Nuvo H20 DPHB Review - Home Salt Free Water Softener System

Intro

The attractive NuvoH2O DPHB Home Salt-free Water Softener System is a compact, low maintenance point-of-entry cartridge-based water conditioner that will prevent lime-scale from building up in your household water pipes, fixtures and appliances. It is designed for use on treated municipal water supplies, but can be used on well water if a sediment filter is also used. The system has been tested and verified by one of the world’s largest independent research and development organizations.

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The NuvoH2O DPHB Home Salt-free Water Softener System is technically a water conditioner, as its uses a process of chelation to prevent hardness minerals in water from forming compounds that adhere to surfaces in the water system resulting in a hard lime-scale layer that reduces efficiency and component longevity. It also effectively removes existing lime-scale over time, but it is not a filter, so for removal of sediment, chlorine and other contaminants, you will need to add a separate filter unit.

This system has been independently tested on water with a hardness level of approximately 15 grains per gallon and a pH level of 7.8 to 8.0, and is designed for a home of between 1,000 sq. ft. (93m²) and 2,000 sq. ft. (186m²) in size.

It is easy to install, and has a ‘valve-in-head’ design that allows the conditioner cartridge to be changed out with minimum of fuss and mess. The proprietary CitraCharge formulation in the cartridge contains an FDA-approved citric acid based solution that lowers the alkalinity level (pH) of the water, increasing its ability to hold hardness ions in suspension. Each cartridge is rated for 35,000 gallons (132,500 liters) of water and lasts typically for 6 months of normal household usage.

Who is NuvoH2O

Nuvo Residential LLC is based in Kaysville, Utah, and was founded in 2008 by LB Washburn after almost thirty years of commercial experience in water treatment and purification. First designed for the food services industries to protect steam cookers, the technology used in the NuvoH2O system been used by some of the largest businesses in the USA, such as MGM Resorts, Walgreens, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Important Features

Compact Body

The NuvoH20 DPHB Home Salt-free Water Softener conditioner system is much more compact than a standard ion-exchange water softener system and can be installed in relatively tight spaces and easily placed out of sight, even if your feed line is in the kitchen. Its attractive design means that it does not even really need to be concealed.

Easy To Install And No Electricity Or Programming Required

The NuvoH2O DPHB Home system does not require electrical power to operate. So there is no need to use or provide a plug point for the system. There are also no controls to program, no need to worry about power cuts affecting it, and no noisy regeneration cycles. You just need to install the system in the water input line, ensuring that it is installed vertically, and the only attention it needs is replacement of the cartridge when necessary.

Proven Chelation Formula

The NuvoH2O system uses an FDA-approved food grade formulation that chelates (binds) and sequesters (isolates) calcium and magnesium ions, preventing them from precipitating out of the water and forming scale. It also lowers the pH of the water, another contributor to scale formation, to reduce scale.

NuvoH2O’s proprietary formulation, CitraCharge, uses a “threshold effect” to interfere with calcium carbonate crystal growth at an early stage, so that it can accomplish the desired scale prevention at relatively low levels of consumption.

An Independent Consumer Benefits Study of the NuvoH2O system conducted in 2011-2012 in conjunction with the Battelle Memorial Institute, one of the largest non-profit research and development facilities in the world, concluded that the NuvoH2O chelation formula is effective in preventing as formation of scale and removing existing scale. It also found that the NuvoH2O system, through its scale prevention action, improves energy efficiency in water heaters.

The study protocol was developed and implemented by Battelle, using 15 Bosche RP17PT electric tankless water heaters and treated municipal water “with approximately 15 grains per gallon (259ppm) hardness (anything above 10.5 per gallon is considered to be very hard water) and a pH value of about 7.8 – 8.0.” A period of 2.2 years of water heater use was simulated over a period of about 4.5 months of testing.

During the tests, the NuvoH2O system was found to effectively prevent over 98% of scale formation compared with untreated water. In terms of energy saving, the NuvoH2O system’s scale prevention capability led to a 27% energy saving during water heating over the test period, when compared with untreated water.

A summary of the study and results is available on the NuvoH20 website: http://nuvoh2o.com/media/pdfs/nuvoH2O-Efficacy-and-Consumer-Benefits-Study-Summary.pdf

Valve-in-Head Technology

The NuvoH2O DPHB Home system has a shut-off and bypass vale built into the cartridge holder head. It also functions as a pressure release valve. The shut-off setting allows you to change the cartridge with a minimum of spillage and mess. You can prolong the life of the conditioner cartridge by using untreated water, for example for watering your garden, simply by turning the head to the ‘bypass’ position.

