Lets face it, there are all kinds of information out there when it comes to Water Treatment Systems. How can you filter through all of that information and make the best decision for you and your home? Sometimes it can very difficult for homeowners to filter through all of the information out there but we are going to try and help.
For the past five years there has been a push for Saltless Water Treatment Systems to replace the traditional salt system. However these devices may not live up the their claims, and here’s why.
Saltless devices are supposed to change the makeup of the hardness in the water by using either magnets, an electric current, or a filter. Since hardness is a mineral such as calcium which is dissolved in the water, it can only be removed completely if something is put in its place. This is a concept that is backed by science: Ionic exchange uses sodium to remove hardness from the water. The mineral hardness is comprised of ions that are stronger than sodium. This hardness attaches to the media in the tank, pushing the sodium off of the media.
Saltless units, on the other hand, cannot effectively demonstrate that they are altering the water—the companies that make these units claim that they are breaking the molecules down into such a fine form that they are then able to pass through faucets and piping without getting stuck. Even if this were accurate, no matter how small the molecule is, it still remains in the water. If the water is heated (such as with a water heater), these molecules will solidify.
Hardness is hardness, no matter how small its broken up into. It will still have the potential to solidify and settle to the bottom of containers. This is why ion exchange systems are ideal solutions that have demonstrated their effectiveness and are backed with measurable results. If you want to actually remove the hardness from water and receive the benefits of having soft water, ion exchange systems are the answer.
There are some misconceptions that should be cleared up when it comes to the salt that is added to an ion exchange unit. First of all, it shouldn’t simply be dumped in bag after bag. It’s important to have a metered unit that measures the gallons of water being consumed. Once the unit reaches full capacity, it backwashes (cleans) itself. Some older units use a clock timer that is set to automatically clean the unit every few days. This is less efficient, since it will clean itself even if you haven’t use much water and it isn’t to full capacity.
The salt is added to the unit mainly to clean the calcium buildup off of the media in the tank. There is some residual sodium that stays on the media after this cleaning process. This is the sodium that will then release itself into the water.
To put this into perspective, if you have 10 grains/gallon of hardness in your water and you drink a gallon of water a day, you would consume about as much sodium as in two slices of white bread. This is such a negligible amount that it doesn’t make an appreciable difference in daily intake. (Not many people even drink a gallon of household water every day.)
If you had extremely hard water (50 to 100 grains/gallon), it might be a problem worth considering installing a reverse osmosis system to remove the excess sodium from the water. However, here in Southwest Virginia, we don’t see numbers that high.
Ultimately, we prefer to use systems that are backed by scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. In the case of water treatment systems, this means using an ionic exchange system with sodium.
If you’d like to learn more about making the right choice for your home and installing the most effective water treatment system, give us a call today at (540) 483-9382.