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Archive for October, 2019

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

If you are considering transitioning to soft water throughout your house, you are probably wondering “how does a water softener system work?”. Water softening systems are an effective method of producing soft water for your entire house, but most people aren’t clear on the various types of water softeners, as well as how they function exactly.

Water softening systems transform hard water into softened water through a process known as “ion exchange”. Ion exchange is a gentle, yet highly effective method of removing the mineral ions that lend to the level of hardness found in some water. To understand how these systems function, you’ll first have to understand exactly what soft water is, and how water becomes hard in the first place. By gaining a full understanding of this process, you’ll have a better grasp of how water softening systems function and whether installing a water softener is the right choice for you and your home.

What is Water Hardness?

Don’t know the difference between hard water vs. soft water? Water is often referred to as either “soft” or “hard”, but the meaning of these terms isn’t intuitive. Both of these terms are tied to the concept of water hardness, which is used to communicate the mineral content of a sample of water. Regardless, the benefits of soft water most definitely differentiate it from hard water.

Water hardness exists on a spectrum, from “soft” water which has a very low concentration of hard water minerals, to “very hard” water which can have a relatively high concentration of hard water minerals. This spectrum is better understood by looking at the water hardness scale. The water hardness scale is used to quantify exactly how hard or soft a sample of your water supply is. The most common scale in use measures the mineral content of water in terms of the number of grains-per-gallon (GPG) of dissolved calcium carbonate that a sample of water contains. Grain capacity can be broken down into several tiers based on calcium content.

Here are the thresholds for water hardness as defined by the most commonly used water hardness scale:

What is notable about the water hardness scale is that water can exist with varying degrees of hardness. It is also important to understand that the water hardness scale measures the amount of calcium carbonate that a sample of water contains because it is the most common mineral contained in hard water, but water hardness can be affected by many types of minerals and metals. Other common dissolved minerals found in hard water include magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, aluminum, barium, and others.

How Does Water Become Hard?

The process through which water hardens is important to understand because it directly informs an understanding of how these systems work to soften water. Starting at the beginning of the water cycle, precipitation falls to the surface of the Earth as soft water or water with relatively low mineral content. Water begins to harden as it flows over and seeps through mineral-rich ground and soil.

Surface water, or water flowing through rivers and streams, tend to have a lower content of hard minerals. Groundwater tends to have a much higher content of hard minerals, as it moves through soil and stone rich in minerals. This groundwater eventually ends up in the aquifers that supply water to our homes.

As water percolates through soil and stone it picks up positively charged mineral ions. These ions become bound to the water molecule and typically aren’t separated from the water molecule until the water evaporates and leaves the mineral ions behind as deposits. As we will see, this process is important for understanding a water softener system and how does it work.

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How Water Softening Systems Work

If you have ever wondered, “how does a water softener work?”, the answer is that water softening systems remove mineral ions in hard water through the process of ion exchange. This process requires exchanging positively charged mineral ions in the hard water with positively charged sodium ions, leaving the water coming out of the system free of mineral ions.

Water softening systems contain two tanks: a brine tank and a resin tank. Let’s break down the function of each of these.

Resin Tank

When water enters the water softening system it enters the resin tank. This tank holds a fairly sizable amount of plastic resin, usually a few cubic feet. This resin is porous and is usually covered in positively charged sodium ions.

As hard water moves through the resin tank the mineral ions that are bound to the water molecule are attracted to the negatively charged resin. The positively charged sodium ions that coat the resin are released into the water as the mineral ions take their place on the resin. This allows the resin to maintain a balanced electrical charge.

The water exiting the system contains a small number of sodium ions as the result of the process, but importantly no longer contains high levels of hard mineral ions. This process of ion exchange is a highly effective, yet gentle method of achieving softened water. To get a sense of how effective it is, each foot of resin in the system can soften approximately 3,200 gallons of water before it needs to be recharged. Now that would require an ample amount of water usage to go through that many gallons in a short period of time.

Brine Tank

The resin contained in the resin tank of a water softening system needs to be recharged periodically in order to continue removing dissolved minerals from hard water. As minerals are removed from hard water they bind, through an electrical charge, to the negatively charged resin. These mineral ions take up space on the resin, and periodically need to be flushed from the resin to allow other mineral ions to occupy that space. If not done periodically, the flow rate may be impacted.

The second tank in a water softening system is known as a brine solution tank and contains a concentrated solution of saltwater. During the flushing process, the resin tank is rinsed with the saltwater from the brine tank. The saltwater saturates the resin, forcing the positively-charged mineral ions to become removed and replaced by positively charged sodium ions. The remaining water in the resin tank, containing the loose mineral ions, is then flushed and the system is ready to soften water again.

Do Water Softening Systems Require Maintenance?

Water softening systems do require some maintenance to function at peak performance. Specifically, the user is usually required to add additional salt, or sodium chloride, to the brine solution tank periodically.

The process of flushing the resin tank may be automated depending on the specific system you are using. Many systems perform the flushing process in the middle of the night when the system is less likely to be in use.

What About Salt?

