Water is an interesting subject. We have opined on water softeners in previous blogs, now it’s time to talk water conditioners. Although some of the water conditioning companies like to refer to themselves as making items that soften water for our purposes we are going to keep the names completely separate. Water conditioners are known for altering the structure of the water temporarily until it is used. This process is usually handled through a process of chelation or sometimes through using a magnetic field. In both cases the process is designed to make the calcium and magnesium ions alter in such a way that they will stay suspended in the water and not stick to the fixtures and faucets as the water is used.
These products also claim that the water treated this way will dissolve existing scale that has formed previously over time. Some of the other benefits mentioned in these two methods are the lack of salt that needs to be purchased for normal softener regeneration. While that is true it also needs to be mentioned that some of these products will need a new cartridge annually or possibly every 6 months, or a new system at some point around 10 years out. Overall cost of any system should always be looked at from a stand point of expected life span and total yearly cost for the full picture. As is the case with any system we recommend looking and all options with a plumbing contractor that will offer both pro’s and con’s to all options. Two very good things to do in any purchase like this would be to look at the customer support responsiveness, and real people mentioning success or dissatisfaction in the product.