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Template-Assisted Crystallization:
Scale Prevention Without Salt


Calcium and bicarbonate ions combine to form scale on the surface of the nucleation site but are quickly released to float harmlessly through plumbing.

By Martin Solomon

Hard water, common in many locations, can lead to scale buildup and reduce the energy efficiency of plumbing and HVAC equipment. Template-assisted crystallization (TAC) is a relatively new technology that offers scale prevention without requiring electricity, chemically altering the water, or wasting water during backwash cycles. It’s also not technically a water softener; rather, it’s a physical water treatment. Although the water treatment market is filled with unproven and questionable technologies, TAC systems, including those manufactured by Next Filtration, are positioned to prove themselves to be an environmentally responsible alternative.

Water hardness refers to the concentration of calcium and magnesium cations. These positively charged ions dissolve in water as it percolates through alkaline soils or bedrock. Hardness is commonly measured either by the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in the water or by the grains per gallon (gpg) of calcium carbonate dissolved in water. Hard water is closely linked with scale, in which calcium or magnesium carbonate crystallizes on the interior surface of pipes. Scale reduces the efficiency of heat-transfer equipment such as water heaters and is expensive and time-consuming to remove.

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