The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has no maximum levels set for calcium and magnesium (the hardness minerals) in water. Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task, including washing dishes, laundry and taking a shower. Clothes 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 scale build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure throughout the house and damage plumbing. Also commonly found in Westford 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 large affects on your home’s water quality.
There are different types of water softeners, including up-flow (preferred) versus down-flow. This can make a big difference in effectiveness if there are elevated levels of manganese or iron in the water. Additionally, high efficiency softeners use much less salt and water in the equipment’s regeneration cycle. For a full description of hard water, see the link at Hard water described.
The following categorizes hard water levels. Compare your test results:
THE AFFECTS OF HARD WATER, IRON & MANGANESE
Some affects 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. 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. Without water softening, this will reduce the useful life of your hot water heater and require early replacement.
WHAT WILL A WATER SOFTENER REMOVE?
A water softener is effective 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 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/.