There are a number of ways of dealing with limescale deposits caused by hard water, as experienced by over 60% of British homes. This project discusses the options, and describes fitting of an electronic descaling device. This is a simple job to tackle which will alleviate the problems of limescale build up in most homes for substantially less cost than a conventional chemical water softener.
Familiar with these problems? Furred-up kettle? Clogged shower head? Hot taps running slowly due to clogged pipes? Stubborn tidemarks around baths and sinks? White stains on taps, even though you've just cleaned them? If you suffer these, then join 60% of the British population. You've got a hard water problem.
There are three possible solutions:
Chemical limescale cleaners and lots of hard scrubbing to remove baked on limescale, added to which you've got to keep on top of the problem week after week. You'd be surprised how the cost mounts up too! Also the cleaners pollute the waste water, causing yet more problems to the environment.
Conventional (ion exchange) water softener. The most expensive option, costing up to £1100, plus installation charges. These devices must be plumbed into your mains water supply, and consume a large quantity of salt in order to make them function, about £12 per month for a family of four people. The water generated by these systems is truly softened, but sodium from the salt replaces the calcium in your water. This means that treated water has substantially raised sodium levels. Experts advise that this water is not suitable for drinking, so an alternative source of drinking water should ideally be arranged (separate tap in kitchen). This is particularly important if you have children in the house, as they should consume even less sodium than an adult, and on no account should a baby's formula milk be made with water treated by an ion exchange water softener.Conventional salt based water softeners also generate substantial amounts of waste water with regular flushing of the resin tanks, increasing the water bill for those households with metered water.
Electronic or magnetic water descalers. Some devices are simply powerful magnets placed around the incoming mains water pipe. A much more effective device is the electronic water descaler, an example of which is the Eddy water descaler developed by the Surrey based manufacturers Eddy Water Descalers. They produce an uprated model, the ED6002P which more than doubles the output level of the previous model to combat even the most severe limescale problems. This device operates by wrapping coils of wire around the incoming water main to pass a magnetic field through the water. The effect of this is to cause the calcium in the water to stay in solution and so inhibit it from adhering to taps, baths and kettles. When developing this device, Eddy Water Descalers sought to better the output level of all rival devices by a significant factor whilst also managing to produce a unit that is economical to buy and run. During the testing phase they found some competing devices to have output signals so low as to render them almost completely ineffective. Also unlike some inferior devices which operate with only one coil, Eddy Water Descalers have two, so increasing the time for which the water is exposed to the magnetic waveform. This has been a crucial factor in its success. It's made in Britain too, and comes with a 12 month money back guarantee if not completely satisfied with the performance. Eddy is also kind to the environment as, unlike with a salt based softener, there are no environmentally damaging discharges into your waste water.
Fig.1 The Eddy Electronic Descaling Device
An Eddy Water Descaler represents an economical and environmentally friendly way of combating the nuisance of limescale. The treated water has an unaltered chemical composition, so is as safe to drink as normal tap water. No dangerous chemicals or cleaners are washed into your waste water. The build up of limescale is radically reduced, not only on visible surfaces like taps and kettles, but also in places where limescale damage cannot be seen, such as heating elements in washing machines, and hot water tanks. In these places, excess limescale results in increased water heating costs and premature heating element failure. After fitting an Eddy water descaler, any small deposits of limescale that are still present, in kettles for example, should be powdery and easily cleaned away with a quick rinse or a gentle wipe. Furthermore, of great interest to readers of DIY Doctor, the device is easily installed as a DIY operation, taking the average householder no more than 30 minutes to fit. Overall, electronic water descalers such as Eddy present a neat solution to a major problem for those of us in Britain (most of us) afflicted by hard water.
Quick overview of Installation
Locate the incoming cold water main, usually under the sink, or in the understairs cupboard. This will usually be a 15mm copper pipe with a stopcock nearby. See an example in Fig.2 below.
Fig.2 Typical location of incoming water main
Choose a convenient part of the pipe which is long enough to wind the two coils of wire around it (see Fig.1, illustration of typical installed device). Ideally this will be not less than 23 cms (9 inches) long. There should a space on the wall nearby (within about 8 inches) to attach the main Eddy device, within reach of the coils wound on the pipe.
Wind 2 coils of wire around pipe as described in Eddy installation manual (Fig.3).
Fig.3 Coils wound onto mains water pipe
Attach Eddy Water Descalers main unit to wall within reach of coils using the supplied heavy duty self-adhesive velcro and plug in the coils (Fig4). Locate a mains socket within reasonable distance of the Eddy unit to enable connection of power cable via supplied mains adapter. (Use an extension lead if necessary, keeping mains socket/power adapter away from damp).
Fig.4 Fixing Eddy to wall and plugging in
Switch on and say goodbye to limescale at a cost of less than 4p per week!
Current price of the Eddy electronic water descaler is £139.99 available direct from manufacturer.
For further information on electronic limescale prevention go to www.eddy.uk.com