Update On No-Salt Water Softeners

Update On No-Salt Water Softeners
Posted in: Salt-Free Systems
By Mark Timmons
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Update On No-Salt Water Softeners

The world of salt-free water treatment is constantly evolving with more and more companies joining the fray.  Some companies are selling their products the right way (explaining how it works and not engaging in hyperbole), while others are not so "above-board" in their tactics.  I would encourage anyone who is looking to go "salt-free" to think about whether the company they are considering is  really a "water treatment company" or just a company that is interested in selling a salt-free product and little else.  There is no "black box", that solves all water problems, but if you are dealing with a "full-line" water treatment company, you generally can rest assured that they have the expertise to know which product to apply to specific water problems. The fact of the matter is that there is water which is conducive to salt-free systems, and water where you would ABSOLUTELY NOT want to use a "salt-free" system.   I do think it would be good to consider the definition of "conditioner" and "softener" because many companies are calling their product "salt-free water softeners" and to my knowledge, a salt-free water "softener" has never been invented!  There are salt-free water "conditioners" however.  What's the big deal about using softener or conditioner?   Here's the difference:
  • A "softener" softens the water by removing the calcium and magnesium ("hard" minerals that form scale) and replacing them with sodium (which is a "soft" mineral that does not form scale).
  • A "conditioner" simply conditions the water so that the calcium and magnesium will not form scale, but does not remove it.
Here's the rub - there are lots of devices on the market that claim to be softeners or conditioners - some work well and some do not work at all!  How do you differentiate?  Well, if a company only sells "one technology" or product, I would pass on that company.  That would be like going to a doctor who only prescribes one drug regardless of the disease.    THERE IS NO ONE DEVICE OR "BLACK BOX" THAT SOLVES ALL WATER PROBLEMS!  IF SOMETHING SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS!  Claims that salt-free conditioners will greatly reduce soap usage are simply untrue.  I would challenge any company that sells salt-free systems to prove that.  Take two flasks of water, one conditioned and one not treated, and add a like amount of pure liquid soap to the water and see if there is any difference.  There is not! If you look at salt-free conditioners (or softeners) on the internet, you can find some amazing claims.  One major seller of these systems, which they call "water softeners"  claims this:
  • "Reduces laundry detergents 40-60%"
(I think that this can easily be shown to be untrue).  DO THE SOAP TEST!  Hey, I am open to being shown that I am wrong.  I have been wrong before, so if they disagree with me or think I am wrong, then the ball is in their court.  I do think it is deceptive to call these devices "water softeners" because they do not soften the water.   This same company claims that their  system has met DVGW-512, but unlike nextScaleStop (used in the GreenWave systems as well), there is no percentage of scale reduction stated.  The nextScaleStop media's report shows a 99.6% reduction in scale.   What is their percentage of scale reduction?  Who knows? How can you tell if a salt-free conditioner is working?  Simple:  Do the "boil" test!  Here's how - take a pan with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom and boil it dry.  After the pan cools, you should be able to wipe off the white residue with your finger if the system is working.  If it's not working, you will have to scrubb it off or use a chemical like "LimeAway" to remove it. I recently received a letter from a competitor which states the following:
Mr. Timmons, It has come to our attention that you have been making disparaging claims against our company and products on your Askthewaterdoctor.com website.  On the following page https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2007/12/do-salt-free-water-softeners-really-work/ , you make the following two direct references to our company and products: Comment 1:  This appears to be a “knockoff” and there are many, of the NEXT system. It probably uses FilterSorb which is an Anion-based resin and in our testing has not proven to be acceptable. It seems to have an effect by lowering the pH of the water in the initial stages, but looses it’s effectiveness very quickly.  I notice their website says: “Use 50% Less Detergents for Whiter or Brighter Clothes” - That is easily proven false: Put two 250 ml flasks of their treated and untreated water side-by-side and add 5 drops of pure soap. There will be no difference. If that’s not a true statement, what else is untrue? Comment 2:   What I read on their site was very generic and their claims are somewhat suspect. I don’t know what they are using, but I don’t think it’s truly TAC! These negative comments are an unwarranted attack against our company's reputation and credibility.  You have no knowledge regarding our systems and are therefore making unreasonable assumptions and passing them over as fact.  It is also disingenuous because you are the owner of both us.watersystems.com and wefixbadwater.com and promote your own competing brand.  Pursuant to this letter, we are asking for the complete removal of your comments regarding our company and products from your website. If you fail to comply with this request, we will consult with our lawyers and take appropriate legals steps to enforce and protect our rights including, without limitation, filing claims for trade libel. Please immediatley acknowledge your receipt of this letter and you intent to comply with the requests as set forth herein. Sincerely, Tina Wang APEC Water Systems
Well Tina, here is your response:
  1. All answers are in response to questions propounded by readers of the blog.  I am not sure where you are from, but in America we have what is called freedom of speech and I am merely giving my educated opinion in response to a question.
  2. If I am wrong about anything, this is your opportunity to set things straight.  I don't edit the blog, so fire away and if I am wrong, I will admit what I am wring about.
  3. Was I wrong in saying that it is false that  your product will cause consumers "to use 50% less detergents?"  If so, supply me proof!  I will gladly publish it.  Is it untrue that your product will save 50% on detergents?  If it is, I think I would like to sell your product.  Enlighten me!
  4. Was I wrong that your claims are somewhat generic ,and that you really don't explain how your product works?  Does it use Filtersorb or not?
