A mechanical softener is good but to buy one just because of lighting storms is not wise. They can suffer from lighting strikes along with any elect or electronic devices in your home. If you don't have multiple showers heads or body sprayers, the Fleck 5600 is the best mechanical valve on the market. IMO the Clack valve is the best electronic softener on the market. As for chlorine removal, if your are going to use a prefilter, get a 20" "BigBlue" housing and CBC carbon filter. You might want to look at an auto backwash cabon filter. It will last longer with less maintenance over the inline filter.