Salt-free water conditioning

tucker_troyJanuary 4, 2010

Hi all,

Considering installing a water softener in our San Antonio home. Overall, we're happy with the way our water tastes but are tired of cleaning all the scale build up on/inside our fixtures and appliances. Looking at the new media-style softener alternatives using "template assisted crystallization." Instead of using salt, these systems change the hard minerals from their ionic form into a crystalline form that doesn't attach to pipes, fixtures or appliances. In particular, interested in the Watts ScaleNet system with a Vortech gravel-free mineral tank, and Clack accessory parts.

Searched previous posts without luck. Any comments on this technology or product.



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"Searched previous posts without luck"

You must be the unluckiest forum searcher of all time...

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 2:47PM
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While theoretically possible, I would be very wary of any technology when the manufacturer provides absolutely no scientific evidence, no explanation of how their system works, no studies, nothing. Additionally, their systems are obscenely overpriced for a tank with 10 lbs of media.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 10:55AM
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Justalurker, Alice, et al,

Thanks for trying to improve my luck, but none of the previous posts seemed to objectively address "salt-free softeners," or the Watts ScaleNet product that I asked about in particular. All I've seen is the self-promotion of salt based systems and the general bashing and use of scare tactics against anything else. Not the open discussion I was looking for, so I've looked elsewhere and here are some interesting links for anyone else interested in salt-free systems...

Still considering the Watts ScaleNet system but I also like what I've read about the Pelican Natursoft series, which has been independently tested and certified. Both run about $1500 installed for a whole house system. If anyone else has something objective to add, please post.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 5:11PM
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In less than 10 seconds I found this post... click here to read

I also found this disclaimer referring to the Watts you mentioned:

The units below are designed to operate on reasonably sediment-free water. If sediment is present, a sediment prefilter is recommended. Iron, petroleum, or hydrogen sulfide in well water must be removed by pre-treatment. The media manufacturer also cautions against use on water with an excess of 3 parts-per-million chlorine. (The media will last longer and perform better if no chlorine is present, so a carbon prefilter should be considered for city water use.)

So, it seems those water conditions MUST be treated conventionally BEFORE installing the Watts Scale Prevention System.

There is no such thing as a NO-SALT softener.

There are salt-free or no-salt conditioners but they do not remove hardness from water.

Many have been waiting to see and read subjective and provable scientific data regarding any success these no-salt units have in removing hardness and to date NOT ONE has removed a single grain of hardness..

Please post the results of a water test so we can what you are trying to treat in your water.

Give one a try and let us know how it works.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 5:45PM
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Just FYI, the Pelican has been tested and certified for NSF/ANSI 42 - Material Safety. This has nothing whatsoever to so with its ability to inhibit scale.

It appears that by "objective, open discussion" you really mean "ringing endorsement" which you won't get here. You will, however get a healthy dose of skepticism backed up by scientific evidence. Any product that fails to 1) explain its technology in actual scientific terms, 2) pass independent, rigorous scientific tests for effectiveness, and 3) follow natural laws of chemistry and physics, will be met with much deserved derision. Scientific testing is objective. With no data, open discussion is only opinion (some anecdotal, some with engineering or scientific background, some company shill). You asked for comments. If you have a link to actual testing, I would be more than happy to read through it. If you would prefer that I just validate your desire to purchase a "TAC" system - By all mean, buy two!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:12PM
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Gentlemen, thanks for the quick responses. You obviously are doing your very best to keep up with all the latest trends in your business. I've seen your posts on other forums on the web and I applaud your strong desire to help others by providing your professional and unbiased opinions. I also appreciate the encouragement you provide to anyone considering purchasing a salt-free system.

In regards to the claim that the Watts and Pelican system requires pretreated water, I guess that depends on the composition of your water. They admit that the presence of oil and other contaminants will degrade the media used and void their warranties. That's why they highly recommend a water analysis (especially if using well water) prior to purchasing their systems.

