I'm a new homeowner looking at installing a water softener in my house. There's just 2 of us living there, and our water is moderatly hard (I forget the actual number from the quality report). I'm looking at installing an inexpensive whirlpool model, any idea on how those stack up against more professional models?

One problem I've run into is my sewer line is very high in my basement. Is the drain on most softeners under pressure, or will I need to position the softener to be gravity fed somehow?

Another related question, how much discharge can I expect from the softener? Would draining it into a drain into the ground be a possible solution?