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Magnetic water and gas treatment are controversial topics. Some people and industries swear the effects are very noticable and immediate, while others claim they could not possibly work. Below our instructions for building your own cheap treatment unit, you'll find links to all sorts of varied opinions on the topic, both positive and negative.

We do not make any claims about the effects of magnetic water or fuel treatment. But if you'd like to experiment with it, we can show you how to build a unit that's 3 to 4 times more powerful than commercial products costing $200 or more, at a cost of only $16 to $32! That way anyone can afford to find out for themselves whether magnetic treatment really works on their water or vehicle gas line.

In a blind taste test that we conducted among employees and friends, almost everyone could perceive a taste difference in magnetically-treated water...it tasted better than untreated tap water, especially when we used water from town, full of chlorine and whatever else. We also tried an experiment recommended by the makers of a commercial treatment unit...dripping both treated and untreated water on a mirror, and letting the water evaporate. The mineral residue from the treated water is supposed to wipe off the mirror more easily. Our results from this experiment were inconclusive.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 06/25/03 -- The magnets we used for this experiment were surplus. They have all sold out and we cannot get any more. However, we stock many other magnets of similar size. Click here for some replacement suggestions currently listed on our shopping cart.

Magnetic Field Measurements (Gauss) In 1/2 Inch Copper Water Pipe

Gauss reading of commercial treatment unit on 1/2 inch copper pipe Gauss reading of Do-it-yourself treatment unit on 1/2 inch copper pipe

NOTE: In all of our photos of Gauss readings inside pipe, you'll notice both positive and negative numbers on the magnetometer. This is simply an indication of north/south polarity...it depends on which way the sensor probe is turned inside the pipe. The magnetic field strength remains the same.

Magnetic Water Treatment

The basic premise of magnetic water treatment is that when water passes through a strong magnetic field, the minerals in it are affected. The stronger the magnetic field and the longer the water stays in it, the better the effect. Minerals in the water are said to tend to stay in solution better, instead of forming scale on the inside walls of the pipe. This would reduce maintenance costs in boiler and other hot water heating systems. Indeed, magnetic treatment systems were first used widely in industrial applications, and are reported to work best when the water recirculates through the magnetic field over and over. Claims that magnetic treatment makes water act as if it had been softened with a standard ion-replacement water softener are more dubious...tests have shown that actual mineral ion levels are not changed by magnetic treatment, though people who make this claim say that the 'effective' or 'subjective' hardness has changed due the minerals staying in solution better. Some people also claim that magnetically-treated water is healthier for humans, animals, and plants. The only claim that we can confirm is that magnetically-treated water DID taste different (and better!) when we sampled it in blind taste tests. The difference was far easier to discern when using chlorinated water from town instead of our mountain spring water.

Magnetic Fuel Treatment

Even fewer studies exist for magnetic fuel treatment than for water treatment. Claims include increased horsepower, better mileage, fewer hydrocarbon emmisions, and longer engine life. Magnetic treatment is claimed to keep varnish from forming on the walls inside a hot engine. These claims seem dubious to us, but at least you can experiment with it for cheap on your own!


Internal Layout of 2 Commercial Water and Gas Treatment Units

Magnet Polarity of Small Commercial Unit Magnet Polarity of Large Commercial Unit

POLARITY--As you can see, in the small commercial unit one side of the clamp-on unit has Strontium-Ferrite magnets with the North pole facing the pipe, the other side with South facing the pipe. The mounting plate is made of steel, which serves to increase the magnetic field present inside the pipe. In the large commercial unit, the North- and South-facing Strontium-Ferrite magnets are at right angles to each other. The backing behind the magnets is steel, but the clamp plate for the otherside of the pipe is non-ferrous, probably aluminum. It is odd to note that the large unit has an arrow indicating the proper flow direction, while the small one has no arrow, and it's instructions state that the direction of flow does not matter.

The two types of magnet we used...Both were our Item #7, but they are no longer available. Some suggestions for replacement mangets that we stock are listed HERE . The larger the magnet, the stronger the magnetic field and the better it should work for this experiment.....but the more expensive the magnets, too.

2 Neodymium magnets for homemade treatment unit

MAGNETS--The reason our homemade unit provides such a strong magnetic field in the center of the pipe is because we used Neodymium-Iron-Boron magnets, the strongest known to man. The expensive commercial units used Strontium-Ferrite, which is not as strong magnetically. Our best results were with stacking 2 of these magnets on each side, though even with only 1 magnet per side, the magnetic field inside the copper pipe was almost twice as strong as the commercial units. If you stack 2 or more magnets on each side of the pipe as we did in our best version of this experiment, be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when bringing them together into a stack! Wear gloves and safety glasses, as the magnets will attract each other with a ferocious force! (See safety note below). NOTE: No matter how you design your homebuilt treatment unit, be sure the magnets DO NOT come in contact with the water to prevent contamination! The magnets must be OUTSIDE the pipe, which is why the units will not work through ferrous (iron or steel) pipes! Plastic, copper and aluminum allow the magnetic field to pass through them.

NOTE! These Neodymium-Iron-Boron Magnets are extremely powerful, and can be dangerous. They are brittle, and if allowed to snap together from a distance, they will break and send sharp shrapnel flying into your eyes. They are powerful enough to cause painful damage to your fingers if you allow them to pinch you, and could cause malfunctions in cardiac pacemakers if brought too close. Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling these magnets! Do not get them anywhere near cassette tapes, televisions or computer monitors, floppy disks, videotapes, etc. These magnets are NOT a toys, and should be kept out of reach of children!

SPACERS--We used 2 short pieces of rubber fuel line hose...this turned out to give just the right spacing for 1/2 inch copper water pipe. If you are using a different diameter of pipe, you may need a different size spacer. The magnets should fit tightly around the pipe; gaps will lessen the magnetic field inside the pipe. Your spacers can be made of any non-magnetic material (wood, rubber, etc.).

STEEL BACKING--Most commercial units use a steel backing plate behind the magnets to intensify the magnetic field in the pipe. This ferrous backplate also significantly reduces the magnetic field BEHIND the magnets, eliminating any dangers to passerby with pacemakers or carrying floppy disks. In our tests, a 1/4 inch ferrous backplate increased the magnetic field inside the copper pipe by 1000 Gauss! We simply wrapped the magnets with baling wire to a depth of 1/4 inch. Plumber's strap is another good bet for a steel backing material. Note that this has to be done AFTER the magnets are mounted to your water pipe. Whatever you use, it should be about 1/4 inch and made of ferrous metal (which is attracted to the magnets). However, note from the picture below that the magnetic field inside the pipe from a homemade unit WITHOUT A STEEL BACKING is still almost 3 times more powerful than our largest commercial unit! If you choose not to mess with a steel backing, you'll still have a very powerful homemade unit.

Homemade treatment unit with NO metal backing

PLACEMENT--The commercial units advise placing the treatment unit at least a foot from your water heater or other device you are trying to protect from scale. For fuel treatment, the commercial units advise using the same minimum distance, and also warn against getting the unit too close to your vehicle's engine sensors, which could malfunction from the intense magnetic field. After placing the magnets securely on the pipe with your spacers between them, wrap the assembly with baling wire or plumber's strap (if you choose to do so).

USING FEWER MAGNETS--Our tests also show that homemade units using only 2 of our magnets are still almost twice as powerful as commercial units! The pictures below show the Gauss readings inside a 3/8 inch copper pipe from a 2-magnet homemade unit compared to a smaller-sized commercial unit (which still cost over $150!).

small commercial treatment unit on 3/8 copper pipe homemade treatment unit using only 2 magnets on 3/8 copper pipe


Building your own cheap treatment unit and trying it is probably the best way to decide for yourself whether magnetic water treatment really works. We also hope these links are useful for your research!

Pro- Magnetic Water Treatment Links

MAG-SOL's FAQ page about their magnetic treatment units, including photos of coffeemakers and toilets with and without magnetically treated water

GMX's FAQ page about their magnetic treatment units, including many magnetic water treatment links, and valuable information about sizing the units properly for your application. You may recognize some of the units advertised...

A 'Federal Technology Alert,' prepared for the US Government, that describes all aspects of magnetic water treatment. According to a reader who contacted the original author, this report was prepared by the Batelle Institute, and has been withdrawn by the Commerce Dept. There was originally some question as to whether it was genuine, this new information seems to clear that up! Worth reading in any case.

A Danish magnetic water treatment page, with testimonials from the managers of industrial and municipal treatment units

Another Danish magnetic water treatment page, with photos of scale buildup on equipment with and without magentic treatment units installed

Neutral Magnetic Water Treatment Links

Cranfield University's page about magnetic water treatment. Probably the most unbiased compilation of information around, includes the results of many, many studies on the subject, with both pro and con results. Both pro- and anti- magnetic treatment advocates selectively quote parts of this article to prove their points

The Plumbing Store's magnetic water treatment page...they are skeptical about the devices, but admit they MIGHT work, and offer the only inexpensive commercial unit we've ever seen

Anti- Magnetic Water Treatment Links

CSICOP's (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) article from The Skeptical Inquirer. THE BEST scientific discussion of magnetic water treatment issues that's out there, and includes many other treatment links

Magnetic Water Treatment and Other Scams; a Chemistry teacher claims magnetic water treatment couldn't possibly work. Also includes LOTS of great links to magnetic water treatment information.

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