WATER SOFTENER CONSIDERATIONS
A water softener can immediately solve the issue of hard water in your Cambridge home or business. Water hardness refers to the mineral content of water, commonly calcium and magnesium. CWD’s water is “slightly to moderately hard” and varies only slightly throughout the city. Hardness also varies slightly by seasons of the year. When using dishwashers, you may notice a slight increase in “spotting” on glassware, flatware or white residue in kitchenware, showers and other plumbing fixtures. This residue consists mainly of calcium carbonate, the same ingredient found in anti-acid products and not a known health risk, but aesthetically displeasing and potentially damaging to your plumbing distribution system and water using appliances. As of the date of this writing, according to CWD, the hardness of the city’s tap water is typically around 50 to 70 parts per million. See the chart below for comparison.
THE AFFECTS OF HARD WATER IN YOUR HOME
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 and your skin dry or itchy. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Magnesium and Calcium may have major affects on your plumbing distribution system and your ability to clean, even though the EPA has no published limits on these. Scale from hard water can build-up inside 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 likely require early replacement. Hard water can also cause scale build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure throughout the home.
The primary hard water minerals are calcium and magnesium (the hardness minerals), while iron and manganese (“The Stainers”) can also be found in water, mostly in private wells. Depending on whether the contaminant’s form is in solution or particulate, these contaminants can be removed with a water softener and/or a properly specified sediment water filtration installation.
Water testing and analysis will determine the best course of action. A water softener will improve your water greatly if you have hard water minerals, iron, or manganese in your water. If other impurities are confirmed in the water test, they can be removed with other types of water filtration systems. The maximum allowable level (per the Environmental Protection Agency) for iron and manganese as secondary contaminants is .3 parts per million and .05 parts per million, respectively. Small amounts of these minerals can have very noticeable, even damaging affects on your home’s water quality.
For more information about symptoms and potential causes in Cambridge water, see the link at Cambridge water operations.
WHAT A WATER SOFTENER REMOVES
A water softener will effectively remove dissolved forms of iron & manganese and hardness minerals from the water. In order to remove particulate iron or manganese, water filtration utilizing a cartridge filter with proper micron rating will be effective. Depending on the situation, this could require a series of filters with different size micron ratings to handle heavier levels of different sized particles in the water. Selecting an appropriate micron rating and style of filter can be determined by a water treatment professional based on water test results and other symptoms. For more information on Manganese and Iron in water, see our published articles in Water Technology Magazine at the following link: http://publications/.