Filter and Softener. The Kenmore Elite Hybrid Water Softener does more than soften water and prevent scale buildup in fixtures and appliances. It also functions as a whole-house filter, reducing chlorine taste and providing cleaner water to every faucet in the home, says the maker. The unit is compatible with municipal water systems and most private wells and features a tank design that allegedly makes it easier to pour in salt. It’s available online for about $760. Sears Brands, 888/536-6673,

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