Do electromagnetic water softeners even work? If you live in one of the many areas of the United States that suffers from hard water, you might be on the market for a high-quality water softener or conditioner, and – if you want to avoid traditional salt-based water softeners – you’ve probably stumbled upon “electromagnetic” water softeners. You way look at reviews and be thinking how and if they really work as advertised.
Your next question, after hearing about everything that electromagnetic water softeners claim to do, is, of course, “Do they even work?”
And it’s the right question to ask. Magnets have been at the center of snake-oil salesmen’s pitches for decades now – maybe even centuries. The snake-oil salesmen of the fitness industry claim that magnets canhelp you lose weight; the snake-oil salesmen of the medical industry claim that magnets canalleviate chronic pain; and, historically, Andrew Jackson Davis, “The Poughkeepsie Seer,” once claimed that, “giant electromagnets, properly placed, might eliminate the "malicious energies" from the center of the earththat caused all human sin.”
And now magnets can apparently get rid of your hard water problems. It all sounds too good to be true.
How Do Electromagnetic Water Softeners Claim to Work?
Electromagnetic water softening is supposedly a type of chemical-free anti-scale water treatment. Instead of completely removing the magnesium and calcium from hard water, electromagnetic water softeners aim to change the way that the magnesium and calcium interact with appliances, pipes, and other surfaces.
The problem, then, ishow?
Proponents of electromagnetic water softening claim that alternating magnetic fields attached to your main water line can change the crystal structures of magnesium and calcium (the two elements that make up the majority of hard water). This powerful magnetism apparently alters the shape of the crystals from sheets to spheres, thus reducing the tendency for them to form limescale.
The Data (or Lack Thereof)
There’s an absence of mechanistic explanations for the processes behind electromagnetic water softening. It’s one thing to say that alternating magnetic fields can change the shape of certain chemicals, but it’s another thing to keep asking “how, exactly?” or, better yet, “where’s the evidence?”
Howexactly do the magnetic fields change the structure of magnesium and calcium? And do those magnetic fields alter the shape of those crystals for an extended time period or just for the duration that they’re in contact with the magnetic fields? Do they affect magnesium and calcium equally? Or just lime molecules?
Not all the water that flows through your home is used immediately; that’s why it’s important to have a water conditioner that’s effective for at least 48 hours. If the water is only conditioned for a few minutes after coming into contact with the conditioner, then it’s safe to say that you’ll still be struggling with all of the same hard water problems that you were struggling with before.
The Opposing Data (Proving That Magnetic Water Treatment Doesn’t Really Work)
The fact of the matter: There are decades of third-party evidence that argues against the effectiveness of electromagnetic water softeners. Sometimes the most effective argumentative strategy is to simply overwhelm the opposition with cold, hard data. We could ramble on and on about the logical fallacies that magnetic water softener companies knowingly or unknowingly use to try to sell their products, but in this case it doesn’t really matter.
The science just isn’t on their side.
In 1977,Duffy of Clemson University concluded in his doctoral thesis,“Investigation of Magnetic Water Treatment Devices,” that magnetic water treatment devices had no significant effect on the formation of limescale on pipes and appliances.
In 1981,Gruber and Carda of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology published their “Performance Analysis of Permanent Magnet Type Water Treatment Devices,” which assessed the efficacy of magnetic water treatment on tanks, heating rods, sensors, and more. They came to the conclusion that, “there is no measurable effect… resulting from the selected magnetic devices.”
In 1985,Alleman of Purdue University, in “Quantitative Assessment of the Effectiveness of Permanent Magnet Water Conditioning Devices,” tested treated water from six different magnetic water treatment units for a number of measures, including temperature, conductivity, boiling point, pH level, alkalinity, hardness, calcium composition, and scaling effect.
In 1996, researchers from theLawrence Livermore National Laboratory evaluated a magnetic water treatment device, the “Descal-A-Matic,” and found that there was “no beneficial effect when using the magnetic device” in comparison with no water treatment device at all.
In 2001, theWater Quality Association established a task-force that reviewed over 100 electromagnetic water softening studies. Only 34 met their criteria for scientific validity. They ultimately stated that there’s very little evidence supporting their efficacy.
Why do People Buy Electromagnetic Water Softeners?
At this point, it’s clear that electromagnetic water treatment is unproven and unscientific -- to say the least. But why do people continue to buy electromagnetic water softeners?
