The higher the pressure is in a system the more water that will be ‘pushed’ through the system. We are seeing higher and higher city pressure readings as municipalities grow and must deliver more and more water through their existing infrastructure. The only way to deliver more water is to replace the water system with larger pipes, which in most cases is not a feasible option, or to ‘crank up’ the pressure.

This is a problem because water fixtures are designed for pressure no higher than 65 PSI, and even more so in older facilities where there is no pressure regulator, or water fixtures were not designed for water conservation.

There is no debate that air is present in our water lines. Water systems are pressurized, but they are not vacuums. They are designed with this fact in mind to prevent potentially serious problems such as air blocks and air hammering. In fact, if there were no air to compensate for normal pressure drop during demand, we would see cavitation and damage to our pipes and fixtures. The only real question is how much air is there? The VOLUME is not constant and is determined largely by system pressure at any given point in the system. Because the volume of a gas is inversely related to pressure, the greater the pressure drop, the greater the increase in air volume.

Further reading: Air-in-Pipelines-HRW-Report

As well as being released from entrainment in water, air can be physically introduced to water distribution systems. Water providers work to prevent outside air infusion; however, air is inevitably drawn into the line through:
Tiny cracks, poor or damaged joint seals and leaking flange connections. Temperature, flow rate and pressure changes can generate a significant amount of air volume. Pumps that are positioned throughout the distribution system create pockets of air in the pipeline because of the vortex action of pumps. Surprisingly common main line breakages which can introduce huge amounts of air into the water system.

“Air behaves very unpredictably in a pipeline…in the normal operation of water pipeline system, maintenance activities and fluctuating period of consumption in demand will cause air to be released from solution and accumulate in the localized piping” – A New Understanding Of Air Transfer – Clean Water Legacy, January, 2003

There are many types of water meters, but they all use their various methods to measure VOLUME of water consumption. This volume measurement is measuring total volume, which includes any volume of air present. Typically, the volume of air can make up between 10% and 30% of total volume measured, however, we have seen cases of it being even higher.

In a number of ways:
It maintains close to ‘city pressure’ UPSTREAM through the water meter to the city main by preventing the pressure drops that come from the property during normal water usage from reaching the water meter.

By not allowing the pressure to drop as much at the meter, it doesn’t allow the air to expand in volume and be measured by the water meter. Furthermore, it keeps your water meter operating within its designed flow range, and it reduces over-supply caused by higher-than-desired city pressure.

The amount of money you will save is determined by several factors including:

  • City pressure (PSI) and amount of pressure fluctuation
  • Flow rate and flow capacity (GPM)
  • The amount of air in the line at any given time
  • The amount of non-volumetric water consumption
  • The actual savings you will experience is impossible to accurately predict and will vary with the conditions above. On average, our customers see +/- 20% savings, but we have seen users have savings as high as 35% and as low as 10%. What’s important is that once you install the Smart Valve™ it begins working 24/7/365. You will realize the full amount of savings available within your water supply without having to ever think about it again, and it will keep saving you money for as long as it is installed your water line.

The Smart Valve™ does NOT remove the air. It prevents it from DECOMPRESSING and expanding in volume due to pressure drop caused by normal demand. Once the air passes through the water meter and the Smart Valve, the pressure drops as it did before, and continues on to the property as before.

Anything in a water line will create some pressure drop. Even your water meter or a bend in a pipe causes a pressure drop. Fortunately, water systems are designed to have excess pressure.

The Smart Valve ‘borrows’ some of the excess downstream pressure found in every system to create the desired effect upstream. For the Smart Valve™ to work the system must be able to tolerate at least a small drop in PSI, however, with the EXTERNALLY ADJUSTABLE versions of the Smart Valve™ we can control the amount of PSI drop between zero (no effect) and a significant pressure drop, all depending on what can be tolerated. The goal is to find the strongest setting on the Smart Valve (to get the best possible results) that will not cause too much pressure loss. This is why external adjustability is critical to success.

As a rule of thumb, if you currently have no problems or complaints due to low water pressure, then your property is a good candidate for the Smart Valve™.

