Arizona State University recently completed an Evaluation of Alternatives to Domestic Ion Exchange Water Softeners on April 26, 2011.  An overview of that evaluation can he found HERE.  Mara Wiest, Dr. Peter Fox, Dr. Lee Wontae, HDR, and Tim Thomure, HDR were responsible for the study.  The study objective was to:

 “identify credible alternatives to ion exchange water softeners that would provide consumers with the ability to reduce the impacts of hard water without creating the negative salinity impacts.”

There were four (4) No-Salt Alternatives tested in this study:

  • Capacitive Deionization
  • Electrically Induced Precipitation
  • Template Assisted Crystallization
  • Electromagnetic Water Treatment

The testing procedure was as follows:

  • All four devices were tested for 21 days each on three different water qualities by running water around a heating element (much like a water heater).
  • After the 21 days, the bath and heating elements were cleaned using an acid solution.
  • The sacle removed was then weighed and the scale dissolved was measured using the EDTA complexing method.

The water quality ranged from 180 mg/l (10.5 gpg) to 250 mg/l (14.6 gpg).   The results were astounding.   While all of the devices were somewhat effective at removing scale,  the TAC (Templated Assisted Crystallization) method was proven to be dramatically superior to any other treatement method.  It consistely removed over 90% of hard water scale. The devices where wires were wrapped around pipes did work to some degree, but didn’t even reach a level of being 50% effective!

Would you want a salt-free water conditioner that is less than 50% effective or something that is nearly 100% effective?

The template assisted crystallization (TAC) media is a name associated with nextScale Stop,  Watts One Flow and Scale-Net systems, but in my opinion, Filtersorb SP3 Media, Watts E-Treat Media and Green Wave Media are the same in function while different in nomenclatere.   In my opinion TAC and MEP are one and the same in theory, function and operation.

The TAC and MEP devices on the market, use a tank with media inside which gives the calcium and magnesium a “physical matrix” by which they can attach, lose their electrical charge and render them inert.  If you want to prevent scale to any major degree without salt, the TAC and MEP Methods beat the competition HANDS DOWN!