People have asked us how come so many people have bought these devices and believe they are working. Our answer is simple….”placebo effect”.
We all want to feel good after we have made an expensive purchase. No one wants to admit that they made a bad business decision with company money. This is particularly true in a down economy when their jobs could be at risk if they admit to the boss that they made a poor decision.
Our general experience on these devices to date is that they can all be placed into only two categories.
Category #1 Device: The NEW devices.
Category #2 Device: The devices proven NOT to work.
Things to consider are:
- Are the claims made for the devices credible?
- Are they technology based? (One claimed to “change the molecular structure of water”..huh?)
- Are the claims provable or simply anecdotal?
- Do they compare the device to poorly managed water treatment programs?
- Can we calculate the required energy needed to create the claimed result?
- Does the system draw or consume the required amount of energy to achieve that result?
- Is there another explanation for the reported successes? An example could be scaling stopped after water treatment stopped, but it turned out that the water was actually corrosive with respect to calcium carbonate, so scaling never should have been the problem in the first place.
- If letters of testimonial for the device are provided (and they typically are); can the claimant be found, are the devices still in use, and has some water treatment been reintroduced?
- Often the devices are patented to gain credibility. You can Patent many things. See below.
Don’t be fooled. A patent does not mean that a device actually works. It only protects the design. To view an interesting US Patent on an Anti-Gravity Device check out US Patent # 6,960,975, or if perhaps Light-Speed Space Travel is your thing, check out US Patent # 6,404,089. Two of these links are to the US Patent Office’s own web site.
Here is a link to the 1865 patent, Improvement In Preventing Incrustation of Steam-Boilers. This is the oldest Non-Chemical device for water treatment that we know of. Its function is to “collect whatever electricity may be generated within the boiler” and ground it to the shell of the boiler to prevent scale. The patent is posted here in a PDF format for you to download.
So when someone tells you that they have just invented a “Flying Pig”, you have to decide whether it is worth your time, effort, and money to try to prove whether his pig can really fly or just go on with your business and the let market forces decide the issue.
As technology advances there is always the possibility that some day a real “Flying Pig” will emerge.
An historic perspective. Many think these non-chemical devices are something new when in fact they have been with us for many years. Below is a posting of documents by others which illustrate the history of these devices and the work that has to go into debunking each new device or variation of an old device. These documents are arranged by the year of their publication or presentation.
The following article So-called Electrical and Catalytic Treatment of Water for Boilers was presented on May 5, 1952, at the Annual Conference of the AWWA, Kansas City, Mo., by Rolf Eliassen, Prof. of San. Eng., and Herbert H. Uhlig, Assoc. Prof. of Metallurgy, both of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. It was published in July of 1952 in the Journal of the American Water Works Association. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article Filters and “Conditioners” for the Water Supply was published in Consumers’ Research Bulletin in August of 1953. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article ISCC Urges Caution in Use of Unscientific Devices for Corrosion Prevention was issued by the Inter Society Corrosion Committee at its March 19th, 1953 meeting in Chicago. The article was published in Power Magazine in the November 1953 issue. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The article Practical Performance of Water-Conditioning Gadgets was written by B. Q. Welder and Evereti P. Partridge of Hall Laboratories, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA. It was presented before the Fourteenth Annual Water Conference, Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, Oct. 19-21. 1953, and published in INDUSTRIAL AND ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY in Vol. 46, on Page 954, in May of 1954. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
This posting is an August 5, 1955 directive by the United States Air Force on the Unauthorized Use of Catalytic and Electric Units for Water Treatment. The directive is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article Experimental Evaluation of ‘Water Conditioner’ Performance was presented on May 15, 1957, at the Annual Conference of the AWWA, Atlantic City, NJ., by Rolf Eliassen, Prof. of San. Eng., and Rolf T. Skrinde, Research Assistant,, both of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. It was published in September of 1957 in the Journal of the American Water Works Association. This article primarily addresses the Evis Water Conditioner. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article Experimental Performance of ‘Miracle’ Water Conditioners was presented on April 24, 1958, at the Annual Conference of the AWWA, Dallas. Tex., by Rolf Eliassen, Professor of Sanitary Engineering, Rolf T. Skrinde, Research Assistant, and William B. Davis, Research Assistant, all of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was published in October of 1958 in the Journal of the American Water Works Association. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article Federal Trade Commission Decision on ‘Evis Water Conditioner’ Claims was published in June of 1959 in the Journal of the American Water Works Association. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
This posting contains two editorials from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE). The first was published in Corrosion magazine in July 1960. The second was published in Materials Performance magazine in April 1974. The posting is in a PDF format.
