Hardness minerals (magnesium and calcium) can have devastating affects on the plumbing in your home as well as your ability to clean, even though the EPA has no published limits on these. The EPA maximum allowable level for iron as a secondary contaminant is .3 parts per million and for manganese is .05 parts per million. Small amounts of these minerals can create very noticeable, even devastating affects on your home’s water quality. A water softener will significantly improve your water if you have hard water minerals, iron, or manganese in your water. These contaminants can be extracted with a water softener and/or a properly specified sediment filter depending on contaminant’s form (either in solution or particulate).
Hard water interferes with many cleaning tasks, from doing the laundry to washing dishes to taking a shower. Washing your hair in hard water may leave it feeling sticky and dull. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Hard water can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy.
Water softeners vary, including up-flow versus down-flow which can make a big difference, particularly if there are elevated levels of iron or manganese in the water. In some cases where the water chemistry is more complicated, a different type of water filtration system may make more sense to remove iron or manganese.
OTHER AFFECTS OF HARD WATER, MANGANESE & IRON
Hard water scale (see photo below) can build-up inside piping and water heaters insulating the temperature sensor inside the tank creating extra work to bring the temperature up to the set level. This reduces the life of your hot water heater and will most likely require early replacement. 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 https://h2ocare.com/lawn-irrigation/.For more on hard water, see the link at Hard water/edu.
For more information on Iron and Manganese in water, see our published articles in Water Technology Magazine at the following link: https://h2ocare.com/publications/.