  5. You say that I have "no knowledge regarding your system.  Well, that is incorrect - I do have knowledge, but you have very little information as to how your system works - here's your opportunity to tell the world.  I would like to hear your explanation.
  6. You say that it is "disingenuous" of me to promote my own brand.  Well, I have never hidden that I am one of the owners of uswatersystems.com and if someone asks where they can get the product I recommend, I do send them to our site.  We are independent and offer a huge variety of products from a plethora of manufacturers.  We pick the best of the best to sell on our site.  If your product does what you say (and I am giving you a chance to prove it), maybe we should sell it.  We sell the GreenWave system because it's performance has beaten every other unit we have seen and tested, but I am open to seeing what you have to say.
  7. You said "If you fail to comply with this request, we will consult with our lawyers and take appropriate legals steps to enforce and protect our rights including, without limitation, filing claims for trade libel."   WOW!  There's a lot I could say here, but I'll save it for court.  Since when is it libel to tell the truth and give your opinion?  This is not Nazi Germany!
  8. I am acknowledging receipt of your letter - if you want to provide proof that my opinion is wrong, then feel free to do that.  Explain how your product works, the science behind it and prove your claims.  Or, we can go to Court, if that is what you want.  Rest assured, I will not be threatened or intimidated by your letter.
This is my SECOND blog on Salt-Free Conditioners.  I just closed the previous one, as there are nearly 300 comments there, but you can still access it HERE.
April 4, 2009
Comments
Pinky
April 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM
I am considering buying the FUTURA 10 Salt-Free AntiScale Water Softener by APEC. Has anyone used this system and can recommend it? Does it really stand up to its claims? Thanks, Pinky. <!--more--><strong>Mark's Reply: Pinky, Is that your real name? Isn’t is a coincidence that I just talked about APEC? Hummmm… OK, does anyone have one of these systems? Can you do the “boil” test and “soap” test?</strong>
Long tim water guy.
April 6, 2009 at 11:19 AM
After reading the letter you posted from APEC, out of curiosity I visited the APEC website and I noticed a few things. First, I am embarrassed for the marketing people as they must have been told to use the term “Salt Free Softener”. I looked for APEC on both the WQA gold seal site, and the NSF site and did not see any listing under this company name. Perhaps someone can point to it for me… I doubt it exists as Salt Free Softening is a term that I believe misleads consumers. Softening by definition is removal of Ca and Mg, but their literature states that they leave both in the water to form crystals of a Nano meter scale (another marketing term I imagine, as there is not number associated with the statement), this is not softening at all. I personally do not have any experience with the technology so I can’t comment if it meets any of the other claims. Salt Free Softening should get any consumer to think twice about the supplier. I wonder if they use any of their own photos. The before and after pictures of the heating element confused me. They are not the same. Why would show two different designs in a before and after gallery? The crystal photo was taken from a competitor’s literature which I see has a copyright mark. That seems a bit misleading. If the media is from the source you suggested, they know it is imported so why say “Made in U.S.A.”? If true, I would call this misleading as well. I also looked at their RO section. I noticed that they show performance claims using atmospheric tanks and then sell systems that use air-captive or pressurized tanks. We all know that the back pressure of the tank makes a huge difference in the water production rate, but the flow to drain remains constant. Furthermore a membrane takes time to stabilize so each startup you have lower quality water for a period of time. If they use a larger membrane, the amount of lower quality water produced during this stabilizing time is also greater and contributes to the TDS creep phenomena. A higher production membrane on such a small tank will actually end up with more TDS in the tank after normal usage. The smaller membrane system will actually maintain higher quality water in the tank with normal usage and it costs less. The “more is better” inference in the marketing materials seems to be misleading as well. I give them credit for using a Permeate Pump. I would suggest that they change the marketing for it. A permeate pump would be great on the 16 GPD membrane that they do not like. It would greatly reduce the waste water and would allow the tank to have more water stored, and higher quality water stored. It should be marketed for all feed pressures and use a 90% shut off valve. From my experience this would save up to 80% of the typical waste water while providing better quality water stored under higher pressure for better delivery to the dispensing point. Forget the 90 GPD membranes for an application that requires less than 4 gallons per day; use the 16 GPD membranes and a Permeate Pump. Test it, understand it, you will be amazed… Well, I guess marketing is marketing. Why be accurate and take advantage of the technical advances you have, for what they actually are, when you can write things that sound better to the potential customer. Perhaps they do not understand the technology to begin with????? I wonder. … I hope they respond to your questions. It would be nice to see a response supported by a modicum of technical understanding… God Bless America and the first Amendment to the Constitution….. <strong>Mark's Reply: Not listed by WQA and NSF? I should like to hear that explanation. Thanks for your support!</strong>
John Y.
April 6, 2009 at 8:11 PM
Mark Thanks for the information on the back washing carbon filter. <strong>John Y. Mark's Reply: You are welcome!</strong>
Jeff
April 6, 2009 at 9:42 PM
Mark, Great site, I have enjoyed reading through it. I was poking around on other sites and saw a no salt product with the name of Clearwave being sold by Home Depot (among others). I did not see any mention of it on this site and wonder if you have anything to say about it. Thanks, Jeff <strong>Mark's Reply: Jeff, I think it's just another "cheap" RF device. Home Depot, Lowes and Sears all sell water softeners that are not made to last very long, so this seems to be along those lines. Just my opinion...</strong>
Cliff R.
