Why and How and What the Experts say

It Must Be Green | Health, Home & Garden | Household | Electronic Water Softening & Water Descaling |  Why and How and What the Experts say


"Little Plumber is a compact, computerised electronic water conditioner which will descale your existing system, prevent new scale forming and save you money from the moment it is installed."

Why you may need a Little Plumber water descaler

Little Plumber products are cheaper than water softeners, involve no salt, no maintenance, cost £2.00 per year to run, and will pay for itself in the first year. By having our water treatment device installed you will also benefit from more efficient heating of water, your appliances will last longer, you will have softer hair and your skin will be healthier.

How to use your water descaler:

Simply wrap the aerial around any hard water cold water pipe and within a short time the Little Plumber will start to remove and prevent limescale leaving your water feeling softer.
This is how your Electronic Water Descaler works

By coiling aerials around the cold water feed to a building or individual appliances, a series of very low frequency radio frequencies can be induced electronically into the water.

This effect runs in BOTH DIRECTIONS in the body of the water and causes the bonding together of tiny impurities, probably atoms of Iron or other metals.
These minuscule "sub-microscopic clusters" are so small that they cannot be seen by normal optical methods. Remaining in the water in huge quantities for up to 8 hours they nevertheless will start to break up as soon as the water loses connection with the main body of water being treated. This is important with water in a header tank, which is unconnected with the rising main. Here the water rapidly loses its conditioned status so it is essential to treat the water again particularly as the water from the header tank goes into the hot water cylinder which scales up rapidly if left untreated.

Now, when the cold water is heated, the Calcium and Carbonate ions in solution use these clusters as nuclei for crystal formation instead of the normal deposit areas such as heating elements. The reason for this is that the total surface area of the clusters is so vast that they become the preferred alternative for crystal seeding. The result is water in which the Calcium and Carbonate ions have deposited out to form what can be likened to "chalk dust" in the body of the water. These tiny crystals remain in suspension and do not form deposits although they can form a white sludge at the bottom of a tank if the water is static.

Once this "chalk dust" has been formed, the surrounding water is now much softer although there will still be some free Calcium ions so the water cannot claim to be totally soft-just softer. The softer water causes Limescale to now gradually break down and eventually even the most scaled up appliance will become free of scale.


Electromagnetic Water Conditioners - The Theory by Andrew Goldsworthy 2006

Physically conditioned water (or magnetic water as it is sometimes called) was first discovered by the Russians around the beginning of the last century. It was originally made by making water flow rapidly (around a metre per sec) between the poles of a moderately powerful permanent magnet (100 mT or more). Water treated in this way had the power to remove and prevent the formation of limescale in boilers and plumbing. It also had biological effects such as the stimulation of plant growth and rapid changes in the size of animal internal organs (See Presman AS "Electromagnetic Fields and Life" Plenum Press NY 1970).

Magnetic fields almost certainly have more than one effect on water (See www.lsbu.ac.uk/water) but probably the most relevant from our standpoint is their effect on suspended colloidal particles.

Most colloids of biological origin are negatively charged and attract a shell of positively charged ions, with di or multivalent ions dominating because of their extra charge. When water containing these particles flows through a magnetic field, the Lorentz forces drive the negative particles and their oppositely charged ionic shells in opposite directions. The effect is greater for ions, such as calcium, with more than one charge and these tend to be preferentially lost from their parent particles and replaced by less affected monovalent ions. This leaves the particles in the conditioned water in a metastable state, which is relatively deficient in calcium. They can then attract ambient free calcium ions to restore their original stable state. During this period, they act as excellent nuclei for the crystallisation of calcium salts, so that when the water is heated the salts that would normally form hard limescale on the hot surface, crystallise on the particles instead and remain in suspension. If the conditioned water is flowing rapidly, it can even remove scale that has already formed.

The conditioning effect of a permanent magnet conditioner increases with the speed of water-flow and also with the strength of the magnet (i.e. it is the rate of change of the magnetic field that matters) however there are practical limits to both. To some extent, it can be improved by having several magnets so that the water is conditioned repeatedly, but there is also a limit to this.

