Magnetic water softener: do the anti-scale magnets work?

The magnetic water softener is a physical anti-scale system based on the placement of magnets around a pipe. But not all physical systems are the same or use the same technology. There are several factors that affect the performance and efficiency of the magnetic descaler. Below we resolve the most frequent doubts about the treatment of these systems and explain which are the factors that influence their performance.
Imanes antical

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What is a magnetic descaler?

The fixed magnet or magnetic water softener is an anti-scale system that is installed around the main pipe. It consists of a treatment box or tube provided with a series of magnets.

The higher-performance models have several magnets, positioned in such a way that the north and south poles alternate. However, many systems have only two magnets, which reduces their performance.

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How do magnets work?

These devices, like the rest of the physical systems, prevent lime incrustation in the installations without modifying the composition of the water and without the need for chemical products or salt.

The calcium and bicarbonate ions, present in water and responsible for the formation of lime, move with the flow of water through the pipes.

When water passes through the section of pipe equipped with magnets, the calcium and bicarbonate ions are subjected to successive polarity changes in the magnetic fields of the magnets (north-south).

The continuous change of polarity at constant velocity causes the formation of non-fouling lime microcrystals. This process is known as nucleation and allows the lime not to adhere to the pipes or thermal elements of the installation.

Calcio y carbonato en el agua

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Random treatment performance

The magnetic descaler has a variable performance as it can be altered by various factors, such as the flow of water or the type of installation. For this reason it is not possible to measure the effectiveness of the treatment.

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Factors affecting magnet performance

  • The water flow

The main disadvantage of a fixed magnetic system compared to other physical systems is that the performance of the system will depend on the speed of passage of water between the magnets.

With a low flow rate (figure 1) the speed of the water will be slow and will not cause any crystallisation. This will cause the lime to continue to be deposited in the installations, especially in the heat exchangers.

Formación de microcristales de cal no incrustantes

Figure 1: weak water flow (velocity: 1 m/s). Not enough calcium carbonate (CACO3) non-fouling microcrystals are created.

On the other hand, if the flow is strong (figure 2), the velocity of passage of water between the magnetic fields will be faster and the microcrystals will be created optimally.

Microcristales de cal no incrustantes

Figure 2: strong flow (speed: 3m/s). Optimum creation of non-fouling calcium carbonate microcrystals (CACO3).

Permanent magnet systems are suitable for industrial applications where water flows are fixed.

On the contrary, at the domestic level the results obtained are random because these systems are not adapted to variable flows.

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  • Installation materials

The performance of the fixed magnet anti-scale system also depends on magnetic permeability, which is the ability of a material to attract magnetic fields and make them pass through it.

It should be borne in mind that these systems are assembled in existing enstallations, where we can find pipes composed of a variety of materials: copper, galvanized steel, aluminum, PVC, polyethylene, and so on.

Not all materials have the same magnetic permeability. Therefore, the efficiency of fixed magnetic systems depends on the type of material and the conditions of the installation.

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  • The diameter and thickness of the pipes

Both the diameter and the thickness of the pipes influence the performance of a magnetic descaler.

The larger the diameter of the pipe, the greater the flow and therefore the effect of the magnets will be reduced.

On the other hand, the greater the thickness of the tube, the lower the magnetic permeability of the tube as well as the efficiency of the treatment.

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Dropson anti-scale technology – Optimum performance and efficiency

Gama antical DropsonDropson has developed an anti-scale technology that offers exceptional performance and avoids the disadvantages of other physical systems, such as magnetic systems or capacitive effect systems.

Dropson’s E.M.I. (Electro Magnetic Impact) technology does not depend on factors such as water flow or pipe diameter, so it guarantees optimum performance. These are the main differences between the Dropson decalcifier and the fixed magnet magnetic decalcifier.

Comparativa Dropson vs. imanes fijos1. Dropson is effective at variable flows

Fixed magnet systems are not effective in applications where the flow rate is variable, as they depend on a number of factors and their performance is random.

On the other hand, the effectiveness of the Dropson water softener does not depend on the water flow rate. The magnetic fields are not fixed, but are driven by an electronic board and the frequency is electronically calibrated to operate even at very low flow rates.

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2. Reproducible result with Dropson anti-scale technology

The result of fixed magnets is not reproducible as their efficiency varies according to various parameters.

With Dropson each treatment cell is factory calibrated with extreme precision according to a flow curve (m³/h) and a specific water hardness level (ºfH) for each model.

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3. Dropson Professional Calculation Software

No special calculation is made for the installation of a fixed magnetic system. The magnets are installed according to the diameter of the tube, which is not correct, since it does not take into account the flow rate or the hardness of the water or the materials.

For its part, Dropson technology integrates a calculation and sizing software that allows devices to be selected according to needs and applications. The calculation takes into account the flow rate, the water hardness and the type of application according to the guidelines of the Spanish standard HS4.

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4. Dropson technical support

Dropson supports the user with technical, after-sales, follow-up and maintenance advice.

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5. Easy to install Dropson water softener

The fixed magnetic system does not require any specific installation and does not require an electrical connection.

Dropson requires an installer and an electrical connection. It is installed at the general cold water inlet, accompanied by a sediment filter, as advised by water treatment professionals.

The performance of any anti-scale system can be affected by sediments and organic particles suspended in the water, whatever the model.

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6. Competitive prices on the entire Dropson product range

Dropson systems are as competitively priced as fixed magnet magnetic systems. We offer the best quality-price on the market.

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7. Dropson warranty on the domestic and proffesional range

The Dropson system offers a 5-year warranty on the domestic anti-scale range and a 10-year warranty on the proffesional range.

On the other hand, fixed magnets have a wider guarantee, as it is a simple tube with magnets. They can offer approximately 30 years of durability.

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