As far as independent testing, go to the the Pelican web site (

I am also looking at the Oxion Water treatment system. They are based here in San Antonio and they use an "electrical shock" among other things to prevent and remove the formation of scale. I believe you refer to this as "voodoo" technology, but I'm intrigued as their systems are used by many local companies and cities to treat their water. This seems to be a trend where more and more large corporations and communities are embracing salt-free solutions. For example, the Sanitation District of Los Angeles has banned the use of salt based systems in Santa Clarita Valley since 2003 and has a rebate program for residents to change out their salt based systems ( I know, those wacky Californians...

Thanks again for your encouragement. I will definitely continue to do my own independent research. The Pelican and Watts reps have agreed to provide me with a list of customers in my area to call on. In addition, the Watts testing facility is located here in San Antonio which I plan to visit. I will be visiting the Oxion facilities as well. I will post my findings later.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 4:05PM
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tucker_troy joined on Jan 4, 2010. The name is new but I've seen this style of writing in the last year.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:22PM
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Sorry for the delay, but heres what IÂve learned from my research of various salt-free water conditioners. For you purists, note that I said conditioners and not softenersÂ

There are many salt-free alternatives out there. HereÂs a link to many: However, there isnÂt much unbiased information or hard evidence that backs up their claims, except where noted below.

As far as the electric wave/pulse systems, I spoke with the head of Oxion, and he said that their system is designed for large commercial applications for now. He explained the technology and it was compelling, however, even though they have sold their systems to various hotels and other industries I couldnÂt find any independent sources that justified their claims. Therefore, IÂve discarded the idea of installing any similar electric wave/pulse type system. The same holds true for any magnetic device, such as Clear Wave or Easy Water.

When dealing with media based systems, I focused my research on the Watts Scalenet and Pelican Natursoft systems. ThereÂs a lot of information on the internet concerning these systems, including some independent studies that support their claims (Filtersorb is another system worth considering IMHO). Go to their websites and/or do a Google search and youÂll find plenty of information, including links to the independent studies conducted. It is important to understand what these systems do and do not do, and what limitations they have. To sum it up, they will minimize the build-up of "hard scale" that requires the use of harsh chemicals, and a lot of manual labor to remove. Since they do not remove Ca or Mg from the water, there will be "soft scale" left behind which is a lot easier to clean (simply wipe it away according to the customers I spoke with), and will even remove existing hard scale from your plumbing. Limitations have to do with the amount of certain impurities found in your water that may require pretreatment (a cartridge carbon filter will usually do the trick). Prior to installing any system, you should always check your water quality before hand, especially if on well water.

Anyway, after talking to a lot of people, IÂve decided to purchase a Watts Scalenet system. In particular, a commercial grade 15GPM model (contains more media than the residential unit) with a carbon cartridge pre-filter for about $1500 (for more info, see here:

The Pelican system seemed a little too "pretty" (stainless steel tank) and their claims a little exaggerated, (their media supposedly never needs replacing); plus their "generous" 60-day money back guarantee makes me think they were more interested in marketing and making a lot of quick sales versus building a solid product (compared side-by-side, the Watts system has more media and is less expensive). IÂm confident that the science behind their system is the same as the Watts, and should therefore work, but itÂs just packaged a little too slick for me. My honest opinion. Nothing more.

Hope this helps anyone else interested in a Salt-free system. I will try to remember to post updates after I have the Watts system installed.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:27PM
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TT - how is the Watts scalenet working out for you? I have the Scaleblaster SB-125. It seems to have removed scale from the pipes but my water heater still has lots of scale. How's your tea kettle? Mine gunks up with scale pretty fast. I'm looking for something that will keep the water heater and tea kettle free from buildup.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:46PM
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I know you have probably already purchased your system but I would like to take the time to find out more about your water. It is late here in CA at the moment but if you would like to email me please feel free. I only want to talk to you about your water and what test you have done to see what is in it. Most conditioning companies think they have a handle on water treatment and market their systems that way but have no real expertise in the treatment of water as opposed to the conditioning issues of water. I believe salt free units can be possible but the "removal" of the hardness ion has to be either by exchange or keeping it in solution (in which it is not removed) or dissolving the calcium or magnesium. If your interested please email me at

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:14AM
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Sorry, I haven't checked in lately...

