A Scientific Study Of Various Water Treatment Methods:

scientificAt The Trusted Plumber we have the option of using any water treatment system available.  Before we chose a product that we would offer our customers there was an extensive amount of research and investigating done. For one, we had to ensure we would not be removing units based on our “1 year money back guarantee if it doesn’t do what we say it will do”.  Second, how would we get recommendations and referrals from our customers if our recommendations don’t solve the problem.  Everyone knows businesses that don’t get referrals don’t last long.

Below you will find many different methods now offered to solve the problems of unhealthy or hard water.  Some are just flat out lies.  Some are reasonable based on scientific lab conditions but when applied to a home with temperature changes and various lengths of pipe and different metal or plastic lines to travel through, it loses its usefulness. Some actually work but might be costly to maintain or difficult to use.  Either way, I’ll offer scientific or practical reasons that The Trusted Plumber does not use the product. Thank you to Stephen Lower of UofC Berkley for his in depth research on the subject.  A link to his website is at the bottom of this post.

Real Soft Water

I have often said that salt (or potassium) or reverse osmosis are the only 2 real ways to get what science considers “soft” water.  We don’t use salt systems for many reasons you can find in my other posts.  I won’t waste our time here with that.  I just wanted to re-confirm to all those who need to email me and tell me how none of the other methods mentioned here produce soft water.  In this post we are actually using the term “soft” water to represent water that is drinkable yet does not produce a difficult to remove lime scale on fixtures and appliances. Water that leaves no hard water stains or spots on dinnerware.

Ionized or Alkaline water

Claims that ionized water (or water charged positively with electricity) are healthier or give some type of energy are simply not true. . Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis. Alkaline water must contain metallic ions of some kind — most commonly, sodium, calcium or magnesium, to be affected by an electrical current (See below). Pure water has a PH of 7 which is neither alkaline nor acidic.  If you were to drink alkaline water, the acid in your stomach would neutralize it immediately.  Uptake of water occurs mainly in the intestine, not in the stomach. But when stomach contents enter the intestine, they are neutralized and made alkaline by the pancreatic secretions — so all the water you drink eventually becomes alkaline anyway. Ionized or alkaline water is often claimed to be an anti-oxidant. It is actually an oxidizing agent! This one needed no further investigation. The Trusted Plumber does not offer any product that has the sole intention of ionizing water.

Magnetized Water

Magnetized waters are claimed to do anything from tuning up your immune system to raising your “energy levels”, introducing anti-oxidants and slowing the ageing process. A substance is magnetized when its constituent molecules or structural elements can be permanently aligned in a definite direction by the influence of an external magnetic field.  Most of the makers of these devices confuse the positive and negative poles of a magnet with a positive or negative electrical charge. Magnetizing water defies the fundamental law of physics that only solid objects may be magnetized.  Magnetizing a solid object is known as ferromagnetism. Molecules that possess an odd number of electrons can be temporarily aligned by an applied magnetic field; such molecules are said to be paramagnetic. Water, H2O, contains 10 electrons, so it is not attracted to or oriented by a magnet. In fact water, like most molecules, is diamagnetic; it is actually repelled by a magnet, although so weakly that sensitive instruments are needed to observe this effect. The Trusted Plumber does not have any products claiming to magnetize water.  It isn’t possible.

ON THE OTHER HAND, “hard” water can be “charged” electronically for a short period of time. The claims made and often backed up by some scientists are that the “hard” water minerals are charged so as not to adhere to surfaces as they would normally.  There are other claims that the calcium is changed into aragonite which is more soluble and less likely to build lime-scale. No true thorough study has been done by a truly reputable source but the likelihood of these systems reducing lime scale (although only for a few feet from the source) seem likely.  Unfortunately, water sitting in a water heater or in your home plumbing lines would not retain these properties and that sort of defeats the purpose in our opinion.  The Trusted Plumber does not have a clear opinion on these devices.  Physics show they would work temporarily but it doesn’t deem to be a reasonable solution for water that sits for a period of time or travels long distances from the equipment. If you decide to go this route, don’t base your decision on manufacturer claims.  Get a company that has a third party source test their products and read those reports. Beware of one company that claims some things that are simply against the laws of physics… ” (Company Name) treatment causes the minerals to fall out of the solution and combine together with each other and causes the water to be unsaturated. (Company Name) breaks these hydrogen bonds and causes the water molecule clusters to become individual molecules, which re-dissolve the existing scale deposits.”

Our Pelican System

product_saltfreesoftener4_295x306The Pelican System The Trusted Plumber offers is 3rd party tested and has credible scientific principles that make it a product The Trusted Plumber is pleased to offer.  I liked it so much that we became the Phoenix areas first Dealer in 2014. Although closely related to SP3 (or any variant you may find), it has a lifetime warranty and the copy-cats we tested have shown to become ineffective in as little as 6 months. “The NaturSoft™ media is a catalyst with calcium carbonate crystals on its surface. As the crystals grow from calcium and magnesium collection, and extend further and further from the surface of the bead crystal fragments get broken off and are carried away by the water flow serving as seed crystals for further crystal formation downstream in the plumbing system. The crystals do not adhere to anything and prevent and remove lime scale.  Check out the details here. Or watch the video below:

The Nuvo H2O™

nuvoThe Trusted Plumber offers the NuvoH2O™ and are registered installers of the system.  I find they do everything they say they will do but there is no 3rd party testing to verify it.  The price is very comparable to any decent salt system even when adding a chlorine and sediment filter.  The biggest drawback to the NuvoH2O is the fact that the filters (also for the sediment and chlorine) need to be changed on a regular basis.  We offer the ability to purchase them at time of installation to save future price increases but most people do not take advantage of this. These filter changes can cost between $220 and $360 per year if the customer does the change out. Below ar3e some studies done by Nuvo H2O on their product.


Whatever you decide with your softening and filtration needs, be sure to get guarantees and warranties in writing.  Use a contractor you can trust and the manufacturer trusts.  Ask all your questions before making a decision.  If you do your homework you should have many years of satisfaction and clean water from your decision.

Much of this post was thanks to the help of Stephen Lower, a former University of California Berkley professor with a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.  His findings are noted here. His research had a heavy impact on which products we decided to offer to our customers.

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