Sodium ions serve an important function in water softening systems, but many people are curious about whether the soft water produced by a water softening system is salty. A typical water softening system will add roughly 750 milligrams of sodium for each gallon of water produced. To put this number in perspective, an 8-ounce glass of tomato juice has approximately 875 milligrams of sodium.

With that being said, if you are concerned about the sodium content of soft water there are a couple of treatment options for you. 

First, some types of water softeners utilize a resin that releases potassium into the water rather than sodium. The downside of these types of systems is that the potassium chloride salt used in them is more expensive than the salt used to refresh a typical water softening system.

Second, many people choose to install a reverse osmosis system under their sink to provide water for drinking and cooking. Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are small, making them easy to install in tight places, and they can remove any remaining sodium in the water along with other dissolved solids that your water may contain. It is basically a water conditioning system made to provide fresh drinking water.

Closing Thoughts

Water softening systems are a highly effective and efficient method of removing hard minerals from hard water that could be affecting your health and house appliances. Water softening systems utilize a process known as ion exchange to remove minerals from hard water. This process reverses the natural processes through which water becomes hard in the first place.

When water percolates through soil and stone it picks up positively charged mineral ions, which are then bound to the water molecule and make it hard. Hard water enters the water softening system through the resin tank, which is a tank filled with a negatively charged porous plastic resin coated in positively charged sodium ions. As the hard water moves through this tank, the hard mineral ions in the hard water are attracted to the negatively charged resin. The water exiting the system has had the hard minerals removed, and is ready to be piped throughout your house.

Water softening systems remove hard minerals through a gentle, largely passive process. Periodically the resin’s negative charge needs to be refreshed by removing the mineral ions that have become attached to it during the water softening process. This is accomplished by filling the resin tank with a saltwater brine, which displaces the mineral ions with sodium ions. Those mineral ions are then flushed from the system and the water softening system is ready to soften more water.

Water softening systems are low-maintenance and are the most efficient method of removing hard minerals – calcium chloride, magnesium, iron – from hard water and avoiding the negative impact of hard water throughout your house. Rayne Water is proud to serve California and Arizona. So if you need a water softener in Phoenix or a reverse osmosis system in San Diego… we’ve got you covered! To learn more about what water softening systems are available for your residence or business or how to get a purified water system, please contact Rayne today.

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Sources

  1. Ungvarsky, Janine. 2018. “Hard Water.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.
  2. https://extension.psu.edu/hard-water-and-water-softening
  3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-water-softeners-wo/
  4. https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a28280250/water-softener/
  5. https://extension.psu.edu/water-softening

Hard Water Treatment Options

Posted by Rayne Water

If you have hard water and want to eliminate it, you’ll want to have a good understanding of what hard water treatment options exist for your home. The top hard water solutions for home utilize a process known as ion exchange, which provides soft water for your whole house. However, there are other options including water softener/filtration combinations that can help you dodge the effects of hard water.  

Gaining a better perspective on the benefits and drawbacks of these types of hard water treatment systems can help you make an informed decision about the best water softening option for your needs. Let’s take a look into how water softening systems work

Ion exchange Systems

Ion exchange systems are the most effective treatment solution for hard water. These systems are also the only realistic method of actually removing the mineral content of hard water.

Ion exchange systems function by removing positively charged mineral ions from hard water and replacing them with positively charged sodium ions. These water softening systems have two tanks: a brine tank and a resin tank. The resin tank contains negatively charged resin beads, with positively charged sodium ions attached. When hard water enters the resin tank, the hard mineral ions in the hard water are attracted to the resin. The sodium ions are displaced into the water flow in order to maintain electrical balance. 

Over time, as the resin becomes saturated with mineral ions it is necessary to refresh the system. In order to do this, highly concentrated saltwater in the brine tank is flushed into the resin tank. The saltwater displaces the mineral ions on the resin, which are then flushed down the drain. Once this process is complete, the system is recharged.

The benefit of ion exchange systems is that they are simply the most effective way to remove minerals that contribute to water hardness. With an ion exchange system, you’ll eliminate spotting on dishes, pots, and pans. Your soap scum and scaling will be eliminated, and appliances such as your water heater, dishwasher, and coffee pot will be protected against the damage caused by mineral buildup, also known as limescale buildup. These visual indicators should be should not go unnoticed when switching to a water softener in order to tell if the system is working correctly

There are tradeoffs with this type of system. The first is that they waste a small amount of water during the process of refreshing the system. Some water is washed out along with the collected minerals. The second tradeoff is that they release some sodium into the water flow. While the amount of sodium released into the water is fairly minimal, if you are on a low sodium diet you may want to consider installing a reverse-osmosis (RO) system at your sink to provide drinking water. Osmosis systems can be easily installed to your sink faucets for instant filtration of tap water.

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Salt-Free Systems

Salt-free systems like the Spartan Series provide water softening functionality through the use of Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) Media. TAC-media turns the dissolved calcium carbonate mineral ions into a crystalline form. While this won’t remove the mineral content from the water, it does make it less likely to attach to surfaces. This crystalline calcium carbonate isn’t noticeable, and these types of systems provide many of the same benefits of water softeners by reducing scaling and protecting your fixtures and appliances.