April 9, 2009 at 1:10 PM
This question isn't about salt-free softeners, but this seems to be the blog where all the questions are asked. I have heard mixed opinions on whether an instant hot water dispenser can use RO water. I like the Insinkerator 2/3 gallon stainless steel tank because one of the faucets that goes with it matches my kitchen faucet well. I see that your website only sells the Quick & Hot dispenser. Is there a difference between the Quick Hot and the Insinkerator in terms of their ability to work with RO water? <strong>The Water Doctor replied: <em>Sorry for the delay in answering, but our "spam" filter was trapping all the comments. It is fixed and here is my reply: The Quick & Hot IS made for RO water. I do not believe that the ISE is, which is why we sell on the Quick and Hot!</em></strong>
Cliff R.
April 9, 2009 at 1:36 PM
As a follow up to my comment above, I would like the RO system to feed both the hot and cold of a combined hot and cold faucet. Is there a way to install an RO air gap on this type of faucet? <strong>The Water Doctor replied: <em>Sorry for the delay in answering, but our “spam” filter was trapping all the comments. It is fixed and here is my reply: US WATER has an "undersink" air gap that will be added to the site shortly, which can be used with the Dual Faucet.</em></strong>
Andreas Johansson
April 11, 2009 at 1:30 AM
Who knew talking about hard water could get so fiesty! I am on a well and septic and need to do something. I opted out of the salt softener because of the brine water problem in my septic system. Was searching filtersorb products when i came across the nextscalestop and greenwave. I will get you guys my last water report so I can get on the right track. My biggest issue is scale build up in the house. I have a few dying questions. Will using this system allow me to wash my car and drip dry like using a DI or RO system? If not I am going to feed the greenwave to an RO and hopefully find a used pressure bladder tank for washing the car weekly. I was looking at tanks and some said "not for RO" is there any reason for that? Also I plan to put the greenwave outside. Can i insulate it with a tank sleeve to keep from freezing? I'm in so cal and it occasionaly gets in the 30's. Any info greatly appreciated.The Water Doctor replied: <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>Sorry for the delay in answering, but our “spam” filter was trapping all the comments. It is fixed and here is my reply: The GreenWave can work on a well that has no iron, sulfur or managanese. It is important to get a through water analysis. Insofar as spot-free rinse - a water softener won't make your car dry spot-free, and neither will ANY of the salt-free devices. That's why commercial car washes uses RO or DI water to rinse their cars (RO is dramatically cheaper), so if you are thinking of buying a salt-free system so that you can risnse your car and have no spots, you will get "spotty" results.</em></strong>
Ken
April 27, 2009 at 8:47 PM
I'm trying to decide on a system for a newly constructed house. Here's the city's published water analysis: Flouride: 1.06 mg/L Nickel: <0.003 mg/L Nitrate (as N): 4.16 mg/L Lead (action level): <0.004 mg/L Copper (action level): <0.005 mg/L Trihalomethanes: 13.65 ug/L Alkalinity: 430 Arsenic: <0.005 mg/L Calcium: 96 mg/L Conductivity: 580 umhos/cm Hardness as CaC03: 288 mg/L Hardness as Grains/Gal): 17 Iron: 0.07 mg/L Manganese: <0.05 mg/L pH: 6.7 Total Dissolved Solids: 378 mg/L Zinc: 0.014 mg/L What system would you recommend for this water? <strong>The Water Doctor replied: <em>Sorry for the delay in answering, but our “spam” filter was trapping all the comments. It is fixed and here is my reply: I would uses either a salt-based water softener or the <a href="https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-pulsar.html" rel="nofollow">GreenWave Pulsar </a>(I think a backwashing pre-filter would work the best with this water).</em></strong>
DR. Evan
May 1, 2009 at 10:02 PM
My tank from Materials are 2.5 cu.ft. Filter Aggregate, 15lbs prewash gravel and a distributor. I have a park international 13 by 54 inch tank that we bought seven years ago. It now leaks from the bottom and was put in by pass. The local service wants 375 dollars for it, the manufacturer will sell it to me for 260 dollars. The cost for the material from the local dealer is also 375 dollars and it seems quite high. And their labor charge is 100 dollars per hour! Can a handy person do this themselves? Is there anything else I might consider? The water softener is still working well. Should the manufacturer make good on that tank? <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>The tanks should be under warranty (10 years). Contact the manufacturer (Pentair Water Treatment Products bought Park a few years ago). Filter Ag, gravel and a distributor are very inexpensive, but the manufacturer will probably require you to return the tank and pay for shipping on a new one. Most people could do the job themselves, but the shipping charges is what can make this proposition more expensive. It will depend upon where you live.</em></strong>
roger
May 3, 2009 at 10:57 AM
Do any of the salt-free systems make soap and detergent lather like water that is softened with salt? <strong>The Water Doctor replied: <em>I have not been able to find any proof that ANY of the salt-free systems increase the sudsing of soaps or detergents. I believe that any company that says otherwise is propounding a falsehood. Now, if someone disagrees with me, send me proof and I wil publish it.</em></strong>
brian
May 3, 2009 at 11:20 AM
