Do Salt-Free Water Softeners Really Work?I talk to many people each day, inside and outside the water industry, and the claims by many companies who are trying to sell salt-free, saltless or no-salt (call them what you will) are really confusing. Many are also not rooted in fact. I try to keep an open mind and I am receptive to new and improved technology, but it first has to pass the “smell” test. Devices that “cure” a plethora of water problems and “one size fits all” are dead give-aways to false claims. Let the buyer beware. Frankly, most do not do what they say. However, there is no reason to be confused. The German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) has developed protocol for testing scale prevention properties of these types of devices. This testing protocol is called DVGW Standard W 512.
In order to be certified by this agency, a device must reach the threshold of being at least 80% efficient. There are several devices throughout the world which are certified as being at least 80% efficient, but to my knowledge, there is only one such device in the USA that achieves this level of efficiency, that being nextScaleStop manufactured by next Filtration Technologies, Inc. of Incline Village, Nevada and that is the salt free water conditioner US Water Systems handles, and it is sold under the brand name "Green Wave."
Remember this: Only a salt-based water softener “softens” water. If you like the “slick” feeling of soft water, you won’t like salt-free systems . Systems that really work without salt, “condition” the water by preventing it from sticking to any surface and one more thing that I think should be done that no magnetic or electronic water conditioning device can do, is to remove or reduce the hazardous chemicals like chlorine, THM’s, PCB’s, pesticides, tastes and odors – while leaving the beneficial minerals. This would be the “greenest” system on the market!
I would not be comfortable selling a product that wasn’t nearly 100% efficient at reducing scale and had the certification to prove it! No electronic or electro-magnetic process does that, but there is a process called Template Assisted Crystallization that does.This would be a good time to review some blogs and discussions about salt free-systems. Here are some links: PDF’s: no-salt-soft-factfiction-or-fantasy next-scale stop media To date, the only Salt-Free System in the USA that has passed the Stringent German Standard (DVGW-W512) is nextScaleStop media, used in Watts One-Flow and US WATER’s GreenWave systems. Q. Do salt-free water softeners really work? - David M., Greenville, Ohio A. Well, I am going to have to assume that you are referring to electronic, magnetic or media devices that are purported to "condition" water. Notice, I did not say "soften" water. In my opinion, the only way you can "soften" water is by removing a "hard mineral" (calcium, magnesium) and replacing it with a "soft mineral" (sodium, potassium). Conditioning can be accomplished in a number of ways:
- Filtration - by removing sediment, silt and other contaminants the water is boing "conditioned."
- Carbon Filtration - by passing the water through a media containing carbon to remove chemicals and chlorine.
- Seed Crystalization - by using either electrical current, magnetic or media crystalization to form "seed crystals."
- Oxidation - by using chlorine, potassium permanagante, hrdrogen peroxide, ozone or oxygen to oxidize contaminants in the water.