The Smart Valve™ is legal to install on the user side of the water meter (after the backflow preventer if one is present). Installation must be done in conjunction with all applicable laws, codes and standard plumbing practice in your area, however, no special permits or permission should be necessary.

The Smart Valve™ is constructed of extremely strong and durable Acetron GP and stainless steel, is in compliance with NSF / ANSI 61 (potable water) and NSF / ANSI 372 (lead free) and is safe for use with all potable and non-potable water applications.

The Smart Valve™’s only movement function is the compression of a spring and the associated opening and closing of a gasket-less plunger and housing. The valve is made of Acetron GP and stainless steel. Acetron GP is self-lubricating and has strength characteristics close to those of steel while still being flexible and impact absorbent.

The Smart Valve™ comes with a 10-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, however the valve should continue to work reliably for much longer.

No, it would be much more expensive, need maintenance and be likely to fail prematurely. Metals can corrode, they will accumulate particulates such as dirt or scale and will fail over time. The Smart Valve™ is made primarily from Acetron GP produced by Quadrants, and it is the absolute ideal material for this type of application.

In short:

1st generation valve is ANY valve that cannot be adjusted/calibrated while it is in the line and water is running. This is an obsolete design.

2nd generation valve is the first externally adjustable valve design that can be calibrated while water is running.

3rd generation valve is a more advanced version of the 2nd generation that is better for larger pipe diameters.


Why is the 1st generation design obsolete?

It’s not that the 1st gen design can’t work. After all, Flow Dynamics invented that design, and we learned how to be just successful enough with it to stay in business long enough to realize it is not a good enough design for real success, and to then go and develop the externally adjustable designs which were the big breakthrough in the technolofy.


There are a few reasons, which in combination, make the 1st gen design very difficult to have success with:


  1. Every system is unique due to all the variables in a water system.
  2. Every system has a ‘perfect setting’ for the valve to get the best possible results without having any problems. Think of this as being on a balance beam…falling off on one side equals less savings than were possible, while falling off on the other side equals too much pressure loss.
  3. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to know what the ‘perfect setting’ is before installation.
  4. The 1st gen design requires that you guess at the valve setting before installation, because you have to choose a spring strength before installation.


This means that the chances that the spring you choose will be the perfect one is slim to none, because any spring is only one possible setting out of a wide range of possibilities. If the spring is too weak you will have poor results, or even no savings at all. If the spring is too strong you will cause too much pressure drop. Then the customer will be angry and tell you to take your valve and go away. So, you learn to start with a weak spring and pray that you will see some savings…enough to make the customer happy. But in all likelihood the spring will not be the perfect one, and you will have to remove the valve, try a different spring and reinstall it. And then keep doing that until you have ‘good enough’ savings with no problems. Of course, this usually requires multiple water shutdowns and plumber charges. Even then, you can never know you are getting the best possible results. You can only hope you are getting good enough results to be satisfied. Furthermore, if conditions ever change, the valve is no longer ‘calibrated’ to the system, and you must start the process all over again. Even worse, imagine this scenario: The valve/spring was set based on a city pressure of, let’s say 60 psi. One day there is a break in the city main down the street, and city pressure drops to 20 psi for a day or two. You will likely get no water because the spring is too strong, and now you have an emergency and have to rip out that valve to get water.


This is why we say the 1st gen valve is like playing darts with a blindfold. Now, let’s compare that to the externally adjustable Smart Valve:


The Smart Valve has an extremely wide range of possible settings, so that the ‘perfect setting’ for any system will be somewhere between the minimum and maximum setting. This eliminates the guessing game. AFTER installation, we can adjust the valve to find the perfect setting while the system is running, and we can fine tune it to know we are getting the best possible results without causing too much pressure drop, EVERY TIME. And if conditions ever change, we can instantly adjust to it. All this on one installation without ever having to shut off the water or need to pay a plumber again.


In conclusion, a 1st generation valve is like a horse and buggy, while 2nd and 3rd generation valves are like high performance race cars!