oh, and since we still have freedom of speech at the moment, let me just say that I'm upset that I bought my RO unit from http://freedrinkingwater.com/ after reading the above letter, I really can't stand companies that make such legal threats the unit works ok (though the TDS seems to be on the high side compared to my previous sears unit), however, it is about principle, I will support a company with honesty and integrity that doesn't resort to bogus legal threats over a company that uses such low tactics any day I will no longer be buying my filter replacements from them even though I bought my RO unit from them, the filter sets were overpriced anyway...but again, I bought them based on principle of course, if they showed character and apologized that would be worth something. <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>To date, they have not apologized or offered any proof that what I said was untrue. RO Filters & Membranes are available at www.uswatersystems.com at the GUARANTEED LOWEST PRICES IN THE COUNTRY - WE WILL BEAT ANY OTHER PRICE!</em></strong>
brian
May 3, 2009 at 11:53 PM
thanks for having this outlet and helping people out that are trying to be educated buyers
Kenny
May 7, 2009 at 4:26 PM
I'm trying to find the best system for my home(2.5 bath) that is hooked up to municipal water. I mostly want it for scale build-up on fixtures, appliances, and in my hot water tank. I plan to have a separate line that is prior to any system for drinking/cooking water in our kitchen. I had a Culligan water softener system that came with the home when I bought it, but it died a few years ago. I've had my water on bypass since then. Here are the lab results for my water. Aluminum .012 mg/L Sodium 7.1 mg/L Magnesium 7.2 mg/L Potassium 1.7 mg/L Calcium 24.9 mg/L Chromium .001 mg/L Manganese <.001 mg/L Iron <.025 mg/L Nickel <.001 mg/L Copper .181 mg/L Zinc .345 mg/L Arsenic <.0005 mg/L Selenium .001 mg/L Cadmium <.0001 mg/L Lead <.0005 mg/L Beryllium <.00005 mg/L Antimony <.0005 mg/L Thallium <.0001 mg/L Silver <.0005 mg/L Mercury .00003 mg/L Conductivity 242.0 uS/cm PH 6.72 Fluoride .7 mg/L Nitrate 1.4 mg/L Sulfate 21.3 mg/L What system would you recommend and if salt based - what size? Thanks for your assistance. Reading the blog has been very informative. <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>Do you have scale? This water should not form scale. A simple carbon filter may be the solution.</em></strong>
Jenny
May 7, 2009 at 7:09 PM
Mark, I am interested in no-salt "softeners". I have three questions for GreenWave systems. 1) Can you comment on why TAC Media warranty is different for different GreenWave scale prevention systems? Is the difference caused by how much TAC media is put into the tank? 2) I know your company is selling replacement TAC media. Does changing TAC media job is DIY doable? 3)How much is the annual cost for GreenWave pre-filter? Thanks, <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>1. The one without the separate carbon tank (TAC) has a 2-year warranty because people do not generally change the filter enough, the one with the separate carbon tank (TAC Plus) has a 3-year warranty because the extra carbon protects the TAC media, and the one iwth the backwashing valve (TAC Ultra) extends the carbon life by backwashing every 14 days. 2. Absolutely - it is easy! 3. $16.00</em></strong>
Tom K.
May 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM
Hi Mark, I finally have water analysis results back. As a reminder, I am on a water well and septic system. Have very hard water and would like to stop the scale and improve my RO performance. Presently the RO system lowers TDS from 3000+ to about 500. I am open to suggestions of salt, or salt-free as long as you feel the salt won't harm my septic system. Thanks for your recommendations. Tom K. West Texas All values are mg/liter pH - 7.45 Bicarbonate as HCO3 - 195 Total hardness as CaCO3 - 2,000 Calcium as Ca - 560 Magnesium as Mg - 146 Sodium and/or Potassium - 547 Sulfate as SO4 - 1,334 Chloride as Cl - 1,165 Iron as Fe - .20 Total solids (calculated) - 3,947 Nitrate as N - 9.6 <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>I would not recommend a salt-free system here. If your water smells you may need a OXi System (H2O2) to remove the sulfur and a water softener with a calcite filter to prevent corrossion as this water would be corrissive if softened. The solution will not be inexpensive. If you have further interest, please let me know.</em></strong>
Mark H.
May 9, 2009 at 1:15 AM
Mark, Thought you might find this very interesting: https://www.wqa.org/pdf/Educ/2007TAC.pdf I found it with a google search, so I can't confirm its origin, but seems to back up some of the claims made on this blog, and from a seemingly reputable source (water quality association). One question: Assuming water conditions are appropriate for a TAC system, do you think it would it help prevent scale in a dishwasher? I can see how it would work for a water heater where the water just passes through, but for a dishwasher where the water actually dries inside the system I don't see how a TAC system could help much. I don't care so much about spots on glasses, but we get scale buildup on the motor and clogged jets. <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>1. That is an excellent presentation presented at a WQA Conference; and 2. TAC will prevent scale in the dishwasher pump, interior walls and jets. It will not however, always prevent spots (because the calcium and magnesium are still in the water), so you may have to use "Jet Dry."</em></strong>
Kenny
May 10, 2009 at 7:15 PM
Quote: Do you have scale? This water should not form scale. A simple carbon filter may be the solution. Yes, we have scale. It's already on our new bathroom faucet we installed last year. I also see it on pans where the water has dried after washing. I called our municipal water company about the water hardness and they said it was runnning around 290. I don't have a problem with soap not lathering though. I would love if a simple carbon filter would be all I need. <strong>The Water Doctor Replied, <em>Yes, if your hardness is 290 mg/l then a GreenWave system will solve the problems with scaling. A carbon filter won't do that, but I would advise having a carbon filter with the TAC - like the GreenWave Plus or Ultra.</em></strong>
Tom K.
