Con­di­tion­ers re­place wa­ter softeners

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Phys­i­cal wa­ter con­di­tion­ers are de­vices that pre­vent the build-up of hard limescale in a non-chem­i­cal man­ner. They achieve this by in­flu­enc­ing the dis­solved min­er­als, cal­cium and mag­ne­sium in a way that pre­vents them from form­ing scale (cal­cium car­bon­ate) in your wa­ter pipes, heaters, and ap­pli­ances. Phys­i­cal wa­ter con­di­tion­ers work in your wa­ter with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess, based on many fac­tors in­clud­ing wa­ter flow, hard­ness, op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­tures, and wa­ter chem­istry. The fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion presents a sense of avail­able wa­ter-treat­ment tech­nolo­gies and their ad­van­tages, as well as their short­com­ings.

Mag­nets and Elec­tro­mag­nets. These were the first phys­i­cal wa­ter con­di­tion­ers that ap­peared af­ter the dis­cov­ery that wa­ter flow­ing over mag­netic rock did not build up scale. These can ap­pear in the form of per­ma­nent mag­nets or elec­tro­mag­nets. The draw­back here is that wa­ter must be mov­ing for the mag­nets to be ef­fec­tive— es­sen­tially re­quir­ing that your wa­ter is flow­ing con­stantly. This is never the case in residential use. More im­por­tantly, there is no re­li­able sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to prove that the claimed ben­e­fits are ac­tu­ally pro­duced.

Wire-wrapped coils. There are nu­mer­ous man­u­fac­tur­ers of the wire-wrapped elec­tro­mag­netic tech­nol­ogy, which is based on wrap­ping one or two coils around your wa­ter pipe. These coils pro­duce a low-fre­quency mag­netic field. In gen­eral, coils are only ef­fec­tive on wa­ter as it moves through the coils; as a re­sult, when wa­ter is not flow­ing, Mother Na­ture re­turns it to its rest­ing state — a con­di­tion that al­lows limescale to build up in your wa­ter sys­tem.

Media-based sys­tems. These pre­vent scale by con­vert­ing dis­solved min­er­als into mi­cro­scopic crys­tal par­ti­cles. In this sta­ble form, cal­cium and mag­ne­sium do not at­tach to pipes and ap­pli­ances. This tech­nol­ogy re­quires sig­nif­i­cant al­ter­ing of your plumb­ing and on­go­ing media re­place­ment. Media-based sys­tems are very lim­ited in their abil­ity to deal with very hard wa­ter, such as we have here in the Santa Fe area.

High-fre­quency in­duced-sig­nal tech­nol­ogy. This works by in­duc­ing a high-fre­quency wave sig­nal into the wa­ter col­umn of the plumb­ing sys­tem. The re­sult­ing sig­nal causes the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive min­eral ions to clus­ter and form mi­cro­scopic sus­pended crys­tals when they sense a tem­per­a­ture or pres­sure change, rather than form­ing scale. This sig­nal (un­like mag­netic tech­nolo­gies) pre­vents scale whether the wa­ter is mov­ing or not. This patented tech­nol­ogy pro­duces a sig­nal 25,000 times stronger than wirewrap tech­nolo­gies and also ef­fec­tively kills bac­te­ria, mak­ing it ideal for use on pri­vate wells.

Given the need for us to live in ways that pro­tect and honor our en­dan­gered en­vi­ron­ment, phys­i­cal wa­ter con­di­tion- ing has a def­i­nite place in our build­ings. Un­for­tu­nately, in­con­sis­tent tech­nolo­gies have dis­cour­aged peo­ple. Do­ing your home­work can lead you to a pos­i­tive and en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. When you go to var­i­ousweb­sites to do your re­search, make sure you look be­yond the hype for ev­i­dence of doc­u­mented tech­nol­ogy and long­stand­ing suc­cess in residential and com­mer­cial mar­kets.

Au­drey Jenk­ins has 20-plus years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the wa­ter treat­ment field, fo­cus­ing on lead­ing-edge tech­nolo­gies that sup­port health and the en­vi­ron­ment. Her com­pany, NewWater In­no­va­tions (1512 Pacheco Street, Santa Fe), is the ex­clu­sive NewMex­ico dis­trib­u­tor for Hy­droFLOW, a patented high-fre­quency, in­duced-sig­nal, scale-preven­tion tech­nol­ogy. Con­tact her at info@newwa­terin­no­va­ or call (505)216-0880.

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