From the Experts

Ask an Expert

Do “No-Salt” Water Conditioners Make Water Soft? - 11/19/2010

Written by Bret Petty , Research and Development

Bret has over 30 years of water treatment experience with Aqua Systems. Bret is also the former president of Aqua Systems. Today Bret focuses his time on product development and problem solving challenges.

The market is being flooded with advertising that could lead consumers to believe that you can get rid of your water softener, stop buying salt, and get the same results without using salt. This message resonates with just about everyone who lugs salt to a water softener. I don’t know anyone who would not be interested in giving up loading salt in water softeners. However, dealing with the salt is for a reason. It is a great trade off for soft water. Soft water protects your plumbing system, makes cleaning much easier, and feels great to bathe in. So can you get soft water with a “No-Salt” conditioner? The answer is No.
I believe the advertising is extremely deceptive because it doesn’t tell the consumer that you don’t get the same result. In fact, you have to dig deep in the websites to find the disclaimers. One of the big advertisers even discloses that you will get white crust all over your fixtures with their “No-Salt” water conditioner. They go on to explain that it is easy to clean up. But, you have to dig deep to find this information. The fact is you can’t get soft water with a “No-Salt” water conditioner.
The “No-Salt” technologies are referred to as Physical Water Conditioners (PWC). These systems include magnets, electro-magnets, electrical frequency, and crystallization polymers. All of them claim to change the structure of hardness minerals, in a way that prevents scale from forming. Of all of the technologies, only the crystallization polymers have shown any effectiveness in reducing scaling, and those results can’t be achieved, with reliability, in every application. The rest of the groups have only supplied information that is generated from within their companies. Some may refer to “Customer Successes”, but it is being reported from within.
A fundamental problem with all PWC products is that you can’t verify that they are doing anything. There is not a test that can show a difference in water before and after the treatment, not one. There is not a detectable difference in the feel of the water, the reaction with soaps, or with laundry. The water before and after the treatment is the same. So that leaves you with one claimed benefit, scale prevention. The problem with this is that you can’t see inside of the plumbing. So you can’t know if it is having any effect on scaling. You are left to have faith that scale is not forming inside your plumbing. You can’t see it, verify it, or prove the PWC is working. If you disconnect a water softener, and install any PWC, you will immediately get white crust forming all over your fixtures. You will also immediately lose the soft water feel while bathing.
So how do these companies get away with the advertising? Great question. To begin, it might help to define some terms. Water Softening means to remove hardness minerals. However, what does conditioning mean? Conditioning can mean anything. I could run my hand through water to condition it, but condition it for what? The water quality industry has always done a good job at policing the message of its members. However, the PWC companies don’t see themselves in the same industry. They have crafted their own niche and don’t want to be bothered by others. They don’t subscribe to the same disciplines as the water quality industry. This is the opinion that I have formed in watching all of this unfold. I believe these companies are playing on consumer emotion by selling a message that dances around truth, then buries the details in website copy. 
If you want soft water, and want to reduce handling salt, there have never been better options. Aqua Systems’ softening technologies have reduced salt consumption to minimal levels. The use of salt is a great, green, tradeoff to problems caused by hard water. Soft water reduces energy consumption used to heat water, saves appliances from un-necessary wear, reduces soaps, and eliminates the need for harsh cleaning products. These claims are not internally generated, hyperbole, they are known facts and confirmed by various third party testing. All of these benefits are achieved with something natural we get from the ground called salt. 
In summary, dig deep for the facts. If you want soft water, you can’t get it from “No-Salt” water conditioners. If you love soft water, and you want minimal salt consumption, and you still want to get a great shower, it can all be done with technology from Aqua Systems.

Back to List


Posted by Richard

1/3/2011 10:08:00 AM

Thanks Bret, another topic of the consumer being confusion by the industry brought to clarity the Aqua Systems way.

Posted by

7/7/2011 4:50:00 PM

ugmCPX I came across to your post and found it very useful for me. Thanks and good luck!)

Posted by

7/8/2011 8:44:00 AM

e6l88w I read online (computer problems) positive feedback about your resource. Didnt even believe it, and now saw myself. It turned out that I was not fooled.

Back to List

Post a Comment

Screen Name:
(This will show in the comments area and does not need to be your real name.)
Email Address:
(This will NOT show in the comments area.)

Please enter txt from above.