There are several new water conditioning systems on the market designed to deal with the age-old problem of scale formation in pipes and appliances without the disadvantages (salt usage, environmental degradation, etc.) associated with the conventional water softener.
Many earlier alternative “softening” systems relied on magnets and a variety of electrical devices to send waves and pulses through pipes in an attempt to rearrange the molecular structure of the water's hardness (calcium & magnesium ions).
The newest in alternative softening devices work differently. Like the conventional water softener, they use a treatment medium contained in a standard mineral tank. Water is passed through the medium inside the tank and treated. Unlike the softener, however, they do not need to be regenerated with salt and they do not need to connected to a drain. They require no sophisticated electronic control system. They are, therefore, much easier to install and set up. No maintenance, electricity, or salt is needed.
The new media-style softener alternatives do not remove calcium and magnesium ions from water (as softeners do) but, rather, they change these hardness minerals from their ionic form to a harmless crystalline form. In this very stable form, calcium and magnesium do not attach to pipes, appliances, and fixture surfaces. The crystals are so small, in fact, that they are readily rinsed away by the normal flow of water. This technology is often referred to as “template assisted crystallization.”
The alternative softeners on this page are designed, tested, and built by Watts using ScaleNet™ conditioning anti-scale medium, the superior Vortech gravel-free mineral tank, and Clack accessory parts. This, in our opinion, is the best softener alternative on the market. We are pleased to add it to our offerings.
We recommend the Watts ScaleNet™ system highly for scale prevention. However, we make no claim that this unit will put a smile on your face, make your teeth white, or end your financial worries. We aren't sure, in fact, that it will give you spot-free dishes or that you'll never again have to scrub your toilet bowl. We have seen very impressive results on scale prevention tests done with this unit, however, and we offer it as an excellent way to prevent hardness scale buildup in pipes and appliances and even to remove existing scale.
Here are some points to consider:
Uses no salt. It's friendly to the environment, your arteries, your pocketbook, and your aching back. Totally acceptable in areas where conventional salt-consuming softeners have been banned or regulated.
Calcium is not removed from water as it is with a conventional softener, and no sodium is added to your water. Consequently, the “slippery feel” of softened water is not present.
The ScaleNet™ system uses a single tank (no salt tank) and does not need access to a drain. Therefore, it saves space and is much easier to install and maintain. Water goes in one side and out the other. The hookup is so simple the installer will be bored with the job.
No electricity needed. The up-flow conditioner works on water pressure alone. No moving parts. No control valve to program. Nothing to wear out.
You experience no noticeable pressure drop because the ScaleNet media load is very small and very light.
The unit not only prevents scale from forming, but it also dissolves existing scale. (Water softeners don't affect existing scale.)
Almost totally maintenance free. Life expectancy of the conditioning medium is in years — the exact life depending on usage habits and water quality. Five years is a reasonable expectation for a residential unit. Media replacement is very easy.