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by Mark Timmons August 29, 2010 8 Comments

Kevin asked:

Is there any merit to this product?

It looks from their real-world testing that it is effective.

The Water Doctor Responded:

I went to their website and here is what they say:

“By applying a simple, yet totally natural water treatment process, the Care-Free Water Conditioner helps neutralize the adverse effects of many of the undesirable substances in your water supply

The Care-Free Water Conditioner is an in-line catalytic water treatment system. It operates by a combination of the following:

  1. Turbulence of the water through a specially designed catalytic chamber.
  2. By the creation of a small electrical field around the chamber casing.

This combination causes a separation of the mineral particles in the water, which changes their behavior.

Particles, which were previously attracted to each other now repel and separate into smaller individual particles. This allows the "separated" mineral particles and salts to flow through the system with minimal interference.

Corrosive gases are released during conditioning and move through the water as harmless bubbles. They are expelled into the atmosphere when water leaves the tap.

To put it simply, the Care-Free Conditioner eliminates the cohesion that exists between the mineral particles in the water.

This is clearly seen in the before and after photos.

These photos reveal mineral particles precipitated from "the same water sample" with a reading of 750mg/l hardness.

Note how the particles are bound together before Care-Free treatment and "separated" after treatment.

You can compare this reduction in micron size from the size of your fist to the size of your fingernail.”

Vibrations, energy fields, and vortexes are stock-in-trade in the snake-oil business, owing probably to the fact that in the ill-defined contexts in which they typically appear, they are basically meaningless but convey enough mystery to appeal to the credulous public. I won't waste much time on this one, because none of that nonsense makes any sense to me, and it certainly is not rooted in any sound scientific principles.

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August 14, 2018 Luke Scott

Dear Mark,

Thanks for your website and broad coverage of many aspects of our field. Well done.

I disagree about your assessment of the Care-free Water Conditioner. I spent years testing it, and obtained a Masters in Engineering by research. Its available here.

You may get a lot out of it, as it extensively surveys the literature on scale treatment, what works, and what doesn’t.

There’s over 300 pages there, but the summary is

FACT: The Carefree Conditioner significantly reduces suspended calcium carbonate particle size by up to 50%.
FACT: X-Ray Diffraction tests prove the Conditioner’s ability to change up to 70.2% of calcium carbonate scale from calcite to aragonite
FACT: Computational Fluid Dynamics models found the threshold turbulence values for both.

Dr John Bradd showed the Conditioner’s effects on reversing salinity while working with one of Australia’s peak science bodies the CSIRO.

I’d like to know how many experiments you’ve done on Care-free Conditioner units.

I note WQA tenet No. 7 is

7. Sweeping, absolute statements, either verbal or written, shall not be made if they are false or not applicable in all situations.

I suggest you read my thesis, and re-assess your assessment of the Care-free Conditioner.

I know it works: I have the results and pictures to prove it. I’d like to see the evidence you based your assessment on.

August 14, 2018 Kevin

Aragonite is no better than calcite, as per the article below:

The article below also proves that there was no benefit from using a Care-Free conditioner:

And a WQA task force reviewed over 100 papers from multiple authors on conditioners, and the results are inconclusive as per the below:

As Mark says, if this technology actually worked, every reputable company would be offering this product!

August 18, 2018 Mark Timmons

I respect your right to believe what you want, but I stand by what I said.

June 02, 2020 John

Hah, hours of digging i am back to square one with this product. I can find science projects involving electrosis to remove salt from water.
I’m stuck between hoping the carefree product works for 500 bucks or paying 6k for a desal plant for my bore.
The search for the truth is ongoing.

June 03, 2020 Mark Timmons

Well, there is always Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny… They are real, right? ;)

July 14, 2020 Dwight Potter

I’m like John. I’ve been researching these water conditioners to find something that will let me use my well water to irrigate with. I find testimonials, the the paper and research from Luke mentioned in this site. These all support the use of the CareFree system. Mark however only gives opinions and his own belief. It seems pretty clear if I still want to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny who I should follow.

July 25, 2020 Mark Timmons

You can find “papers” that support just about anything and there are testimonials about things that are physically impossible. You are free to believe what you want. I am just giving you the benefit of my 45 years of water treatment experience. All I can say is that if it worked, we would absolutely be selling it.

October 02, 2022 Marcus

I was alarmed at their statement “Corrosive gasses are released during conditioning and move through the water as harmless bubbles.”
Harmless? No! Corrosive? Yes!
And “Expelled to the atmosphere” - After the water hits your head while taking a shower. Would anyone really want to use this thing that puts a corrosive on your hair?

Yes! We are all looking for some “Magic item” that will cure all our water problems for a small amount of hard earned money, but the reality is there is no simple answer!

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