LifeSource Water Systems — A Nice Brochure

By far, the most common water quality consumer complaint in southern California is hard water. A savvy business ought to be able to capitalize on such a fact. Hanging on my front gate a few days ago was a nice, color brochure from LifeSource. It included their toll-free phone number (800-334-5009) and their web site (www.lifesourcewater.com). What it failed to include was any real evidence that their product is effective.
Oh, they’ve got testimonials from noted environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr., and a nice photo of model Katharine McPhee. But I’m a water quality engineer and a chemist, so I want to know what this system will actually do – not what Ed Begley thinks.
The LifeSource product uses the “Beotron” system. From what I can tell from other sources – because you can’t find this on the LifeSource site – the Beotron system consists of a sealed plastic tube filled with sand. A copper wire runs through the sand, and is hooked up to normal household 110-V electric power. The water never touches the inside of this device. Based on this, I can only conclude that this device consumes electricity and takes up space, and apparently does absolutely nothing to the hardness of the water – or to any other water quality characteristic.
Very simply, if the device actually takes something out of the water, or adds something to the water, it has to come into physical contact with the water.
What does actually touch the water is a carbon filter. Activated carbon is effective at removing many things from water – most notably, chlorine. People generally do not like the taste of chlorine, so this is a big plus for the uninformed consumer. Chlorine’s purpose is to limit microbiological activity in the water. Once it’s gone, it is “party time” for microorganisms. Within the carbon filter, their population could double every 20 minutes. So the water coming out of this system is likely to have hundreds or thousands – or even more – times the amount of bacteria that enter the unit!
This is best remedied by frequent replacement of the carbon. But LifeSource claims that their system is virtually maintenance free, and that “One LifeSource System can be continuously recharged and reused and last a family a lifetime.” That’s probably true for a family of bacteria.
So, let’s recap: No hardness removal. Chlorine removal (until the capacity of the carbon is exhausted – maybe six months). Uncontrolled microbiological growth. All for only a couple thousand bucks.
I wish I owned stock in this company! They’ve got great marketing program and a host of people that want better water. But no way would I buy one of these units. I recommend that you do what I do: drink tap water! If the chlorine bothers you, put a gallon or so in a glass pitcher, and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. It will taste great, and it won’t cost you a dime. It will still be hard – just like the LifeSource water.

3 Responses to LifeSource Water Systems — A Nice Brochure

  1. avatar Steve McLean says:

    Wow — ZERO comments on this blog. I expected at the very least to be contacted by an attorney from LifeSource!

  2. avatar Barry Browne, MD says:

    The system works because of the activated carbon. Don’t worry about bacteria though because the water entering the system is sterile from the chlorine and there is no food source within the system to feed the bacteria–even if it becomes contaminated. It’s just a large version of the small filters often used under sinks and in refrigerators. Noting evil–just way overpriced!

    • avatar Steve McLean says:

      The water delivered through public water systems is NOT sterile! It is disinfected. Levels of HPC of 500 cfu/mL are acceptable. So there are countless bacteria that enter the GAC filters, where they can feast on any NOM (yes, there is a food source) that has been removed from the water. Expect an explosion of microbial growth on any GAC filter within a few months because of this.

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