We've taken the plunge. We bought a no-salt water conditioning system. Not a water softener. This is an important thing to understand, because there are a lot of "no salt water softener" claims out there. This system does not soften the water; it renders the hard water to avoid the bothersome affects of hard water.
Reynolds Water Conditioning Co. (serving the area since 1931, credentialed by the Water Quality Association) is our supplier of a system patented and manufactured by Next Filtration Technologies. Their product is called the Next Scale-Stop. This product is based on TAC (Template Assisted Crystallization) which has a whole lot to do with advanced surface chemistry techniques to change the chemical form of the calcium so it does not scale or cause scum, but flows through to the sewer/septic system.
There is currently only one standard-setting organization currently for physical water treatment(PWT.) Formulated by the German Society of Gas and Water Specialists (DVGW,) which is roughly analogous to the US public health departments, the test is called the DVGW W512 test.
In essence, the test puts water into two water heaters, one of which has the product being tested in front of the water heater so it gets "treated" water. For 20 days, the heaters are cycled through normal household level use. The heaters are drained, the scale is collected dissolved by a mild acid, and the levels of scale found on the two heating coils measured. To pass the test, the tested device must get a score of 80%, which is to say the treated water heater leaves no more than 20% of the amount of scale left in the raw water heater. The Next ScaleStop is the only one so far to pass the test -- with a score of 99.6%
There are many PWT systems touting the TAC technology, but they have yet to be tested.
For the scientifically inclined, the skeptics and the curious of my readers, here is an article on the technology and test for your reviewing pleasure. (Requires Adobe reader.) Important - There are many, many water treatment systems out there, the majority of which are based on licks, promises and bogus science. Filtersorb, for example, will crop up in a lot of Google searches for "template assisted crystallization." It might be ok, but it has yet to undergo the W512. In addition, the claims they make for their product are lifted specifically from the W512 test report for the Next product. Buyer beware! (The woman who sold us our unit used to work for Filtersorb and left to go to Reynolds and the Next system for ethical reasons ...)
We're excited about this. Making ecologically-friendly choices during our construction is a priority for us. An area not far from us has already banned water softeners (ion exchange) and is offering breaks to get folks to trade current water softeners to other systems, to avoid the brine effluent. There is no effluent from the ScaleStop; water comes in, and the same water goes out. Very green.
No more hauling salt. No more nagging Husband to haul salt. No recharging times. Less water usage. Minimal maintenance. What's not to love. Yeah, this is the first time we've dared to go on the edge of the technological wave; we usually like to be the second generation user, not the beta tester. But we've made an exception for this. I will keep you all posted.
I drank the treated water last week. Tastes like well water, which is not my favorite, but it is significantly better than the water at Havoc House. For the time being, we will not be putting in an osmosis unit, although we may add it after we move in and I really use the water. Since installing the system (fronted with an iron filter) we've seen no build up of any kind, including rust, on our white fixtures. So far so good.
If you read the WCP article referenced above, it will explain why the ScaleStop claims to not only prevent scale, but to eliminated existing scale from old water systems. Just thought you'd like to know.
I received another benefit from this decision. The saleswoman and I hit it off instantly. We've exchanged email and personal information so we can keep in touch. She wants to see how the house develops, and I want her help in creating my cutting garden.
See -- building my dream house has been very good for me!