There are several new water conditioning systems on the market designed to deal with the age-old problem of scale formation in pipes and appliances without the disadvantages (salt usage, environmental degradation, etc.) associated with the conventional water softener.
Many earlier alternative "softening" systems relied on magnets and a variety of electrical devices to send waves and pulses through pipes in an attempt to rearrange the molecular structure of the water's hardness (calcium & magnesium ions).
The newest in alternative softening devices work differently. Like the conventional water softener, they use a treatment medium contained in a standard mineral tank. Water is passed through the medium inside the tank and treated.
Unlike the softener, however, they do not need to be regenerated with salt and they do not need to connected to a drain. They require no sophisticated electronic control system. They are, therefore, much easier to install and set up. No maintenance, electricity, or salt is needed.
The new media-style softener alternatives use treatment media sold under a variety of brand names. Filtersorb, Next, ScaleNet, and Pelican, for example.
They have in common that they do not remove calcium and magnesium ions from water (as softeners do) but, rather, they change these hardness minerals from their ionic form to a harmless crystalline form. In this very stable form, calcium and magnesium do not attach to pipes, appliances, and fixture surfaces. The crystals are so small, in fact, that they are readily rinsed away by the normal flow of water. This technology is often referred to as "template assisted crystallization."
The alternative softeners on this page are designed, tested, and built by Watts using ScaleNet conditioning anti-scale medium, the superior Vortech gravel-free mineral tank, and Clack accessory parts. This, in our opinion, is the best softener alternative on the market. We are pleased to add it to our offerings.
We recommend the Watts ScaleNet system highly for scale prevention. However, we make no claim that this unit will put a smile on your face, make your teeth white, or end your financial worries. We aren't sure, in fact, that it will give you spot-free dishes or that you'll never again have to scrub your toilet bowl. We have seen very impressive results on scale prevention tests done with this unit, however, and we offer it as an excellent way to prevent hardness scale buildup in pipes and appliances and even to remove existing scale.
Only a small amount of granular ScaleNet medium is used in this up-flow system, so only a simple in-out head is needed, not the elaborate electronic head used on conventional water softeners. The treatment transforms the dissolved calcium carbonate (temporary hardness) into non-charged, neutral chemical bonds. These bonds are completely stable and cannot attach to any surfaces. The chemical bonds are rinsed away by the natural water flow through the unit. The size of the bonds is so small (in the range of nano-meters) that they can only be seen with a microscope. The effect is the same as if the water were free of calcium carbonate.
Calcium is not removed from water as it is with a conventional softener, and no sodium is added to your water. Consequently, the "slippery feel" of softened water is not present.
The ScaleNet system uses a single tank (no salt tank) and does not need access to a drain. Therefore, it saves space and is much easier to install and maintain.
No electricity needed. The up-flow conditioner works on water pressure alone.
You experience no noticeable pressure drop because the ScaleNet media load is very small and very light. (The 10" X 54" unit needs only about 9 lbs of ScaleNet.) Water passes through it easily.
No moving parts. No control valve to program. Nothing to wear out.
The unit not only prevents scale from forming, but it also dissolves existing scale. (Water softeners don't affect existing scale.)
USES NO SALT. It's friendly to the environment, your arteries, your pocketbook, and your aching back.
Almost totally maintenance free. Life expectancy of the conditioning medium is in years — the exact life depending on usage habits and water quality. Five years is a reasonable expectation for a residential unit. Media replacement is very easy.
Clack bypass and connectors make installation easy and provide many years of trouble-free service.
No drain needed, so it's much easier to find a place to install it. And you're not putting salt into the sewer system or your septic tank.
The hookup is so simple the installer will be bored with the job. Water goes in one side and out the other. No drain, no programming, no electrical connection.
Totally acceptable in areas where conventional salt-consuming softeners have been banned or regulated.
The units below are designed to operate on reasonably sediment-free water. If sediment is present, a sediment prefilter is recommended. Iron, petroleum, or hydrogen sulfide in well water must be removed by pre-treatment. The media manufacturer also cautions against use on water with an excess of 3 parts-per-million chlorine. (The media will last longer and perform better if no chlorine is present, so a carbon prefilter should be considered for city water use.)
The list below includes only residential units. We can also supply commercial grade units. Information upon request. Commercial units are designed for applications where long, continuous water usage is common, as in industrial or agricultural venues. Residential units are sized for intermittent service as is common in homes. Commercial units are identical to residential units except that they contain more ScaleNet medium.
Watts Residential Scale Prevention System with 8" X 35" mineral tank. Designed for service flow up to 10 gallons per minute. This unit features a Clack Up-flow Head, Clack 1" threaded Elbow Connectors, and the Vortech no-gravel-needed mineral tank. Contains approximately 6 lbs. (2 liters) of ScaleNet conditioning medium. Optional bypass is sold below.
Watts Residential Scale Prevention System with 9" X 35" mineral tank. Designed for service flow up to 12 gallons per minute. This unit features a Clack Up-flow Head, Clack 1" threaded Elbow Connectors, and the Vortech no-gravel-needed mineral tank. Contains approximately 8 lbs. (3 liters) of ScaleNet conditioning medium. Optional bypass is sold below.
Watts Residential Scale Prevention System with 10" X 54" mineral tank. Designed for service flow up to 15 gallons per minute. This unit features a Clack Up-flow Head, Clack 1" threaded Elbow Connectors, and the Vortech no-gravel-needed mineral tank. Contains approximately 9 lbs. (4 liters) of ScaleNet conditioning medium. Optional bypass is sold below.
Optional bypass valve for the units above. Not essential, but a handy thing to have if you need to divert water around the conditioning unit.
ScaleNet Replacement Medium. Sold by the liter. See the media requirement in liters for your unit and order in that amount. Price at right is per liter.
At right: ScaleNet load for the 10" x 54" unit. You won't hurt your back lifting. Less than 10 lbs. of the highly concentrated medium is needed.
The ScaleNet medium comes factory-loaded and no gravel underbed is needed with the advanced Vortech tank.
It's ready to use. Just connect the unit to your plumbing and turn on the water. No electronic valve to program, no salt to buy.
(whole house & well units)
(listed by part numbers)