An added benefit of salt-free systems like the Spartan is that they also filter out contaminants from the water. Wrapped around the TAC-media is a carbon media, which filters out Chlorine and Chloramines while reducing bad odor and improving the taste of what was originally tap water.

The drawback of these water filtration systems is that they don’t truly remove the minerals from hard water. To do that, you need a water softening system that utilizes ion exchange.

Please note that some areas of the US have banned certain types of water softening systems that use salt; however, salt free water softeners in Santa Clarita and other cities who banned salt based water softeners are legal.

Softener and Filter Combinations

It is possible to remove both the mineral content in hard water and treat it for contaminants. Water softener and filter combination systems like the Guardian Series accomplish this by combining both functions into a hybrid multi-media system. The hybrid multi-media system contains the carbon media that removes contaminants as well as contains the resin and brine solutions that comprise a water softening system.

Closing Thoughts

To effectively remove the mineral content that determines the level of water hardness, you’ll need to use some type of water softening system that utilizes ion exchange. The process of ion exchange removes the mineral ions from soft water, replacing them with sodium ions. 

Standalone water softening systems for your whole house is highly effective at removing minerals from hard water, but they don’t filter out contaminants. To do that, you’ll want a water softening and filtration combination system, which combines both functions into the same system to obtain such soft water benefits.

A second option for removing contaminants and salt after water has been run through a water softening system is to install a reverse-osmosis system for your drinking water. These systems are highly effective at removing dissolved solids and contaminants from water, ultimately resulting in water purification. Using an RO system with a water softener will also help your RO system avoid the rapid buildup of minerals in the membrane that comes with using these systems with hard water.

Lastly, if you are just concerned about the mineral buildup that comes with hard water, but still want contaminants filtered out, you could consider a salt-free system which utilizes TAC-media. While not actually lowering the mineral content of the water, TAC-media will make the calcium carbonate in hard water crystallize, which minimizes the scaling and buildup that comes with hard water. 

To learn more about hard water treatment options, please contact Rayne water today to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.

Sources

  1. http://waterquality.cce.cornell.edu/publications/CCEWQ-50-HardWater.pdf
  2. http://nextfiltration.com/DownloadFiles/next-ScaleStop-lit.pdf
  3. https://extension.psu.edu/water-softening
  4. https://extension.psu.edu/hard-water-and-water-softening

Hard Water Health Effects

Posted by Rayne Water

In most discussions about hard water, the focus is placed on the impact of our household appliances. However, stains found on appliances are not the only issue posed by this quality of water. Hard water has a number of important effects on the surfaces and fixtures throughout your household that are worthwhile to understand, but what you may not know is that the hardness of water can also have an impact on your body.

The health effects of hard water may be something you are familiar with, even if you didn’t realize that hard water was the root cause. Conditions like dry skin or an itchy scalp can stem from the level of hardness. Understanding the effects of hard water on the human body as a whole can help illuminate the many ways that hard water is affecting you or your family.

What is Hard Water?

Water is considered hard if it has a relatively high number of hard minerals. The concept of water hardness is used to quantify how hard water is. Typically, this is presented on a scale. Water hardness is determined by the number of grains-per-gallon (GPG) of calcium carbonate that a sample of water contains.

The most common water hardness scale is as follows:

Though water hardness is measured by finding the amount of calcium carbonate that a sample of water contains, it is important to understand that calcium carbonate is not the only mineral that contributes to water hardness. Water can harden due to a wide variety of mineral and metal ions. Calcium and magnesium are the two most common minerals that contribute to hard water, but hard water can also contain iron, manganese, aluminum, barium, and other mineral ions.

Water hardens naturally as it moves through soil that is rich in minerals. This means that groundwater is typically harder than surface water because it picks up mineral ions as it percolates through soil and stone.

Due to the natural processes that lead to hard water, there is a strong correlation between where you live and the hardness levels of the water. One way to think of this is that if you have hard water at your house, most likely all of the water provided by your municipal water supplier is also hard.

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Health Impacts of Hard Water

Hard water has a number of effects on the human body. The most frustrating of these can be found on the surfaces of our bodies. Hair and skin are the most common places that you will witness the impact of hard water. With that being said, many people wonder whether hard water has a negative impact on their internal health as well. The water you are drinking at home is another factor to consider. 

There have been a number of studies conducted to determine hard water health effects. To date, no study has found a correlation between the consumption of hard water and negative health outcomes. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has made the argument that the mineral content in hard drinking water can be beneficial in circumstances where individuals are deficient in certain necessary minerals. 

Although there have been no clear ties to negative health impacts when hard water is consumed, there can be significant effects when hard water is used to bathe in. Broadly speaking, hard water leaves behind the hard minerals it contains on surfaces it comes in contact with. We typically think of this occurring on surfaces around our house, such as sinks and faucets, but it also occurs on our bodies. 

The Impact of Hard Water on Skin

Many people are sensitive to the effects of hard water on skin. Hard water can impact the health of your skin in a couple of important ways. The first is that as hard water dries, it leaves behind tiny amounts of hard minerals on your skin. These hard minerals can clog pores and upset the natural PH levels of your skin. Both of these effects can lead to dry, irritated skin.

The second way that hard water impacts your skin is by reacting with the soap that you use during your shower. The hard minerals in hard water react with soap to form an insoluble precipitate that is commonly known as soap scum. You’ll typically find soap scum in your shower or sinks. Bathing in hard water can leave behind a thin layer of this precipitate on your skin as well.

One thing that you’ll notice when using soap with hard water is that it becomes more difficult to produce a satisfying lather. Most people tend to compensate for this by using more soap. This extra soap becomes difficult to fully wash off, leaving many people with a very thin layer of soap on their skin after their shower is finished.

Whether it is the minerals left behind by hard water, or the soap that never fully washes off, showering in hard water often leaves people with dry skin. The thin film of soap left behind after showering in hard water serves as a barrier for any moisturizers or lotions you might use after your shower, reducing their effectiveness at alleviating the symptoms of dry skin.

You’ll most likely notice the effects of hard water on areas with sensitive skin first, such as your face or scalp. The scalp can be particularly prone to the impact of hard water since a thin film of shampoo can be left behind after your shower, and it can be difficult to properly moisturize the skin of your scalp. Such indicators can give insights into whether the installed water softener is working or not. 

The Impact of Hard Water on Your Hair

Washing your hair in hard water may result in hair that is limp, dry, brittle, and dull in appearance. Each of these impacts is a result of the high content of hard minerals contained in hard water. 

The minerals in hard water will be left behind on your hair. Over time this mineral coating can have a big impact. It will weigh down your hair, giving it less volume than it would otherwise have. This tends to give hair washed in hard water a limp appearance and makes styling more difficult. The minerals left behind on your hair will also rob hair of its natural shine, resulting in hair that is dull or matte in appearance. 

The minerals left behind by hard water will dry out your hair. This occurs because the coating doesn’t allow moisturizers and conditioners to penetrate the hair follicle.

Hard Water Solutions

The best way to minimize the impact of hard water on your health is to transition to soft water throughout your house by implementing water filtration systems. Soft water is simply water with low mineral content. As we’ve seen, the hard minerals contained in hard water are the root cause of the negative effects that it has on our body. Whether on their own or through a reaction with the soap that you use, the minerals contained in hard water dry out your hair and skin and can lead to persistent irritation.

Transitioning to a water softener system isn’t as complicated as you might think. Most water softening systems are installed at the water supply line coming into your house. Once installed, these systems provide soft water to all plumbing fixtures throughout your house. Importantly, this includes the water flow coming out of your showerhead, which will help you eliminate the impacts of hard water on your body. When showering in soft water, it is easier to understand and witness the benefits of softer water

Water softening systems don’t require toxic chemicals to remove the minerals from hard water. Instead, these minerals – iron, calcium, magnesium – are removed through a process called ion exchange. In this process, the mineral ions that are bound to your water are exchanged with sodium ions. Occasionally the minerals removed from your hard water will be flushed out of the system during a brief cycle.

Closing Thoughts

The easiest way to think of hard water is to think of it as water with high mineral content. The minerals contained in hard water are picked up as it percolates through soil. When hard water touches surfaces around your house, or on your body, it leaves behind small amounts of these minerals.

The minerals left behind by hard water have a number of impacts on your body. Although they are safe to consume, they can disrupt the health of your hair and skin. Hair washed in hard water will typically lose its shine over time, while also having less volume due to the weight of mineral deposits on your hair follicles. Shampoos and conditioners aren’t able to effectively penetrate the hair follicle to moisturize it, contributing to dry, brittle hair.

Hard water minerals will also dry out your skin by upsetting your natural PH balance. Additionally, those minerals can clog pores and lead to irritation. Washing your body with soap in hard water will leave behind a thin film of soap after your shower is over, further drying out your skin. Typically the effects of hard water on the skin are most obvious in areas with sensitive skin, such as your face and scalp. Installing a water softener can help reverse these harsh effects caused by buildup.

The most effective way to eliminate the negative impacts of hard water on your health is to invest in a water softening system for your house. These systems are non-toxic and highly effective at reducing the mineral content in the water flow coming out of your tap. To learn more about water softener solutions to your hard water problems, please contact Rayne today.

Sources:

  1. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
  2. Ungvarsky, Janine. 2018. “Hard Water.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.
  3. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/hardness.pdf
  4. https://extension.psu.edu/hard-water-and-water-softening

Benefits of Soft Water

Posted by Rayne Water

Making the switch to water softenersystems can bring many benefits. The effects of hard water can be seen around your house and on your body. By switching to soft water, these hard water effects are eliminated at the source.

Gaining a better understanding of the advantages of soft water can help your household to determine if the switch is worth it. For many, the benefits of soft water far outweigh the initial investment that it entails. Requiring minimal maintenance, installing a water softener provides a long-term, substantial benefit for many families. To learn why let’s explore the benefits of soft water.

What is Soft Water?

To gain a full understanding of the benefits of soft water it is helpful to first understand what soft water is. References to “soft” or “hard” water utilize the concept of water hardness, which is used to communicate the content of hard minerals contained in a sample of water.

With that in mind, water is considered “soft” if it contains a very low amount of hard minerals. Water is referred to as “hard” if it contains a relatively high amount of hard minerals. 