The article Electrostatic Descaler Testing: An Evaluation was written by Milton Meckler, PE, President, Meckler Associates, Los Angeles, CA. It was published in Heating/Plumbing/Air Conditioning Magazine in August of 1974. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The article Watch Out for Wondrous Water Treatment Witchcraft was written by Hugh P. Godard, Editor of the NACE Magazine, Materials Performance, where it was published in Vol. 13, No.4, pg. 9, April of 1974. This copy contains a bibliography and is of better quality than the one listed under the year 1960. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article Water Conditioning Devices- An Update was presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the International Water Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in October/November, 1979., by J. Fred Wilkes, Consulting Chemical Engineer, from LaGrange, IL and Ray Baum, Craft Products Company, Inc., from Pittsburgh, PA. Fred Wilkes was one of my first Water Treatment Instructors at Dearborn Chemical in Lake Zurich, IL where I stared my water treatment career. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following article The Fatal Lure of Water Treating Gadgets was presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the International Water Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in October/November, 1979., by J.C. Dromgoole, Maintenance Engineering Corporation, from Houston, TX and M.C. Forbes, Alkem, Inc.,from Houston, TX. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The following is a Consumer Alert from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota regarding the Claims for Magnetic Water treatment Devices. Specifically named was the Bon Aqua. This was released on April 19, 1979 by Ronald J. Graham, BBB President. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The article Evaluation of Commercial Magnetic Descalers was written by Debbie J. Lawrence of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois in May, 1984. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The article Test of a Magnetic Device for the Amelioration of Scale Formation at Treatment Facility D was written P.W. Krauter, J.E. Harrar, S.P.Orloff, S.M.Bahowick of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94551 in December of 1996. The article addresses the evaluation of the Magnetic device marketed and sold as the Descal-A-Matic. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
The article Demonstration and Evaluation of Magnetic Descalers was written by Kent W. Smothers, Charles D. Curtiss, Brian T. Gard, Robert H. Strauss, and Vincent F. Hock of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, an element of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Champaign, IL 61826-9005 in September, 2001. The article addresses the evaluation of the devices known as the Descal-A-Matic device, the Aqua Magnetic device (also referred to as the Aqua Mag device), and the Ener Tec device. The article is posted here in its entirety in a PDF format.
This posting is an extraction from The Department of Defense Industrial Water Treatment Operation and Maintenance Manual. I have extracted three pages from the beginning of the manual and all four pages of Chapter eight on Non-Chemical/Non-Traditional Water Treatment Devices. If you would like the complete 262 page manual, go to the contact page of this web site and send me an e-mail. This manual is dated May 25, 2005. This posting is in a PDF format.
2010 NEW POSTING!!!
This article, Legionella and Non-Chemical Water Treatment Devices was written by Janet E. Stout, Scott M. Duda, Radisav D. Vidic from the Special Pathogens Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260. The paper was presented at The Association of Water Technologies (AWT) Convention in Reno, NV on October 23, 2010.
This study investigated the efficacy of five (5) non-chemical devices (NCD) to control the planktonic and sessile Legionella populations within a pilot-scale cooling tower system. The devices included magnetic, pulsed electric field, electrostatic, ultrasonic, and hydrodynamic cavitation.
As a follow up to this paper, the University of Pittsburgh has published a Press Release on December 10, 2010: Pitt Study Suggests Nonchemical Water Treatments Touted As “Green” Fail to Prevent Bacterial Growth in Air-Cooling Systems Found in Hospitals, Large Buildings. This calls into question legal liability issues and public health issues associated with the use of these devices.
More on this subject can be found at Dubious Water Treatment Schemes and atMagnetic Water Treatment and Pseudoscience. If you can not find what you are looking for there, e-mail me from my contact page regarding these devices. I have records on these devices (or gadgets) going back over 35 years. If I can find it, I will send it on to you.
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