Water Filters Great Bend KS
Great Bend , KS
Overland Park , KS
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Shawnee Mission, KS
Albert , KS
Overland Park, KS
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AC Unit Installation, Central AC Installation, Furnace Installation, Heat Installation, Heat Pump Installation, HVAC Cleaning, HVAC Contractors, HVAC Maintenance, Outdoor Cooling System Installation, Residential HVAC Service, Ventilation System Service, Water Heater Installation
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Shawnee Mission, KS
Two elements of a home that most people take for granted are the air and the water. Here we'll discuss the basics of clean, healthy household water. Household water can contain bacteria that cause disease or contaminants that can be detrimental to your health. Drinking water is not the only concern bathing and showering in poor-quality water can also have negative affects on your health.
If you're ready to turn the page because your house is connected to a municipal water system, don't. Your water should be within legal limits, but it could still leave a lot to be desired. It may even be up to standards when it enters your house, but various components in your home can degrade the quality of the water.
The first step is to have your water tested. Ask your county health department about common water problems in your area. Many counties offer free or discounted water tests. These are good starting points but are not as comprehensive as a private-company water analysis. Companies offering a full range of water tests can be found in your phone book and on the Internet. We recommend not relying solely on a water test provided by a water-softener or water-treatment company. They often only test elements that they can filter or treat not a full range of tests. The company you purchase the test from should provide an acceptable range for each element tested ask before you order the test.
If your water supply is from a well, you should test the water quality once a year. It may be advantageous to check it at different times of the year, because runoff and other seasonal factors can change the chemical composition of the water you drink and bathe in. Municipal water systems are tested frequently and are more consistent from one season to the next, and year to year. But if you are concerned about your municipal water supply due to frequent flooding, blackouts or changes in treatment, then you might want to install a treatment system without testing the water yourself.
Common household water problems are hardness (excessive calcium and magnesium), iron and manganese, total dissolved solids (TDS), sulfate, bacteria, chloride, lead, arsenic, nitrate and nitrites, trihalomethanes, and pH that is too high or low. These problems usually are easy to address with treatments including filtration, disinfection, reverse osmosis and water softeners. We'll take a look at each of these treatments.
Water Treatment Filters
A filter may use one of a variety of filter elements, each removing specific contaminants. The most common are called sediment filters. Made from fabric or fiber, they remove sand, silt, clay and organic matter. The quality of the filter is measured by the micron of sediment it will filter (one micron is one millionth of a meter, or one thousandth of a millimeter; a typical human hair is about 50 microns wide). Sediment filters do not remove dissolved or very fine particles. This type of filter can be used to filter water going to one source, but is more commonly installed in the main water line to filter the water supply for the whole house. The filter element needs to be changed periodically.
Another filter type is an activated-carbon filter. This absorbs impurities as they pass through a carbon cartridge. Activated-carbon filters are used to eliminate most colors, odors and tastes. They also remove chlorine, low levels of organic compounds, dissolved organic chemicals and trihalomethanes.
Reverse-osmosis (RO) systems have become a popular and effective means of treating drinking water. They can remove most metals, minerals, nitrates and many organic chemicals, as well as everything mentioned for sediment and activated-carbon filters. They will not, however, fix water that is biologically unsafe meaning unsafe levels of bacteria, viruses and/or cysts.
An RO system includes a sediment prefilter (which may or may not be carbon), a membrane and a carbon postfilter. It then forces water through a membrane under pressure. The membrane removes dissolved solids. The filters and membranes must be changed periodically.
RO systems use a considerable amount of water (contaminants are carried away by waste water). Another consideration is that RO-treated water is very aggressive and will deteriorate typical household copper plumping. For these reasons, RO systems are usually connected only to a drinking-water source in the kitchen and to the water and ice dispenser in the refrigerator. The RO water is carried in food-quality polyethylene tubing. Whole-house systems can be installed for very high-quality water throughout the house, but this requires specific plumbing.
Hard water is a common well-water problem, but it can also be an issue with municipal water systems. Hard water contains excessive calcium and magnesium, and it can form scale on pipes and fixtures, which you may notice on drinking glasses.
Water softeners contain a resin that exchanges the calcium and magnesium with sodium. When the resin is saturated, the water softener backwashes salt brine up or down through the resin. This is a mechanical process that moves water through the bed at a rate sufficient to loosen trapped particles. The sodium in the brine is chemically exchanged with the calcium, magnesium, etc., on the resin. The salt you add to the water softener is used in the salt brine, and the frequency of the backwash is determined by the hardness of the water.
Some softeners monitor the water and backwash as needed, while others have you set a specific time based on the tested hardness of your water. Some water softeners have been designed to improve efficiency, requiring less water for the backwash and rinsing of the resin, and consuming less salt.
Arsenic in drinking water has received increased attention lately as a health threat. In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency upgraded the arsenic standard that reduces the maximum amount of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm by 2006. Some experts also feel that bathing or showering in water with a high arsenic content is not ideal, but studies on this are ongoing.
Arsenic can be removed through a few means, depending on the other chemicals present and the arsenic concentration. RO systems are able to remove most arsenic and are good solutions for drinking water. A whole-house RO system and the required plumbing can be very expensive. Several companies have developed arsenic-treatment systems that function much in the way that a water softener does. The resins last five to 15 years, depending on the level of arsenic in the water.
In some cases, water may contain bacteria that can only be remedied by disinfection. There are several means, but UV radiation addresses most common bacteria. It uses low-pressure mercury arc lamps to produce UV radiation that kills the bacteria.
J. Fraser is a freelance writer based in Ortonville, Mich.