Hard water poses very few health risks, especially when drinking it. But the limescale deposits that it leaves behind can be a nuisance to people. Limescale build-up in water pipes also reduces liquid flow. This electronic water softener review will look at some solutions available for homeowners to alleviate this problem.
Water Softening: Tried and True Method
What makes water hard is the presence of minerals such as calcium, and often magnesium or iron. A conventional water softener uses the ion-exchange resin method to extract these minerals from the water.
Crosslinked polymers, in the form of resin beads, are placed in a mineral tank. As hard water makes its way past the tiny beads, the minerals it carries get attached to them. In return, the beads release sodium into the water, thus softening the water. Sodium doesn’t cause build-up or limescale. This method has proven to be very effective.
One drawback of this method of water softening is the requirement of periodic regenerations of the resin beads. After processing a certain volume of water, the minerals that have accumulated on the beads need to be purged.
The task is done by backflushing the tank with brine and replacing the minerals with sodium (i.e., common salt). The cost of salt is not prohibitive. But it is the periodic upkeep and salt refilling that lead some homeowners to look for alternatives.
Electronic Water Softener Review— Plug ‘n Play Water Softening?
What if there is a way to prevent hard water from causing limescale build-up without extracting the minerals? The magnetic water treatment method promises to do just that. It purportedly solves this problem by neutralizing the ability of calcium to cling to surfaces.
Two strong magnets are attached to a water pipe. As water traverses the magnetic field, the structure of the calcium molecules gets transformed from calcite to aragonite—the kind that doesn’t stick. Technically this is not water softening. Instead, it is known as water descaling or conditioning.
The iSpring ED2000 is an electronic descaler based on the magnetic water treatment method. Instead of magnets, the system uses two wire antennas to induce a magnetic field. It consists of a main control unit and two lengths of wire extending from it. Installation requires no cutting or dismantling of any kind.
Simply find an unobstructed location for the main unit to rest above the main water pipe. The water pipe can be either plastic or copper. Wrap the red and blue wires around the water pipe and tighten them down with zip ties. The red wire corresponds to upstream, and the blue wire corresponds to downstream. Plug in the main unit’s power supply and you’re in business.
The whole system requires no maintenance or upkeep, and can be left powered up continuously.
So far, there is no scientific consensus on the efficacy of magnetic water treatment. With conventional salt-based water softening, it is simple to prove calcium is absent from the water after going through the softener. With magnetic water treatment, however, no calcium is removed. It has simply been rearranged. And without any comprehensive scientific investigation, all we have to go by is feedback from users.
The iSpring ED2000 is one of the more popular models of magnetic water descaler. Many buyers are thoroughly sold. They report noticeable effects after months of use. These include better lathering with soaps or detergents, and the absence of further limescale build-up.
On the other extreme, not a small number of buyers claim it is nothing but hi-tech snake oil. Symptoms of hard water continue to plague their homes.
Though not as expensive as ion-exchange water softeners, magnetic water descalers are still not cheap. After reading this electronic water softener review, you are well-advised to do your homework before buying one.