May 10, 2009 at 11:14 PM
Well, it definitely doesn't hurt to explore the cost. The water does not exhibit any sulphur or bad smell at all. We also have a swimming pool full of it with no issues except scale buildup at the water-line. When you say it will become corrosive if softened, do you mean the pH will change? The house does have copper piping, BTW. Our water well is only at about 75 feet and I have also thought about talking to a driller to see if there is better quality water at a gteater depth. Sounds like that might ultimately be cheaper if it doesn't require as much treatment. <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>I am uncomfortable making a recommendation about your water with so little info. Before I go any further, I would suggest this first:</em> https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html</strong>
David
May 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM
I'm wondering how the signals penetrate metal pipes. The military sheilds it's sensitive areas with copper sheeting to prevent signals from getting in or out of the sensitive space. I would expect copper pipe to behave the same way, sheilding the interior from external RF sources. Can you explain how the signals penetrate? Is this a magnetic field your setting up? Dave in AZ <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>I am not an expert in sound waves, but I would guess it's a different frequency. It's not a magnetic field.</em></strong>
David
May 12, 2009 at 12:53 PM
I didn't mention, our water was tested a couple years ago and had a hardness of 150. Will your system work on our water? David, still in AZ <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>If that is 150 mg/l - then yes! If it is 150 GPG - NO!</em></strong>
David
May 13, 2009 at 7:01 PM
"I am not an expert in sound waves, but I would guess it’s a different frequency." No, not sound waves. We sheild our facilities so there is no "emination" from a room or building. Nothing electronic gets in or out. So, I was wondering, if you wrap a copperpipe with a coil, the copper pipe would largely sheild any radio frequency wave or magnetic wave from penetrating to the contents of the pipe (the water). Would the effect be stronger on a piece of PEX pipe? The PEX would offer no sheilding effect. Dave in HOT AZ <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>Dave, I wish I could tell you the answer, but there is so little testing and research on these devices that I cannot speculate. You might ask one of the manufacturers, but you will probably be as successful talking to a fox in a henhouse. All they want is to press their own agendas.</em></strong>
betty
May 19, 2009 at 6:17 PM
I have been following this thread with interest. we seem to have scale, even though our numbers aren't excessively high. the information from our water department gives the following: hardness 140 mg/L (8 gr/gal) manganese < 0.01 mg/L iron < 0.05 mg/L sulfate 79 ppm There are many other values, but these seem to be the ones you focus on. do you have any thoughts or recommendations? Thanks. Betty <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: <em>The TAC system should do an excellent job, but the media may need more frequent replacement (2-3 years is a guess).</em></strong>
Scott
May 31, 2009 at 6:48 AM
I have been reading your website for several months as I have been researching the possibility of a no-salt solution to our water conditioning needs. So, before I begin, let me thank you for the straight talk on this topic, as I gave up on local distributors that just wanted to sell a one-size-fits-all solution. Here's my situation, we have a single well that supplies our house and barn. We currently have an General Ionics water softener that softens the water for the house. I was told that it required KCl to regenerate properly. At current prices, it is costing me ~$15/week to soften our water. I would like to reduce this cost. At the barn, I have scale issues that can primarily be solved by treating the hot water only. My preferred solution is to condition all the water with a no-salt conditioner. I would be interested in you recommendations for my situation. Below is a summary of a recent water analysis. Calcium - 189 mg/L Copper - 0.011 mg/L Iron - 0.024 mg/L Magnesium - 61.20 mg/L Manganese - 0.013 mg/L Potassium - 4.9 mg/L Silica - 19.10 mg/L Sodium - 68 mg/L Zinc - 0.011 mg/L Alkalinity - 390 mg/L Hardness - 720 mg/L pH - 6.5 TDS - 890 mg/L Turbidity - 0.1 NTU Thanks in advance for your assistance! Scott <strong>The Water Doctor Replied: This should be a good application for our Green Wave. Your pH is borderline, but should be OK, and you have some silica which could be confused with scale (nothing you can do about that) but overall the system should work very well. Check out our new GreenWave Pulsar which would be perfect for this application: https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-pulsar.html</strong>
Dan
June 3, 2009 at 3:07 AM
Mark, in another of your threads you indicated that the Pelican Natursoft system was not truly TAC, rather, that it used Filtersorb. You also provided some keen insight in that their website references having "completed testing" for certification, but there is no reference to them having passed the certification. I have reviewed info on both the NextScaleStop and the Pelican Natursoft systems and by description they certainly appear to be very similar in stated ways they work and results they provide. Can you tell me where and how you were able to confirm that the Pelican systems use Filtersorb, and are not using the same TAC technology as the NextScaleStop systems? Also, how does the GreenWave TAC system differ from the NextScaleStop systems? Thanks for all the info and entertainment in these blogs, very interesting. Dan
Scott S
June 9, 2009 at 2:07 AM
Hi Doc, A couple of questions. 1) How does the well water get so supersaturated in the gound and then precipitate scale in the pipes? Why doesn't the scale just form in the ground? 2) Since pipe scale is CaCO3(s), and dissolved CaCO3 deposits on the scale to make the scale thicker, it stands to reason that a big bed of CaCO3(s) crystals would collect the hardness before it gets to the pipes. Of course it would only lower the level to saturation and one would have to swap out the crystals. 3) So how does TAC media reduce the CaCO3(aq) to lower than saturation levels while media such as NatureSoft does not? Great site. Very informative. Thanks
mark
June 11, 2009 at 8:19 AM
Scott, 1. Most of the scaling occurs when the water is heated, causing it to precipitate out. 2. Doesn 't work that way beause... 3. The TAC does not reduce the saturation of CaCO3, rather it causes the calcium and magnesium in the water to lose its ability to form scale because they "stick together" in clusters and once that occurs they cannot stick to anything else - they simply are remdered inert.
