Tap Water – To Drink or Not to Drink?

It is not unusual for many people to have qualms about the quality of the water supplied to their homes. Filling up a glass of water straight from the kitchen sink and drinking it just like that is not a comfortable thought for many. If you have worries about the quality of water, you should consider installing a water filtration system such as one from Kinetico. Such water filters are available in a wide-range of sizes, employing different mechanisms for filtration. Then, there is the issue of how eco-friendly the filtration system is. Here are some points to consider when selecting a water filtering system:

Generally, tap water is very safe

It is imperative to know the facts concerning drinking water to assess the type and size of water filtration system to be used. Over ninety percent of the water supply systems in the US meet the standards of quality of tap water, as defined by the EPA. Actually, the water supplied by municipalities is better regulated, compared to bottled water, as far as testing and safety goes. Companies manufacturing bottled water have been propagating the idea to the public that it is not healthy to drink water supplied through your home’s taps. The reasons for doing so are not difficult to guess! Nevertheless, mostly, the consumption of tap water is completely safe for regular use, and is economical too.

It might be safe to drink tap water, but what about its taste?

Safe water doesn’t necessarily stand for tasty water. Many consumers like to use filtered water as it removes lasting minerals, resulting to an improved taste of the water supplied through taps. There is another factor prompting people to prefer bottled water. Water filtration systems installed by municipalities in certain areas are too old to remain efficient and supply perfectly safe water. There is another category of consumers who use water from wells and filter it before using it for drinking or cooking purposes.

What type of water filtering systems should you choose?

At the outset, you need to assess the type of water filtration system you’ll need. If your water quality comes out to be all right, you might just decide on a water softening system if you live somewhere that has hard water issues. This is possibly the greenest decision. Regardless a water filtration system will offer your home the cleanest, safest water and allow you to control the overall quality of water your family drinks on a daily basis.

How do I choose a filter type?

If you insist on having the best water filtration system money can buy, other than the eco-factors, you will also need to take into consideration the kind of pollutants present in your municipality’s water supply. Unless you send samples of your water for testing at a lab, you can’t know the pollutants it has. The specifications and type of filtration system you require will depend on the impurities contained in the water you may be using.

The options presented here are the some of the baseline points for determining the best water filtration system for your home. For the best results, consult with your local water filtration expert from Kinetico.

Understanding a Water Softener System

You may have noticed some thick, scaly lines appearing on some of your home’s appliances. These deposits can also be found inside your home’s water pipes and as a result, you can hear a gushing sound when opening your water taps. These are symptoms of a supply of hard water to your home. Hard water doesn’t mean something strong or powerful. Water containing excessive minerals such as calcium, magnesium and manganese is classified as hard water.

If your home is supplied hard water, you’ll need a system to soften it. A water softening system essentially removes those excessive minerals, leaving soft water behind. A water softening system is composed of many components that harmoniously work together to remove excessive minerals, while at the same time adding some salts to restore the balance of ions in the water to be used at home.

How does a water softener work?

The principle operation of a water softener is known as ion exchange. Simply put, the softening of water involves the replacement of extra magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions, resulting to the softening of water. To have an understanding of the water softening arrangement, let’s first get familiar with its different components.

Mineral Tank: Most of the action takes place in this tank. When entering this tank, magnesium and calcium ions in water, carrying a positive charge, get attracted by beads having a negative charge.

Brine Solution: The mineral tank on its inside has another layer, known as the brine tank, which holds a brine solution having a concentration of potassium or sodium ions. In exchange of calcium and magnesium ions, the softer provides these ions to water for maintaining an ionic balance.

Control Valve: To regulate the flow and pressure of water entering or leaving the tank, a control valve is included in the system. After the completion of the process of ion exchange, excessive minerals are kept behind, whereas soft water gets discharged through the pipes.

The process of water softener regeneration

Water softeners can be considered as filters or devices that are incorporated in water pipes of a plumbing system. Since the replacement of ions inside the tank necessitates the presence of salts plus minerals, we need to regularly regenerate the water softener to maintain the concentration of brine solution. Moreover, the tanks need to be cleaned without interrupting the delivery of soft water. Generally, the process of regeneration is automatic after you have setup the time limit. Most often, the maintenance of water softeners is carried through at night because it is convenient to temporarily stop delivering soft water. At the end of each service, the system resets for proper functioning once again.

The Different Types of Water Softeners

Water softeners use methods that reduce the magnesium and calcium content present in the water. There are other water softeners that also reduce iron and manganese. These minerals are known to cause hard water, which is undesirable to most people due to various reasons. Though hard water may not be harmful to a person’s health, it can cause problems when it comes to cleaning surfaces. Softening your home’s water may address this problem.

Hard water contains metal ions that react when used with soaps by preventing them from making more lather and letting them leave a noticeable ring on surfaces, usually seen in the bathtubs that use hard water. Magnesium and calcium alike form deposits on areas where hard water is used for a long time. These deposits can also accumulate on things made from metal, like pipes, sink faucets, shower heads, pots and pans, and inside coffee pots. Extreme cases can even allow build-up to destroy equipment, since it acts as a thermal insulator that can possibly overheat metal tools.

Some of the most common forms of water softeners used in households are devices made from ion-exchanging resin. Water softeners are available in 3 main types, depending on the salt that they use, namely: hydrogen, sodium and potassium. They consist of a resin bed through which water flows. Since the resin has a negative charge, it binds to the metal ions with a positive charge found in hard water. Hydrogen, univalent sodium or potassium are particularly used in the resin, which exchanges with divalent elements such as calcium and magnesium ions. This means that when calcium and magnesium are removed from the water, they are replaced by hydrogen, sodium or potassium.

