anti scale solutions

CycleCroneApril 15, 2011

I am launching into a kitchen and bath remodel. I am hungry for the space the electric hot water tank requires so am planning to switch to an electric on demand water heater. On his first draft bid my contractor spec'ed a Stiebel Eltron tankless heater. When I called them to chat about my various issues and questions I mentioned our hard water. They said they reccommend pre treating the water with a particular anti scale device called the Watts One Flow Anti Scale solution.

My contractor was up here this week with his one of his plumbers.

I mentioned the One Flow thing to the plumber and he hadn't heard of it but he has installed for his parents and maintained for them something called Nuvo which when I google comes up as the Pelican NaturSoft. Which they believe has helped keep their plumbing from scaling up.

There were a some quite heated discussion in 2007 & 2008 on a couple of similar devices. And reading their websites makes them sound a bit like a magic wand that miraculously changes the character of the hard water minerals so they do not deposit on the heating elements or pipes or otherwise ruin expensive plumbing.

it is clear they are not water softeners, even tho the nuvo Pelican NaturSoft calls itself a salt free water softener.

To forestall another round of heated discussion of these are not water softeners.... I don't want a water softener, all that salt just shifts the problem from mineral deposits to salt damage. I understand that these devices are not water softeners. I actually like the minerals in my water and would continue to deal with the costs of calcified plumbing before installing a water softener.

What I would like to know is if anyone is using one of these new antiscale devices, which one, why did you chose that one over another and do you think it works and whatever else you might have to offer!

One issue I think I am hearing is that minerals still do deposit on dishes/plumbing as the water cools off so one still has some deposits to clean up but they are not hardened on as with my current untreated water.

The devices are not that expensive and it does seem worth taking a flyer but I do love knowing what people who have used things think.

thanks for any input

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Just so you have your facts straight while you are researching your solution...

Ion exchange water softening DOES NOT ADD SALT to the water. Ion exchange softening exchanges sodium (or potassium if used instead of NaCl) ions for hardness, iron, and manganese ions that are in the water.

Sodium (or potassium) is not salt. Neither sodium or potassium creates any of the salt damage you are incorrectly stating in your post.

No other minerals are exchanged or removed from the water being softened

The amount of sodium ions exchanged increases as the the amount of hardness, iron, and manganese ions being exchanged increases.

The benefits of softened water are well proven over decades and decades and decades in the field and are cost effective and reliable.

Google salt added to softened water and read more.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:42PM
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When water is heated minerals precipitate out of the water. These anti-scale devices do not remove any of the dissolved minerals, consequently the minerals still precipitate out when heated. Tankless water heater manufacturers recommend treating water to remove dissolve minerals to achieve maximum efficiency of these highly efficient devices. Precipitated minerals restrict the flow of water in these devices, greatly reducing the efficiency and lifetime of tankless water heaters just as it does with traditional water heaters.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 3:01PM
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If you are only interested in protecting your water heater and want to retain some minerals in your water there is really only one option that is guaranteed to work. It is a bit of a compromise. Install a softener to soften only the water going to the water heater. This will protect your heater while at the same time leaving the minerals in the majority of your water.

Catalytic technology for scale inhibition, used by both units you listed, has some promise, although it appears to be a bit light on independent research. Of the two you mentioned, Pelican concerns me because of their use of ridiculously inaccurate information about softening. For that reason, I find their science suspect. Watts does not appear to be plagued by the same issues, plus their systems are more robust mechanically. I must say though, that I am more than a little disappointed in the lack of any actual scientific studies, which always leads me to believe they have something to hide. Your call. If you do choose to avail yourself of this technology, I suggest you get a performance guarantee, specifying measurable parameters, in writing. Best of luck, and let us know how it works out.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 4:40PM
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Yes, justalurker, I DO understand what a water softener is and, as I posted, I am not interested in going down that particular path.

Thanks aliceinwonderland!

I have considered putting a softener on just the hot water line in the past but the systems are bulky and one needs to store all those bags of sodium product. Or pay for a service to come regularly to do it for me. We don't even have all that small of a house (1800 sq ft) and still I am hungry for space. We don't have a garage which is where many home stash bulky devices.

I too find Pelican's website to be so patronizing and inaccurate that I can't seriously consider their product even tho the plumber is familiar with that one and it probably doesn't actually differ much from any other of its class. Being sold a 'saltless water softener' when any half educated person knows it isn't soft water but conditioned water (whatever That is!). Fingers crossed they have their own marketing person monitoring these sites just as the water softener industry clearly has it's regular posters tracking all queries re any alternative to softeners.

I probably will just take a flyer with the Watts product. I do need to call them and ask for some local references. Their info packet includes some tear sheets on hotels, other big businesses that are using the product. I also need to ask the cost of replacement cartridges as they don't list that cost on the website. A bit coy, that, but not as offensive as calling what is clearly not a water softener as saltless softener!

any information I have found, other than links to the results some German testing service touted on the Watts site has been anecdotal. And I can't get a website for the testing service to turn up yet-just links from product websites (Watts and a couple other products that seem to have exactly the same test results.) Which makes one wonder if it even really exists! A fairly elaborate hoax if it doesn't but it is quite possibly a private pay for results one desires kind of business.

If I can manage to remember in a few years I will have to post a followup on the electric on demand heater and whatever antiscale thing I install!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:45PM
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Both the Watts system and the Nuvo are both inhibitor systems to keep scale from sticking. These are similar to the Everpure systems used on commercial ice machines and coffee makers for 30 years. They work, but don't soften.

(not to be confused with the electro-magnet systems being sold)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 11:32PM
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First some basic questions...How hard is your water? How much space is required for the Pelican/WATTS systems?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:34AM
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