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Old 04.05.2020, 13:44
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Saltless Water Softerner?

I'm considering getting a salt-less water softener to reduce the amount of limescale we have in the shower.

Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC), from what I can tell online, seems like the best way to go...

That said, it seems like a very US-centric thing based on the google results. Does anyone have one in CH? Which one? How happy are you with it?
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Old 04.05.2020, 14:04
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

These are not Water Softeners. They don't even claim to be.

Just like the other so-called 'Physical Water Treatments', as mentioned in another thread from yesterday, there is no evidence to suggest that these systems work. The claims made on the various pages you'll find about it, all of which are in some way promoting the idea, are completely unsubstantiated.

Try to find any real independent scientific study to support the claims. I haven't found any, but maybe my google mojo is weak. There are many articles available, some of which claim to be written by scientists, which try to explain how or why they should work, although interestingly there's always some unmeasurable. intangible (i.e. made up) element at play in said explanations.

Snake oil, IMO.

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Old 04.05.2020, 14:13
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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These are not Water Softeners. They don't even claim to be.

Just like all the others, as mentioned in another thread from yesterday, there is no evidence to suggest that these systems work. The claims made on the various pages you'll find about it, all of which are in some way promoting the idea, are completely unsubstantiated.

Try to find any real independent scientific study to support the claims. I haven't found any, but maybe my google mojo is weak. There are many articles available, some of which claim to be written by scientists, which try to explain how or why they should work, although interestingly there's always some unmeasurable. intangible (i.e. made up) element at play in said explanations.

Snake oil, IMO.
Agree, tried that for a couple of years and if it worked, it wasn’t very much. Now have a salt version that does the job. It is a PITA to replace the salt every six weeks or so, but it works.
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Old 04.05.2020, 14:26
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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These are not Water Softeners. They don't even claim to be.

Just like the other so-called 'Physical Water Treatments', as mentioned in another thread from yesterday, there is no evidence to suggest that these systems work. The claims made on the various pages you'll find about it, all of which are in some way promoting the idea, are completely unsubstantiated.

Try to find any real independent scientific study to support the claims. I haven't found any, but maybe my google mojo is weak. There are many articles available, some of which claim to be written by scientists, which try to explain how or why they should work, although interestingly there's always some unmeasurable. intangible (i.e. made up) element at play in said explanations.

Snake oil, IMO.
I thought of the electrical field / magnetic field ones exactly that, and to be honest, didn't find very much on TAC.

What I did find was this:
https://watereuse.org/wp-content/upl...euse-08-06.pdf
which seemed pseudo-independent.

The salt-based systems I'm not a fan of - water ends up "slimy" and I don't like the idea of increased salt content in the water (we all drink only tap water here, and have a family history of high blood pressure)...

I may just have to hook one up to the shower alone

M.
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Old 04.05.2020, 14:40
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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I thought of the electrical field / magnetic field ones exactly that, and to be honest, didn't find very much on TAC.

What I did find was this:
https://watereuse.org/wp-content/upl...euse-08-06.pdf
which seemed pseudo-independent.

The salt-based systems I'm not a fan of - water ends up "slimy" and I don't like the idea of increased salt content in the water (we all drink only tap water here, and have a family history of high blood pressure)...

I may just have to hook one up to the shower alone

M.
Our water doesn’t end up “slimy”. Have experienced that elsewhere and not certain why. I suspect that the machine was either not set up properly or not maintained.
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Old 04.05.2020, 14:51
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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I thought of the electrical field / magnetic field ones exactly that, and to be honest, didn't find very much on TAC.

What I did find was this:
https://watereuse.org/wp-content/upl...euse-08-06.pdf
which seemed pseudo-independent.
Yes, and I do like your use of the term, it _seems_ pseudo-independent, but I'd be wary of it for several reasons:

1. It's old. 2013. Why is this, apparently, the newest information available?
2a. Despite its description of the methodology, it's not a peer reviewed study.
2b. As such, it's effectively no more meaningful than the "I bought one and it worked for me" claims you see elsewhere.
3. The experiment was used, indeed designed, to test some specific water supplies in the SW US. Even if the results were validated and worthwhile they should not be extrapolated to all hard waters globally without further specific testing.

Number one is for me the most important. If it really worked why has no-one tested and proven the technology in the last seven years? The people pushing (i.e. selling) the idea could easily fund a proper independent scientific study if they were confident of the results - why don't they?
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Old 04.05.2020, 15:13
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

From the devices which provable work and do not need salt there are just reverse osmosis (only suitable for small sclae) and CO2.
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Old 04.05.2020, 15:50
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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From the devices which provable work and do not need salt there are just reverse osmosis (only suitable for small sclae) and CO2.
And again, are not Water Softeners, not even claiming to be.
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Old 04.05.2020, 17:13
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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Our water doesn’t end up “slimy”. Have experienced that elsewhere and not certain why. I suspect that the machine was either not set up properly or not maintained.
I've noticed 'slimy' water in places with very soft natural water.