Electronic water conditioners avoid these problems by making the magnetic field move rather than the water. They use pulses of the order of microtesla delivered at several kHz from coils around the water supply pipe. The very rapid rate of change of the field at the beginning and end of each pulse now gives the conditioning effect and high field strengths are no longer required. Also, the high frequency improves matters by giving multiple conditioning cycles as the water passes relatively slowly through the coils.

As you can see from the above, pulses or square waves will be more effective than sine waves but polarity doesn't seem to be important. Moderately high frequencies (usually in the audio range) are used to give multiple conditioning cycles as the water flows through the device. Sometimes water conditioners sweep the frequency used by an octave or so to exploit any possible resonance effects in the ion exchange process, and sometimes relatively complex wave forms are used with several frequencies superimposed. They don't use the ion cyclotron frequencies for inorganic ions since these fall into the ELF region (e.g. calcium is 32Hz and potassium is 16Hz in the Earth's magnetic field). It is conceivable that such frequencies might improve the rate of exchange of the relevant ions on the colloidal particles, but this would be more than offset by the reduced number of cycles to which the water is exposed during its passage through the conditioner.

Finally, just one more point about the use of permanent magnets to condition water. It is in fact possible to condition stationary water with a permanent magnet, but the process is very slow (of the order of hours). This is because there has to be motion through the field to provide the necessary energy. In this case, it probably comes from the Brownian movement of the colloidal particles in the stationary field and it is relatively infrequent that these will acquire enough energy to drive the necessary ion exchange.

Andrew Goldsworthy BSc PhD
Honorary Lecturer
Plant and Microbial Sciences
Imperial College London

The Science behind the LP range by Dr W. Abioun

Hard water is water, which contains the dissolved salt of Calcium Carbonate. Acidic rainwater falling through a geological rock formation consisting of Calcium Carbonate crystals such as Limestone or similar causes it to dissolve into the water. The main reason the rain becomes acidic is because Carbon Dioxide gas (the greenhouse gas) becomes absorbed by the rain turning it into a weak acid called Carbonic acid. It is this acid that dissolves away the Limestone rock. The dissolved salts become free ions of Ca++ and HCO3-- and these stay in solution until the water is heated at which point the Carbon Dioxide "blows off" and the ions join together again to form solid crystals of Limescale. A sudden reduction in cold water pressure will also remove the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and cause precipitation. This can be seen in cold water pipes where there is a sharp bend and scale develops and on the washers on cold taps, both places where the pressure can change suddenly.

The hardness of the water depends on how rich it is in free Calcium ions. The higher the Calcium contents the harder the water. Of course, hard water is very good for your health. It is the fundamental building block for teeth and bones. It also has a beneficial effect on the heart. Soft water is reckoned not to be so good for you.

To make hard water soft it is necessary to remove the Calcium ions in solution and this is normally done with a water Softener using salt. Here, the Sodium ions in the salt (Na+) are exchanged for Calcium ions in the water. This process is known as "ion exchange". Many people however because of the cost, plumbing requirements and addition of chemicals now favour the preferred method of hard water treatment - ELECTRONIC!

So, how else can we sort out the problem of free Calcium ions in hard water? The answer is by treating the water with a selection of low frequency electro-magnetic radio waves.

This is how it works:
By coiling aerials around the cold water feed to a building or individual appliances, a series of very low frequency radio frequencies can be induced electronically into the water. This effect runs in BOTH DIRECTIONS in the body of the water and causes the bonding together of tiny impurities, probably atoms of Iron or other metals. These minuscule "sub-microscopic clusters" are so small that they cannot be seen by normal optical methods. Remaining in the water in huge quantities for up to 8 hours they nevertheless will start to break up as soon as the water loses connection with the main body of water being treated. This is important with water in a header tank, which is unconnected with the rising main, but providing the water is used in a reasonable period, it still remains "conditioned" and will continue to perform by preventing and removing limescale.

