Misleading Statements, Falsehoods and Deception:

Misleading Statements, Falsehoods and Deception:
Posted in: Salt-Free Systems
By Mark Timmons
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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 AREScale Prevetion DevicesTELL 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!
May 13, 2009
Comments
Mike
May 23, 2009 at 4:59 PM
Hi, nice posts there :-) thank's for the interesting information
mark
May 23, 2009 at 9:07 PM
Thanks Mike!
jeff macabee
June 23, 2009 at 12:50 PM
Has ANYONE looked at SCALE Watcher system, They claim to have had a patent for 20 years and , can remove calcium electronically ?? Does it work ?? thanks , let me know !!! jeff
mark
July 3, 2009 at 12:43 AM
Steve, I have never hidden the fact that I am one of the owners of US Water Systems and we do sell the Limeblaster. Several montsh ago we reviewed the operation of the system and the claims made by the manufacturer and decided that we could no longer make those claims in good faith. Therefore, we directed our webmaster to change and delete some parts. After he changed it, I proofed it and OK'ed it. Somehow, it was never uploaded until someone else questioned what it said. It WAS uploaded today and it is dramatically different. Before I contine, why don't you review what it sayus and then get back with me. I will be glad to answer your questions. Sorry for the mixup.
Kathy
October 15, 2009 at 7:31 PM
HI Mark- I have moved to a place where the water is very hard. It is taking its tole on our skin and appliances. We have been looking into both the saltless systems and salt water systems. Can you please help me with what will work best. I am so confused on it. Thank you.
mark
October 21, 2009 at 9:45 PM
Kathy, A lot depends upon what you want and what is in your water. Do you have a water analysis?
Chubb Michaud CWS-VI
April 29, 2010 at 7:44 AM
Mark, The terms water "softener" and water "conditioner" have been used interchangeably in the past. However, WQA recently adopted new definitions that encompass all water treatment devices and processes. If the device reduces the hardness of the feed water to less than 1 grain/gallon, it is a softening device or "softener." This catagory includes reverse osmosis, distillation, EDI (all saltless) and cation exchange (uses salt). Partially softened water is soft water that is blended with hard water. There are no "softeners" that only partially soften. Carbon filters, media filters, iron filters and the like that prepare the water for a specific use such as irrigation or aquaculture are called "conditioners." This class also includes scale reduction devices. <strong></strong>
mark
May 9, 2010 at 10:43 PM
<strong>Chubb, You are correct, although the word “conditioner” sticks in my craw, because in all my years of water treatment, that meant the same as “softener.” Maybe I can get used to it, since it is now acceptable. Thanks for commenting… - Mark</strong>
Scott
May 11, 2010 at 12:57 PM
Mark, It was about a year ago that I posted a question on your site about salt-free water "conditioners." After providing the results of a water analysis, I purchased the Greenwave unit from you and disconnected my old salt-based softener. Since our water tested ~44 gpg for hardness, I was really skeptical as to whether or not it would really be able to do anything. Well, I am now completely sold! It is not a panacea, but I've been quite happy with the job that it does. Here are a few observations from my installation to give others an idea of what they could expect. First, the pros: My installation included treating water that we use at our barn, which was previously untreated. Within a couple weeks, I noticed that our family milk cow's teets were not getting as dry and cracking like they have always done. Now I only have to break out the Bag Balm in the really cold weather. Similarly, when our water softener wasn't working at our house, my wife and daughters would complain about dry skin. This problem doesn't exist with soft water or with the salt free system. Perhaps the best experience I had with the salt free system was when I placed a stock tank heater in a stock tank last December. The heater had at least a half an inch of hard, white build-up from previous winters. After it was in the stock tank for about a month, I was adding water to the tank and the scale was flaking right off the heating element. Okay, now the Cons: The salt free system definitely does NOT produce "soft" water. Personally, I like the 'slick' feel from a water softener, and that is missing with the salt-free unit. Also, we found that glasses in the dishwasher would have a white film on them. While this problem can be solved by using the right rinse agent (I find Lemishine works well), I do suspect that there is likely to be more etching over the long term due to the minerals in the water. One other bit of information for anyone considering one of these units. My unit failed due to a design flaw after ~6 months of use. I was a bit disappointed by the response time of the manufacturer, but I have to give Mark and his team a ton of credit for getting the issue resolved and providing me with an improved design that is working great. Thanks Mark!