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Water filters and Hard Water. 4 Choices you need to consider.

Hard water is water with high levels of alkaline minerals.

It is the result of having high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium ions. Dissolved rock causes scale, which impedes appliance performance and is the direct cause of energy inefficiencies and increased utility costs.

It can be a serious problem for many water filter systems because calcium in this form can accrete inside the filter, seriously reducing performance quickly. If you don’t understand this you could make a serious mistake in choice of water filter.

It will also severely reduce the life and efficiency of your water heater and dishwasher.

There are basically four choices for water filters.

1. Whole of House
A whole of house filter isn’t a fine water filter. Its the main purpose is to get clean sediment and chlorine free water into your home, but ultrafiltration means slow flow, which in turn means slow showers and washing machine cycles because the devices are waiting for the filter.

2. Point of Use Water Filter
The is usually installed on the benchtop or undersink. There’s a huge range of this form of water filter on the market with a vast difference in quality. At the high-end products like the AlkaWay UltraStream offer to purify the water of a huge range of contaminants found in modern water supplies, but also to transform the water into alkaline, antioxidant hydrogen-rich water.

3. Electric Water Ionizers
These units’ primary function is to create alkaline high hydrogen water. Filtration sophistication is not the norm although one brand of ionizer has now tackled this problem. the problem of electric water ionizers is that they use electrolysis to create the high pH and H2 water. This process separates alkaline and acid ions in the water, effectively concentrating any calcium into the drinking water output stream. Also, calcium will remain in solution unless the pH of the water rises. When this happens, it will come out of its soluble state and turn into a suspension or sediment in the water. In this state, it is very ‘sticky’ and unless the water ionizer has specific design criteria to prevent it, will shorten the ionizer’s life.

4. Reverse Osmosis water filter
Reverse osmosis (RO) can be one of the best ways to treat water for the home. But, there can be issues that exist after an RO unit is installed. One issue that arises is the challenges presented with hard water. During the filtration process, hard water can cause scale, making it extremely difficult for RO’s membrane to work and the result is a lower quality of water.

It will reduce the output of the membrane itself and it will reduce the quality of water that the membrane is putting out. Essentially, it slowly kills the membrane.

Replacing membranes too frequently can be expensive over time.

It”s the sticky calcium molecules that affect an RO system. Calcium in the water is like cholesterol in your bloodstream, notes McDowell. It sticks to everything, binds, hardens and thickens as more collects. On an RO membrane, the calcium molecules block the membrane, making backwashing necessary on a regular basis.

One of the major downfalls of having hard water and its effects on an RO system is that it is not very energy efficient. The minerals that clog the RO and cause scaling to make the RO unit work even harder, wastewater and run up the utility bill. There are ways to prevent this from happening and in return help the environment.

The amount of water you will waste, the discharge issues that we’re facing all over this country and really all over the world have become serious enough that the water treatment industry is paying attention to the need to reduce discharge, save water and be more environmentally friendly. There is still a long way to go for RO.

A benchtop or undersink filter wastes no water, so is immediately a greener alternative.

 

Best Method: reduce water hardness before your water filter.

After installation, it’s always best to continue to monitor your water to make sure scaling isn’t becoming a major problem in your water filter system. In a benchtop or undersink water filter, take a look at the end of the spout. If a hard layer is forming, you have a calcium problem. If you are changing the membranes of your RO system quite frequently, it may be time to find another system and/or hardness solution.

Going green

One of the major downfalls of having hard water and its effects on an RO system is that it is not very energy efficient. The minerals that clog the RO and cause scaling to make the RO unit work even harder, wastewater and run up the utility bill. There are ways to prevent this from happening and in return help the environment.

The amount of water you will waste, the discharge issues that we’re facing all over this country and really all over the world have become serious enough that the water treatment industry is paying attention to the need to reduce discharge, save water and be more environmentally friendly. There is still a long way to go for RO.

A benchtop or undersink filter wastes no water, so is immediately a greener alternative.

What You Can Do

All 3 methods of water filter can be assisted by specific technologies. These are broken into ion exchange, electronic and systems that use turbulation to change calcium ions into aragonite, a non-sticky form of calcium crystal. We recommend you talk to your local AlkaWay distributor.

They’ve been trained in overcoming this problem and they’ll probably also have ‘local knowledge’ of your specific water.

Just remember this moment. It’s one of those ‘I-told-you-so’ moments we all hate to remember.

Do you know anyone living in a hard water area? Please share this post with them or ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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