A new alternative to the traditional or salt based water softener is now available – catalytic water softener. These types of water softeners along with electronic water softeners are considered or touted as much safer than the traditional water softeners that use salts to soften the water. However, the jury is still out there and no definitive advantages have been conclusively proved as yet.
The reason we need water softeners is because the water that we get from sources like municipal pipelines, wells, lakes or rivers has minerals dissolved in them. Minerals like calcium and magnesium along with iron and other impurities make the water hard. Thus you need more power to heat the water and also the coils in the boilers accumulate scales reducing the effectiveness of the appliances. Water softeners are therefore necessary to remove the minerals from water and make it soft. Water softeners use salts like sodium or potassium to remove these harmful minerals.
There are some ill effects of using conventional water softeners like excess salts in drinking and cooking water and environmental consequences due to the heavy salt content in water. Also water softeners also require regular maintenance to perform at peak efficiency.
A catalytic water softener promises to eradicate all the minus points of traditional water softeners. A catalytic water softener has special alloys and magnets that keep the minerals dissolved in water. The minerals are not removed from the water like the traditional water softeners. In the traditional water softener the calcium and magnesium is attracted and trapped by the sodium present in the resin beads.
The catalytic water softener relies on an alloy. The alloy is made of several precious metals and is made at extreme temperatures. This alloy is called non-sacrificial alloy as it remains unchanged in spite of the reactions they facilitate.
The working of this type of softener is fairly simple. The water is passed into a tank or chamber where the water experiences a sudden fall in pressure. Due to the sudden fall in pressure calcium crystals are formed. From here the water is then passed into another chamber and this movement further hastens the production of calcium crystals. This water is then exposed to a strong magnetic force of magnets that keep the crystals of calcium dissolved in the water. Thus the water that comes out is softer than when it entered the system. The water softener has all the advantages of a salt based water softener. Some of the benefits include cleaner and non corroded pipes and fixtures, increased efficiency of appliances, softer and whiter clothes, less detergent use, and clear skin and shiny hair.
Since no salts like sodium or potassium is used drinking this water is much safer. Maintenance is not a major issue here and the cost of operating this system is much less compared to other traditional softeners. However, with this type of softener you will still have stains on tiles and plumbing fixtures as the minerals that cause these stains continue to remain in water.
Overall this system is still being debated and it is safe to assume that the traditional water softener with added power saving features is a much better deal.