Yes, it's a totally stand alone unit. You can use it with two or four of the filters installed, four would just filter the water faster. We use two, and it's sufficient for our use, since there are only two of us.
I remove and scrub the ceramics every few months with a green scrubby, no cleaners or soaps should be used. That takes off the scale from the filters. The filters will last many years without replacement.
Unlike reverse osmosis, it won't remove the minerals, which you do want in your water. Since we live in the desert, I'm very particular about my water