WATER SOFTENER TO ELIMINATE HARD WATER, IRON & MANGANESE
The main hard water minerals, magnesium and calcium, are found in Reading private wells along with iron and manganese (“The stainers”). Water softening will greatly improve your water if you have hard water minerals, iron or manganese present. These common contaminants can be removed with a water softener and/or a properly specified sediment filter depending on whether the contaminants are in particulate form or in solution (dissolved). There are different types of water softeners, such as up-flow versus down-flow which can make a big difference, particularly if there are elevated levels of iron or manganese in the water. Also, there are high efficiency water softeners that are designed to use less water and salt. For town water, visit the Town of Reading website or the MWRA website for the annual water quality reports at http://www.mwra.com/. While the water quality is generally pretty good from MWRA, there are issues that may occur causing various types of staining in sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers and other plumbing fixtures. Additionally, you may experience taste and odor issues that are commonly associated with chloramine (a chlorine, ammonia compound), which is used to disinfect the water and control bacterial growth. There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication provided by MWRA that reviews what you may encounter. See the link at FAQs MWRA Water.
The table below identifies hard water levels — compare to your water test:
Calcium and magnesium can have devastating affects on your home’s plumbing as well as your ability to clean, even though the EPA has no published limits on these. Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task, including laundry, washing dishes or taking a shower. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Hard water may leave your hair feeling sticky and looking dull. Hard water can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure throughout the house.
The EPA maximum allowable levels for iron as a secondary contaminant is .3 parts per million and for manganese is .05 parts per million as a secondary contaminant. Small amounts of these minerals can have very large and noticeable affects on your home’s water quality. Iron and manganese bacteria, although much more rare, can be found in well water. The presence of these contaminants would require a different type of water filtration system to correct.
AFFECTS OF HARD WATER, IRON AND MANGANESE
Hard water build-up inside water heaters will insulate the temperature sensor inside the tank, tricking it to perform unnecessary extra work to bring the temperature up to the set level. This reduces the life of your hot water heater and will likely reduce it’s estimated useful life. Some other affects of these contaminants include corrosion and scaling inside pipes and major staining throughout the home’s showers, bathtubs, and sinks. For those using their well water for outside lawn irrigation, iron and manganese can cause major staining of outside walkways, house siding and anyplace the water touches. See the link at http://h2ocare.com/lawn-irrigation/
WHAT A WATER SOFTENER WILL CORRECT?
A water softener is effective in removing dissolved forms of iron & manganese and hardness minerals. To remove particulate iron or manganese, a cartridge filter with proper micron rating will be effective. Depending on the specific situation, this could require a series of water filters with different size micron ratings to handle heavier levels in the water. Selecting the appropriate micron rating and style of water filter can be determined by a water treatment professional based on water test results and other symptoms. For more information on Iron and Manganese in water, see our published articles in Water Technology Magazine at the following link: http://h2ocare.com/publications/.