Got hard water?

   / Got hard water? #1  


Platinum Member
Sep 3, 2004
Cherokee, CA
We do (did?). Punched our well about 25 years ago and been living with VERY hard water ever since. Unacceptable spots on dishes if they aren't hand dried, crusty buildup in the Corningware tea kettle we use to make hot water for coffee, have to clean the 'coating' from the glass shower door frequently, etc.

I searched on the internet for a system to improve it. Google will bring up thousands of "solutions". I don't like the 'flavor' of the standard softner systems that use sodium. Yes, I know those systems when operating properly aren't supposed to "taste" but every one I've visited and tried did. Additionally, we are "off-grid" for power and our water volume is limited so a machine like Culligan sells didn't seem like the right approach.

One method kept appearing in my searches: magnets on the water pipes. There are many sites offering this solution, each claiming to be the best. I knew this couldn't work but I ordered some from a site claiming a 90 day return policy. Since I'd only be out the return shipping (if indeed they honored the policy) I ordered a pair and installed one on the input pipe to the house and one on the output pipe from the water heater, as directed. They should be installed on PVC or copper as galvanized "blocks" much of the magnetism.


Fifteen minutes after installation I filled the sink to do a load of dishes (we took out the dishwasher many years ago since stuff came out so badly spotted all the time no matter what addititives or detergents were used). The water "felt" different. The suds were double what that amount of detergent usually produced. By the time I got to the pots I still had copious amounts of suds left, which has never happened before. The dishes all dried practically spotless without hand drying.

My long-haired wife immediately noticed the difference when she washed and conditioned her hair. The film on the shower door has started to disappear. Showers now feel like they do when we stay in a motel.

The crust in the Corningware started to dissolve. It was turning to powder when I rubbed my finger across it. I cleaned it (which was easier than EVER) and after two weeks there is absolutely NO buildup starting.... it's as white inside as outside. This has NEVER been the case before.

I don't understand how this could be. My primary reason to try these things was to cross them off the list of potential fixes and then continue my search. I know those dissolved minerals are still in the water but it SEEMS like they've been removed. My wife always had to wipe dry our stainless steel kitchen sinks to keep them from getting crusty spots. Now we don't and there is just a little bit of spotting, more like we used to get when we lived in a subdivision in the early seventies.

I'm not putting a link to the site as I'm not advertising that company. Of all the sites selling magnets for this purpose, these seemed to be the best built with the strongest magnets. I paid $140 for the pair. Some sites sell the strip magnetic material that you would wrap around pipes. For all I know now, it may work just as well tho it seems logical that the higher the magnetic force the better. Or maybe not.... who knows. I'm a logic driven person and this whole thing just baffles me.

I'm thrilled with these things and could think of nothing better than posting for my friends here.

   / Got hard water? #2  
ever thought to have your water tested to find out why it was "hard"
   / Got hard water? #3  
schmism said:
ever thought to have your water tested to find out why it was "hard"
I think schisms' approach is the way to go to find out what minerals you have to evaluate your problem. I guess I should start by saying that Im thrilled that you found something cheap but effective ! At my Ct home we had very bad iron problems, that appeared after I had the well redrilled deeper and fraced for more water flow. The iron was so bad that when my wife wasnt yelling at me about the stains in the white clothing that I was busy cleaning the toilet bowls :confused: I finally broke down and had a iron filter installed along with a water softener for the other minerals in the water. We had a pretty indepth test done on the water and we got a system that was capable of handling our problematic water supply. I was like you and didnt want to go with the sodium, health reasons, so we decided on the potassium chloride to activate the system. I spent about $1500 for everything, and off the top of my head I cant remember the name of it, but could get that info if your interested.
   / Got hard water? #4  
Our water is bad. We have a pleated paper canister filter, then a softener, which does wonders. But, for drinking water, we run the softened water through a reverse osmosis system. Our softened water is really good, our RO water is great!
   / Got hard water?
  • Thread Starter
Never had it tested. I was expecting to before I installed a "real" system. I was preparing to pick the best potassium chloride softener I could find but figgered I'd try these magnet things first. We're down 360' through rock. It tastes great, unlike my nearest neighbor (1/4 mi downhill from us with a 120' deep well) whose water reeks of sulpher so bad that he had to have a treatment system installed to even use it. But he has an abundant supply. Our well produces about 3 gallons/hour (yes, hour!) but has always been good tasting just limited in quantity and hard. Farther up into the hills from us they have acid problems and can't use copper plumbing.

