRSS-1, in SpringWell’s inventory, which has the same components except for a salt-based water softener.
Step 2: Product Analysis
Now, I needed specific criteria to assess this water filtration system. I knew finding the right answers begins with asking the right questions.
- How serious is lead contamination, and what is the minimum acceptable requirement in drinking water?
- What kind of filter can remove germs like cysts that cause digestive distress?
- How long do lead filters last?
- Are flow rate and water pressure as much of an issue as brands profess?
- How can the product warranty offer peace of mind?
- Are salt-free water conditioners really worth it?
- How does the SpringWell FutureSoft FS-1 compare with other salt-free systems?
- What are the alternatives to this SpringWell water filtration system?
A little brainstorming on these questions helped me make sense of my next steps.
Step 3: Online reviews
Next, I went online and researched how the general public views SpringWell products. I skimmed through hundreds of verified comments on authentic sites like Better Business Bureau, Angi, Consumer Reports, and Amazon reviews.
This gave me better insights into recurring issues people faced during prolonged use. I chose not to rely on comments on the company’s site since they’re often carefully curated.
I paid special attention to comments, complaints, and praise I saw repeated across multiple users and platforms. These were the ones I knew would be most legitimate and accurately guide my research.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Taking things up a notch, I planned interviews with real customers. It took some time, but by using Reddit and NextDoor, I managed to contact people who either had SpringWell whole-house filters or were using other brands, like Aquasana and US Water Systems. It helped me compare the alternate options in the market as well.
I asked these customers about their water tests, the performance of their lead filters and salt-free softeners, and if they would recommend these devices to others.
Step 5: Interview with SpringWell
Staying fair, I reached out to SpringWell and asked about the common complaints people had regarding its system. To my surprise, the company’s team was responsive and provided helpful answers to all my questions. Having good after-sales and customer service is truly essential for long-term satisfaction.
With a warranty as robust as SpringWell’s, it’s always a good idea to investigate the fine print. What limitations are there to the warranty, and how easy is it to fulfill? SpringWell’s reps were kind enough to explain it to me, with no obfuscation.
Step 6: Test drives
Finally, it was time to find out what the SpringWell LCRFS-1 system is really made of by putting it to the test myself. I rented the system from a local water treatment specialist and connected the LCRFS-1 to my own system, collecting water samples at regular intervals.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for me, my hometown is at high risk for lead contamination and also has hard water, making it the perfect testing ground. I tested the LCRFS-1 for a full month so I could produce this accurate review.
Step 7: Final Score
Now that I had all the data, I put everything together in a spreadsheet and assigned points to each scoring parameter. Here’s a quick list of the benchmarks I used for my review:
- Effectiveness in removing lead
- Protection against cysts and germs
- Hard water conditioning
- Filter life
- Ease of installation and maintenance
- Water flow and pressure
- Overall cost and warranty
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 delivered solid results across the board and earned a score of 8.9/10 in my testing criteria.
The SpringWell LCRFS-1 is a worthy whole-house filtration system, and I am quite satisfied with its performance. Lead contamination is a serious issue, and the 0.5-micron filter does a good job removing it. You’ll also get protection against cysts and other highly infectious germs with the same filter, which is just remarkable.
With 85% of US groundwater being hard water, it makes sense for a water filter system to include a softener, and while it may not be as effect as a salt-based, ion exchange water softener, the FutureSoft salt-free softener is the right fit for the job if an eco-friendly solution is what you need.
Together, this premium filter and softener combo offer well-rounded protection against serious contaminants and mildly hard water. Upgrade your home water filter system with the SpringWell LCRFS-1 today and benefit from SpringWell’s industry-leading warranty.
To explore other options, read my review of the best filter and softener combination systems, or see some specific alternatives below.
If you’ve not yet decided that the LCRFS-1 whole-house water filter and salt-free water conditioner is for you, you might want to compare it with similar products. So, take a look at these other lead filter and softener combos I’ve reviewed.
The Aquasana OptimH20 filtration system uses a high-density carbon block for lead, chlorine, cysts and PFOA removal. It’s much more efficient than the standard granular-activated carbon commonly used in whole-house water filters. The system also has a big 20” pre-filter and a salt-free softener.
Aquasana’s main feature is its unique design, which offers greater contact of water with the filtration media, resulting in better overall performance. However, this whole-house filter system does take up more space than the SpringWell LCRFS-1.
US Water Systems
So, I recommend going for US Water Systems’ Pioneer Whole-House Lead, Cyst & PFOA/PFOS removal system and pairing it with the GreenWave salt-free system for an even better experience. Who said we can’t create our own combos?
Crystal Quest’s Lead Removal Whole House Filter System is effective against heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramine. It comes with a water softener and includes pre- and post-filters for better filtration. The flow rates are good and don’t diminish over time. Though it removes lead, the filter isn’t particularly designed for protection against cysts and bacteria.
The price, however, is half that of the LCRFS-1.
If you’re searching for evaluations of water purification systems other than SpringWell LCRFS-1, you’ve found the ideal destination! Our comprehensive compilation of water filter reviews covers a wide array of brands and models presently available in the market.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the water filter brands and models we’ve rigorously analyzed: