Customer Review

693 of 874 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Limit Your Expectations of any Non-salt Water Softener, December 31, 2009
One of Amazon's review guidelines is to "write about anything that the prospective buyer would like to know before making their buying decision." I'm writing this review to share the results of my extensive investigation regarding salt-free water softeners, how I ended up looking at the NuvoH2O WH2100, and why I decided not to buy it.

I was looking for a non-salt means to eliminate water spotting on dishes, shower doors, my car, etc. I decided to apply a good deal of buyer beware diligence in selecting a product, because my on-line research revealed that:

1. There are substantiated reports that favorable product reviews on the Internet are being submitted by friends, family members and employees of the company selling the product.

2. Some money back warranties (company lingo: "wait until your old pipes clear, to see if the system is working for you") don't kick in until after the drop dead date when your credit card company will tell you "you're out of luck at ever seeing your money again."

3. You can never initially trust who is at the other end of the Internet wire, and if something does go awry - you don't have much recourse. Example: there are many blogs with no-salt water conditioning complaints by purchasers that were given canned excuses of why the company's money back warranty didn't apply to them.

I first looked at and ruled out those electron/magnetron water zapping devices that clamp or wrap around your water pipe. Every manufacturer I looked at appeared to have a gaping hole in their theory of operation, installation requirements, or money back warranty.

I then looked at several of those large tank "media" systems and noted that a growing number of those manufacturers have stopped calling their systems salt-free water softeners and are now calling them water conditioners; presumably because of threat of litigation. As rationalized by water treatment experts, the media technology appears to be nothing more than an overly large and expensive water filter (a bigger version of the Brita that attaches to the end of your faucet). The water supply throughout your house has the potential for "tastes great", but hard water deposits and spotting are still a concern.

So, this had me believe that my best choice was the "chelation" process of the NuvoH2O WH2100.

I found several Internet references that the chelation process touted by Nuvo may be the addition of citric acid to the water supply. Some detergents are chelated with citric acid to make them work better in the presence of calcium. So, this may be why Nuvo claims "you'll use less soap" and why the non-filtering cartridge needs to be replaced every 6 months - it's being flushed clean of the acid. However, my quest was mitigating water spots - not less soap usage.

I called Nuvo and cross-questioned them about water spots. Their response: "Well no; our device won't eliminate water spots, but it will make it easier to wipe them off." While I do applaud them for being candid, here's how I think they were expecting this claim to be tested. Allow a drinking glass to air dry for an hour. Wipe off the spots. Easy, right?! Well yes, but this would also be easy prior to installing the so-called Water Softener System. The problem with water spots is when they're allowed to dry and accumulate over days and weeks.

Because of all of my findings above and my decision to apply purchasing diligence, I proposed the following scenario to NuvoH2O:

1. Sell me the WH2100 at their cost (thus no financial investment on their part).

2. Allow me to test if the WH2100 Salt-Free Water Softener System met my minimal expectations (which was to perform something akin to a traditional water softener system).

3. If it did, I'd then send them the full retail funds for the WH2100 (the investigative seed money from #1 above would be extra profit for them). I included rationale as to why they could trust me.

4. I'd also give them a very cogent and credible review on Amazon (without mentioning my unique purchasing exception). I have a long trail of "real life experience" reviews on Amazon which would strongly suggest that my review wasn't a fake (note: except for a guy that also reviewed a book, all the other reviewers for NuvoH2O are one-time reviewers, as of 12/20/09).

5. But if the WH2100 didn't meet my minimal expectations, then I'd return the device to them and pay the shipping. They could keep the "seed" money that I had already paid.

Because of the "creativeness" of my proposal, I was ready to accept responses such as "sorry, but our accounting system won't allow us to do that" or "thanks, but we think our reviews on Amazon are already convincing enough." However, the response I got surprised me!

Nuvo's company owner rejected my proposal on the grounds that "he needed to make a profit." This particular response left me questioning the WH2100's place as a true water softener, as the only scenario path where he wouldn't be making a handsome profit was if my issue with hard, accumulated water spots wasn't addressed. I would return the product, but unlike all their other customers, Nuvo wouldn't be in control of my $600.

1. All my research indicates that if you're looking for the "less soap" aspects of a traditional water softener, then the NuvoH2O products are a good choice.

2. If your primary desire is to have a solution for hard water deposits and/or spotting, devise and conduct a "meets my expectations" test soon after you receive the unit, and take all steps necessary to ensure that you can collect on the money back warranty.

