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Anyone know of hard water solutions?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I just moved into a new place with some really hard water.  I know that hard water can cause all sorts of problems with your appliances/pipes over the long run, and short term requires more cleaning products to get things clean. 


I'm also resistant to getting a salt water softener.


Does anyone know of any good replacement for a salt water softener, or some other simple solutions to help?



post #2 of 34

Hmm, I don't have too much personal experience in this department but I did a little research.  I came across two different electronic water softeners which supposedly work to adjust the minerals in your water without the use of salt or chemicals.  One of them is the Easy Water system and the other is the ClearWave electronic water softener.


I'm not really scientific enough to quite get how they electromagnetic signals work to alter the state of the minerals in the water...but they sound like potentially a good option.

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 

I had seen the Easy Water system - and upon further investigation had found a review from a chemical engineer that had claimed it was a rediculous claim.  I was dissappointed too - it sounded great.


I'm beginning to think that the only solution will be to suffer with the hard water - or try to get the most efficient salt softener I can afford.  I just wonder which would be the worst long term impact - adding salt / chemicals to the environment or having to replace pipes / appliances and use more cleaners. Most likely I will deal with the hard water for a while.

post #4 of 34
Originally Posted by babecca:

I had seen the Easy Water system - and upon further investigation had found a review from a chemical engineer that had claimed it was a rediculous claim.  I was dissappointed too - it sounded great.


Yeah, I was wondering about that...these are the times I wish I knew more about chemistry and what not. the meantime, I believe the Lemi Shine dish soap and the rinse agent are specially formulated to work in hard at least your dishwasher might be able to do it's job with just one go.  And I'll keep an eye out for other more legit hard water solutions.

post #5 of 34

The products Stins recommends I have used and are a good solution... dealing with the water as-is is likely your best option.


If you go with a salt-based water softener, I would not be too concerned about "adding salt" to the environment.  Salt is natural, and is not only plentiful, but obviously dominates our oceans... If your salt supply is sea salt, even better as you are salt-neutral with the oceans...

post #6 of 34

Salt is a problem for a number of reasons, I don't remember off hand as we've had our water softener for several years now, but my research lead me to avoid using salt.


Instead of using salt pellets, we use potassium which doesn't appear to be as bad for the environment, plants, and water treatment facilities.

post #7 of 34

In California salt is a problem in water softeners because it can't really be economically removed from waste water at treatment plants, so dissolved mineral salts and spent brine from ion exchange water softener recharging, accumulates in water, and is concentrated by evaporation as the water is subsequently used for irrigation, or just from surface water.  This has a poisoning effect on prime farmland, and is harmful to sensitive aquatic species.


An ion exchange softener removes hardness (calcium and magnesium), by running water through resin beads that are saturated with sodium chloride or potassium chloride salts.  The chloride favors ionic bond attachment to calcium (CaCl2) and magnesium (MgCl2), so those minerals are retained in the resin, and the sodium or potassium pass through with your drinking water.  Since there are health concerns with excessive sodium intake, a "supposedly" healthier softener uses potassium chloride.


One of the best alternatives to using any salt is the use of a reverse-osmosis filter membranes and water treatment system.  These are simply selectively permeable membranes that allow water to pass through under pressure, but not minerals.  These softeners usually include particulate filters and sometimes carbon filters as well to remove organics.  These produce ultra pure water, and are generally only used for drinking and cooking supplies.  Larger household systems can produce domestic water for all uses except irrigation. Unfortunately the systems are more expensive than ion exchange softeners, but isn't that true of many things green?

post #8 of 34

Reverse-osmosis filters are not a good choice for a whole house system, IMHO. They waste 3-4 gallons of water for every 1 purified gallon they produce (according to the Oct 2007 Consumer Reports). This might be OK for low volume things like drinking water but not a good idea for showers or laundry. Also, they generally have a low flow rate that make them unsuitable for whole house solutions.

post #9 of 34

Hard water alternatives

Let me know if you have questions for alternatives to treating hard water.

post #10 of 34


I found a product that fixes hard water problems in your water system. It is actually considered a Green product as well. I found this product and purchased it because I have hard water as well. I liked it so much that I became a dealer for them. It doesn't use any chemicals or salts and you just hook it on you water pipe and plug it in. It works great, there's no maintenance and it's guaranteed for three years and has a 1 year satifaction guarantee that if you're not happy with its performance in the first year you can return it for a refund. Here is the website where you can read about it and purchase if you want.


