A water treatment system can be a great option if you’re concerned about your home’s water quality. Water treatment can take many different forms. A water softener is ideal for eliminating dissolved minerals and preventing issues caused by hard water. There are also a variety of water filtration systems that can remove chemicals like chlorine, particulates like silt and limestone, and contaminants like metals, bacteria and viruses. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of water treatment systems, how they work, and their effects on your home’s water.
Water softeners are a great option in the Phoenix area as our water is considered quite hard. Water hardness refers to the concentration of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. The higher the concentration, the harder the water is.
Hard water isn’t an issue in terms of safety or drinkability. Hard water is completely safe to drink, but it typically does have a different taste. The main issue is that hard water can lead to major issues with your plumbing system and many of your household appliances.
If your home has hard water, it will result in mineral deposits and limescale building up in your pipes. Over time, the mineral deposits can begin to restrict the water flow and result in lower water pressure. Limescale can also damage your washing machine, dishwasher and coffee maker. It will usually lead to these appliances having a much shorter lifespan. Hard water also makes it more difficult to get things properly clean as the minerals prevent soap and detergent from lathering as well. Washing in hard water will leave your skin and hair dry, and your clothes will typically be stiff and may look less clean.
A water softener can prevent all of these issues as it will work to remove the vast majority of dissolved minerals from the water as it enters your home. Most water softeners work by using an ion exchange process to remove the minerals and then a brine solution to flush the minerals out of the softener tank and down the drain.
The process starts by pumping a brine solution into the water softener tank. Inside the tank are thousands of negatively charged resin beads that cling to the positively charged sodium ions in the brine. As water flows into the tank, the positive calcium and magnesium ions take the place of the sodium and cling to the resin beads as they have a much stronger charge than the sodium ions. This process works to remove calcium and magnesium and replace them with a small amount of sodium. As such, a water softener will help to improve the taste of your home’s water and ensure you have no more issues caused by hard water.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
Reverse osmosis filters are typically point-of-use units designed to filter out most contaminants from your drinking water. You can also choose a system that stores the treated water in a tank. Point-of-use units are usually installed underneath the kitchen sink to ensure that your drinking water and the water you use for cooking are pure and clean. Most units can also be hooked up to your refrigerator so that its water and ice are also clean.
Reverse osmosis filters can remove a wide array of particles, including sediment, lead, mercury, pesticides, viruses, and bacteria. Inside the unit is a semi-permeable membrane. The holes in the membrane are large enough that the water molecules can easily pass through but small enough that they trap most all other particles.
Reverse osmosis filters work passively, meaning they don’t require electricity. They rely on water pressure. Whenever you turn on the faucet, water is drawn into the unit. It passes through the membrane, which traps and removes all of the contaminants. For better-tasting water, you can re-mineralize the water, which adds a small amount of calcium and magnesium.
Carbon filters can be stand-alone units or part of a larger water filtration system. A carbon filter is great for removing certain chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide, sediment, and silt. As water passes through the filter, the activated carbon grabs hold of the chemicals or larger particles so that they are removed. The main benefit of a carbon filter is that it will remove the bad taste of hydrogen sulfide and other chemicals in your water.
UV Light Filters
A UV light filter subjects the water to strong ultraviolet light. As the water passes through the light, any organic microorganisms like parasites, bacteria and viruses are instantly killed. UV filters are great if your home has well water. If you use municipal water, it will eliminate any bacteria that the water picks up as it travels through the water system on the way to your home.
Whole-House Water Filtration Systems
Whole-house water filtration systems are installed on your home’s main water line right where it enters the home. These systems are typically two- or three-stage, which means that they have multiple filters, each of which removes different impurities and contaminants. The first stage is usually either a mesh or pleated filter that removes sand, silt and rust to prevent damage to your plumbing fixtures and appliances. Mesh filters will typically only remove sediment and silt, whereas a pleated filter can also remove most volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well. On a two-stage unit, the second stage is typically a carbon filter that removes chlorine and other chemicals to improve the water’s taste.
Many whole-house filtration systems also use a kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) filter. This type of filter uses copper and zinc to produce a chemical process known as oxidation/reduction (redox) that eliminates chlorine, hydrogen sulfide and metals like iron, lead and mercury.
Choosing which type of water treatment system is right for your home depends on what specific issues you’re trying to overcome. If hard water is your main concern, then a water softener is obviously your best option. If you’re mainly looking to ensure your drinking water is clean, a point-of-use reverse osmosis filter may be the best choice.
Whole-house water filtration systems tend to be the most expensive water treatment option. However, they are also by far the most effective and will ensure that the water in your entire home is free of impurities and contaminants. It also protects plumbing fixtures and appliances like water heaters from hard water buildup.
Phoenix’s Water Treatment Experts
At Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical, we specialize in water treatment and can help you choose the best system for your home. We install, service and repair water softeners, reverse osmosis filters and whole-home water filtration systems. We also specialize in water heaters, gas line services and a full range of other residential and commercial plumbing services. When you choose us, our team will explain all of the different options and provide a quote so that you can choose the right water treatment system for your needs and your budget. For more information on your water treatment options, give us a call today.