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Water conditioner (not softener) - any reccomendations


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Hi all,


I'm about to start an extension to our house and wanted to get your views on water conditioners and if they work? I don't want to use a softener as the quantity of salt may have an adverse affect to health - a number of health professionals have said that this may impact blood pressure and possibly diabetes as well. The scientific evidence on this is lacking, but either way it's not going to help!


My builder has an Aquabion in his house and swears by it (he's not selling it to me). Did say that you still get hard water stains but easily wiped away. He's had it for almost 2 years now. Anyone else have any other experiences? I've gone through the long thread from 'richi' and the responses from Halcyon and 'Lizzie' but not sure if I should take the plunge.

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First off, no water softener actually puts salt into the water at all, all an ion exchange softener does is replace calcium and magnesium ions in the incoming water with sodium ions.  There have been lots of stories circulating about the adverse impact of having a tiny amount of sodium ions in softened water, but the reality is that milk has a heck of lot more sodium in that softened water.  I've been on a low sodium diet for over 30 years now, and I keep my daily sodium intake down to around 1.5g (the recommended daily limit is 6g, IIRC), so have a personal interest in making sure that I don't ingest too much sodium.  We have an ion exchange water softener, which works very well indeed.


Water conditioners vary from being expensive snake oil devices that do little or nothing, through devices that seem to be based on pseudo science to devices that do seem to be able to temporarily change the way that calcium carbonate forms when water is heated or evaporates.  These conditioning devices don't soften the water at all, it's just as hard, so needs the same amount of soap/detergent, they just tend to reduce the amount of scale that builds up.


The third type of device is a phosphate dosing system.  These work well at making the water appear softer, so making soap/detergent work a bit better, but again they don't actually remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water, so they don't soften it as such.


Finally, there are reverse osmosis systems that can remove pretty much everything from the water, but they are only really suitable for low flow applications, and the water they produce may not be everyone's cup of tea (literally, it doesn't seem to make a decent cup of tea).


There are one or two long threads on here that discuss, in depth, water conditioners and water softeners:







There are probably other threads as well, these were just the first three I found doing a quick search.

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