I posted this on another forum before I found this one, thanks for the help:

So, I had Culligan over yesterday and we talked about setting up a whole system: a pre-filter before the softener, a water softener, and a reverse osmosis system for the kitchen/fridge. Total cost with installation, tax, etc.... $3900! OUCH! Now, I am certainly all for paying more for a quality product, and more importantly the customer service, but that is just way more than I expected to pay.

I've spent the last day and a half searching the interwebnets for more information, and this forum seemed to be the most help. I guess what I'm looking for more help for the following:

A little pre-information - City Water/Sewer, as per Culligan, only 5 gpg hardness, water odor, trouble with laundry odor if left too long before drying, towels only last a day or two before smelling (after showers), significant skin issues since we've moved up here (although the doctor doesn't believe it to be water related, I believe it is). Purchase about 5 cases of 1-liter bottles a month for drinking.

1. The correct size system; according to this formula: family size (4 or 6 (two girls approaching the teens)) X 75= 300-450; X 5 gpg (per Culligan test)=1500-2250 Daily Capacity; X5=7500-11250 Softener Size. I still don't know what that gets me to.

2. I'm fairly handy, and not afraid to tackle a job. Is installing this set up OK for the DIYer, or better left to the pros?

3. Although I've researched the water softeners, I haven't researched filter systems and RO systems - any recommendations?

4. I'm also going to have at least 2 other companies out, F.F. Kling & Sons, and WaterCheck. Anyone heard of these companies?

5. Culligan was pushing their bag-filter pre-filter-system. Although they didn't have anything to show, it was explained as similar to a pool filter set-up, and more efficient than the standard charcoal cylinder set-up. Opinions?

Thanks for the replies, I hope I've given enough information