Saltless Water Softener
A traditional water softening system removes the hardness-causing calcium and magnesium ions from the water supply through a process of ion exchange in which particles are replaced with sodium or potassium molecules that are stored within the softener. This approach uses a 2 chamber system that collects calcium and magnesium ions in a resin bed that is washed with a concentrated salt solution as it nears a point of saturation.
The process of washing the resin bed is referred to as regeneration because it has the effect of removing the ions that cause hardness and restoring the resin bed’s capacity to continue pulling hardness causing ions from the water. The calcium and magnesium ions are then directed through a drain that leads to the municipal waste water system.
Although salt-based systems are highly effective when it comes to softening hard water, they result in an above average concentration of salt that is directed into the waste water system. These high salt concentrations can cause damage to the environment and have become a concern for some municipalities in the United States. In addition, the ions that cause the water to become hard have actually been shown to be beneficial to human health. Salt-based softeners remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water and therefore eliminate any health benefits that may have resulted from the consumption of these ions. These two negative aspects associated with traditional water softeners have led many people to purchase one of the saltless water softener alternatives currently available on the market.
A saltless water softener system may use one of many different techniques that have the effect of changing the nature of the ions that cause hardness so that they do not adhere to surfaces. These systems leave the calcium and magnesium in the water, but alter their structure so that they do not cause scale to accumulate. In addition, a saltless water softener does not require users to replenish a salt tank and does not result in elevated salt concentrations in the environment. It has been shown that salt-based systems are more effective than those that leave calcium and magnesium in the water, but they also have some compelling downsides that may cause individuals to decide to purchase one of the salt-free alternatives that have become popular. In order to make an informed purchasing decision, it is a good idea to become familiar with the different types of saltless water softener systems currently available on the market.
Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC)
The Aquasana EQ-SS20 Simply Soft – Uses innovative technology to naturally condition your water and to protect your pipes from corrosion without the use of added sodium. It works by altering the ionic charge of the hard mineral crystals to reduce their attraction to each other. By altering their ionic charge, hard minerals will no longer clump together to create scale (CA and Mg buildup). It also acts as a barrier in the plumbing to prevent corrosion.
The nuvoH2O Manor Complete – Enjoy healthy, salt-free soft water that not only prevents, but also removes hard-water buildup that clogs and corrodes your water heater and other home plumbing fixtures and appliances. This compact system lowers the PH of water based on the scientific process of chelation in which the metal ions causing hard water, mainly calcium and magnesium, are bound to the chelating agent.
The Trillium Worldwide TWI-5001 Mineral Magnet – Uses a powerful magnetic field to modify the polarization of mineral salts and reduce calcium deposits and build-up in fresh water pipes. Through the use of powerful magnetic fields mineral salts in water will continue to flow rather than settle and harden on water pipes. This means scale build-ups will be reduced which can lead to tastier tap water, healthier skin and cleaner dishes.
1) The Eddy Electronic Descaler – Produces a complex electromagnetic wave which is then applied through two coils placed around your incoming water supply pipe. In this way your water is subjected to an alternating magnetic field as it passes through the two coils. This alters the adhesion properties of the limescale so that it no longer deposits itself on your clean surfaces, inside pipework and appliances.
2) The Clearwave CW-125 – Conditions hard water without the expense and hassle of salt, chemicals, or traditional hard water systems. It attacks hard water particles that create scale buildup with electromagnetic waves helping to prevent and reduce the hard water problem. Following treatment, calcium and magnesium particles remain in suspension, flowing freely through the system and down the drain.
Purchasing a Saltless Water Softener
The decision to buy the saltless water softener over a traditional system should be based on a variety of factors including one’s concern over environmental impact, the health benefits of leaving calcium and magnesium in the water, desired effectiveness, severity of hardness, and the amount of ongoing work required to keep the system functioning properly. Since these variables are different for everyone, there is no universal answer to the question of whether or not a salt-free system is most appropriate.
In addition, there are many different types of salt-free systems that offer varying degrees of effectiveness and ease-of-use. In the end, the decision to purchase one of these types of softeners is highly personal and should be made after a very thorough evaluation of the features that are important to you and the reviews that have been written by those who have used the system that you are considering.