Brant
June 11, 2009 at 2:24 PM
Mark, Are you familiar with San Antonio's city water? It seems to leave behind quite a bit of scale. I recently purchased an older home and wish to install a softener. I would prefer a salt-free system that will descale. I don't care too much about having the water softened but I'd like to reduce scale build-up to extend the life of the plumbing and fixtures. Do you know if the Greenwave system would work well with San Antonio's water? Or do you recommend anything else instead? Also, if you recommend a system, can you tell me everything I need for it (e.g., prefilter, etc.)? Thanks!
mark
June 13, 2009 at 12:17 PM
Brant, Yes, San Antonio water is very compatable with the GreenWave system. I strongly recommend the GreenWave TAC Ultra which has 2 cu/ft of carbon before the TAC media. There are no filters to change with it and you will have excellent water.
Arnaud
June 17, 2009 at 3:12 AM
Hi, I currently have a salt water softener and I am considering getting a Greenwave TAC ultra. I am however a bit curious about how I will know it is working and longer term how I will know when it is time to replace the TAC Media or the Carbon media. Let me explain: with my current softener I can measure the water hardness and this tells me my system is working correctly. With the TAC systems, the hardness from what I understand will stay high, so how do I know it is working or if the media is getting to the end of its life. Do I have to wait until scale forms (that would be sad) or is there a routine test that can be performed every few months to make sure things are still fine? Similarly how do I know the carbon life has expired and it is time to replace it? Incidentally how much does it cost to replace the TAC media or the carbon? Is this easy to do? Thanks for shedding some light :), Arnaud.
mark
June 18, 2009 at 5:22 PM
Arnaud, It's very simple to tell if the TAC is working - just boil about a half inch of water in a pan, until you boil it dry. After it cools off, you should be able to wipe off the residue with your finger. On the carbon, just use a chlorine test strip to determine if it is working. To replace the meadia is $380.00 for both the carbon and TAC.
Arnaud
June 18, 2009 at 8:12 PM
Thanks for the answer Mark. I am glad there are tests that can be used to determine the efficiency of both the TAC and the carbon filter. This should let me make a decision on my new water treatment equipment soon. Thanks, Arnaud.
Val
June 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM
Hi Mark- Thanks for your informative blog. I'm looking for the best water treatment system for my house on the central east coast of Florida. I have one bathroom (my fiance and I are minimalists). We don't want a traditional water softener, so we are considering a scale prevention system. The water is supplied by a well, and the water report was the following: calcium 112 mg/l copper 0.005 mg/l iron 1.21 mg/l magnesium 5.1 mg/l manganese 0.016 mg/l silica 18.8 mg/l sodium 44 mg/l zinc 0.055 mg/l alkalinity (total) 260 mg/l hardness 300 mg/l total dissolved solids 380 mg/l turbidity 0.1 NTU chloride 63 mg/l What would you recommend? Thanks so much, Val <strong>The Water Doctor Replied:</strong> Val, I am presently in the hospital (hip replacement), but your water problems require some more information from you. Please get back with me early next week when I am stronger (my surgery was yesterday).
mike
June 23, 2009 at 6:58 PM
My Culligan water softner is 25 years old and stopped working. I got an estimate to repair or replace it and considering a no salt conditioner instead. We have hard water 20 GPG. I'm looking at the Scalewatcher 3 star electromagnetic. Can you give me your opinion conditoners vs softners. Thanks Mike <strong>The Water Doctor replied:</strong> On their website, they say: <em>“BENEFITS: . Improves water heater efficiency, saves energy . Makes water feel softer, kinder to the skin and hair . Reduces scum and improves soap lathering . Improves water flow in severely scaled systems . Eliminates unsightly scale on faucets, showerheads, toilets, etc. - Extends the life of water heaters, saves money - Extends the life of water filters and Reverse Osmosis membranes - Prevents itchy skin due to hard water - For SWIMMING POOLS: prevents scaling, increases filter efficiency, reduces chlorine needs”</em> <strong>I do not believe there is any validity to ANY of these claims and would love to see someone try and prove them. They supply NO proof on their website.</strong>
Eli
July 1, 2009 at 7:56 AM
You said: [ I do think it would be good to consider the definition of “conditioner” and “softener” because many companies are calling their product “salt-free water softeners” and to my knowledge, a salt-free water “softener” has never been invented! ] roger says: May 3, 2009 at 9:57 am Do any of the salt-free systems make soap and detergent lather like water that is softened with salt? The Water Doctor replied: I have not been able to find any proof that ANY of the salt-free systems increase the sudsing of soaps or detergents. I believe that any company that says otherwise is propounding a falsehood. Now, if someone disagrees with me, send me proof and I wil publish it. Yet you sell a product (LimeBlaster) that advertises: Soaps & Shampoos lather better ...and: It is today's alternative to the traditional salt-based water softener......and: How Is The Hot Water Softened Without Removing The Calcium? The clusters created by Limeblaster stimulate the conversion of more of the dissolved calcium bicarbonate in the hot water into crystals in suspension than would otherwise occur. The resulting hot water, with less calcium bicarbonate, is now chemically softer. Soap, which reacts adversely with calcium bicarbonate, will create more lather despite the fact that the total amount of calcium, dissolved and suspended, remains the same. Limeblaster is the only electronic device of its kind that has been proven by independent laboratory tests to produce softer hot water It is or it isn't. Which is it? You say that the salt free "conditioner does not soften water. You also say that you don't believe that any of the salt free systems increase sudsing... yet you sell a product which makes those claims. How can you dispute those same claims made by your competitors? I have iron stains, hard water, and scaling, but no visible sedimentation, and am trying to determine what I need. My problem is that I don't know who to believe. I thought, when I located your site, that I had found an honest source of information. Have I? Eli
Eli
July 1, 2009 at 8:08 AM
Limeblaster also claims: Limeblaster is not just a water conditioner; it makes the hot water softer as well. It is the only system that has been tested by independent laboratories and shown to produce softer water, without salt or chemicals. O.k, I'm off my soapbox now, and am awaiting an explanation. Thanks, Eli
Scott S
July 3, 2009 at 3:20 AM
Mark, Eli, These claims of softened water making better soap suds has got me thinking. Is it that the calcium (from hard water) really inhibits soap sudsing, or is it that sodium improves it? Have you ever seen a salt water fish tank? The bubbles are much smaller than in a fresh water tank. Sodium changes the surface tension. I think you would need salt softened water (i.e. loaded with sodium) to get the increase in soap suds. An interesting test would be to compare suds using hard water, salt-softened water, AND distilled water as a reference. Scott
Scott S
July 3, 2009 at 2:19 PM
PS. Mark, good luck with the hip surgery!