With our limited supply we just don't have anything outside (like lawn) requiring water. We supply animals with a jug in the shower we fill until the hot water gets there. We have bottled to drink since it's cheap enough and they deliver, but we use well water for coffee and boiling pasta and things like that.

It is a water system that we've adapted to, and now much improved because of these stupid magnet things. Since we are "off-grid" for power, it's taken some adapting there too. But all things considered I wouldn't want to move back into our old subdivision (or worse -- the apartment we lived in after we married in 1971). We bought 45 acres and planted ourselves smack dab in the middle away from anybody.

   / Got hard water? #6  
From all I have read the magnets seem to be a big mistery.
Scientist say they can't see how they would work. Basically say that some people swear by them and some people swear at them.
Hope they work for ya for a long time to come.
   / Got hard water? #7  
How about a link to the product you used?
   / Got hard water?
  • Thread Starter
Because you asked, here's the site: Magnetic Water Conditioners- Trentatrons-The alternative to salt based water softeners

I can't say anything other than the product worked for me. Whether they actually honor the 90 return policy I won't find out.

I should add that I've ordered and Monday installed two more of these. Whether they give me any additional benefit will take some time to tell. I've mentioned that we have a limited well and are "off grid" for power. I have a "cistern" system: a 1000 gal tank that I pump 250 gallons into every 4th day, using my generator (this also 'excercises' my generator) because it's so deep that to power that pump with inverters is too expensive. I have a dedicated inverter that powers a jet pump that supplies the two bladder pressure tanks from the 'cistern'.

I've added a magnet to the pipe from the well to the cistern. I added another to the in/out of the bladder tanks. Tonight will be the first time I've pumped into the cistern since adding that magnet. I can't say that I've seen a noticable difference because of the magnet on the pipe from the bladder tanks, but our water at the house already seems "soft" so I don't know if we'll notice anything else.

What benefits could I see? I'm not exactly sure but after that initial surprise it was worth another $140 (woulda been less if I'd ordered all 4 at once, dang). Our evaporative coolers will now get "magnatized" water (they tap off before the house supply). The water in the 100 gal tank will eventually be "magnatized".

It's (hopefully) about the end of the cooler season. Will this make the air coming out better? Will the water in the tank show some change? Will our water in the house be "softer" yet? Tune in next year and I may know some answers.

In the meantime I originally intended to only post about the changes that I have no doubt about.

   / Got hard water? #9  
It would be interesting if you could have had your water tested before you placed your magnets and then after you place your magnets and compare the results. You could still do this and let us know if feasible.
   / Got hard water?
  • Thread Starter
Hey chili!

I could still do this now. There's one faucet that taps off at the well. Anybody know any cheep and easy testing services?

I was wishing that I'd taken a photo of our Corningware kettle before and after. That's the only visual thing that's very much obvious.

There is a brown-colored film on the inside of the cistern (it's a "clear" tank, not one of the black ones, and inside a building). I treat it with chlorine regularly. The only visible change could be that film disappearing so I had a friend look at it in it's "before" condition so that if there IS any change I'll at least have a witness. This friend is also experiencing the acidic water and has hard water too. We may be trying one of my magnets on his well supply line in a few months just to see if it makes any difference on the acidity (we don't expect it to). He's a bachelor and doesn't notice hard water spots, but you could spray his kitchen with the water used to clean a cement mixer and I don't think he'd notice.

These things are easily attached/removed with 4 screws so we'll try it for a few months anyway. If he likes it, he'll order a replacement for me. If not, we'll put it back in my system.