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Hi Steve:

It's an answer to a prayer to have stumbled onto a webpage showing your answer to another question about hard water!

I am looking to replace a whole house water treatment ("softening") system and need guidance for what might actually work and what is a waste of money. I've done some research, but it's pretty much all Greek to me. The Lifesource (granulated activated charcoal) system I'm replacing uses granulated activated charcoal. It seemed to work okay for several years but there are now systems using electronic fields (ScaleRid Electronic), food grade polyphospate beads (Aquasana), capacitive deionization (Fujifilms Membranes), and  a process of chelation (NuvoH2O). My main objective is to decrease the hard water spotting, scale deposits and corrosion we experience in San Diego. I am including a link to our latest drinking water report so you can see exactly what I'm dealing with: Pages 13-15 show the type of info I thought you might be interested in. Our water comes from the Alvarado treatment plant.

I would so grateful for any guidance you could give me.


Hi Holly,
First of all I am very surprised that the system that you were using worked at all.  If it was just activated charcoal (carbon) that is basically just a filter system and will also remove any residual chlorine (which there shouldn't be any) and also for removal of organic contamination (again there shouldn't be any).  This tells me that perhaps you don't need any treatment since the one you were using does absolutely nothing for water hardness - which you indicate is your major concern.
After reviewing the analysis of the water from the Alvarado treatment plant I would suggest using the NuvoH2O system if you feel you need treatment.  I don't know anything about the Fuji system you mentioned and I think that systems using electronic fields are nothing more than black boxes.
Normally with water like you have I would recommend a salt based water softener but those are now illegal in California.
I hope this helps - let me know if you have any questions.

Good luck,

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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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