mark
July 3, 2009 at 6:52 PM
Scott, The biggest difference which creates suds is the ABSENCE of calcium and magneisum, which are "hard" minerals and interfere with suds-making. I believe you will find that salt-softened water and distilled water will suds the same.
Rich
July 15, 2009 at 10:55 PM
Mike, thanks for offering to review my city's water analysis and providing me your feedback to the type of system(s) that would best work for my home and usage. Link to the analysis... http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/water/wtrqual/pdf/water08.pdf We live in a home with 2 3/4 baths where they are all used regularly. Maybe any two simultaneously and all the other water consuming apparatus in the home. This site has been so informative and I am not just going to replace the water softener I've used for the last 10 years just because it's broke and I bought it because of the sounds great sales presentation. I'm going to make as much of an informed decision as I can thanks to this web site and your expertise. With all the various system solutions it appears that I should be able to treat our water with the right components to achieve the best results for overall health, comfort, plumbing infrastructure and appliance longevity. Please email me with details that I can discuss with you and hopefully have something back in place soon. Thank you. Rich
Matt
July 16, 2009 at 1:16 AM
I thought that was a very fun letter to read. I have been selling the Next Scalestop system for about a year now and have had great results! ((((I Have found and interesting application. I soften the water then add the scalestop and adjust the salt usage on the softener using about 25% of what you would normally use. You get great water with VERY LOW SALT USE))))
Rich
July 16, 2009 at 10:42 AM
Mark, sorry about the wrong name, I was talking with a friend (Mike) when I wrote my last post. Just a note on expectations. Since I have been using this culligan softener I know it gives me the slippery feeling that some talk about having. I don't mind it since I have gotten used to it but it is not necessary. In some instances it is a bit dangerous. I do like the amount of suds that can be generated and hardly any scaling if any. But I don't like having demineralized water. There are some good health benefits to the minerals in the water from what I have researched. I think filtering the water is important too. Is there a system that is in the middle somewhere or can be setup to where it's not totally soft but it allows detergents and soaps to mix well and minimize usage or do you have to have totally soft water to gain some of the savings benefits with products mixed with water? I'm done rambling for now. Thanks. Rich
mark
July 16, 2009 at 8:23 PM
ABOUT RICH: After talking with him, he decided that he liked the soap savings, cleaner clothes, and slick-feeling of soft water and so he decided to buy a Hybrid Water Softener (softener and iron filter) and reverse osmosis system. --- The Water Doctor
mark
July 16, 2009 at 8:29 PM
Matt, OK....
Ron
July 23, 2009 at 4:07 AM
Mark, I am considering purchasing the futura(apecs product) and asked a friend to try the boil test and this was her response. I did it twice. The first time, I didn't find much white residue. The second time, with a bit more water, there was residue which wiped off pretty easily with my fingers except for the rim on the top which is thicker and doesn't come off as easily, but rinsed off without any soap. What do you think?
mark
July 25, 2009 at 11:36 PM
Ron, What do I think? Other than the fact that they call their system a "water softener" when it DOES NOT IN FACT soften the water? Other than the fact they say the deliver soft water when they don't? Other than the fact they say "<em>these systems provide many of the same benefits of a conventional water softener such as reduced soap use, scale removal, and cleaner clothes-without the troublesome maintenance, costs and pollution of salt-based systems</em>," which is demonstrably untrue! Other than the fact they don't give you any information as to how it works, except to say they have "catalytic granules." How does it work? They don't say! Do you want me to continue? Apec has demanded that I not write anything bad about them and I have asked them to prove their claims. I do not believe that they can, but I am willing to give them the opportunity. Go back and read the last two blog posts BEFORE this one, and if you still believe what they say, then you SHOULD buy it because things that sound too good to be true never are... Right?
