Can magnets on pipes soften water?

05 September 2013

Question

Hello

I was planning to buy a scale remover that works using magnet, but I wanted to find out whether you thought it would be effective.
If not, what do you advise me use to remove scale inside pipelines of home? Regards
Ali Al Shaqsi
Sultanet of Oman

Answer

Laura - I have to say I'm pretty unconvinced by these claims. I have sort of looked at it. I've tried to work out what the magnets could be doing. We have to think about what hard water is. It's mainly calcium and other minerals dissolved. There's a tiny amount of iron in there that could be affected by the magnets, but I just can't quite see what could be happening there.

Dave - And even the iron is it in a form which is actually magnetic?

Laura - Yes, and most of it is in unmagnetic form so it's in one of the electronic configurations that isn't actually magnetically sort of active.

Chris - So we'll be giving that one the thumbs down.

Laura - We're giving that one the thumbs down. Water filters and things I think instead.

Ginny - There's probably an element of placebo effect here, in that, if you've bought a gadget and you've put it on your pipes and you drink the water.

Chris - Placebos for pipes.

Ginny - It probably does taste different to you or you possibly think, "Oh, yes! My kettle is not furring up as quickly as it used to", but it's likely to just be the placebo effect that you think because you've done something, something is going to happen.

Chris - But equally, you're hardly likely to cut into the water main, just to have a look and see if it's furred up, are you? So, I think it's very likely that most people just go, "Alright, I assume it's working." It's sort of as you say, you feel happy about it because you think you've done something when in fact, actually haven't probably done anything. So, the conclusion of the panel here, everybody, if I speak for you by saying, you're saying, don't waste your money. Would that be a reasonable summary?

Laura - I'd say, pretty much, yeah.

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