Misleading Statements, Falsehoods and Deception: Salt-Free Water Treatment Systems
By Mark S. Timmons, CWS-VI, CI, CSR - aka/"The Water Doctor"
For the past several months, I have been troubled by the way salt-free water treatment systems have been marketed by manufacturers and their dealers. After considerable thought, what I am about to write should be welcomed by the "legitimate" ethical manufacturers and dealers, but may cause me to be scorned by the unethical, fly-by-night operators, and the out-and-out charlatans. If you are a manufacturer or dealer, how you respond to what I write, will speak volumes about your ethics and legitimacy, and will ultimately define the legacy of your company.
I. SOFTENER OR CONDITIONER OR NEITHER?
First of all, I am going to address the issue I think most "ethical" persons agree with - that salt-free devices which purport to create "seed crystals" or form clusters of calcium and magnesium ions, but do not actually take the calcium and magnesium out of the water can not possibly called water "softeners." "Soft" water is created when a "hard" mineral such as calcium and magnesium is replaced with a "soft" mineral, such as sodium or potassium. To date, ion-exchange is the only cost-effective, practical way to soften water. I will take it a step further and say that I believe anyone who calls a salt-free scale-prevention device a water "softener" is either naive, deliberately deceptive,or is in fact, a charlatan.
Consumers, if you are looking at any salt-free system, whether it be magnetic, electronic, RF (radio frequency) or systems with media to prevent scale, and that company calls it a "softener," you should stop looking at that company and RUN, because in my opinion, they are intent upon deceiving you or are ignorant of the facts and are not true water professionals. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THERE IS NO SALT-FREE DEVICE THAT IS A SOFTENER.
If there is, here is your opportunity to prove it to the world. Contact this blog and show me! If not, you are no longer ignorant and you should remove the word "softener" from all your advertising and sales tactics.
Some of us have rationalized that while they are not "softeners" they are "conditioners," because they "condition" the water. Using that same rationale, would mean dumping cow manure into the water is also "conditioning." I confess, I used to call it "conditioning" as well, but I now believe that too is deceptive. Here's why: most people think of a water softener and a water conditioner as the same thing, and the use of the word "conditioner" conjures up those same thoughts of better sudsing, less soap, cleaner, whiter and brighter clothes and even the "slick" feeling of soft water. NONE OF THAT IS TRUE
, which leads into my next point.
II. LESS SOAP, MORE SUDS, CLEANER, WHITER & BRIGHTER CLOTHES? NOT!
This is going to be a short section. Look, you can find consumers who will say that, but the "lunatic fringe" may also say they have talked to people in spaceships. There is also the "placebo effect" wherein people want to believe it does all that. The empirical evidence says otherwise! I do not know of a single Salt-Less or Salt-Free or No-Salt system that causes you to uses less soap or detergents, and that will make your clothes whiter and brighter. Again, if I am wrong - here is your chance to prove it. Otherwise, you should remove the false, deceptive and mis-leading statements from your web sites and literature. Most of all, you should remove it from your sales "culture."
III. SO WHAT DO WE CALL THEM?
Now, you might ask, "if we can't call then a "softener" or a "conditioner," what do we call them?" CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE
: Scale Prevetion Devices
. TELL THE TRUTH!
It's no more or no less. Many people do not want to use salt or carry heavy bags. Some people do not want any salt in their water. If your product truly prevents scale and if there is some type of carbon filtration component to it, then call it a "Scale Prevention & Chemical Removal System
" - that is what it does. That is a fact! Now, it's also a fact that some products work better than others, and before Uncle Sam gets involved, because the salt-free industry has no regulation, all the manufacturers should get together and agree on some type of testing protocol... unless they really are charlatans!
Is the company whose product you are thinking of purchasing a true "water treatement company" or are they just "one trick pony?" In other words, do they sell just one-type of product, such as a radio frequency device, or are they truly someone who is qualified to treat any water problem. There is no one "black box" that solves every water problems and there are many companies whose products have very limited validity.
MY FINAL WORDS ARE: LET THE BUYER BEWARE!