In the long run, these water softeners will get used up because they release the hydrogen, sodium or potassium molecules into the water as it flows through. However, the resin can be restored by allowing some brine to pass through the resin. There are different kinds of brine that can be used, based on the type of resin – like hydrochloric acid refreshing hydrogen, sodium chloride refreshing sodium and potassium chloride refreshing potassium resin.

After these brines have been used, they can result to problems in the environment when discharged in large quantities. For this reason, several regions need huge water softening plants to retrieve the brine so it can be properly disposed. Resin water softeners have this one side effect, which is, they allow water to be loaded with sodium, especially when the water is very hard from the beginning. During the process of water softening, they can add until 250 mg of sodium/liter to extra hard water.

There are three ways of regenerating water softeners: by means of a meter, using a timer or doing it manually. The most popular and most efficient type of water softener is meter regeneration. This is done by tracking the amount of water being used. Once it is set, the meter depends on the number of people using the water and the hardness of the water. Timer regeneration works on a set schedule, like for example, once a week. Though timer systems are cheaper than meter systems in terms of set-up, they are less efficient in using salts. On the other hand, manual regeneration is done by letting the user regenerate the softener whenever needed. It does not make use of any automated tracking device. While this type of softener is both cheap and efficient, it is only suitable for softening small amounts of water.

Top 7 Methods of Water Treatment

By nature, water is known to be pure as it is composed of strongly bonded atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. However, the water supply across the globe has to share space with other things such as organic materials, minerals, chemicals and manmade pollutants. This brings about an undrinkable solution, since it can contain deadly bacteria and viruses, among other disease-causing agents. Luckily, mankind was able to develop different water treatment methods to allow our water supply to be safe to drink. While there are some methods that are not effective on a larger scale, all of them make untreated water potable for human consumption.

The process of treating water may have slight differences at various locations, based on the plant’s technology as well as the type of water that needs to be treated. Nevertheless, the basic principals are the same. The following section talks about the standard processes of water treatment.

Coagulation / Flocculation

Coagulation is adding liquid aluminum sulfate or alum and/or polymer to raw or untreated water. The resulting mixture causes the dirt particles in the water to coagulate or stick together. Then, the groups of dirt particles attach together, forming larger particles named flocs that can easily be removed via filtration or settling.

Sedimentation

When water and flocs undergo the treatment process, they go into sedimentation basins. Here, water moves slowly, making the heavy floc particles settle to the bottom. Floc that accumulates on the bottom is known as sludge. This is carried on to drying lagoons. Direct Filtration does not include the sedimentation step and the floc is just removed by filtration.

Filtration

In filtration, water passes through a filter, which is made to take away particles from the water. Such filters are composed of gravel and sand or sometimes crushed anthracite. Filtration gathers together impurities that float on water and boosts the effectiveness of disinfection. Filters are regularly cleaned by means of backwashing.

Disinfection

Before water goes into the distribution system, it is disinfected to get rid of disease-causing bacteria, parasites and viruses. Chlorine is also applied since it is very effective.

Sludge Drying

Solids that have been gathered and removed from water via sedimentation and filtration are transferred to drying lagoons.

Fluoridation

Fluoridation treats water supplies of communities to adjust the concentration of free fluoride ions to an optimal level so that dental cavities can be reduced. It is compulsory for Hunter Water to perform water fluoridation to conform to the NSW Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957.

pH Correction

To adjust pH levels, lime is combined with filtered water. This, also, stabilizes naturally soft water so corrosion can be minimized in the water distribution system and plumbing of customers.

The Importance of Water and the Right Amount to Drink

Some people do not realize the value of water and how drinking it can have a huge effect on their overall health. Even if it is crucial to drink lots of water, many of these individuals may not be drinking the right amount of water every day.

According to the Institute of Medicine, men are advised to consume 3 liters of water a day, while women are supposed to consume about 2.2 liters daily.

About 70% of the body is made up of water, while 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Since water is found everywhere, people take it for granted, and drinking a sufficient amount is not included in their list of priorities.

Among the different parts of the body, the kidneys depend a lot on a sufficient water intake. Though these organs may not get much attention just like the heart or lungs, they have many important functions that help maintain the health of the body.

Reasons to Drink Water

The cells and organs of our body need water so that they can function well. In addition, this vital fluid regulates blood pressure, lubricates the joints, helps in the passage of food through the intestines, and protects the spinal cord and sensitive tissues.

Some of the water needed by the body comes from foods that have a high content of water – such as soups, oranges and tomatoes – but most of it comes from drinking water and other beverages.

As people do their normal daily activities, their body loses water and it has to be replenished. It is obvious that water is lost when sweating and urinating. However, many do not know that it is also lost when breathing.

Whether drinking from a bottle or the tap, water is the body’s best source of fluids. Milk and juices are good sources of water, while drinks with caffeine and alcohol content like coffee, soft drinks and beer are not ideal because they have diuretic properties that cause the body to discharge water.

The Right Amount of Water to Drink

The right amount of water that should be consumed on a daily basis varies from one person to another, based on different factors – like everyday activities and the amount of sweat they release. There is no universal rule as to the water consumption that needs to be achieved. Nevertheless, there is a general level of agreement as to the healthy amount.

It has always been said that people need to drink eight glasses a day, which is about 1.9 liters. This is very near the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine for women. It is somehow easy to remember the quantity 8 x 8 ounces to set them on the right track, when it comes to water consumption.

What’s more, water also helps in dissolving nutrients and minerals to make them more available to the body. It also flushes waste products out of the body’s system. These two functions make water essential to the kidneys.