Water Capacity, Pressure and Temperature Range

The NuvoH2O Home Salt-free Water Softener system has an operating flow rate of 12 to 15 GPM (47.5 – 59.4l/min) and a recommended pressure of 80 psi (5.6 bar). If your water pressure exceeds the maximum operating pressure of 100 psi (6.9 bar) you should insert a pressure reducer in the water line before the filter housing.

The unit’s temperature range is from 40°F (4.4°C) through 115°F (46°C).

The system has been verified at a water hardness of 15 grains per gallon (259ppm) and is probably effective to slightly more. The cartridge is rated for treatment of up to 35,000 gallons (138.5kl) of water but its period of service depends on the hardness of the water being processed. It should, however, be replaced at least every 6 months.

Water and Salt Consumption

The NuvoH2O Home Salt-free System does not use ion-exchange technology and therefore neither regeneration of resin media nor the addition of salt are required. Thus there is no consumption of water or salt, and no wasted or polluted water is generated.

Power Rating Consumption

The system does not contain any electrical or electronic components and does not require an electrical connection. It therefore does not have any power rating.

Size, Dimensions and Shipping Weight

The NuvoH2O Home System has a height of 24” (60cm) and a diameter of 5” (12.5cm), and a width of 6” (15cm) across the inlet and outlet ports. Its shipping weight is 8.5 lbs (3.9kg).

The HHP-2516 conditioner cartridge is 20” (50.8cm) high and 2” (5cm) in diameter, and has a shipping weight of 3.1 lbs (1.4kg).

PROS

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Does not require salt or regeneration
  • Does not waste water
  • Does not require electrical power or drain point
  • Saves on energy consumption
  • Lifetime warranty and 90-day return policy

CONS

  • Does not filter sediment, chlorine or organic contaminants
  • Cartridge replacement required
  • Works on limited water hardness
  • Considered relatively expensive

Price Range

The NuvoH2O Home Salt-free System with initial cartridge can be purchased in the range of US$650 to US$750 including shipping in the USA.


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nuvoH2O System Installation

Warranty

Nuvo Residential LLC offers a limited lifetime warranty on non-consumable parts, fully transferable with sale of the premises. Installation of the system outdoors without shelter and protection or in direct sunlight, or using non-Nuvo parts and cartridges, are some of the instances that will void the warranty.

Nuvo also offers a 90-day from proof of purchase Money Back Guarantee, less shipping and handling costs.

Reviews

The customer reviews found on Amazon are split roughly half-half between positive and negative reviews. One review has a thread of 350 posts, arguing back and forth about the effectiveness of the system!

Having read the results of the independent tests undertaken by the respected Battelle Institute, there is no doubt that chelation is a viable water conditioning technology, even at domestic scale. However, a very useful comment from a water softener installer in Northern Arizona suggested that the Nuvo system works well up to 20 to 30gpm of water hardness, but that above that level, an ion exchange system may be required.

Another cause of concern is that there seemed to be some confusion about the fact that the NuvoH2O Home system is a water conditioner only and not a water filter, and therefore it will not be effective if there are high sediment levels in the water. This is perhaps why several customers found that the system performed poorly for them.

In addition, since a water conditioner only treats the water hardness minerals to prevent scale, and does not remove them from the water, there will be evidence of ‘soft scale’ where water evaporates. This can easily be removed without harsh chemicals and hard scrubbing.

No More Salt With NuvoH2O!

Conclusion

Despite a number of negative reviews, the NuvoH2O system has been proven to effectively prevent over 98% of scale formation compared with untreated water, and to achieve a 27% energy saving during water heating when compared with untreated water. It is rated for a home of between 1,000 sq. ft. (93m²) and 2,000 sq. ft. (186m²) in size and shown to be effective on water with hardness levels of approximately 15 grains per gallon (259ppm).

The NuvoH2O DPHB Home Salt-free Water Softener System is a water conditioner rather than a water softener in the technical sense, and it does not filter sediment or organic contaminants from the water. The cartridge is rated for 35,000 gallons (132,500 liters) of water and lasts typically for 6 months of normal household usage.

Overall it can be said that, used within its limitations, the NuvoH2O Home Salt-free System will noticeably reduce the formation of scale and improve the quality of water in small to medium size homes with water hardness that is not at excessive levels, and if used in conjunction with an appropriate water filter.

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