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11 Best Water Descalers for Your Home

During the time that I looked over water softeners and water conditioners to reduce or eliminate minerals and scale in your home, a type of product kept coming up in my research: water descalers. Widely used at large industrial sites, they are also known as electronic water softeners or magnetic water conditioners.

There is a lot of misinformation available about water descalers and from what I can tell, the folks who sell water softener or conditioner systems have the most to say about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of descalers. That sent up a red flag for me so I looked into it some more. When used correctly, and especially in conjunction with other filtration equipment, water descalers can have a decidedly positive effect on your home’s plumbing system.

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Do Water Descalers Really Work?

That's the big question, especially when looking for an answer on the internet. Allow me to state as a disclaimer, that there have been a multitude of scams, fake scientific claims, and tall tales involving magnets throughout history.

Magnets have been used in potential health cures in a variety of products that never seem to work quite like they're supposed to, if at all. So when I first looked at water descalers, I was skeptical, to say the least.

Magnets are going to miraculously remove the minerals in the water supply? *snicker* Okay.

What I found out about magnetic water conditioners is this: according to people who use them, they feel that these electronic gadgets actually help alleviate the problems that hard water causes. That includes a sizeable reduction of scale and ugly stains on fixtures and in your appliances.

The theory goes like this: water descalers use electric current to produce an electromagnetic field that charges calcium and magnesium ions present in the water supply. This causes them to be carried along with the H2O molecules instead of clinging to the insides of your pipes.

Size definitely matters when it comes to an electronic water conditioner. The amount of power drawn by the machine as well as the length of the electrical leads will dictate how effective your water descaler will be. 

Make sure that you understand what the water descaler you're considering is capable of. Some units claim they are good for charging 50 feet of plumbing, some are good for a longer distance. The size of your house will dictate what product may work with your pipes.

Also keep in mind that charged ions only stay charged for a certain number of hours, typically around three days. If you're going on a trip, or if you don't use a lot of water, it will revert back to its original state.

There are a number of big advantages to a water descaler and those advantages are most likely a huge reason why so many people want to believe that water descalers work. For one, they're certainly a lot less expensive to operate. Most water softeners cost at least twice as much to purchase. They also require hundreds of pounds of salt per year to keep running.

Some communities have begun to prevent water softeners from being installed because of the negative effects on wastewater treatment systems. And putting a water softener into your existing home will take time, money, and possible professional assistance.

That said, Water descalers aren't meant to replace water softeners by any means. Even though affected minerals will be less likely to deposit themselves on surfaces and heating elements, they will still be present.

And water descalers won't affect any sort of chemicals or hard metals that may be headed for your taps. If a vendor is claiming their product is an "electronic water softener", it might be worth considering another one because that claim simply isn't true.

So, back to our original question, do water descalers really work? The short answer is, maybe. On the surface, they appear to assist with reducing scale in home plumbing systems. According to the hundreds of people who have reviewed these products online, electronic water conditioners have solved the problems that they were purchased for.

Depending on your location, the hardness of your water, and if it's working in conjunction with another filtration system, a water descaler may very well be a worthy addition to your home. If you're still skeptical (and I totally get that), most of the products on our list have lengthy warranties as well as good customer service departments that should provide some peace of mind moving forward.

How Do You Install a Water Descaler?

Basic installation of a water descaler shouldn't take more than 30 minutes and doesn't require a plumber. Take a look at where your water supply enters your house. You'll need to decide where to station the machine to maximize its benefits. 

Depending on the size of your home and the size and model of your electronic water conditioner, you may require more than one unit. The typical machine will feature a number of mounting brackets to be fastened to studs. Some models may be simply zip-tied to the pipe itself.

Keep in mind that water descalers require electrical power so a household outlet that provides standard 110V power needs to be close by.  Most units feature a cord that's at least six feet long and sometimes longer.

Once you've chosen the right location, you'll need to tightly wrap the electrical leads around the water pipe in either direction. This will form a solid surface that will most effectively generate the magnetic field necessary to make the process work. The leads may be secured with zip ties or electrical tape. 

The electrical leads may come in the form of thick, round, insulated wire or plastic-covered copper ribbon. There is some debate as to which is more effective to treat water and deliver the proper magnetic current. 

Once the system is securely fastened and ready to go, the user simply needs to plug it in. Some units light up to indicate the system is functional. Others feature a digital display with a limited set of data.

Users have claimed to notice a difference in mineral deposits on water taps and dishes after a few weeks. Depending on the age of your plumbing and the amount of scale that has built up, your mileage may vary. 

Vendors that produce water descalers claim that once the units have been up and running for anywhere from one to three months, existing scale in pipes will begin to wash away. This would have the benefit of carving out more space in the plumbing and providing more water throughput. 

As noted above, there just isn't a lot of data available to the general public about electronic water conditioners so it's tough to say if one would be right for you. Enormous systems that employ the same theory are in wide use at factories and plants around the world so again, in theory, it would stand to reason that they could be effective in a residential setting. 

According to the many, many people who have one, water descalers are worthy additions to their home's system.

See also:

11 Best Water Conditioners for Your Home

11 Best Water Softeners for Your Home

15 Best Gifts for Plumbers

17 Best Work Boots for Men