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Monday, December 22, 2008

New Softening Technology - Will it work?

(My Original Blog Post:
Eberto from San Diego writes:

Our water comes from Otay Water District in San Diego. The water seems fine except for the scaly buildup. I would like to reduce the mineral buildup on our water fixtures and appliances without adding salt. The next-ScaleStop Systems ( claims to do this.

What system would you recommend?

Do you think their claims are true?

Are you familiar with their products?

Hi Eberto, thanks for writing in.

Hard water isn't a health problem, it is an aesthetic one.  It becomes a problem for people for two reasons. The first is that it reacts with soaps, making it harder to form a lather and producing a soap scum in your sinks and bathtubs.  The other is that over time you ge

t the scale you speak of.

Generally, hard water scale forms because heat and reaction with pipe materials make the hard water ions, mostly calcium but some magnesium and other metals, become insoluble and are no longer held in the water. This is a slower process than the hard water chemicals reacting with soap, so it builds up steadily over time. The more hardness in your water, the faster it does this.

The next scale stop systems claim to take hardness, somehow react it with a catalyst to become a crystal and fall out of solution, and form it into a large "seed" ball to which they claim will not react with soap or form a scale in your pipes.

This may work with soap - if the hardness is already reacted with something it cannot react with soap. However, forcing the hardness out of solubility with water should speed up the formation of scale.

I have my doubts that this technology will prevent the formation of scale. From what I can see, it may even speed this up.  I cannot find any additional information to back up the companies claims.

The company does have NSF 42 approval, and this approval states:

Overview: This standard covers point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste and odor, and particulates) that may be present in public or private drinking water. -Source

The fact that this company does have NSF 42 approval is a boon in their favor. However, this doesn't mean that they are particularly effective at what they claim to do, but that it works to some degree.

The literature claims that the company has been providing an effective solution for hardness treatment for six years.  That being the case, they should have lots of installations near you.  Call them and ask for an extensive reference list so you can start making some calls.  With a new and seemingly "perfect" technology, it's best to get firsthand experience from those who have purchased it.

I have found a little bit about this product on the internet.  Various forums have said that this is not a softener, but it does help soap lather and reduce scale, but not as effectively as a softener would.

I can tell you for sure that ion exchange water softeners work. There is absolutely no question in this. It's a tried and true technology and no one can argue that it doesn't work.

If you decide to ask the company for a reference list, I'd be very interested in those customer testimonials as to the products effectiveness.

I'm sorry I couldn't be more cut and dry on this one, Eberto, but I don't have any direct experience with this technology.

I hope that helped you. Please don't hesitate to write in for further clarification or if you have another question.

0 keen observations: