WATER SOFTENER CONSIDERATIONS
The main hard water minerals are magnesium and calcium. Also commonly found in Salem are iron & manganese. The EPA maximum allowable level for iron as a secondary contaminant is .3 parts per million. The EPA maximum allowable level for manganese as a secondary contaminant is .05 parts per million. Small amounts of these minerals can have significant affects on your home’s water quality. The EPA has no maximum levels set for calcium and magnesium in drinking water. These minerals can have damaging affects on your home’s plumbing as well as your ability to clean. Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task, including washing dishes, laundry and taking a shower. Clothing can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Dishes and glasses get spotted and film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Washing your hair in hard water may leave it feeling sticky and dull. Finally, hard water can cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure throughout the house.
A water softener is effective in removing dissolved forms of iron & manganese and hardness minerals (magnesium & calcium). 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 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 articles in Water Technology Magazine at the following link: https://h2ocare.com/publications/.There are different types of water softeners, including up-flow versus down-flow which can make a big difference, particularly if there are elevated levels of iron in the water. Also, high efficiency softeners use much less salt and water in the equipment’s regeneration cycle. For a full discussion on hard water see the link at hard water.
See the following chart categorizing hard water levels. Compare your test results:
OTHER AFFECTS OF HARD WATER, IRON & MANGANESE
Affects of hard water, iron & manganese include corrosion and scaling inside pipes, major staining throughout the home’s showers, bathtubs, and sinks and destruction of hot water heaters way ahead of their useful life. Aside from some of the affects mentioned above, hard water scale can also build-up inside hot water heaters insulating the temperature sensor inside the tank causing them to work much harder to bring the temperature up to the set level. This will reduce the useful life of your hot water heater and require early replacement. For those using their well water for lawn irrigation, iron and manganese can cause major staining of walkways, house siding and anyplace the water touches. See the link at /lawn-irrigation/.
Speak to a water treatment professional to decide which system is right for you.