So, how low of a mineral content does water need to be considered soft? There is a water hardness scale that provides thresholds for how hard or soft water is. The water hardness scale relies on a measurement of the content of dissolved calcium carbonate in a sample of water, expressed in grains-per-gallon (GPG).

Here are these thresholds according to the most commonly used water hardness scale:

Hard water may contain many different types of minerals and metals, but calcium carbonate is chosen because it is the most common and abundant mineral found in hard water. 

Can Soft Water Occur Naturally?

In discussions around water hardness, it is important to keep in mind that both hard and soft water occur through natural processes. Water is soft when it falls to the ground as precipitation. It then becomes hard as it percolates through the ground and stone, picking up mineral ions along the way. 

Because water hardness is directly tied to the mineral content of the ground and soil that water flows through, different regions will have varying degrees of water hardness. Many areas in the United States have naturally occurring soft water, while many other places have naturally occurring hard water.

How is Water Made Soft?

You can transform hard water into soft water by reversing the processes that naturally lead to hard water. In a residential setting, individuals turn hard water into soft water by installing a water softener. These systems utilize a process known as “ion exchange”.

Ion exchange is the same process through which water becomes hard. As water percolates through ground and soil it picks up positively charged mineral ions that become bound to the water molecule. 

When water enters a water softening system it is placed in a tank containing a negatively charged resin. The negatively charged resin attracts the positively charged mineral ions in hard water and keeps them bound to the resin as the water passes through.

The end result is soft water piped throughout your house. The benefits of water softener systems are that they are highly effective at reducing the mineral content of water, while also doing so passively and without the use of chemicals.

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Soft Water Benefits

With a better understanding of what soft water is, let’s explore some of the top advantages of soft water. Taken as a whole, transitioning to a water softener system reverses and eliminates the core problems that arise from hard water. These problems affect the surfaces, fixtures, and appliances within your home, as well as the surfaces of your body including your hair and skin. Understanding the benefits of soft water can help you determine whether a water softening system is right for your household.

Eliminate Soap Scum

Transitioning to soft water in your house will eliminate your problems with soap scum. Soap scum forms when the hard minerals in hard water come into contact with soap. The result is a white or grayish precipitate that stubbornly coats the surfaces it forms on. 

Soap scum is commonly found on the surfaces and fixtures in bathrooms, including tile, shower doors, faucets, sinks, and counters. Soap scum is notoriously difficult to remove, and will quickly form again once soap and hard water are used in the same area. By transitioning to soft water, you eliminate the hard minerals in water that are a necessary precursor for the formation of soap scum. This makes it much easier to keep your bathroom surfaces and fixtures looking clean and new.

No Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits are the most common effect of hard water, and transitioning to a soft water system will eliminate them entirely. Hard water will leave calcium mineral deposits on any surface it comes into contact with and dries on. These deposits are an insoluble precipitate that usually appears white or yellow, but can also appear red or other colors depending on the mineral content of your hard water. Washing and scrubbing these surfaces free of stains can be a pain.

Mineral deposits are often referred to as “scaling” or “limescale”, and form most frequently on surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, such as shower doors, faucets, sinks, and tile. Mineral deposits will also form in appliances, such as coffee makers, dishwashers, and water heaters. The pipes in your house will also have mineral deposit buildup, which can reduce the flow of water over time and may lead to plumbing issues later on. The spots that appear on your dishes as they dry are also mineral deposits. While not dangerous, these unsightly lime build-up spots can be frustrating to deal with.

Water softening systems eliminate mineral buildup at the source before they can cause problems throughout your house. Unlike hard water, soft water doesn’t have the hard mineral content necessary to leave behind deposits. While you may need to remove the existing mineral deposits when you transition to a water softening system, you won’t need to continue to do so as long as you keep using soft water in your household. This benefit can save you frustration and many hours of cleaning.

Benefits for Hair

Transitioning to a soft water filtration system carries a number of benefits for the health of your hair. Our hair is particularly susceptible to the impact of the minerals contained in hard water. These minerals are left behind as deposits on the hair follicle, blocking the ability of moisturizers to penetrate the hair and drying it out. Over time, mineral deposits weigh down the hair and reduce its volume, while also making the hair appear dull rather than shiny. The minerals in hard water also react with shampoo, resulting in a weak lather and a film of shampoo that is difficult to completely wash out.

In contrast, showering in soft water will help you have stronger hair, restore your scalp’s natural moisture levels, and increase your hair’s volume and shine. By eliminating the minerals in hard water, your moisturizers and conditioners can effectively penetrate your hair follicles. Your shampoo will produce a satisfying lather and be easier to wash out. This will also eliminate the film of soap left behind that can potentially dry out the sensitive skin of your scalp.

Benefits for Skin

Trace amounts of the hard minerals in hard water are left behind on your skin after you shower. These minerals can clog pores and upset the skin’s delicate moisture levels. Additionally, a thin film of soap can be left behind when showering in hard water. This layer of soap is difficult to completely wash off, and may also contribute to irritated or dry skin.

