21 October 2020

What to Know About Water Conditioner Systems

Photo by mrjn Photography on Unsplash

Countless households use water softening systems to prevent hard water from damaging their plumbing, scaling dishware, and causing dry skin and hair. For the most part, water softeners are effective and popular. 

However, many households are using water conditioner systems instead of water softeners. What are water conditioners and do they work? How? Why are people using them?

In this article, we’ll talk about water conditioning systems, how they are different from water softeners, and what types are available. Check them out!

What are Water Conditioner Systems? 

Water conditioners are the most common alternatives to water softening systems. Keep in mind, though, that water conditioners and water softeners work in different ways and give different results.

Water conditioning systems offer the following benefits: 

  • They don’t use chemical additives 
  • They eliminate wastewater discharge
  • They are easier to maintain 
  • They produce less pollution 
  • They are cheaper

But do water conditioner systems really work? Yes, they do. 

How do they work? 

While water softeners remove excess minerals by replacing them with sodium ions, water conditioners alter the hard minerals and prevent them from scaling and damaging your plumbing and wares. 

To further understand how and if water conditioners work, it helps to learn about the different types of water conditioner systems. 

Carbon Filtration 

One way that water conditioners work is through carbon filtration. 

In this process, activated carbon removes chemicals dissolved in water. The carbon traps or absorbs chemicals and organic compounds by attracting them.  

Carbon filtration is highly effective when you want to remove the unpleasant odor or taste in the water. If you dislike the smell of sulfur in well water or the chlorine in city water, carbon filtration is a good choice. 

As mentioned, carbon filtration doesn’t soften the water. It simply “conditions” the water for consumption. 

Space Age Systems 

Another way in which water conditioners work is through space age systems.

Space age systems use wires or magnets wrapped around your pipes. They produce an electromagnetic field that causes minerals in the water to blend with smaller particles within the water. 

The result: reduced concentration of calcium and magnesium ions that mix with soaps to form scales. 

Space age systems have the following downsides: 

  • The magnetic field exists only in small areas, so treating large amounts of water is extremely difficult
  • The water turns back into its previous state or quality after 48 hours
  • The scientific community is still largely skeptical about the effectiveness of space age water conditioning systems 

Meanwhile, such a system requires very little maintenance, and its filter bed can last for years. 

Catalytic Media 

Catalytic media water conditioners are also called salt-free water softeners. 

Unlike traditional water softening systems, which use ion-exchange, this type of water conditioner processes water through Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). 

The conditioning system uses catalytic media to alter the minerals’ form: the minerals turn into hardness crystals, which don’t stick to surfaces, reducing scale buildup and hard water spots. 

Water Conditioners vs. Water Softeners 

Although both water conditioners and water softeners improve the quality of your water, you might favor one over the other due to various reasons. 


Water softeners, although popular and effective in removing minerals, use salt ions. Using softened water may increase your sodium intake, and higher sodium intake is correlated to higher chances of hypertension and high blood pressure


Salt-based water softeners release huge amounts of salt into the environment. And this can lead to several environmental problems in the surrounding area. Water conditioners, on the other hand, do not use salt and is therefore a lot safer for the environment. 

Costs and Maintenance 

Water conditioners are cheaper and a lot easier to maintain. They rely on water pressure to function, not using electricity, and not producing wastewater. Maintenance only involves removing filters regularly. 

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