It is common knowledge that water softeners are used because soaps and detergents cannot make lather and clean properly. This happens due to the presence of calcium and magnesium and other minerals present in water. The harder the water the more the concentration of these minerals in dissolved form. Generally water that has 180 ppm (parts per million) of these minerals is considered as very hard water while water with a mineral concentration of 120 ppm is considered moderately hard water. The minerals in water react with the chemicals in soap and form a precipitate which accumulates on fixtures and other places. This is called scum.
To get over this problem water is treated with sodium chloride or potassium chloride in water softeners; with the help of ion exchange sodium and potassium ions replace the calcium and magnesium ions in water and the water becomes soft. This is the best and most used method of water softening that is used world wide.
There is however a flip side to it and that is the water thus softened has high sodium content. It is also argued that calcium is an essential mineral and removing it we cause calcium deficiency in our children. Therefore experts generally suggest that we use untreated water for cooking purpose and use treated/softened water for cleaning and other purpose.
Of late several claims are made by certain individuals and companies that they can turn hard water into soft by using electronic pulses or electro magnets. However, these are false claims that are not backed by solid scientific evidence.
Electronic water softener makers claim that the use of electronic pulses alter the nature of water in such a way that it behaves like soft water. However, they do not claim to remove calcium and magnesium from the water. If the two minerals is still present in water then after sometime the water inevitably goes back to being hard.
Several websites give anecdotal evidence without giving any scientific explanation. These sites also elaborate how bad sodium is for the body but do not give any detail how this electronic water softening technology works. The electronic water softeners that are peddled are not accredited by any government or scientific body and therefore is not trust worthy.
Overall there is no way electronic water softener can work as efficiently as conventional water softeners.
There are three proven technologies used to soften water. Ion exchange – the salt based ion exchange system that is generally used all over the world. The other method used is the Sequestering method, in this method certain chemicals are used which binds the calcium ions in water and thus make then ineffective. The third and last effective method is the Reverse Osmosis method. This method removes everything that is bad and good in water. This system is expensive when used for the whole house.
Hence it can be safely said that water softeners that use salts to soften the water is both cost effective and proven. Electronic water softeners are just myth propagated by fertile minds that have nothing better to do.