Soft water eliminates both of these problems of dry hair and skin associated with showering in hard water. Showering in soft water won’t leave behind mineral deposits that can clog your pores. Your soap will lather better, and be much easier to completely wash off, thus revealing softer skin. Some individuals note that showering in soft water can leave skin feeling slippery, which is an indication that all remaining traces of soap have been removed from the skin. For individuals with dry or sensitive skin, showering in soft water can be beneficial.

Closing Thoughts

Only you can tell if the benefits associated with switching to water softener systems throughout your house are worthwhile. Having a better understanding of some of the most important benefits associated with soft water can provide important context to that decision. Soft water is simply water with a very low content of hard minerals. By reducing the content of minerals in the water, many surprising benefits can occur around your house and on your body.

Foremost among the benefits of transitioning to soft water is the elimination of soap scum and mineral deposits. Mineral deposits are unsightly, stubborn to remove, and can reduce the efficiency of appliances like your coffee pot or dishwasher. Soap scum is an insoluble precipitate that forms from a reaction between soap and the minerals in hard water. Both of these frustrating substances are eliminated by transitioning to filtered water.

Utilizing a soft water system can also benefit the health of your hair and skin. Your hair will be less brittle and have more volume because it won’t have a layer of minerals coating it. Your shampoo and soaps will be more effective, and easier to wash off. Your skin will have more normal moisture levels without mineral deposits left behind on it, and without the stubborn film of soap left behind after showering in hard water. Isn’t the whole point of taking a nice warm shower or bath to feel cleaner? 

Water softening systems are an efficient method of transitioning to soft water throughout your household. To learn more about what types of water softening systems are available for your residence, please contact Rayne today.

Sources

  1. https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a28280250/water-softener/
  2. https://www.thespruce.com/soap-scum-information-1900291
  3. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
  4. Ungvarsky, Janine. 2018. “Hard Water.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.
  5. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/hardness.pdf
  6. https://extension.psu.edu/water-softening

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water?

Posted by Rayne Water

For those of us living in an area with hard water, the effects of hard water can be seen all around us. Many people fail to notice the signs of hard water because they are unfamiliar with them. Nonetheless, the impact of hard water can be seen on faucets, fixtures, and surfaces around your house, as well as in your hair and on your skin. The impact of hard water can even be seen on the clothes you wear and the dishes you use.

If you have ever wondered how to know if you have a hard water problem, perhaps the easiest way is by looking for the most common signs of hard water around your home and on your body. There are also other methods, including having your water professionally tested or looking towards official sources for water quality in your area.

What is Hard Water?

The name sounds awfully contradicting, so what is hard water exactly? Water is referred to as “hard” when it is tested and found to have relatively high amounts of minerals. Most often, hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. Hard water can also contain elevated levels of metal mineral buildup, such as iron, zinc, barium, manganese, and aluminum.

The opposite of hard water is referred to as “soft” water. Soft water has low amounts of minerals and can occur naturally, or as the result of a deionization  Many that have soft water in their home are usually using a home water softener system.

The Water Hardness Scale

Water hardness is a sliding scale, with soft water on one end of the spectrum and very hard water on the other end. A water hardness scale is a tool used to define exactly how hard water is. The unit of measurement used in the water hardness scale is grains per gallon (GPG), which is a measurement of the amount of dissolved calcium carbonate contained in a water sample. 

Here are how different levels of hardness are classified according to the most commonly used water hardness scale:

How Does Water Become Hard?

Water becomes hard through a natural process. Hard water isn’t like fluoride, which is added to water in most places throughout the United States to prevent tooth decay. Instead, the dissolved minerals that create hard water are accumulated as water slowly percolates through the ground.

Typically, surface water isn’t very hard. Groundwater, which is water that is found in the soil beneath the Earth’s surface, tends to be much harder because it is closer to the sources of minerals. 

Water is a powerful solvent, and as it moves through the ground it dissolves and picks up mineral ions. Once bound to water these mineral ions don’t become easily dislodged. Left untreated, the minerals will eventually be left behind as a deposit when water is heated or evaporated.

Strategies for Determining if You Have Hard Water

If you have ever wondered, “how do I know if I have hard water?”, there are some straightforward methods to easily tell if you have mineral buildup in your tap water. The easiest of these is to simply gain a better understanding of what the effects of hard water are, and look for those effects around your home. This is the most accessible method of determining if you have hard water and the easiest for any individual to do without additional tools or resources like a hard water test.

Before diving into the effects of a hard water problem, there are two other easy ways how to tell if you have hard water. The first is at-home testing, either by yourself using a kit or by a professional. The second is to get a copy of the most recent water quality report provided by your municipal water supply.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both methods:

So what is the best method for determining whether you have hard water? The answer depends on what you want. If you want to understand exactly how hard your water is, it is probably best to have it tested by a professional company. If you just want to understand whether you have hard water, then the best way is to gain a better understanding of the most common effects of hard water and look for those effects around your house and on your body.

Common Effects of Hard Water

If you have hard water in your house, you have most likely been battling the effects of hard water. When hard water comes into contact with a surface it leaves behind the dissolved minerals it carries in the form of an insoluble precipitate. While this may seem like a small thing, over time this precipitate causes the most frustrating effects of hard water.

