Water Softener Alternative
There are alternative to traditional water softeners that claim they prevent scale buildup without the use of salt, and sometimes even without water. It is important to know that most of these alternative technologies don’t soften water—i.e. they don’t remove calcium and magnesium from the water. What these systems do is change the properties of suspended solids—small, solid particles suspended in water like calcium and magnesium—to stop scale from forming on water heater elements, taps and shower heads, clothes and dish washers, and other water using appliances.
Some of these alternatives include:
- Capacitive Deionization (CDI)
- Electromagnetic water treatment
- Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) or Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC)
- Electrically induced precipitation
Water Reuse Research Foundation (WRF) published a study that clarifies the effectiveness of these alternatives.
They concluded that most alternatives systems that do not use ion exchange do not prevent scale buildup on water heater elements with varied results.