Home Water Treatment Solutions
The water that is delivered to our homes through the municipal water supply can contain contaminants that make it less than ideal for daily consumption.
Sometimes, tap water may be suitable for daily consumption, but some of its properties will make it unfit for other purposes. To exemplify, hard water may not pose any issues if it’s consumed regularly, but it’s not the best for the health of our home appliances because of lime-scale build-up.
Depending on the quality of your tap water and what you intend to use it for, there are various residential water treatment options that can go a long way in improving the quality of your tap water. Here are the best water treatment solutions that you can use at home:
Multi-stage water filter systems
Whether used in point-of-use filtration or whole house filtration, multi-stage water filter systems are the most popular systems in residential filtration.
Filter systems that combine the power of multiple filter media and multiple filter cartridges are able to offer a more thorough filtration compared to single-stage units.
Reverse osmosis water filters are the quintessential example of multi-stage filtration. Besides the reverse osmosis member, all reverse osmosis filters feature various sediment filters, activated carbon-based pre-filters, and polishing filters.
The number of filter cartridges in a reverse osmosis filter ranges from 4 filters to as many as 9 filter cartridges like in the case of the BMB-30 Nova Pro Direct Flow 9-stage Reverse Osmosis Filter.
Of course having too many filter cartridges has its disadvantages like potential pressure drop, higher cartridge replacement costs, etc. However, on the whole, multi-stage filter systems present a lot of benefits:
- Thorough contaminant removal through various filter media (sediment filter, activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis membrane, ceramic filters, etc.);
- Possibility to target multiple contaminants at once without needing any pre-treatment process;
- Suitability for both point-of-use filtration and whole house filtration;
- Increased filter durability;
- Possibility to customize level of filtration (e.g add remineralizer filters, fluoride filters).
Multi-stage water filters do tend to take up more space than filters with a single cartridge, so they might not be the ideal choice for small rentals or apartments. Thankfully, there are space-saving point-of-use filters like the H2O Homecare Compact 6 Stage 3 Year Water Filter, which contains multiple layers of different kinds of filter media, offering a multi-stage filtration with a single cartridge.
Limescale Inhibiting Systems
Some multi-stage filter systems have filters that can inhibit limescale build-up in home appliances. In this regards, Watts have a line of water filter cartridges that contain various limescale inhibiting filter media like granular activated carbon and phosphate or pyrolox filter media cartridge that you can add to an existing water filter system.
Apart from these filter cartridges, there are also systems designed specifically for limescale control like the Watts OneFlow 8 x 18 inch Scale Net Whole House Scale Control System, which uses a physical process to transform Calcium ions into Calcium crystals.
These systems and limescale inhibiting filters have the advantage of being affordable, low-maintenance, and effective against limescale build-up. Unlike traditional salt-based water softeners, these systems do not soften water, which means that hardness-causing minerals are not removed, they are merely rendered unable to attach to surfaces.
Beyond affordability and low-maintenance, these limescale inhibitors come with the advantage of not adding anything to your water like in the case of salt-based water softeners, which rely on a chemical process and alter the taste and palatability of water.
Water Softening Systems
Water softening systems are used primarily in settings where just simply preventing limescale from building up is not enough. Water softening refers to the process of removing hardness minerals altogether via a chemical process called ion exchange.
Water softener system is a catch-all phrase for all water hardness treatment solutions, be it salt-based or non-salt options, when in reality, only salt-based options qualify as veritable water softening systems.
Water softeners have the following characteristics that distinguish them from other scale control systems:
- They completely remove hardness-causing minerals like calcium and magnesium;
- They use salt to create a brine solution, which washes away minerals from the resin beads in charge of the ion exchange process;
- They come in metered and time-clock versions, which means that they can programmed to regenerate at certain intervals or they regenerate automatically whenever necessary;
- They’re available in electric and non-electric configurations;
- They feature a brine tanks and backwash system;
- They need maintenance in terms of salt-changes, brine tank cleaning, removing salt clogs, etc.;
- The softened water they create improves soap lathering, detergent economy, and prevents soap scum formation;
- They don’t remove any contaminants or sediments from water;
- They’re designed for the protection of expensive appliances.
Unlike non-salt scale treatment systems, water softeners alter the taste of tap water. Because of the higher sodium content of softened water, it’s not recommended for those who need to watch their sodium intake.
If you have a whole house water softener system, we recommend installing an undersink filter that has sodium removal capabilities. Reverse osmosis filters are a great choice for removing sodium from softened water, but also for removing hundreds of others contaminants.
Which System Do You Need?
If you’re dealing with tap water contamination issues, you should install a multi-stage water filter system. If you have some water hardness issues as well, you should look into a water filter system with scale inhibiting properties.
Scale control systems and water softeners are recommended if the water hardness issues you are dealing with are so severe that you are regularly experiencing appliance breakdowns.
Testing your tap water for contaminants and water hardness issues can help you to choose the best system for you.