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Do Magnetic Water Softeners Work?

If you're experiencing mineral deposits on your shower head, or you’ve had serious pipe scale buildup, it’s time to start looking at your water softening options. Hard water contains minerals called ions, and these can wreak havoc on your plumbing. They are not immediately life threatening but they can have some adverse effects on the health of your skin. For all these reasons you should consider having a water softener installed by Roto-Rooter. When comparing prices, you will quickly discover that magnetic water softeners are extremely affordable; but do they work as well as the more traditional, more expensive options?

The Logic

The idea behind magnetic water softeners is if you attach powerful magnets to the outsides of the pipe, before the water enters your plumbing system, the magnets will pull or otherwise affect the ions found in your water. Magnetism is a complicated topic, and how magnets will affect ions in this particular situation is completely unknown to most, so it can be difficult to figure out on your own whether such a system would work. Fortunately, there have been many scientific studies on the matter.

The Data

There have been over a hundred studies performed that are relevant to magnetic water softening, but unfortunately, they are not completely conclusive. Some studies examined whether the magnetic device had any effect at all on the water, and these studies did show some changes in the electrical charges in calcium carbonate particles. However, many of the studies that analyzed the actual claims of the softeners mostly found that they had a minimal effect on pipe scale. Again, these studies were inconclusive, but some trends can be seen.

The Conclusion

While some studies have shown magnetic water softeners to have marginal effects, this research isn't enough to justify gambling hundreds of dollars on installing a system for your home. To further complicate things, most magnetic water softeners are sold independently, so even if some devices have shown some effect, there is no way to know you are getting such a device.

Safer Bets

If you have serious problems resulting from hard water, you should invest in a system that you know will work for you. Traditional, ion-exchanging water softeners (the ones that use salt) have proven themselves over the years. Salt-free softeners, sometimes called descalers, also do a good job at preventing scale buildup in your pipes. Either of these options will cost you a bit more than a magnetic device, but you can count on them to work.



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