I've been using one for about 18 months, including in an area with very high iron. It has worked very well for me. I first filter through a 5 micron charcoal filter, then the softener, then a 1 micron charcoal filter. In the high iron area without the softener and filters the water was orange after sitting for a day in the fridge. After filtration the water was bottled water quality. I refill my water bottles from the tap until the bottles wear out.
We do more traveling and dry camping than long term, so our setup is a bit different than Scott's. We put the softener before the sediment filter (no charcoal filter) just because it is easier to hook up that way. We generally fill our tanks every 4-7 days and run off the tank water instead of park water. Exception is when I am doing a bunch of laundry when we use park water directly (though that passes through the softener too). Our water and ice are crystal clear and pretty tasty. We never use bottled water.
I'm a full timer so my system gets a ton of use. I generally use a charcoal filter and will get one of the softeners for sure. Maybe with a different shower head I can use the lower micron filter as well.
We like ours and it's the 16000 unit. Suggest getting the larger one because in the southwest, the water is extremely hard. Was regenerating every 2 wks when in Yuma. Even wash the Jeep via the water softener. We use a sediment filter prior to the softener. A carbon filter is used afterwards.
We have both a softener and the activated carbon filter. We've been full timers for 7 years and had a motorhome 19 years before selling the S&B home. We have always had a softener and carbon filter on the water where ever we go. We have no scaling and the carbon does a great job on the chlorine, taste and oder removal.
The main advantage is no scale buildup around the faucets and no scale in the water heater. In areas where there is high iron, you do need to periodically treat the softener to remove the iron from the resin. The softener does prevent the buildup of rust color in the fixtures.
We?ve used this water softener for two seasons now. The water is really hard and we used to get a red tinge on the toilet bowl, but not any more. I couple it with a standard blue Camco water filter and I?m good to go. I don?t drink the tap water ever. Local analysis says there is arsenic in the water so it?s good for utility use but not to drink. I don?t want to take a chance. Another key point, be sure to recharge the filter at the proper time. Given the hardness of the water, I recharge the salt every two weeks. Also, if you ever put The filter into storage for a few months, put a quarter cup of bleach in it to prevent bacteria growth ... you?ll know from the smell! Be sure to flush it before you start the next season. I attached a pic of the label of the one I use (I hope) ... there are others out, so shop around!