Does Water Conditioning Work?
“Water Conditioning”, “Water Restructuring”, Electrochemical Scale Elimination”, these are just some of the many terms that are used to describe technologies designed to prevent limescale build-up via an electrochemical reaction.
Over several decades, there have been systems using magnets, wrap around coils and radio frequencies, to name but a few. They all have one thing in common, they cannot guarantee effective scale elimination in all environments. They are not poor products and aren’t completely ineffective. They are however limited by the science that supports how they work, so at best can only help reduce the problem, not eliminate it. This is widely accepted, supported by independent scientific studies, and in a lot of cases openly documented on manufacturers’ own websites.
In almost all cases these systems are trying to force the precipitation of the scale forming minerals from the water solution. When in solution, these minerals are not visible but by forcing them to precipitate they move from a liquid to a solid state. This is done with varying success, but never completely. What happens after this though is very important. Now that the minerals are out of solution and binding together in a new form, they may not create limescale but these visible deposits need to be filtered from your water system.
Failure to do this can result in appliances & heating equipment being fouled up, or the minerals simply dissolving back into the solution and the hard water problems will perpetuate.
Limitations of Traditional Water Conditioning Systems:
- The forced precipitation of the crystals/minerals may cause blockages and shorten the life of filters/membranes in water treatment systems.
- The precipitated minerals will dissolve back into solution if not filtered out.
- Continuous filtration is required when operating on hot water systems in order to remove these clumps.
- Positioning of the system is critical; too close to the point of the problem (boiler, etc.) and the crystals haven’t bound together and precipitated. Too far away and they may have dissolved back into solution.
- The effectiveness of “Wrap Around Coil” systems is reduced by the thickness of the pipe and any existing scale that is inside the pipe.
- Systems that rely on turbulence or disruption to the water will reduce the subsequent flow rate and water pressure.
- Pumps can reverse the effects of the restructuring.