Water Treatment In Your Home
Does your household water not taste or smell or even look right? Also, your water may have some nitrate or bacteria problems. Your water may have either nuisance problems, or health concerns or both. Such water impurities may: damage home plumbing or equipment; stain, cause odor and/or appearance concerns; and finally health problems such as intestinal disorders due to bacterial contamination.
To find out if your household water is safe you must explore what is in it. Since you use water for drinking, cooking and bathing you want to explore what is in your water. This is particularly true if you rely on your own well and other private water supply. If you wish to explore the probable causes of your water problems a water analysis by an environmental laboratory or water treatment company will provide you some answers. However, while some water treatment companies may provide free in-home testing they may not be able to examine organics (i.e. bacterial problems) and send them out to a laboratory. Getting your water tested depends on what symptoms your water may exhibit. For example if you have a rotten egg order caused by hydrogen sulfide or if you have corroding water pipes from acid water. Most people in the valley have hard water due to calcium and magnesium and have a water softener with salt or sodium to treat this water.
First, all water contains contaminants such as dissolved minerals, microorganisms and organic compounds. When these contaminants build up they may impact public health or cause nuisances in your home then you may want to inquire to the exact nature of these contaminants.
Periodic laboratory analysis of your water is the best way to ensure that your water is safe if you rely on private sources. Testing is performed for those on public or municipal water systems since Federal law requires regular testing and is available to you if you request it. Also, water testing may assist you to prove damage and obtain reimbursement if your water supply becomes contaminated from some specific pollution incident.
Depending upon where you live in the valley water impurities can come from artificial or natural sources. Testing you water for many contaminants can be very costly so you may wish to see if your neighbors have tested their water and what their problems were. Developing some ideas of what contaminants may be a problem will be more useful and less expensive in your water testing. Knowing the pH of your water will can tell you if your water is not corrosive and whether this acidity of your water may dissolving your pipes that may contain lead, or copper. Also you may wish to check for nitrates and total coliform bacteria. For example when plumbing is performed in your home there may be a chance that some bacteria is left in the piping. Also your water may even not have a "taste" or smell and this may be because some bacterial surface runoff may be fecal infiltration or some unprotected plumbing cross connection. Finally, if you intensive agriculture, road salting or other wastes in your area you may wish to check for total dissolved solids.
Choosing an independent laboratory is important since water treatment firms offer free tests for a few contaminants such as hardness and iron as a marketing tool. Also making sure you get the facts first before buying water treatment system is important. Many companies are very aggressive in marketing their products so being an informed consumer is in your interest.
Water Treatment Equipment
Now that you know what is happening regarding contaminants in your water the next question is what options do you have? Depending upon your budget, water use and other concerns how do you wish to remedy your concerns? First there is no one single water device to take care of all the problems. Also, do not assume you can purchase equipment similar to your neighbors. There are many variables to your water supply: household uses; different water supplies; and amounts. For some systems may be less expensive if they are installed just below the sink or counter top units instead of systems servicing the entire home. Small filter devices on kitchen taps treat 100- 300 gallons effectively before their filter must be changed. In-line filters are larger under the sink units treating up to 1500 gallons before filter change. You may wish to check the cost and availability of filters.
Activated carbon filters improve water taste and odor problems including chlorine residue. They also remove organic chemicals, including pesticides residues. Generally, filters with more carbon treat more water. Mechanical filters are usually combined with activated carbon filters. Tap or below sink filters use spun cellulose while, sand and gravel may be use to larger house filter. Now these filters do not remove nitrate, bacteria and heavy metals. Also setting up a regular maintenance schedule for filter replacement is essential so that they both remove impurities and do not become clogged.
Water softeners are most common this region to remove hardness, minerals of calcium and magnesium. This can interfere with the cleaning action of soaps or cause build up in pipes, and water fixtures. Softeners come in a variety of sizes and rated on the amount of hardness it can remove. Individuals with high blood pressure or heart problems should consult their physician before using softened water since sodium levels of this system may be high. Also there are alternative softeners using potassium not sodium that are available. Maintenance of these softeners depends on many things including the amount of water used and softener in question. The salt in the tank must be periodically replaced.
Disinfection units either by chlorine or other methods can treat your water. Chlorination oxidizes organics but does not remove nitrate and other chemicals. Boiling, and distilling water are some of the other methods that remove minerals such as nitrate, sodium, sulfates and other organic chemicals.
Other disinfection methods include ultraviolet lights and ozonation. These are becoming popular methods for home use.
Reverse osmosis forces water through a membrane having microscopic holes that only allow water molecules not larger compounds through it. The contaminants are flushed away. Membranes are made by various materials depending on what chemicals are to be removed. While reverse osmosis removes organic chemicals it does not remove all of them. These units can develop scaling and precipitated build up and waste much water. Other filters (e.g. softeners and activated carbon units) may be installed ahead of reverse osmosis membranes. Also these units require cleaning and flushing according to manufacturer's recommendations.
Finally iron removal filters and equipment can reduce staining, taste, odor and appearance concerns. Neutralizers use soda and sodium to lessen acid water. They can cause health problems like softeners and require routine maintenance.
As you can see household water treatment systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes depending upon your individual needs. This all depends on what is the most practical and effective device you wish to purchase to keep your water safe.
Finally, outside your home prevent pollution. For example surface water should not being getting into your well since it can contaminated it. A properly protected well is evidenced by well casing 12 inches or more above the surface of the ground and the ground sloping away from the well. The top of the casing should have a tight-fitting well cap. Also, the casing should be well sealed with cement grout to a necessary depth to prevent from rainwater from contaminating your well.
What is more important to you then keeping your water at home safe so you can best enjoy its many benefits.
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