Now, when the cold water is heated, the Calcium and Carbonate ions in solution use these clusters as nuclei for crystal formation instead of the normal deposit areas such as heating elements. The reason for this is that the total surface area of the clusters is so vast that they become the preferred alternative for crystal seeding. The result is water in which the Calcium and Carbonate ions have deposited out to form what can be likened to "chalk dust" in the body of the water. These tiny crystals remain in suspension and do not form deposits although they can form a white sludge at the bottom of a tank if the water is static.

Once this "chalk dust" has been formed, the surrounding water is now much softer although there will still be some free Calcium ions so the water cannot claim to be totally soft-just softer. The softer water causes Limescale to now gradually break down and eventually even the most scaled up appliance will become free of scale.

Strangely enough, the amount of energy required to achieve this conditioning effect is quite small and the skill is in producing a sharp clean square wave. Little Plumber employs a specially designed digitally enhanced circuit to produce an extremely efficient range of square waves with low power consumption. There is simply no need to produce huge voltage outputs to achieve excellent results. This is simply like taking a "sledge hammer to crack a nut"

Dr Abioun has conducted research into the efficacy of electronic water conditioners.
FAQs about Water Softeners & Electric Water Conditioners

What are limescale prevention products?

A group of products which alter the salts of hardness in water thereby preventing them precipitating out as limescale. These can be either chemical as in softeners or physical in nature as in water conditioners.


What is hard water?

Water which contains in solution the dissolved salts of Calcium and Magnesium such that the overall quality of the water is affected. Hard water is good for health as it contains free Calcium ions essential for growing children and animals and essential for proper cardiac activity. It does however allow the salts to re-crystallise above a certain temperature or pressure change to form deposits of limescale.


What is limescale?

Limescale is the hard, off-white, chalky deposit found in kettles, hot-water boilers and the inside of inadequately maintained hot-water central heating systems. It is also often found as a similar deposit on the inner surface of old pipes and other surfaces where hard water has evaporated. It consists of the salts of Calcium and Magnesium being preciptated when hard water ie: water with a high concentration of such salts, is heated or pressure changes. Effectively the dissolved salts in hard water come out of solution and preciptate back in their original form as solid crystals of Calcium Carbonate.


What is the best way to prevent limescale?

The best way to prevent limescale is to have soft water. This means you must either move to a soft water area like Scotland or treat your hard water. It is better to PREVENT Limescale from forming than to remove it. The best option is to treat the water as it enters your premises either with a water softener or good quality water conditioner like Little Plumber. When the water has been treated, the limescale will not form furthermore old limescale will be removed.


What water problems exist with limescale?

Natural rainwater dissolves chalk which then causes the water to become “hard”. When hard water is used in plumbing systems the salts come out of solution and deposit as limescale causing a wide variety of problems.
Little Plumber Installation Offer

ALL FITTING IS CARRIED OUT BY LITTLE PLUMBERS OWN QUALIFIED ENGINEERS

Although the installation of our Little Plumber units are very easy, you might feel that you require the services of a professional installer. We can now offer you the supply and installation of all our units for the prices shown below. These installation fees include the travelling to and from your premises. If you do not have an electric power point within two metres of where the LP needs installing then the cost will increase as the the engineer will need to run a connection to the power point for you. These additional charges are clearly shown in the pricing. For the majority of customers however, the published prices will be correct.

NB: Installation cost is non refundable and in the event of you wishing to return your Little Plumber under our 12 month moneyback guarantee the cost of installation and any additional parts fitted will be deducted from the amount originally paid.

FITTING FEE

LP SOLO = £98.50 (no power socket needed)
LP1 = £98.50
LP2 = £98.50
LP3 = £133.00
LP4 = £143.00

When you have ordered your installation the LP unit will be sent to you. The engineer will then call you to make an appointment to fit your little plumber. Please be sure to supply your home telephone number and a mobile, if you have one, at the time of ordering.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS OFFER IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN MAINLAND UK

We also offer Little Plumbers for commercial premises - please enquire.