Their reasoning is simple: They desire an alternative to salt-based water softeners, which replace healthy minerals like magnesium and calcium with unhealthy minerals like sodium, which many Americans are alreadyconsuming too much of. Salt-based water softener salesmen usually don’t stop there, either; they’ll convince you that you need to buy a reverse osmosis system for the kitchen so that you can get rid of the sodium thatthey put there. If you have a natural aversion to chemical water treatment, the promises of electromagnetic water softening might appeal to you. We know it certainly sounds better than some of the alternatives.
You might even be willing to buy an electromagnetic water softener on the off-chance that the data is all wrong and that the product actually works. It’s such a small amount of money for a permanent fix, after all, so why not just give it a try?
Many people have the same mindset; it’s the same type of thinking that allows the therapeutic magnet industry to sell over$1 billion worth of bracelets per year.
But, when it comes to electromagnetic water treatment, there are systems that promise the same results with actually scientifically valid data.
Our water softeners, like theFS1000, work through a process called template-assisted crystallization. Similar to how magnetic water softeners claim to work, template-assisted crystallization systems change the structure of magnesium and calcium in order to keep them suspended in water rather than forming limescale on appliances. Put as simply as possible, template-assisted crystallization “utilizes polymeric beads with tiny nucleation sites to convert dissolved hardness into microscopic crystals.” These crystals are small enough to be washed away by the water that’s carrying them, which results in a significant reduction of limescale production.
According to theWaterUse Research Group, “morphology, microstructure, complexity, and length scales of the nanostructured materials can be controlled using template-assisted crystallization.” It’s still a relatively new technology when it comes to reducing limescale production, though. Even then, it’s important to note that itislisted as a viable alternative to salt-based water softeners, which are damaging the environmentand your body. We’ll dive into more of the data in the next section.
If you’re looking for an alternative to unhealthy chemical-based water softeners, one solution might be to check out our products.
The Data Supporting the Efficacy of Template-Assisted Crystallization
Peter Fox of Arizona State University performed a study that compared template-assisted crystallization systems to ion exchange and magnetic and electronic water softening systems.
The results speak for themselves. The “TAC” (template-assisted crystallization) systems significantly reduced limescale production, especially in comparison to the ion exchange and magnetic systems -- which, while technically statistically signicant -- were as much as six times less effective at reducing limescale production than the template-assisted crystallization systems.
If you’re looking for something that’s on the cutting edge of water treatment, look no further than FilterSmart. In fact, we’re so confident in our products that, if it doesn’t work to your satisfaction, you’ll get your money back.
Our 90-Day Guarantee
When it comes to proving the efficacy of our products, our solution is simple: We offer you a 90-day money-back guarantee. If you buy ourFS1000 orFS1500 systems and they don’t work like you want them to, that’s fine. Send them back within 90 days and we’llcompletelyrefund you for the trouble.
Magnets and snake oil salesmen go together like peanut butter and jelly. From therapeutic magnetic bracelets to magnetic fat burners to magnetic water treatment, it’s all pseudoscience.
A shockingly small portion of the population actually understands how magnets work, and that’s why they’re always the centerpiece for products that don’t do what they say that they will.
Magnetic water treatment, while it might sound more scientific at first, is no different. There are decades of research disproving the mechanisms that magnetic water treatment companies claim their systems use in order to change the crystal structure of magnesium and calcium. If it doesn’t work, though, it just doesn’t work.
You might want to avoid chemical water softeners, like salt-based water softeners, because you care about the environment and your health (and you also don’t want to be upsold on a reverse osmosis system that you wouldn’t have needed if the water softener wasn’t adding a ridiculous amount of sodium to your drinking water).
There are alternatives to salt-based water softeners that do similar things that the magnetic water softeners claim to do, and one of them is the FilterSmart. Our systems use a cutting-edge process called template-assisted crystallization to crystallize magnesium and calcium so that they can be washed away by the water that’s carrying them.
And, unlike magnetic water treatment systems, we have data to back it up.
Perhaps more importantly, though, since we know how effective our products are, we back them up with a 90-day money-back guarantee. If our product doesn’t work like you want it to, just return it within 90 days for a full refund.
Electromagnetic water softeners don’t work, but template-assisted crystallization systems do the same thing with scientific validity and a money-back guarantee that gives you complete peace of mind.
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