Calcium and magnesium (the hardness minerals) can have very damaging affects on your home’s plumbing 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 provide very noticeably cleaner water if you have hard water minerals, iron, or manganese in your water. These contaminants can be removed with a water softener and/or a properly specified sediment filter depending on whether the contaminant’s form is in solution or particulate. The primary hard water minerals found are magnesium and calcium (the hardness minerals), while iron and manganese (“the stainers”) can also be found in Plymouth water, mostly in private wells.
WATER SOFTENER SYSTEM
Hard water interferes with many cleaning tasks; doing the laundry, washing dishes & glassware, shampooing your hair, cleaning your skin, cleaning bathroom fixtures & surfaces. 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. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Hard water can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure and prematurely end the useful life of water using appliances such as hot water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines.
The following chart identifies hard water levels. Compare your test data:
THE AFFECTS OF HARD WATER, MANGANESE & IRON
Hard water scale (see photo below) 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 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. Hydrogen Sulfide is evidenced typically by a rotten egg smell in water, however this may also be caused by high Manganese levels in the water as well. For more on hard water, see https://water.usgs.gov/edu/hardness.html.
WHAT WILL A WATER SOFTENER REMOVE?
A water softener is effective in removing dissolved forms of iron & manganese and hardness minerals. To remove particulate iron or manganese, water filtration utilizing a cartridge filter with proper micron rating will be effective. Depending on the specific situation, this could require a series of filters with different size micron ratings to handle heavier levels in the water. Selecting the 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 Iron and Manganese in water, see our published articles in Water Technology Magazine at the following link: https://h2ocare.com/publications/.