The valve must be properly calibrated to your system to achieve maximum savings without any negative effects. A non-adjustable valve must be calibrated BEFORE installation. Because your system is not in a laboratory and real-world conditions are variable, calibrating properly before installation is at best an educated guess. Furthermore, conditions can change and the initial calibration can become incorrect. With a non-adjustable valve, the only way to fix this is to call the plumber, turn off the water, remove the valve, make an adjustment, re-install it and hope it’s set right this time until conditions change again. With an externally adjustable valve the calibration is done AFTER installation. This allows us to achieve the perfect calibration to achieve maximum savings with no negative effects – EVERY TIME. And, if in the future conditions change, you can adjust the valve stronger or weaker…all the way to a ‘zero’ setting if needed, without the need for a plumber or interrupting your water supply ever again.

Most water meters are candidates. There are some rare instances where the water meter is not a candidate for the Smart Valve™. These include where the water usage is too low for a reasonable return on investment, or where there are currently low-pressure problems.

Your local distributor will help you assess whether your property is a good candidate for the Smart Valve™. Rest assured, if you shouldn’t install a Smart Valve™ we will be the first to let you know.

The Smart Valve™ should NEVER be installed on a water system supplying firefighting water.

The valve is designed to fit into standard pipe sizes and can be easily installed by any licensed plumber. Flow Dynamics does not install the Smart Valve™ directly but your sales representative can arrange the installation for you by a qualified local plumber at a competitive rate. You are also free to use your own favorite plumber. The cost will vary by the valve size, local plumber rates, and the configuration of your water system. As an example, a 2” Smart Valve™ typically takes 45-60 minutes to install.

Yes, it really does work and it’s amazing! We guarantee it will save you money!

Every Smart Valve™ comes with a 90-Day No Questions Asked Satisfaction Guarantee. This is an unrestricted guarantee, unlike some others who offer a more restrictive 5% or 10% savings guarantee, then argue with you later about how much you actually saved. We have heard stories of some vendors arguing when the savings aren’t there that the customer must have had a leak or just used more water. FLOW DYNAMICS will not argue with you about your happiness. YOU decide if it is working to your satisfaction. NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

Every Smart Valve™ comes with a 10-Year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty.

The manufacturers have taken every step to ensure that ION ScaleBuster® meets the most stringent codes of practice for materials and their use in potable water. The product is certified by WRAS in the UK, ACS in France, NSF in North America and the TUV GS for Europe and has been tested to a pressure of nearly 15,000 PSI.

The internal configuration of ION ScaleBuster® is designed to create turbulence. However, this causes minimum pressure drop and is unlikely to affect water flow.

Each ION ScaleBuster® model is designed to operate across a broad range of flow conditions, unlike many other products based on different technologies.

No. The design of the ION ScaleBuster® creates turbulence within its structure in order to improve the ISB® treatment effects. This means it can be installed in any convenient location.

By precipitating hardness, the treated water becomes less saturated and, therefore, is able to dissolve old deposits over a period of time.

The time taken will depend on several factors; the thickness of scale deposits and the distance of effected area from the installed ION ScaleBuster®. The actual volume of water passing through ION ScaleBuster® will determine the length of time taken to clean scale and corrosion deposits from the system. However, once installed, ISB® will commence its job immediately provided that a water flow is still possible.

The patented design of the ISB® allows for use of materials in its construction that will not lead to corrosion/blocking within the device. It is a known fact for instance, that stainless steel immersed in water suffers with crevice & pitting corrosion due to the chloride ions found in water. The ION ScaleBuster® does not use any stainless steel for the construction of its special cavitation/turbulence chambers.

Chemical methods are losing popularity since their use adds unwanted pollutants to the water table/ground water. For instance, the use of phosphates has now been banned in the production of washing powders in some major industrialised countries since their use promotes the growth of algae and other oxygen depleting organisms. Without oxygen, lake and rivers stagnate. Even water softeners add to the total sodium present in drinking water where recycling of water is the custom. Chemicals are expensive to dispose of and of course damage the environment. Chemicals can cause health and safety issues.

