We understand that although clean water is important to everyone, we aren't all technically minded. In the interest of informing consumers, we have attempted to answer some questions you may have so you can be sure you are buying the system best suited for you and your family. Please reach out to our staff if you have any additional questions.
How is hard water treated?
Softening hard water can mitigate many of its objectionable effects. Water softening can be done either at point of entry or point of use. Point of entry is the most cost effective for residential applications. If the homeowner does not want to drink softened water an under sink reverse osmosis system will provide point of use purified water for drinking. Hardness minerals can be reduced in water to make it "softer" by using one of three basic means:
- Cation exchange softening inorganic, carbonaceous, or organic base exchangers. (Residential and Commercial Use)
- Membrane separation softening Nano filtration (Commercial Use)
- Chemical softening lime softening, hot and cold; lime-soda softening. (Commercial Use)
How does a water softener work?
Resin beads in the water softener system remove calcium and magnesium as hard water flows through. During the ion exchange process, the hardness ions in the water are replaced with the soft ions of the resin beads, resulting in soft water.
Can water be too pure to be good for you?
Some folks have heard that pure water, and RO water is pure, is not good for you because the trace minerals that our bodies need have been removed, and that therefore you're better off drinking tap water. Below is a synopsis of the report published by the WQA science advisory committee.
We now know the real functions of water in the human body... It is the H2O in water and not the dissolved and suspended minerals and other constituents that carry out these functions.
Highly purified (distilled) water is believed by some to help "cure" arthritis by "washing out" excess calcium and other minerals from deposits in joints. Along with this reasoning, some people speculate that drinking highly purified water, treated by distillation, reverse osmosis, or deionization, "leaches" minerals from the body and thus causes mineral deficiencies with subsequent ill health effects.
Salts and minerals are not "leached" from the human body; they are preferentially retained or excreted, either of these events occurring relative to whether or not one is surfeit in water or salt or both. In short, the human body is not a lead or copper pipe which "leaches" in the presence of purified water.
U.S. EPA's Dr. Edward V. Ohanian, Chief of Human Risk Assessment Branch wrote,
Drinking water supplies a number of minerals that are important to human health. However, drinking water is normally a minor source of these minerals. Typically, the diet is a major source of these beneficial minerals. I am not aware of any data adequate to support the conclusion that water with low levels of minerals is unsafe.
The U.S. Navy has used distilled water with less than three ppm aboard ship for more than 40 years. Surface ships while on shore take water from shore sources, but it is common for submarines to provided nothing but purified water for months at a time, all with no reported ill effects. This was confirmed with separate sources at the David Taylor Research Center in Annapolis, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and the Navy Environmental Health Center. Finally the Surgeon General directed the Navy to address the subject formally in 1972. The conclusion was that drinking distilled water was not harmful.
The U.S. Army uses reverse osmosis units to provide drinking water for soldiers in the field. They do not consider low TDS water to be a problem and have no minimum standard.
Several other field tests and information including a mention from NASA, are cited.
In conclusion, the field experiences cited suggest that there are no long-term ill health effects, specifically the mineral leaching from human tissue, due to the consumption of low TDS water.
Don't water softeners add salt to the water?
They do, in very small amounts, as part of the ionic exchange. However, even in very hard water, these amounts are barely noticeable, you should not taste it (if you do there's probably something wrong with your system) and this is easily remedied by a drinking water purification system such as an RO unit.
Are there different types of well water?
Not all well water is the same, and even wells within close proximity may vary drastically in their chemical and elemental composition. The typical water issues associated with well water include dirt, sediment, hardness, bacteria and iron. It is crucial to have your well water tested before determining how to prepare it for drinking quality.
What are the reasons for using water softener?
There are many benefits associated with using water softener including:
- Allows soap and shampoo to lather more effectively. You can use up to 75% less product and save money.
- Natural, chemical-free healthy soaps and laundering agents are more effective with soft water.
- Clothes last up to 30% longer when washed in soft water.
- Dishes, silverware and glassware get cleaner and shinier with soft water.
- Water treated by a water softener results in hair and skin feeling softer and cleaner.
- The elimination of the soap curd created by hard water drastically reduces time spent on laborious scrubbing.
- Fabrics are softer, last longer and stay brighter without becoming the dingy gray color caused by hard water.
- Soft water extends the life of appliances including dishwashers, washing machines and even coffeemakers. A water heater that uses soft water will decrease in its annual energy cost by as much as 29%.
Can the water softener's discharge from regeneration hurt my septic system or drainfield?
University of Wisconsin studies done in the 1970's confirmed that salt-brine discharge from water softeners had no adverse effects on the operation of typical anaerobic or newer style aerobic home treatment systems. It was also established that water softener regeneration discharge did not interfere with drain field soil percolation and under some circumstances, improved soil percolation. The significant and beneficial difference is that septic tank effluents containing water softener effluents include substantial amounts of calcium and magnesium, which balance the effect of sodium, in addition to promoting and sustaining soil permeability. The study results indicated that it is preferable to discharge water softener waste to septic systems than to separate dry wells or ditches.
Is soft water safe for plants?
Where the amount of hardness minerals in the water is only moderate (less than 10 gpg), it is doubtful whether the sodium concentration would be sufficient to be a serious hazard to plants. Most house plants require specific soil conditions for healthy growth. Many thrive best in slightly acid soils. If there is a high hardness concentration in the water being softened, the necessarily higher sodium concentration of the softened water may be harmful to plants.
For outside sprinkling purposes, the use of softened water, for economy reasons, is not recommended unless necessary to prevent iron stains on buildings and concrete. Again, where the concentration of hardness minerals is heavy, the sodium salts replacing them might retard growth and might be sufficient to kill the grass.
What are the common acronyms I should know to understand the systems?
It's only 3 letters, but what does it mean?
- GAC Granulated Activated Carbon
- GPD Gallons Per Day
- GPG Grains Per Gallon
- PPM Parts Per Million
- PSI Pounds per Square Inch
- TDS Total Dissolved Solids
- WQA Water Quality Association