** edited to remove link in violation of Commercial Use Policy

Edited by stins - 4/14/2009 at 04:41 pm GMT
post #11 of 34

I recently bought a softener for a five home water supply system. According to everything I have read about the electromagnetic units they have very limited function and do not compare to a traditional softener. The salts stay in suspension for a very limited amount of time and will easily drop out after the water leaves the area of the magnet.


I suggest people look into this carefuly before jumping into it. 


The green tag on this item is new to me - hadn't seen it advertised that way. 

post #12 of 34

If you should decide to go for something like this, look around - the 595 USD price tag is far greater than what I rejected as black magic. 

post #13 of 34


The unit I refered to does not use a magnet. It uses and electrical charge through the water. Go to the website and read about it. It is guaranteed or your money back. Plus there is a coupon code right on the page to save 20% plus free shipping. Some of the magnet units on the market do not work because the magnets are not strong enough. There are some magnet softeners out there that do work well.

I can assure you Russ, this is not black magic. I have one in my home and it works great. I wouldn't promote something that was black magic or didn't work.

post #14 of 34

TomOConnor - Not suggesting you don't believe in it. 


Magnets or not it is the same item - a clamp on device which imparts a frequency, current or other into the water stream. 


The money back guarantees are possible because:


1. The concept possibly can be effective at the exact point of application and a meter ir two downstream - then it is gone but they can always say it worked. Then the solids 'knocked out' go back into solution because that is their natural state under the conditions present. 


2. The average homeowner has no idea whether it is working or not and no way to test it.


3. Very few people are going to bother normally but with the 595 USD price tag they certainly should!


I have yet to see any positive comment or engineering analysis about a magnetic softner from anyone but the company selling them. If you can guide me to one great. 


The references and supporting documentation on the Ameriservices site are not impressive - sounds like something you used to find in the back of Pouplar Mechanics in the 1950's. There is only salesman talk - no facts or figures.

post #15 of 34

I have previously made it clear that I do not believe in the magnetic/electronic water conditioners but others may so for the record there is a unit called clearwave which sells for 150 USD I came across while looking for the filter used in Brian's cool-n-save A/C attachment.


Apparently they have been popular in Europe but there does not seem to be much scientific evidence of their usefullness.


Residential water treatment sellers tend to big on tall claims, many of which are unsubstianted. I expect this is due to the relative inexperience of the prospective buyer. BS & blather often out weigh facts.


Prices for the equipment or systems are often jacked up with extreme markups by some sales groups. 


Checking prices carefully on the net can help one be aware of what things should cost. I doubt many of these companies manufacture their own goods but are actually resellers - regardless of what the salesman may claim. What I am saying is that most are selling the same thing for prices that vary greatly.


Buying from the net should be much more attractive but then you have to do the installation yourself.

post #16 of 34

I've been looking for something like that for my mother's house. Thanks for the usefull sources.

post #17 of 34

I don't know much about chemistry but I tested the magnetic softener myself and it does seem to work. I live in California and always have problem with water scaling. My next door neighbor just remodeled his house and they installed the GMX800 magnetic water softener system. They have two units clamped to the main water pipe that connect to the city pipe and two units clamped to the hot water pipe that comes out of the water heater. Just yesterday, I went over and asked for a glass of their tap water from the kitchen sink faucet. I asked to make sure, and he assured that they have no other water filtration system. I did the test as follows:


1. I spotlessly cleaned my kitchen window. The window directly faces the sun. From the outside, it was hot to the touch yesterday.

