Hard water and soft water? What does this have to do with my life?

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Hard water and soft water? What does this have to do with my life?

         Water is an essential part of people’s lives. Living in Canada, you may never pay attention to water quality in your daily life, but do you often find hard-to-clean stains on bathroom tiles or household equipment? Do you often find dry and itchy skin after bathing and washing your face? Do you often find washed clothes feel hard and have fading problems? In fact, these are related to the hardness of water.

         The difference in water hardness is the mineral content in the water. This usually refers to the content of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. The higher the content, the harder the water quality. Canada where we are located belongs to North America, where up to 85% of the water is hard water. The content of calcium and magnesium ions in the water is also much higher than in other regions, which directly leads to the hard water quality of household water.

        For domestic water, the government’s industrial circulating filtration system only does the most preliminary coarse filtration, that is, the sediment and large suspended solids in the water, but for some small suspended solids and other impurities, rust, bacteria, viruses, and colloids in the water. Substances such as these can’t filter. In order to make the water quality up to the use standard and make the water look cleaner, the water plant will also add drugs and chlorine during the filtration process to achieve sterilization and bleaching effects, but in fact the excess chlorine contained in the water is harmful to our health. Impact. At the same time, it is inevitable that there will be impurities in the tap water pipes that are transported to various users. Long-term use will cause the aging problem of the water pipes, so it is likely to be infected again in the process of transporting water.

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Soft Water vs Hard Water

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Soft Water vs Hard Water

Battelle Institue Study On Benefits of Water Hardness Removal

Battelle Memorial Institute, a non-profit applied science and technology development company, was commissioned to perform a study on the effectiveness of water softeners on household water use.

The published report was released in March, 2010. The study attempted to compare hot water tank and tank-less heaters, automatic dishwashers, washing machines, shower heads, and fixtures when used with hard water versus soft water.

Water softener benefits – The report conclusions are as follows:

1. Instantaneous Gas Water Heaters

Reviewing the results in Table 5-2, for natural gas consumption, Battelle concludes that use of a water softener to reduce the scale forming compounds in water will result in natural gas savings. This natural gas savings will lead to direct economic savings. Because of the need to have the instantaneous water heater delimed or cleaned periodically, the economic savings can lead to recover of the cost of a water softener and operating supplies in a period as short as months, if the inlet water is sufficiently hard. Further, the lower use of natural gas leads to reductions in the carbon footprint, see Table 5-9, in proportion to the decrease in total energy consumption. Total consumption accounts for both natural gas to fire the water heater and electricity to operate the softener.

2. Gas Storage Water Heaters

Similar to the conclusions for the instantaneous gas water heater, reviewing the results in Table 5-4, for natural gas consumption, Battelle concludes that use of a water softener to reduce the scale forming compounds in water will result in natural gas savings. Because of the much lower energy intensity of a gas storage water heater, BTU input rate per unit time and volume of water, the natural gas savings for a storage water heater are much lower than those for the instantaneous water heater, being approximately one-half the savings that might be found when using an instantaneous water heater. This energy savings will lead to direct economic savings in proportion to the reduced natural gas consumption. Further, the lower use of energy leads to reductions in the carbon footprint, see Table 5-9, in proportion to the decrease in total energy consumption. Total energy consumption accounts for both natural gas to fire the water heater and electricity to operate the softener.

3. Electric Water Heaters

Because of plugging of piping on the water heater outlet Battelle was unable to conduct a sufficient number of days of testing to demonstrate any changes in electricity consumption or potential cost savings for the electric storage water heaters. As discussed in Section 5.4.2, no difference in the electricity consumption between two electric storage water heaters, one receiving softened and the other un-softened water, is expected. Given this lack of a difference in electricity consumption for water heating, the additional electricity required to operate a water softener would mean the softened water case would use more electricity than the unsoftened water case, thus the carbon footprint would be higher. However, because the electric water heater receiving softened water would be expected to have a longer life, there is expected to be cost savings supporting the use of softened water.

4. Fixtures and Appliances

Low flow shower heads and faucets using un-softened water clogged in less than seven days of accelerated life testing, whereas those units using softened water made it through the test without any problems. Under the testing conditions at Battelle with high hardness of the inlet water, a water softener will significantly increase the life of faucets and fixtures.

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Why Should I Treat My Water?

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Why Should I Treat My Water?

            Water is an essential part of your life and home. Treating water has many benefits to your health, home, and budget.

What’s In My Water?

            All tap water within your home, not otherwise filtered or treated, contains millions of impurities; many that you can see, taste and/or smell, but others that you cannot. Particulates such as rust and sediment, or very small air bubbles, might make your water appear cloudy. While this might be visually unappealing, these particulates are harmless. However, harmful impurities like bacteria or cysts (i.e.; giardia, cryptosporidium) might contaminate your water and cause flu-like illnesses if your water goes untreated.

            Thankfully, all the above impurities can be treated with the correct water filtration system to deliver better-tasting, clean, safe water to your family.

Benefits of filtered/treated water in your home:

    • Health: Filtering potentially harmful impurities (bacteria, lead, cysts, etc.) can help prevent the spread of water-borne illnesses
    • Cost-effective: Filtered water is more cost-effective than bottled water and reduces the environmental impact on our landfills
    • Improved taste: Coffee, tea, and foods prepared with filtered water taste better
    • Softer skin and hair: Hard water can leave your skin and hair dry; treated water can prevent this
    • Easier home maintenance: Hard water and other contaminants can leave rust stains, mineral deposits, and film on your fixtures, shower walls, sinks, toilet, etc
    • Longer appliance life: Mineral deposits in coffee makers, water heaters, washing machines, and other appliances decrease their effectiveness and shorten appliance life
    • Cleaner laundry: If it’s in the water, it’s on your clothes. Filtered/treated water makes whites and colors come out cleaner and brighter

How does a filter work?

    • Removal of fluid contaminants: Fluid contaminants can include bacteria, metals, or chemicals in your water that may affect the water’s taste and smell or its safety for human consumption. A proper filter can remove these contaminants.
    • Collection of suspended solids: Solid contaminants can include dirt, rust, or minerals in the water, which may give the water a “cloudy” appearance or leave deposits on fixtures, surfaces, and appliances. A proper filter collects these contaminants and prevents them from entering your water.

Although the EPA doesn’t publish any restrictions on the amount of sodium in drinking water, several states do. Massachusetts, for one, has established a concentration limit of 20 parts per million (PPM) in public drinking water supplies, a figure in keeping with recommendations from the American Heart Association and several experts on cardiovascular health. The medical community, in general, suggests that people with certain underlying health conditions — including hypertension, kidney ailments, or pregnancy — have good reason to restrict their intake of dietary sodium, and that most Americans consume more sodium in meals, snacks, and beverages than is healthful. Given these concerns, many people now watch their sodium intake from all sources, including water.

Before making a decision about your drinking supply, however, you need to further analyze your particular setting. You must find out the mineral composition of the well water before it’s treated, so you can determine the nature of your problem and estimate (perhaps with the help of a local chemist) what the sodium concentration would be after softening. Then — if the softened water does contain, say, more than 20 PPM of sodium — you need to determine whether you can bypass the softener without causing a taste and/or odor problem

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