Saltfree Water Conditioners – Boom or Bane?

Saltfree Water Conditioners – Boom or Bane?
By Mark Timmons
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Saltfree Water Conditioners – Boom or Bane?

Hello ‘Water Doctor’ Mark, I have spent a long time over the past couple of days doing what research I can on these saltless water conditioner. The whole issue has become confusing…but I’m trying desperately to properly evaluate my options. We have a nasty problem with scale and yet I DO NOT like soft water via typical sodium or phosphorus softening systems…I can’t stand that damned ‘greasy/soap ain’t gone’ feeling. That I’ve gotten this far in the Google list (think you’re on about page five of my search) is a testament to how concerned I am. I’ve noted that numerous companies hawking the ‘next-stop media’ type systems use the same justifications for their worth…many even using the exact same textual references. This strikes me a bogus. Also, one article I read mentioned that only ONE salt-free conditioning system had ever met the German test criteria/certification, and that was a cathotic system…not these ‘next-stop’ or ‘SP3′ crystallization systems. Now I read above that you’ve found fault with some of these companies as marketing ineffective media. I’m glad to avoid an expensive mistake. However the media you DO recommend; what are its ‘certification’ credentials? Does it meet the…perhaps fancy but non-applicable…German DVGW standards? More importantly, if the crystallization-suspension of the calcium only lasts for a short period of time…what happens to water that passes through the unit, on to a hot water heater and then remains static for hours or, perhaps, days? In those length time periods would the calcium not move out of suspension and back into dilution? If the GreenWavesystem can be verified as effective I’m very much interested in learning that. Thank you, NJR The Water Doctor Replied: Dear NJR, First, let me address the nextScaleStoip media - Which media are you refering to?  The original German media that was allegedly tested under DVGW-512 or the media that was made in Canada after that  or the media that is allegedly made in Wisconsin now or some other media they use that we don't know about. Do I sound bitter?  Well, I'm not bitter, but I'm smarter after our company had to "eat" a lot of bad next Scale Stop media, as have lots of other companies.  The failure was always explained by next Scale Stop to be the fault of some water characteristic.  It was never the media.  We spent thousands of dollars replacing media and systems in next scale stop systems to satisfy the customers.  We have a perfect record with the BBB.  This pattern of blaming the water and not the media is pervasive in residential and commercial applications.  I personally know of many commercial failures by the next Scale Stop media within a few months of installation, and next Scale Stop refused to stand in back of the failure.  That's why I no longer use next Scale Stop and why they have no credibility with me. DVGW-512 is an "urban legand" as far as I am concerned.  We have tested many medias and our current MEP Media, Version 3.1 is the best we have found.  It's been two years since we switched to that version and have had only two failures.   Icannot tell you why they faiuled, however as the water they were on was the same water where many other Green Wave Systems worked well.   It may be that "the crystallization-suspension of the calcium only lasts for a short period of time" like you asked and "what happens to water that passes through the unit, on to a hot water heater and then remains static for hours or, perhaps, days?  In those length time periods would the calcium not move out of suspension and back into dilution?" I can tell you that the suspension seems to last for 72 hours or more, but more research is needed on this issue.  In the meantime, it's "Dodge City" out there.  Companies are making all kinds of outrageous claims (I guess the unpolitically correct name for them is "lies").  Things like this are pure fiction:
  • The media lasts a lifetime.
  • Uses 50% less soaps and detergents.
  • This is naturally softened water.
And the biggest lie is when they call it a "saltfree water softener."  IT DOES NOT SOFTEN THE WATER - You can only soften the water by removing the calcium and magnesium and replacing it with sodium.  It can be called CONDITIONED WATER, but it's "Caveat Emptor" - Let the buyer beware. We disclose very little about our MEP media as we don't really want to "tip off" our competitors as to how we have been successful in the saltless water treatment market.  We are continually looking for new and better media, but to date MEP 3.1 is the best we have found.   This all sounds very self-serving,  and it is, but it is also the truth.  That' the best I can tell you. Sometimes, you just have to check a company out.  See if they are "straight shooters" and trust them to do what they say.  I think we are that company, but you will have to decide that for yourself.