Perhaps, as you say, the softener has not been set up properly.
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Old 04.05.2020, 18:57
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

I bought a duschfilter from amazon for 21 euro and I'm happy with it. I change it every three months. If I owned the house I would buy a water softener, but as a renter I am happy just to have a shower filter that doesn't destroy my hair. For drinking water you can buy a charcoal filter for under the sink.
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Old 04.05.2020, 19:27
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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For drinking water you can buy a charcoal filter for under the sink.
We use a Brita filter jug, have done for decades, in several places. Just needs the cartridge replacing every month or so, or when the electric kettle starts to show a buildup in the bottom.

At one point I looked into the tap-fitted ones, only to discover that in fact it didn't remove the calc at all, just lots of other stuff. We've also found, from experience, that some of the cheap filter cartridges similarly aren't designed to remove the calc, so now I'm always very careful about which ones I buy.
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Old 04.05.2020, 20:06
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

Hard water is healthy; plenty of calcium and/or magnesium ions. A local filter for your kettle is OK, but why not descale your kettle (now a fan of induction stove elements -quicker than the old kettle) with vinegar? Swiss water is seldom a problem for the hot water supplies, especially if you rent. At our last place we had an ion exchange (salt) softener which did the job but my heart was probably not so happy
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Old 07.05.2020, 09:44
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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Hard water is healthy; plenty of calcium and/or magnesium ions. A local filter for your kettle is OK, but why not descale your kettle (now a fan of induction stove elements -quicker than the old kettle) with vinegar? Swiss water is seldom a problem for the hot water supplies, especially if you rent. At our last place we had an ion exchange (salt) softener which did the job but my heart was probably not so happy
My WC disagrees with you... I hope I have a picture somewhere, will try to dig it up. I recently redid a bathroom in the house, and when I removed the WC, the water inlet pipe was almost entirely blocked by limescale. This is a 30mm or so part of the WC from the cistern...

Similarly, the water pipes in the house are pretty clogged up with limescale. I don't want to even immagine what the boiler's insides look like.

If you live in northern Switzerland, the water hardness can be quite high (https://www.icstech.ch/sanitaire/dur...eau-en-suisse/). In my area, I'm on the border of not being able to fit a water softener (if your water is over 400mg/l, a water softener would add so much sofium to compensate that the water isn't suitable for drinking anymore - at least based on what I found online).

As my next bathroom will have a granite shower, I don't want to spend all day polishing (can't use acid-based limescale removers on granite), so I'm looking for alternatives.

A ion exchange water softener would mean I need to add three RO filters (one per kitchen), which isn't really something I want to do. Repiping the entire building also isn't something I want to do.

So now I'm looking at CO2 based water softeners... as all I care about is the limescale, this could be an alternative... also means there is less environmental impact


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Old 07.05.2020, 10:22
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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If you live in northern Switzerland, the water hardness can be quite high (https://www.icstech.ch/sanitaire/dur...eau-en-suisse/).
In some case there are more minerals in tap water than in mineral water (Not talking about Evian, which is rather soft)

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And again, are not Water Softeners, not even claiming to be.
A reverse osmosis device is for sure a water softener. But correct, CO2 treatment only prevents lime scale build up but the all the minerals are still in.

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For drinking water you can buy a charcoal filter for under the sink.
That for sure is not a water softener nor does it prevent lime scale build up.

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We use a Brita filter jug, have done for decades, in several places. Just needs the cartridge replacing every month or so, or when the electric kettle starts to show a buildup in the bottom.
The Brita cartridge is a Na <-> Mg, Ca ion exchanger. So exactly a salt based water softener. You could regenerate it your self by running a saline solution through it.
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Old 07.05.2020, 10:26
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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So now I'm looking at CO2 based water softeners... as all I care about is the limescale, this could be an alternative... also means there is less environmental impact
What are they then? I can't find any references to these, or are you just seeing the ones like vulcan that claim to produce CO2 as part of the process?

In which case they're no different from all of the others, simply claiming that some electrickery changes the crystalline structure and stops limescale build-up, even removing existing deposits. Their explanations of how they work make no sense whatsoever, simply trying to blind the victim potential customer with pseudo-science.
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Old 07.05.2020, 10:47
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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What are they then? I can't find any references to these, or are you just seeing the ones like vulcan that claim to produce CO2 as part of the process?
Here a product from a reputable company.
https://www.guldager.com/en/products...-calcfree-pro/

If you add CO2 more lime scale can be dissolved. If the system is suitable for spinals need has to be discussed as it normally used in warm water systems. There is also the problem that adding CO2 increase corrosion as you get carbonic acid. You could also add another acids to get the same effect. But CO2 is safe for human consumption and readily available.
http://www.paptac.ca/J-FOR/J-FOR%20V...EXCHANGERS.pdf
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Old 07.05.2020, 10:54
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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What are they then? I can't find any references to these, or are you just seeing the ones like vulcan that claim to produce CO2 as part of the process?