2. I rinsed and filled a spay bottle with tap water from my kitchen faucet and sprayed vertically on one side of the window.

3. I rinsed the bottle and filled with my reverse osmosis filtered water and sprayed at the middle of the window.

4. I did the same with my neighbor water and sprayed it on the left-over part of the window.

5. After all the water evaporated, the results came to:

  • My tap water - very visible, white water scaling everywhere
  • My Reverse Osmosis filtered water - a few very light water spots. I would say 95% plus of scaling were removed
  • My neighbor water - twice the spots of my filtered water. The spots are a little more visible than my filtered water too. But compare to my tap water, it is a big difference. I would say it is at least 85% less scaling than my tap water.


After my test, I went online and saw it was sold for $700 (4 units system). Almost everywhere on the internet, it is sold at that price. I googled for other magnetic systems. I found the Magnet Magic system that only sold for $180 (3 units system). Now, I don't know which one to buy. They are both magetics, shouldn't they work the same? Then why is the big price difference?


If anyone has any idea, please drop me an e-mail.





post #18 of 34

Neither the magnet type or the electronic type remove anything from the water. They claim to alter the state of the hardness so that it will not coat the pipes. Not sure why you wouldn't still see the residue on glass as all the chemicals are still in the water.


Forget the testimonials provided - I used to ask people I interviewed for employment if they believed I thought they would be stupid enough to give a name who would provide a poor reference. No one does and these companies don't either.


I have read that the affect of the unit is limited in range (distance away from the unit). The water and pipe (now normally plastic) will not carry or maintain a charge.The GMX800 people seem to go along with this as they want you to put them all over the house.


One statement Clearwater GMX makes that is misleading is about reverse osmosis - typically RO units are installed for reasons other than simply removing salt from the treated water unless someone has a medical condition requiring it. 


In my new home we are using chlorine dosing to the holding tank, a traditional ion exchange (salt) softner, filtering, downstream there is a UV lamp and at the main kitchen sink there is a RO unit. I am not about to change to one of these units.


I have very little faith in people selling residential water treatment systems - very often it is a direct sales item with pressure tatics and lots of smoke. 

post #19 of 34

Please see the following paragraph and the link to the site where it came from.


Magnets and "catalysts" for softening water, magnetic laundry balls, waters that are "oxygenated", "clustered", "ionized" or "vitalized" (purporting to improve cellular hydration, remove toxins, and repair DNA), high zeta-potential colloids and vortex-treated waters to raise your energy levels, halt or reverse ageing and prevent cancer — all of these wonders and more are being aggressively marketed via the Internet, radio infomercials, seminars, and by various purveyors of new-age nonsense. The hucksters who promote these largely worthless products weave a web of pseudoscientific hype guaranteed to dazzle and confuse the large segment of the public whose limited understanding of science makes them especially vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

The purpose of this site is to examine the credibility of these claims from the standpoint of our present-day understanding of science. The latter, of course, is always evolving and is never complete, but it makes an excellent "B.S. filter" that is almost always reliable. It is hoped that the information presented here will help consumers make more informed decisions before offering up their credit cards to those in the business of flogging pseudoscience.


Best regards,


post #20 of 34



You brought up an important point: magnet softener does not remove anything from water; therefore, there should be residue on the glass.


When I sprayed the water, most of the water ran down and fell off the window. If the manufacturer's claim is correct, that is treated water does not stick to the pipe, then there was possibility that it does not stick to glass, and there was less treated water on the window than non-treated water after I sprayed. Hence, there is less residue. I also noticed there was a vertical line of residue where the non-treated water was streaming down the window. On the treated water side, there were 2 very light lines on the sides of the stream.


With these facts, I have to conclude that magnetic treated water, for the lack of a better term, is less sticky than the non-treated water. The less water on any surface, the less residue after it evaporates. I always measured water hardness by the amount of residue that left on the shower door the day after, or the spots on my car after I hosed it down and too lazy to toweled it off. I understand that water hardness is measured by the amount of minerals that present in the water. Since magnetic system does not remove any chemical from the water, the water hardness, of course, unchanged through the process. However, for me and other folks, who refer to water hardness as the ugly residue on the shower doors, the magnetic system is much more than an alternative to salt water softener.


