Considering the engineering population floating around here, this seems like a good place to float this hot button topic (though I doubt it's cave worthy).

I moved to Phoenix and the calcium buildup on faucets is like something I've never seen before. Yesterday I saw a "ScaleBlaster" listed as Home Depot's deal of the day and I had never heard of such a thing. It's not a water softener but is instead an alternative which they call a "water conditioner".

It sounded appealing. I don't care if the water is actually hard or not, but the scaling on faucets was awful when we moved in and I don't know if I will be able to keep up with regularly cleaning happens fast. It also makes me nervous to think of what it is doing to my pipes, my dishwasher, my water heater, etc. After some intergoogles research I couldn't pull the trigger.

Here is what I was looking at (currently $500, was $300 yesterday):

Does the plumbing or engineering contingent have an opinion on these things?