Soap Scum

For people with hard water, battling soap scum just becomes a fact of life. Soap scum forms from a reaction between the minerals in hard water and the soap you use to clean or shower with. Soap scum is a whitish or yellowish film that builds up on surfaces that come into contact with both soap and hard water. Typically it will be found on faucets and in sinks, as well as in your bathroom shower and on your counters. 

Soap scum is difficult to clean and quick to build back up again after it has been removed. Although soap scum isn’t necessarily dangerous to the health, it is unsightly and can serve as a fertile breeding ground for mold. If you want to remove soap scum you’ll probably need to use an acid, such as vinegar.

Soap scum from suds doesn’t just form on the surfaces around your house. A film of soap will also be left behind on your skin when you use soap with hard water. Soap used in hard water doesn’t produce a good lather because lathering requires water to have free molecules. So most people end up using more soap or shampoo to compensate. This excess soap reacts with the minerals in hard water to leave a film behind.

Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits are probably the easiest impact of hard water to recognize. In a household with hard water, mineral deposits are on everything that water touches. You’ll see these hard water stains on your faucets and bathroom fixtures, on your shower doors and bathtub, and in your sinks or on your dishes. When hard water evaporates or dries on a surface it leaves behind the dissolved minerals it was carrying as deposits. 

These mineral deposits often appear whitish in color due to the fact that they are usually calcium carbonate or magnesium. If your water is hard because of iron, these mineral deposits may appear red. 

The mineral deposits left behind by hard water can have a negative impact. These deposits form quickly when water is heated, which occurs in dishwashers, washers, water heaters, and coffee pots. These and other appliances that heat hard water can experience decreased operational efficiency over time. In a similar fashion, as water is piped throughout your house the minerals will slowly be deposited into the walls of the pipes, constricting the flow of water over time.

Though these hard water deposits are usually only a significant problem after they have happened for many years, it is worthwhile to be mindful of the ways hard water can impact the equipment and appliances throughout your house. More often, you’ll notice white dots on your pans and dishes, even after they are thoroughly cleaned. These don’t mean that your dishes are dirty, but rather are simply minerals left behind as hard water evaporated.

Skin Irritation

The skin irritation caused by hard water can be caused both by the film left behind when soap is used in hard water, as well as by the minerals contained in hard water itself. When you shower with hard water and dry off, tiny amounts of minerals are left behind as the water evaporates. These minerals can block pores and upset the delicate balance of healthy skin, leading to irritation.

The soapy film left behind on your skin after you shower or bathe with hard water can block pores. This film will also dry out skin, both by coating the skin and altering its PH as well as by serving as a barrier for helpful moisturizers and lotions. You’ll typically see skin irritation caused by hard water on individuals with sensitive skin, and on the most vulnerable part of their skin such as the scalp or face. You might also notice hard water effects on hair as well. Hard water can cause color to fade or dry out hair from root to tip.

Dingy, Faded Laundry

If the color of your clothes fades quickly, leading to dull and dingy looking clothing after only a few months, you most likely are washing your clothes with hard water in your washing machine. The minerals contained in hard water are deposited on the fibers of your clothing when you do your laundry. Over time, these minerals coat the fabric of your clothing and give it a dull appearance. This mineral coating will also rob the strength of the fibers of your clothing, leading your clothing to wear out more quickly than it would otherwise.

Closing Thoughts

The effects of hard water are so commonplace you might not have even realized what they were. Soap scum and mineral deposits can both be found in households that have hard water. Looking for these signs of hard water can let you know quickly and easily whether you have hard water in your house. Some of the other common effects of hard water include dry skin and faded and dingy laundry.

If you want to know exactly how hard the water is in your house, it is probably in your best interest to schedule an assessment with a water purification professional like Rayne. One of our experts can explain in-depth what a water softener does so you can decide if it’s the right solution for you. Not only are these tests free or low cost, but they can tell you exactly what the mineral content of the water in your house is.

To find out if you have hard water or to explore treatment options for your hard water like a home water softener system, please contact Rayne today.

Sources

  1. https://water.usgs.gov/owq/hardness-alkalinity.html#hardness
  2. https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits
  3. Ungvarsky, Janine. “Hard Water.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science, 2018.
  4. http://www.vwd.org/home/showdocument?id=11004
  5. Luqman, Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Haris Ramzan, Usama Javaid, Roshan Ali, Muhammad Shoaib, and Muhammad Ayyas Luqman. “To Evaluate and Compare Changes in Baseline Strength of Hairs after Treating Them with Deionized Water and Hard Water and Its Role in Hair Breakage.” International Journal of Trichology 10, no. 3 (May 2018): 113–17.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

You have probably heard the term reverse osmosis, and may even have had reverse osmosis filtered water. Most of us have reaped the benefits of reverse osmosis, even if we haven’t realized it. Reverse osmosis is used to remove contaminants from tap water, manufacture fruit juice concentrates, keep water from spotting on your car in a car wash, and even used to grow the food we eat.

But what is reverse osmosis exactly? How does reverse osmosis work? These questions have complicated answers that require gaining a better understanding of the natural process of osmosis to fully grasp. Before investing in a reverse osmosis filtration system for your home or business, it is helpful to understand what reverse osmosis is, how it works, and what the advantages and disadvantages of these systems are.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is a process that is commonly used to remove contaminants, particulates, and other solid material from a water source. Reverse osmosis is a man-made process, unlike osmosis which occurs naturally.