Best regards.

post #21 of 34

Another tip for anyone interested in the magnetic/electrostatic/electronic type of unit - a how to do it instruction from the same site as I posted above.


Their statement:

We do not make any claims about the effects of magnetic water or fuel treatment. But if you'd like to experiment with it, we can show you how to build a unit that's 3 to 4 times more powerful than commercial products costing $200 or more, at a cost of only $16 to $32! That way anyone can afford to find out for themselves whether magnetic treatment really works on their water or vehicle gas line.

post #22 of 34

I don't know much about water trreatment, but do not Magnetic Treatment and Brown Gas (or Water for Gas) are the most popular scams of MPG imprivement in car after-market industry for decades. It is hard to believe considerable amouont of people believes these BS.


Water treatment may however be different from fuel treatment, because it is related calcium and magnecium ions. Since the bonding between atoms is greatly related to electron, magnetic field would give influence to atom and molecule bonding structures as long as the firld is there (as Russ repeatedly emphasized).


Say the magnet field does treat water, but does not remove anything. Then, where do those ingredients go after the field disappears? Don't they return to the original structure??

post #23 of 34

The magnetic treated water does not remove any chemical. I believe it just has lesser bonding strength to surrounding matters. If there is less water on any surface, when it evaporates, the will be less residue.  If you test treated and non-treated water on the a horizonal mirror, they probably will have the same amount of residue. But if you test it on a vertical surface, since treated water is less bonding, treated water will run off more easily, and there will be less of it remaining than non-treated water. Hence, as the result you will have less residue with treated water. The chemicals will return to their original state after 24 hours or so. That's why the manufacturers require that you put another unit at the outlet of the water heater.


Thanks to Russ for pointing to the above website. I ordered a few magnets and will do a more comprehensive test once they arrive. I will post the result then.

post #24 of 34

Looking forward to your experiment & results!


The site I referenced above noted that there seemed to be less streaking on glass in their tests.


There are numerous sites for rare earth magnets - an easy google.


Even if the magnets don't work for this they would be neat toys. 

post #25 of 34

Here is another reference about the magnetic type of softner. The URL after the title shows the source - if they thought there was any hope I expect they would add this item to their catalog..


Do magnetic water softeners work?

In strict laboratory conditions and for very short periods, yes – in your house – not likely. They work on silica based hardness minerals (chances are your hardness minerals are not silica based), and the effect fails once the water leaves the magnetic field. Water does not magnetize because is does not contain enough ferromagnetic elements, so as soon as the water leaves the presence of the local magnetic field, the softening effect (if there was one) ends. Please note: magnetic conditioners and catalytic conditioners are very different in principle, operation, and effect. Catalytic conditioners work very well. 

post #26 of 34

Hello all again,


I got the magnets and did the test. Without getting under the house in the crawl space, I can only install 1 system of 2 magnets for the cold water. I have a valve right behind where the magnets installed. The sample treated water is freshly flown through the magnets, not standing water in the pipe. I tested the water and took pictures of the results, but the outputs were terrible, because of the mirror reflection, and not worth posting. I did the tests with 3 samples: (a) tap water, (b) treated water, and (c) treated water left over night in a cup. The samples were tested on a mirror and were in the sun to dried out. Before I used a sample water, I religiously rinsed the equipments with reverse osmosis filered water to minimize contamination of previous sample.


Test #1 - Mirror was placed on a horizontal surface. 1, 2, and 5 drops of each samples were put on the mirror.

  • Amount of residue were pretty much the same on 3 samples.


Test #2 - Mirror leaned against the wall almost vertically. 3 sprays of each sample.

  • (b) is 40% less residue than (a). (c) is right in between (a) and (b).
  • I don't know why but (a) has finer mist than (b) and (c). This could lead to less run off; and thus, more residue.