Note: This review has been based on verifiable facts, except where I've used equivocal terms such as "may"; which are speculations on my part. If proven wrong, I'll update this review.
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Tracked by 33 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 187 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 2, 2010 9:35:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2010 9:53:45 AM PST
Deanna says:
so you really didn't buy this...just wanted something for free and didn't get it? Why don't you review something you have used.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2010 10:16:48 AM PST
Did you fully read and comprehend my review?
1. "So I didn't buy this?" I said in the opening sentences that I didn't buy the unit.
2. "Something for free?" Whether I had kept it or returned it - they would've made more money than a typical sale.
3. "Something I have used?" The guidelines for reviews on Amazon state "write about what you think others should consider before making their decision to buy." I wrote that my investigation shows that non-salt water softeners aren't going to address water spotting the way that salt-based units are, so people should consider that before making a purchase. BTW: These are words right out of a NuvoH2O employee's mouth.

Because you didn't see any value in what I wrote and actually took offense to it - I'm wondering - are you affiliated with NuvoH2O (or any other non-salt water softening company)?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2010 1:40:55 PM PST
Deanna says:
My husband used the commercial product for years in the kitchen of his nursing home in AZ. When it first came out for residential we put it in our home and have been pleased with the results, so I guess I am affiliated in that I have actually used it. My problem with your post was more on the "other reflections"...surmises and conjectures on what the commercial end "might" be or imagined production costs should not be placed on a site where people want actual information.

Last time I checked I couldn't go to the mall, offer to pay what I thought the production cost of a shirt was and write a bad review online when they refused to sell it to me. They do offer a "Money Back Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty" and I haven't seen anyone who has made an actual complaint on the site. I looked at your other reviews (many were negative), did you not get their products at "cost" either?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2010 2:38:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2010 5:50:01 AM PST
I revised my review and removed several speculations, such as my "imagination" about production costs. However, with my background in pricing models and production engineering, my stated estimate of a production cost of $55 was probably high by a few $$. Similar filter/cartridge housings sell on Amazon for as little as $25 (Nuvo never challenged my estimate either). Other alternative water softeners sell on Amazon for the typical value-priced margin of 4 times production cost. By stating that the WH2100 is selling at approximately 12 times, this might trigger some Amazon customers to research pricing strategy on the Internet to gain a perspective on where NuvoH2O believes their product fits into the marketplace and what their short and long term business goals are.

At the mall, I get to see and inspect the shirt before buying, and I'm pretty sure of what I'm getting. How well an alternative water softener meets expectations is another matter. A better analogy would be for larger expenses like when buying a car; where the salesmen frequently say "Take the car home, take the entire family for a ride, bring it back in the morning, and if you like it, let's write up the paperwork."

Question: What does the residential product do in regards to water spots? Are they reduced at all? Is what's left easy to remove after sitting for a while (I don't want to have to wipe off water spots after every shower). Does scaling on water heaters, coffee pots, etc really dislodge and no longer collect? Have you tested this and how? If you reply with affirmations, I'll delete my review, as my advice about limiting expectations regarding water spots has been disspelled.

I'm hoping that yours is a voice I can trust? I have bought a LOT of products from Amazon, and never once have I gone back after being happy with a purchase and read all of a product's reviews again. You claim you've bought a WH2100 and are happy with it, and yet you went back and read its reviews right about the same time that a NuvoH2O employee would have been checking that Amazon had entered the January 2 price hike.

Posted on Jan 4, 2010 9:15:49 PM PST

Thanks. I read all of your reviews. It is not very often that I read someone's post that specifies the meticulous details that I value in a product. In this case, you have hit the nail on the head. I also like your conspiracy theory ideas, and I doubt that they are incorrect.

My wife and kids have eczema, and I read a white paper that soft water may reduce the instances of eczema. I'm willing to pay anything for the best product.





In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010 1:00:19 PM PST
If you want to see if hard water does contribute to their condition, here's what you can do before committing to an alternative water conditioner system that may or may not soften your water and may or may not ease the eczema. I'll use the example of taking a shower, but you'll see how it could also apply to a bath, or washing at the sink.

Buy and use the most gentle soap (i.e. minimal soap scum) available during the shower. After the shower, take a container of distilled water (Walmart sells their gallon jugs for cheap) and a fresh wash cloth and rinse/gently scrub any afflicted areas. Then take the container of distilled water and rinse off the areas that have just been scrubbed. If after a few weeks of doing this, no improvement is seen, then your wife and daughter are not being affected significantly by hard water.

Cheers - Gary

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 9:11:14 AM PST
F. Ferguson says:
Gary - what softening system did you eventually buy ?? Are you happy with your choice ?? If you haven't bought yet, what are you leaning towards ??


In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 6:53:45 PM PST
None, yet. I'm waiting until I have some time (soon) and am going to buy several with money back guarantees and do some testing. If you reply with your email, I can let you know what the results are.
- Gary

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2010 2:52:20 PM PDT
Please keep me posted with the results of your research, thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2010 8:44:15 PM PDT
Hi Robert,
I put your email address into my tasking calendar, in case you wish to delete your comment to keep your email address from remaining public.
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