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If you are looking for a salt-free water softener, the Eddy electric water descaler is one of the best one available.
It uses the concept of electromagnetism to change how the magnesium and calcium ions behave such that they don’t attach themselves to surfaces.
So strictly speaking, like other salt-free water softeners, the Eddy descaler is not really a water softener since it does not remove hardness minerals from water.
If you were to do a hardness test using a strip, the water would still register as hard.
Instead, it’s more of a water conditioner that prevents scaling and improves lathering.
It’s a great choice for those who are concerned about the salt traditional water softeners add to water or the amount of water they waste.
If you are looking for a salt-based water softener instead, see our best water softeners guide for recommendations.
Before you invest in a salt-free water softener, you should know that they are not as effective as salt-based systems.
This applies to the Eddy electric water descaler as well. It does prevent the worst of the scaling issue but you’ll still notice some deposits around the shower and on other surfaces.
It’s especially noticeable if your family uses a lot of water or you receive very hard water.
But even if there is some scaling, it takes much longer to form and it’s not bad enough to damage your appliances or clog your plumbing.
The conditioned water actually dissolves existing scale over time.
In addition to preventing scale, the Eddy descaler makes washing easier. The water lathers and foams much more readily.
It also doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry and clogged after a shower.
Not all salt-free water softeners work the same way.
All of them work by changing the nature and behavior of calcium and magnesium ions but they do it differently.
Some use a chelating agent that forms bonds with hardness ions, preventing them from forming scale on surfaces.
Others, like the Eddy descaler, use electromagnetism.
The Eddy water descaler consists of wires that you coil around your main water pipe. Once you plug in the unit into an outlet, current flows through the coils, forming a powerful magnetic field.
This magnetic field changes how calcium and magnesium ions behave. They lose their adhesive properties, meaning they cannot stick on surfaces.
Here’s how the company explains it on their official website:
“Eddy produces a complex electro-magnetic wave which is applied through two coils wound round your incoming water supply pipe. In this way, your water is subjected to an ever-changing magnetic field as it passes through the coils. This alters the electric charge distribution on the crystals of limescale in your water supply and changes the adhesion properties of the limescale so that it no longer deposits itself on your clean surfaces, within your pipes or inside your appliances.”
So while the system doesn’t remove hardness minerals, it prevents them from being a nuisance. They can be washed safely away with the water.
Just make sure you don’t leave the water sitting for too long.
The company says the conditioned water is good for up to 72 hours. After that, if it’s still sitting in a container or the hot water tank, it reverts to its earlier hard water properties.
But for most households, 72 hours is long enough for the hot water tank to replenish with new water.
Two big advantages of installing the Eddy water descaler is that your water doesn’t have added salt and there’s no water wasted.
The first one is important if you have a health condition that could be affected by sodium in water.
The second is great for everyone. Since the Eddy water softener doesn’t need to regenerate, there is no water wasted.
You won’t find a water softener system that is easier to install than this one.
There is zero plumbing involved. No cutting pipes, no buying fittings and you don’t even need to turn off the water.
All you need is find a location along the main water pipe near an electric outlet. Wind the two coils around the pipe and then connect the power unit to the outlet.
The cable is about 5.5 feet. If your outlet is further than that, you can buy a 9.5 ft or 16 ft extension on Eddy’s official website.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind regarding installation.
Overall, the Eddy descaler is easy to install. It’s definitely something you can do on your own in less than half an hour.
But you can also ask a plumber or electrician to set it up for you.
This is one of the best parts of installing the Eddy descaler. It’s a set-it-and-forget system.
Once you’ve installed it, there is nothing for you to do; no salt to add, no leaks to repair, no filters to replace and no part to clean.
This saves you loads of time and money.
Compared to traditional water softeners, the Eddy descaler is much cheaper. If you don’t have the budget for a $500+ salt-based system, this is a great choice.
The fact that you can install it yourself and there are no maintenance costs makes it even better for your pocket.
Talking of installation, we love the easy DIY setup for the Eddy system. If you hate all the plumbing work involved in installing a water softener, this one is for you.
You just need to identify where your main water line is – you can do that, right? – and wind the wires around it.
Plug in the power unit, and you are good to go. Less than half an hour from start to finish.
We also love that this system doesn’t add salt to the water. That’s a big plus for those who are concerned about the effect of salt on their health.
It also doesn’t waste any water, meaning it costs less to run compared to a salt-based softener that flushes down several gallons of water per regeneration.
The system is not as perfect as a traditional softener in removing all hardness minerals, but it does well enough for us to recommend it for most homes.
You’ll notice a huge decrease in scaling, better tasting water, no deposits on your utensils and more refreshing showers that leave your skin soft and clean.
The descaler struggles when dealing with very hard water. If you live in a city with extra-hard water or you use well water, you might notice more scaling on your plumbing and appliances.
It’s nowhere near as bad as having no descaler at all but you’ll need to clean out the deposits every few months.
Another limitation of this system is that it doesn’t remove iron from water. Salt-based water softeners do remove some iron, which helps prevent reddish-brown stains on surfaces.
The magnetic effect of the Eddy descaler only affects magnesium and calcium ions. It has no effect on ferrous iron.
Something else to remember is that the descaler is not ideal for water that will be stored for more than 72 hours.If you don’t use hot water often, the water sitting in your hot water tank will start getting hard again.
Salt-based water softeners are great and are usually the best for most homes. But they also have a lot of disadvantages.
They are big, they are tedious to install, you need to add salt regularly, some of that salt ends up in your water, and they are expensive.
If you think a salt-free water softener is the best one for your family, I highly recommend the Eddy Electric water descaler.
It’s cheaper, it’s ridiculously easy to install, it requires no maintenance, the water is free of salt and best of all, it (mostly) works.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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