By removing scale deposits, there are fewer habitats for residual bacteria. Also, the flocculation of organic colloids makes filtration much more effective reducing the quantity of chlorine/chemicals needed for sterilization.

No, not in the strict sense of the word “soften”. However, because some of the dissolved hardness is precipitated from the water, soap and detergent economies are made possible. A “soft” feel to water is often noticeable. Salt-based softeners add large quantities of sodium to the water. This is generally undesirable for those with certain health problems. ION ScaleBuster® adds no sodium to your water.

ION ScaleBuster® does improve the taste of water by “masking” unpleasant flavours such as chlorine. It is believed by some experts in the field of physical conditioning that these flavours have become trapped in the precipitated solids.

Free chlorine is absorbed into the precipitated particles.

This depends on the quality and quantity of the water passing through the ION ScaleBuster®. Numerous ISB® devices are still operating efficiently without maintenance or repair in both commercial and industrial situations after 20 years of use. Naturally, in aggressive and non-potable waters where ISB® is used to prevent corrosion, a lower life expectancy could result. However the PTFE still remains active to prevent scaling. However, there is a 10 year warranty on material on all ION ScaleBuster® products for potable water applications.

Yes. Because ION ScaleBuster® will remove existing scale build up on heating services, such as hot water heaters, electric heating elements, industrial heat exchangers, hot water pipes and tanks, less energy is required to heat the water. A thickness of scale of only (0.025″) can add 25% to energy costs.

ION ScaleBuster® is much more versatile and has the benefit of the electrostatic effect caused by moving water. Magnetic devices require very controlled water flow conditions that may keep them from working properly in some situations.

ION ScaleBuster® is becoming a firm favourite for protecting hot water systems (temperatures up to 60oC or 140oF) against corrosion. In hot water circulation systems, slightly different circumstances dictate that for best performance, continuous filtration is used to remove precipitated solids. Recommendations for proper installation are readily available through our network of international distributors.

Ideally the ION ScaleBuster® should be located at least a few yards from the equipment to be protected by the device. This allows the growth of precipitated particles of scale to take place before the water reaches heat-producing and scale-forming areas.

Compared with other devices, ION ScaleBuster® has been developed with the size of precipitated particles being a prime consideration. Large particles have a much smaller surface area than their equivalent mass made up of relatively smaller particles. For this reason, they are much slower to re-dissolve in the water and subsequently the treated water has long-lasting effects. Water treated using ISB® is likely to continue to do its job of removing old scale deposits from pipe-work for much longer than competitive products, which produce much smaller particles. The manufacturers were the first to use laser particle analysis to determine precisely what physical effects their product generated.

The changes, which take place in the ION ScaleBuster®, relate mainly to the precipitation of carbonates arising from the breakdown of dissolved bicarbonates. When any change takes place in the chemical structure of a substance that results in at least a temporary change in its constituents, there is a corresponding change in electrical charge. If this charge is not allowed to neutralize (which in the case of the ISB® is by means of grounding the charge to a suitable earth connection), then the desired changes may be restricted or limited in duration.

The action of the ION ScaleBuster® causes the breakdown of the bicarbonates in solution precipitating less soluble carbonates.

In regular “straight through” systems, the particles are normally swept through and dispersed without being noticed. In systems that are circulating or contain settlement areas then some measures may be needed to make sure that these are removed either by filtration or flushing. In the main, the subject never arises. Domestic kettles, for instance, may need a weekly gentle brush and rinse to expel any soft residues. This has been accepted by customers to be a small price to pay for the removal and prevention of hard, caked scale deposits.

Alteration of the static balance within the ION ScaleBuster® neutralizes charged particles, which do not then repel one another. This is due to the patented construction of the anode & PTFE turbulence chambers within the Bronze body of the ION ScaleBuster®.


By removing dissolved salts from the water as precipitated carbonates, they are no longer present as ions in solution. This means that the volume of water, which a given size of softener will treat between re-generation can be extended. Savings on salt usage would mean that a large hotel, for example, can save significantly per year.