In which case they're no different from all of the others, simply claiming that some electrickery changes the crystalline structure and stops limescale build-up, even removing existing deposits. Their explanations of how they work make no sense whatsoever, simply trying to blind the victim potential customer with pseudo-science.
This is hte one I'm looking at (as it has a few suppliers in CH): https://www.ecobulles.com/en/

Essentially injects CO2 into your water, making it slightly acidic from what I can tell...
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Old 07.05.2020, 12:26
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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Essentially injects CO2 into your water, making it slightly acidic from what I can tell...
Hmm, interesting. Yes, I can see the theory, but I'm not sure how much CO2 you'd need for it to be effective. I think the answer would be "a hell of a lot".

I just ran a quick test on some water I'd carbonated a week or so ago, then kept sealed (and in the fridge) compared with some straight from the tap.

Tap: PH ~6.8, total hardness between 250 and 500ppm
Carbonated: Ph ~6.4, total hardness ~500ppm

OK, so fizzy water is slightly more acidic, for sure, and TBH I don't think the changed hardness measure is meaningful (my test strips aren't going to be that accurate, I'm sure), but in any event we can see that the hardness has not been significantly reduced.

But is the resulting carbonated water acidic enough to dissolve limescale?

I'm doubtful, TBH. Tapwater is typically a PH of somewhere between 6.5 and 8, and throughout that range can be hard or soft, so reducing it from 6.8 to 6.4 is not significant. Vinegar would be around Ph2, for comparison. Coomercial limescale removers between 1 and 2.

And this test of mine is dissolving a lot of CO2, with one sodastream tank producing around 60 litres of fizzy water. The amount of gas you'd need to get athat level of PH reduction in a household system would be enormous, and would effectively need to turn the whole system into a sparkling water plant (to keep the CO2 dissolved it needs to be pressurized).

Oh, and bear in mind that once the water has gone flat any reduction of water hardness will be reversed anyway. The reaction works both ways; even normal tap water will become slightly more alkili when exposed to the atmosphere, allowing naturally absorbed CO2 to evaporate away.

So in summary, I'm not convinced.

No, scrub that, I _am_ convinced... that it's just another con.
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Old 07.05.2020, 12:57
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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Hmm, interesting. Yes, I can see the theory, but I'm not sure how much CO2 you'd need for it to be effective. I think the answer would be "a hell of a lot".

I just ran a quick test on some water I'd carbonated a week or so ago, then kept sealed (and in the fridge) compared with some straight from the tap.

Tap: PH ~6.8, total hardness between 250 and 500ppm
Carbonated: Ph ~6.4, total hardness ~500ppm

OK, so fizzy water is slightly more acidic, for sure, and TBH I don't think the changed hardness measure is meaningful (my test strips aren't going to be that accurate, I'm sure), but in any event we can see that the hardness has not been significantly reduced.

But is the resulting carbonated water acidic enough to dissolve limescale?

I'm doubtful, TBH. Tapwater is typically a PH of somewhere between 6.5 and 8, and throughout that range can be hard or soft, so reducing it from 6.8 to 6.4 is not significant. Vinegar would be around Ph2, for comparison. Coomercial limescale removers between 1 and 2.

And this test of mine is dissolving a lot of CO2, with one sodastream tank producing around 60 litres of fizzy water. The amount of gas you'd need to get athat level of PH reduction in a household system would be enormous, and would effectively need to turn the whole system into a sparkling water plant (to keep the CO2 dissolved it needs to be pressurized).

Oh, and bear in mind that once the water has gone flat any reduction of water hardness will be reversed anyway. The reaction works both ways; even normal tap water will become slightly more alkili when exposed to the atmosphere, allowing naturally absorbed CO2 to evaporate away.

So in summary, I'm not convinced.

No, scrub that, I _am_ convinced... that it's just another con.
I may be wrong, but based on my high school chemistry - the CO2 won't "remove" the calcium from the water, so the "hardness" (a measure of calcium) won't change.

What does change is that the calcium carbonate becomes calcium bicarbonate, which (apparently) doesn't stick.

I descaled my keetle two days ago, but as soon as it's scaled again, I'll fill it with sodastream water and leave it overnight... if it works, that's as good a proof as any
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Old 07.05.2020, 13:19
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Re: Saltless Water Softerner?

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I may be wrong, but based on my high school chemistry - the CO2 won't "remove" the calcium from the water, so the "hardness" (a measure of calcium) won't change.

What does change is that the calcium carbonate becomes calcium bicarbonate, which (apparently) doesn't stick.
Oookay, but how much are we talking about here? I think my point about volume of gas needed, plus pressurized system to contain it, are still valid. If the water is not fizzy, the amount of CO2 in it is very low, at naturally occurring levels.

(BTW there was an error in my previous post, in fact it seems that water will naturally absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, not the other way round like I said, not that it's really important here).

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I descaled my keetle two days ago, but as soon as it's scaled again, I'll fill it with sodastream water and leave it overnight... if it works, that's as good a proof as any
Good idea. I'll be interested in your results, might even try it myself as well. What exactly it will prove I'm not sure, with the concentrations involved, but it will certainly be interesting.
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