Test #3 - Initially, mirror was placed horizontally. 5 drops of each samples were placed on mirror. Mirror was raised to a vertical position to test the run off.

  • The samples ran down at the same pace. Width of streams were pretty much the same. Amount of water droplets remained after samples stopped running were pretty much the same except that those of (b) and (c) were a little smaller than (a).


Test #4 - Exactly like test #3 but only 1 drop of each sample was used.

  • The samples ran down at the same pace. As the sample drops rolled down, they created water streams behind them. Most interesting is that the tail of (a) stream disappeared slower than that of (b) stream. (a) streams also broke up more frequently than (b) streams. As the result, there were more of (a) droplets left behind than of (b). I did the the test 3 times and each time I exchanged their position on the mirror to make sure that the results were not affected by the mirror. The results were pretty consistent. (a) had 10, 12, 12 droplets and (b) had 6, 9, 8 droplets. (c) were pretty much in the middle: 8, 11, 11.


Of all 4 tests, only test #4 is the most conclusive. It does indicate that treated water can reduce scaling up to 40%. Test #3 does show a little improvement but not too impressive.


How did the test with my neighbor water come out so different? Could it be that he used 2 systems of 4 magnets while I only use 1 system of 2 magnets? I will have to find out later.


My ultimate test would be hosing down one side of my truck with tap water and the other side with treated water. But that just has to wait because I just have my truck detailed.


I hope my tests help.


Have a nice day!!!

Edited by STARSIA - 4/29/2009 at 01:05 am GMT
post #27 of 34

To the thread starter, I'm just about to order the potassium chloride crystals.


I'll try out for my water problem here at home, I'll tell you what happen when I try it.


Edited by Russ - 6/17/2009 at 02:21 pm GMT
post #28 of 34
First, It's not a matter of believing in it. Nice try. It's obvious that you have purchased a different type of water softener and want to defend your purchase decision so as not to look bad. That's fine by me, but trying to bash my site is bordering on slander.
Maybe stop and think about the other site you linked ( advanced water filters) that tries to say that magnetic and electromagnetic water conditioners don't work. The company competes against these water conditioners and is claiming they don't work so you will buy their product. I guess that is a valid business tactic to you. That says a lot.
I don't push my product on anyone. I also don't sell it for $595 either so get your facts straight.
I guess as far as facts are concerned maybe you didn't see the part about the independent test that British Gas did on the product or maybe you believe that was made up.
Question, as a moderator, why are you allowed to place commercial links on your posts?
I will ask you nicely to stop any further slandering of the product and my web site?
Good day.
post #29 of 34
Hi TomOConnor,

I told in a post a detailed description of the type of system I have. There is no trying to justify my decision to buy it. 

I have provided links (not just the one you refer to) that question (or worse) the magnetic/electronic types of conditioners and their usefulness. Some of the links point out these have been used in Europe for years. Thalomide was also used in Eiruop for years - before the big problem so use in Europe may be good or bad. 

I do not sell anything. I do not have any connection to nor do I use the product from any links I posted. The only connection I have to water conditioners is as a consumer. I have been forced to study the topic to make my own purchase. Being a moderator gives you no additional rights and probably less rights than anyone else. I was not a moderator at that time by the way.

As I remember, when I went to the site you gave, 595 USD was the price listed with a 20% discount coupon offered. As I pointed out, these type of things are available from many people for much, much less and can even be home built for minimal cost.

I don't believe that I am slandering your product. Anything I have said is freely available on the web. I also don't believe I said anything bad about your web site - can't even remember mentioning it. Many products for sale today (as always) are of questionable use and in some cases even dangerous. I believe it is the duty of all to point out potential problems.
post #30 of 34

People who fall for magnetic type solutions to hard water problems are proof positive that

Barnum was right:  "There's a fool born every minute."  Just a couple minutes web research

would substantiate this.


The best and cheapest solution is to assemble your own in-line filtration system, containing activated charcoal and .... Do the research.



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