Softener, Not A Softener. Misleading Advertising In Water Treatment.
Let us begin with a definition of what a water softener is:
- A water softener is a type of water filter designed to REMOVE certain minerals from hard water.
- Household water softeners use a salt type of regenerant, either sodium chloride or potassium chloride, as a way to recharge the ion exchange process of removing hard minerals.
The dissolved minerals we associate with causing water hardness are calcium and magnesium. Secondary minerals that a water softener will remove are dissolved iron and manganese, while tertiary dissolved minerals include radium and barium. If these minerals are not being removed by your water treatment, then your water treatment is not a water softener.
There are many companies, especially on the internet, selling “Salt Free Water Softeners”. These companies are lying. Without some type of salt, these filters are incapable of softening. You should not buy these devices from companies that are lying to you. There are, however, many companies that market their products under the name of “Salt Free Water Conditioners”. This name is more accurate and less deceiving because conditioning is a more broad term.
A water softener is one type of water conditioner. Water softening resin is a type of media used for ion exchange. In the category of products that are supposed to help customers deal with hard water without using a salt regenerant are filters that use another type of media, one that causes Template Induced Crystallization. The idea here is that calcium crystals temporarily attach to the resin bead and allow more crystals to attach to create a larger, less dissolved calcium or magnesium crystal that are less likely to stick to surfaces. The manufacturers I have spoken to about these products say that the technology can be as much as 60% as effective as a water softener. I have had some success using these products, but I never market them as softeners, and since I am a local dealer, I offer them only to people who agree that if it doesn’t work, it will be traded out for a water softener at no additional cost, and this is the only way I would recommend you ever purchase these products. This pretty much takes internet marketing companies out of the picture because how are they going to come to your home and remove the Template Induced Crystallization system and replace it with a softener at no additional cost? . Also, my sales of these units has been very limited due to the fact that iron destroys them and my territory has a very pervasive iron problem.
The next products being marketed as salt free water softeners usually fall into some type of magnetic or electromagnetic treatment system. All I can say here is that these are not even plumbed into the water system and usually consist of magnets bolted around the pipe or wires wrapped around the pipe. There have been some studies supporting efficacy of these units in closed loop water cooling towers, but what I have seen after twenty years in water treatment causes me to suggest that if you truly want to try this route, make sure you have a 100 percent money back guarantee from a reputable company. Of course, again, no reputable company will be marketing these as softeners. They will only use the term conditioner. I do not sell these systems.
So to recap, non salt water conditioners may work for you, and if you want to try them, make sure you get some type of guarantee that won’t leave you stuck with something that doesn’t work.
If you live in Connecticut and need help with a water issue, call Clean Water Man, Inc at 203-417-9601.