January 14, 2011
Comments
Neil Rinearson
January 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM
Thanks for the quick reply Mark...this is a temporal issue in terms of ongoing construction that is quickly reaching the 'make decision' time where the plumbing is concerned. I understand fully that none of the non-salt/potasseum systems are 'softeners'. I don't WANT a water softener (but my wife does). What I'm hoping for...which, I suspect is what EVERYBODY is looking for...is a method to eliminate the scale problems without an ion replacement system and its attendant drawbacks; principally, in my case, the taste and 'soap ain't gone' feeling in a shower. I have no reason to challenge your honesty, but then again, without access to trustworthy personal knowledge of these systems' track records until I read your comments last night I had no reason (other than being, perhaps, 'too good to be true' to question the advertizing materials associated with the nextScale Stop. Now you're suggesting the German DVGW standars are essentially an 'urban legend'. This was also the opinion of another 'expert' who had numerous challenges to the methodology and completeness of their testing procedures. If ANYTHING I've read so far on this subject is to be taken seriously, the one test result I saw implied that at least on system did work, but WHICH ONE was not mentioned. Other literature implied that it was the cathodic system...the Germans use. This fact in itself lends a credibility question to the issue. You say you've only had two failures so far with your MEP 3.1 media. How did you define failures? What are the performance specifications for this newer rendition of media? I'm in Kerrville, TX...what happens if this water (from a well with iron filtration) isn't 'compatible' with the system and doesn't work as it should? You say there needs to be more research done on the time the calcium and magnesium remain in suspension; it strikes me that there needs to be a great deal more credible research about these systems than just the suspension time. If, as you suggest, the suspension lasts approx. 72 hours, does water in hot water heaters or toilet tanks or branches of a home that are not used regularly essentially revert to its untreated condition? I really can't afford to buy a 'Dodge City' experience, Mark. Either these things will work or they won't and the 'bottom line' limitations need to be evident. As I mentioned in my original post; what criteria (verification if you will) are you using to determine when one of the MEP-3 systems has 'failed'. There must be some way to tell if it works or it doesn't. And to that end, how often does the MEP-3 media require replacement. I don't have a problem with exchaning it so long as it's not so frequent as to be a nuisance or so expensive as to be impractial. Thanks, NJR
Eric Foronjy
January 17, 2011 at 11:53 AM
NJR, I would say the safe bet is to do what your wife wants. Stay clear of "Dodge City." I've been fussing with salt free water systems for years with no real success. You'll get used to the slippery feeling in no time. Eric "Water Snob" Foronjy
Andy
January 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM
Do you know anything about NuvoH2O? https://www.nuvoh2o.com/ They say they are a salt-free softener. Can this little filter convert hard water to soft water? Are they legit or this just another scam?
mark
January 30, 2011 at 2:12 PM
Andy, There is usually an element of truth in every lie. They have a very nice website, but what they say makes no sense scientifically. We do test some of these systems to see if what they claim is truth. I see no reason to test something that runs contradictory to reason.
A J Magro Sr
February 17, 2013 at 10:42 AM
I am on a municipal well in Northern Illinois (Tower Lakes IL). How well will a USWater MEP Saltless system work for my 2 1/2 bathroom home. Does it provide the same results as my current Angel salt water softener?
mark
February 19, 2013 at 7:43 AM
It will work, but it does not do what a water softener does. Read about the differences here: https://www.uswatersystems.com/salt-free-water-conditioners-versus-salt-water-softeners
Tina
September 15, 2014 at 9:03 AM
Maybe a little costley but I wonder if you can use one of the saltless systems along with a salt softner if so could it solve most of the problems.
Mark Timmons
October 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM
A water softener takes out calcium and magnesium. If you put a salt free system before the softener, the softener would still take it out and if you put a salt free system after a softener, it would serve no purpose. The only reason to use both would be if you had more money than sense!