We often take our water for granted and assume that the water being piped into our homes is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is highly recommended that you treat it.
The two tasks you should complete are installing a filtration system and adding a water softening solution. Water filtration is vital to ensure that what you are drinking is always free from bacteria and impurities and, therefore, safe to drink. The biggest advantage of water softening is that it can extend the life of all your white goods. Dishwashers and washing machines often suffer mechanical failure due to a build up of calcium. Many people also find that softer water is more pleasant to bathe in as it produces more bubbles and feels better on the skin. Men also find shaving in soft water is much more pleasant on the skin.
Why soften water?
Rainwater is naturally soft, but as it travels underground it dissolves limescale rock and becomes hard. As the hard water passes through pipes in your house it leaves a trail of limescale behind. If you get a build up of limescale in your kettle, you can be sure that it is also in your washing machine, dishwasher, pipes, taps and other water fittings. Limescale deposits from hard water can also block shower heads and leave marks on draining boards and shower screens.
The only way to soften water is to remove the calcium and magnesium, along with some other metal cations, which is done by applying lime softening and ion-exchange resins.
Traditional lime softening is also known as Clark’s process. In America it is mostly used in the Midwest, Florida and Texas, but it also used in the Northeastern United States. Water is softened by adding limewater which reacts with carbon dioxide to produce calcium carbonate precipitate. This then reacts with multivalent cations to remove the carbonate hardness. Carbon dioxide is then added back to the water to reduce the pH to safe levels.
Modern softening treatments use membrane softening processes such as nanofiltration or reverse osmosis. These remove the ions, along with other dissolved materials, through a semi-permeable membrane.
In households, mechanical softeners are used to replace excess calcium and magnesium with sodium.
One of the best ways to manage it is to maintain a single, dedicated drinking water tap in the home. Usually the kitchen sink will be equipped with a third tap to dispense untreated water which comes direct from source.
Another type of water softener is a magnetic water conditioner. This alters calcium ions so that they are no longer able to form limescale. These are not effective, however, in all hard water areas. Once a water softener is installed it is vital that the water is tested before it is drunk.
Softening water not only increases the lifespan of white goods and pipes, it also makes heating systems more efficient. Limescale in heating pipes acts as a layer of insulation and this can dramatically increase fuel bills. A layer of limescale ¼” thick can increase bills by up to 50% as the boiler has to work harder to heat your home.
The purpose of water filtration is to remove impurities from drinking water. This is done either by adding a very fine physical barrier, or using a chemical or biological process. For home drinking water, filtration is the minimum standard required to ensure that your water is always safe for human consumption. If pollutants get into the drinking water supplies it can often be several days before a problem is realized.
Basic filtration can be achieved with an under sink filtration system to filter drinking water. You can either use this to filter the whole house water supply, or for a single dedicated drinking tap. Using a dedicated drinking tap will extend the life of the filter system.
The installation of a three stage reverse osmosis filtration system is standard for a home, and nothing more is required in order to produce safe drinking water.
For the best quality filtration you should install a whole house water filter that will provide your entire home with pure water. Modern, advanced filters provide adjustable filtering to control acidity, reduce contaminants, dirt, and salt and clay sediments. Some filters provide more specialist treatment, such as the removal of the chlorine taste and other odors in water.
For a healthy family home, it is essential to set up some form of water filtration and softening system. Clean drinking water that is always safe, combined with soft water that will not harm your plumbing and machines, will provide you with comfort and security.