How to use magnets to soften water

Written by christopher donahue
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One alternative to salt-ion replacement water softening systems is the magnetic system. Proponents don't claim that these magnetic systems actually remove hardness (dissolved minerals) from water, but their systems change water to act as if it were softened. Installing magnets to "soften" water is simple; it's a non-contact treatment that's fairly low maintenance after installation.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Permanent magnet shaped to attach to your incoming water pipe
  • Epoxy or elastic cord
  • Access point to incoming water pipe

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  1. 1

    Locate a point along your incoming water pipe where you have access to the full circumference of the pipe.

  2. 2

    Using epoxy or elastic cord, attach magnets in a band around the pipe. Note: The experiments indicating some value to magnet water softening show better results for higher flux density (amount of magnetism in an area), so minimise the gaps between magnets.

  3. 3

    Periodically (every six months or so), monitor the full flow of your incoming water. Should the section of pipe where you attached your magnets build up scaling on the pipe wall, your total flow of water will be restricted. In such a case, clean or replace the section in the inner wall of the pipe.

Tips and warnings

  • An alternative to using permanent magnets is to wrap the pipe with wire coil, and pass AC current through the wire (making an electromagnet).
  • Magnets don't remove any of the iron, calcium, magnesium and other dissolved minerals making water hard. Stains, lathering and other water hardness related issues won't be eliminated; it's possible that scaling in pipes will be reduced. Additional softening treatment or filtration may be needed.
  • Although studies vary on the effectiveness of magnetic water treatment, no major studies have indicated a health problem from using magnets to soften water.

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