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Watts touts the E-Treat Water Conditioning System as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional water softeners. Instead of salt, the product uses “anti-scale media” — as the company calls it — to convert calcium ions to tiny crystals that can’t attach to surfaces and become scale deposits. The 13-inch-by-65-inch tank uses no electricity, requires no backwashing, and is simple to install. The system costs about $1,320. Watts, 800/659-8400,