Yes, I did purchase a Watts Scalenet system, but only recently. I found the best prices online at I got delayed with the installation by other projects (like remodeling the entire laundry room according to the wishes of DW where the unit was to be installed). As far as actual scale removal, Watts claims that depending on the age of your house, you may see large chunks of scale getting trapped in various places (shower heads, faucets, etc) usually after three weeks of use. Which will initially require you to clean them out more often. However, once your water system has been purged, you shouldn't have to do it at all. Of course, because the hardness isn't removed from the water itself, you will still get some spots on your glassware and shower doors that is easily wiped off; versus scrubbing with CLR. Watts has some pretty convincing case studies at, and for some neat before and after pictures check out the manufacturers of the TAC media (formerly known as Next Scale Stop and Filtersorb SP3). Lastly, for a thorough yet understandable explanation on how it all works go to

As far as my water quality, I'm on San Antonio city water which, if I remember correctly, has a "hardness" level of 18 grains. Everything else is in an acceptable range. FYI, Watts doesn't recommend using Scalenet if your hardness is above 24 grains (410 ppm). I did purchase a whole house carbon filter with the Watts system to reduce the chlorine level (Anyway, I will post results and hopefully pictures soon.
Hope this helps answer some questions.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 5:12PM
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"Anyway, I will post results and hopefully pictures soon."

Until water samples taken before the system on the suply line and after the system has treated the water come back from a lab showing a measurable change in hardness you are selling snake oil.

It is not hard to clearly show how hardness has been altered, but they never want to show real results.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 7:33AM
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The whole point of the Watts Scalenet system is not to remove the "hardness" from the water, but to alter it's molecular structure/properties so it doesn't stick to pipes and appliances. I don't mind calcium in my water but my hot water heater and appliances do.

Besides, I'm not selling anything. I'm just a Texas homeowner posting my thoughts and findings on alternatives to salt based systems. If you haven't noticed, there's a lot of fear mongering by water softener dealers on these boards. Anyway, you should check out the Watts Scalenet system. You may want to carry these in your product line as an alternative...TT

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 10:53PM
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tucker troy,

I noticed you installed the Watts Scalenet system back in January and was wondering if you could update us on how the system has worked. Has it significantly reduced scale in your pipes and would you recommend it to anyone else with the same problem?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Also still waiting for update from Java44 after his/her something like 90 days experience with EasyWater 2200 installation in mid-July.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:53AM
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'The whole point of the Watts Scalenet system is not to remove the "hardness" from the water, but to alter it's molecular structure/properties so it doesn't stick to pipes and appliances. "

And this is were they enter BS mode.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 2:47PM
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We have done some research on salt free water softeners and do not recommend them. They are ineffective and a waste of money. View the full research here:

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Now there is some shameless self promotion Clearwater. You are also posting to a 9 month old post.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:05PM
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"Posted by java44 (My Page) on Fri, Jul 16, 10 at 17:50
Purchased the Easy Water, heavier duty model for homes and will be hooking it up this weekend.....Easy Water 2200.....I�ll report back to let all of you know the outcome. "

Never heard from him again. Bad sign.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:23AM
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I enjoy the harsh scientific threshold here. Am looking for a whole house conditioner, "softener" and pure drinking water solution that removes chlorimine and fluoride.

Just wondering is the study done at Arizona State University at considered non-scientific proof? Or is that not up to the standards of testing that you all require for proof?

What testing would meet the requirements?

When a tester comes to your home and does a test for Hardness, VOCs and ph balance is that not factual of what you have? Or is that some kind of bias slant to have them tell you which system you need?

This is a very confusing process.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 3:20PM
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