Michael Kirwin
July 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM
Hi: I have a culligan water system that uses salt to clean out the system. I have an aerobic septic system outside. In the past 10 years my evergreen trees started to turn brown and I was reminded of the fact that the Romans put salt on the fields of people they wanted to destroy. I am thinking the salt is killing the trees. Should I add lime regularly to the third chamber of the aerobic system to neutralize the salt before it gets shipped out into the septic field? <strong>The Water Doctor Replied:</strong> Michael, <em>I am not an agronimist, but what you say is probably possible. I cannot advise you on the lime, but I can tell you that the newer demand (meter) systems use a lot less salt. Maybe worth considering....</em>
Matt
August 4, 2009 at 8:48 PM
Water Doctor, I just moved into a house in which there is VERY hard water. A plumber came to the house and talked to me about the Watts One Flow (OF844-12) system and said it would help with the hard water. The house is brand new so I would like to do something before my Hot Water Heater and everything begin getting caked with the hard water minerals. THe chlorine level of my water is .1 to 2.0 mg/L, Floride is .67 to 1.8 mg/L, Nitrates is .2 to 1.98 mg/L, Lead is 5 to 6.37 mg/L, and Copper is .67 to .886 mg/L. I was looking into the US Water Systems GREENWAVE as well as the OneFlow by Watts. Which would you recommend. I was quoted around $1700 for the OneFlow for the parts and installation and I have yet to get quotes for the GreenWave systems. Any recommendations? <strong>The Water Doctor Replied:</strong> Watts One Flow is a commercial system. It is my understanding that there is no warranty on it for residential applications. With your level of chlorine I would recommend the GreenWave Pulsar. Here's the link: https://www.uswatersystems.com/green-wave-pulsar.html
mark
January 25, 2010 at 11:01 PM
David, How do you sugar-coat a lie? I can tell you that what you published above is FALSE. NOT TRUE! It will prevent scale (in most cases), but the soap aspect of it is TOTALL UNTRUE! Don't get me started!
boh szagala
March 6, 2010 at 8:16 AM
i recently purchased a Pelican salt free "water softener" for our newer (3 year old) home.. We live in the country and have very hard water. I switched from a Potasium based softener to Pelican, believing their statements. WHAT A MISTAKE!! . We have white scale everywhere and I'm very concerned about my new Marathon water heater... I'm within the 90 day waranty and will be returning this Pelican crap ASAP.. If anyone is considering Pelican, think twice.. I'll gladly share my experience... boh Ontario- CANADA
mark
March 8, 2010 at 12:02 AM
Boh Szagala, Good Luck! If we can help, please let us know. https://www.uswatersystems.com
mr. D.
June 3, 2010 at 3:28 PM
WHy do you never discuss EasyWater? Its always Greenwave. These guys have been doing this since 1986.
mark
June 18, 2010 at 9:26 AM
Mr. D, Why don't I discuss Easy Water? I guess it falls back to the fact that we have tested it. I have one in my office and we have had lots of customers who we have interacted with about this product. I am not impressed with it and I am even less impressed with their unethical marketing methods.
Paula Richardson
June 7, 2010 at 11:19 AM
We had a Rainsoft salt water softner that quit working about a year ago. The Rainsoft system was here when we moved in. We had already had some bad experiences with Rainsoft in the past. But when the unit broke down, we called to see what they would charge to come look at it. They wanted $125 an hour just to tell us what was wrong with it, so we are looking to replace it. However, since we were considering a replacement we wanted to go with a salt free unit. As our house was built in the mid-seventies and has mostly copper water pipes and we also have a septic system. We have municiple water which is supplied by the Floridan Aquifer in North Florida. Below is the latest water quality report provded by the Town of Havana and Florida DEP: Chlorine .6-1.15 ppm Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) .5-4.64 ppb <strong>The Water Doctor replied:</strong> The GreenWave Cascade will absolutely work here. TTHM (Total trihalomethanes) 22.2-27.2 ppb Alpha emitters (pCi/L) 1.9-3.6 Radium 226+228 or combined radium (pCi/L) 1.06-1.81 Antimony .2 ppb Arsenic .1-2.5 ppb Barium .028-.032 ppm Chromium .3-.8 ppb Cyanide 5 ppb Floride .26-.47 ppm Lead (point of entry) .2-.7 ppb Mercury (inorganic) .1 ppb Nickel .1-.3 ppb Nitrate (as Nitrogen) .008-.093 ppm Selenium .1-.8 ppb Sodium 14-39 ppm Thallium .1 ppb Copper (tap water) .175 ppm Lead (tap water) 2 ppb Total Dissolved Solids 370-590 ppm We see quite a bit of scaling, but not any rust, discolered or smells to our water. Will the Greenwave Cascade System work for our water? What type of system would you recommend for our water, pipes and septic system? Thanks in advance for your help. Paula - Havana, Florida
Christine
July 18, 2010 at 6:58 PM
We live in a 1890's farmhouse with very hard water from a well. We want to put in a Watts system or similar. Ideally we'd put the tank next to the water heater, but the cold water lines to the laundry, downstairs bath, and kitchen branch off before the water heater. The entry point of the water line is through a cement slab and up into the wall space behind the kitchen cabinets, next to a shallow crawl space below the family room! To install an upright water conditioner would mean sending a pipe through the crawl space to the cellar 15 ft away and back again. Will this distance affect the water pressure to the rest of the house? Any thoughts/comments would be great!
mark
July 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM
As long as you adequately size the pipe it should not present a problem. Do you have any iron or manganese in the water? Does it stain?
Edith
July 25, 2010 at 3:19 PM
Please warn people about the Excalibur water softener from Barrie Ontario. Brian Nogler of PURE WATER AND AIR SOLUTIONS sold me one with a guarantee that if it did not work according to manufacturers specifications he would refund my money and remove the softener. The softener does not work nor does the word of Brian Nogler. He has not come to refund my money or remove the system. I have contacted Excalibur of Barrie Ontario because on their web site it states there is no water problem they cannot fix. I assume that constitutes false advertising. If you cannot print this email the way I have sent it please modify it so people can be fore warned of these companies.
Jhon Martin
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