The Origins of Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis was first developed over two and a half centuries ago in France by Jean-Antoine Nollet, a member of the French clergy and a physicist. Over the subsequent two centuries, other scientists began to implement the reverse osmosis process in their laboratories.

The use of reverse osmosis remained isolated to laboratories until 1950 when the University of California Los Angeles began using the process in a desalination plant. The use of reverse osmosis to desalinate seawater opened the doors for the use of reverse osmosis across a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

 

How Does it Work?

Reverse osmosis, as the name implies, is the reverse of the natural process, osmosis. To gain a good understanding of how reverse osmosis works, it is necessary to first understand how osmosis works.

Osmosis

Osmosis is a naturally occurring process that is necessary for life as we know it. Osmosis has a couple of moving parts that you should understand, as they will be important during a discussion of reverse osmosis. 

At a basic level, osmosis is the movement of a fluid across a semipermeable membrane from an area with a low concentration of solute to an area with a high concentration of a solute.

Let’s break down what these terms mean:

During osmosis, the solvent moves through the semipermeable membrane from an area with a low solute count, referred to as a hypotonic solution, to an area with a high concentration of solute, known as a hypertonic solution. This movement of the solvent across a membrane from a low concentration solution to a high concentration solution may sound odd, is easily illustrated if we look at a plant.

Plants acquire their nutrients and water through the process of osmosis. The plant’s roots go down into the soil and spread out. In the process of osmosis, the plant’s roots are the semipermeable membrane. The soil is the hypotonic solution or the solution with a low concentration of solute. The plant roots are the hypertonic solution, or the solution with the high concentration of solutes. Water is the solvent, while nutrients necessary for the plant to sustain life are the solute.

Water carrying nutrients moves from the area with a low concentration of nutrients (soil), across the semipermeable membrane (the roots), to the area with a high concentration of nutrients (the plant itself).

Osmosis isn’t confined to plants. It is a driving force behind life as we know it, and plays an important role in how the human body functions. Osmosis is the process through which our bodies maintain normal levels of salt and other minerals.

Osmosis is even the fundamental process underlying kidney dialysis, a common medical treatment. One problem that many patients who have chronic kidney failure have is a buildup of fluids. Kidney dialysis uses osmosis to remove this excess water. In kidney dialysis, the dialyzer membrane functions as the semipermeable membrane. On one side is an artificial solution that is high in sugar, while on the other side is the patient’s blood. The membrane in the middle won’t let the sugar pass through the membrane, while the extra water in the patient’s blood is diffused across the membrane into the area with a high concentration of sugar.

How Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Work?

Now that we have a firm understanding of how osmosis works, we can begin to answer the question, “how does a reverse osmosis system work?”. Reverse osmosis flips the normal process of osmosis but retains the same concepts.

Reverse osmosis is the process where a solvent moves across a semipermeable barrier from a solution with a high concentration of solute, or a hypertonic solution, to a solution with a low concentration of solute, or a hypotonic solution, using pressure.

Remember that osmosis occurs naturally, utilizing what is known as osmotic pressure to facilitate the movement of a solvent across the membrane. Reverse osmosis systems involve the unnatural movement of a solvent across a membrane from a high solute solution to a low solute solution, so the pressure required to cause that movement must be externally provided.

Perhaps the easiest way to illustrate reverse osmosis in practice is desalination. Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater to create freshwater. Water, the solvent, is forced across a membrane using hydrostatic pressure. The solution on one side is seawater, which is rich in salt. So, seawater functions as the hypertonic solution. Water is able to move across the membrane, but the salt molecules are too large to move across as well, leaving them behind. The result on the other side is freshwater with a low concentration of salt, making it a hypotonic solution.

The example of seawater highlights the importance of the semipermeable membrane in the reverse osmosis process. If you have ever wondered, “how does a reverse osmosis filter work?”, the answer here lies in the size of the molecules that it allows to pass to the other side. In a desalination plant, the filter membrane allows smaller molecules like water to pass through, while larger molecules like salt are too big to pass through the membrane.

What are the Practical Applications of Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is used primarily to remove contaminants from water, but it also has a wide variety of other uses. Although the solvent involved in reverse osmosis is most commonly water, other liquids and even gasses can undergo the reverse osmosis filtration process to remove unwanted particles and molecules.

Here are some of the top uses of reverse osmosis today:

Are There Any Disadvantages to Reverse Osmosis?

While reverse osmosis is a crucial process for many commercial and industrial applications and is increasingly relied on for cost-efficient residential drinking water, there are some downsides worth touching on.

The first downside is that reverse osmosis is sometimes seen as too effective at filtration by removing all of those dissolved solids from water. Reverse osmosis water has reduced mineral content. In certain parts of the world, such as developing countries, these minerals can provide a health benefit. 

In developed countries like the United States, the vast majority of people get their required minerals from their diet, so this is less of a concern.  

Closing Thoughts

Reverse osmosis is the process where a solvent, typically water, is pushed across a membrane using externally provided pressure to remove contaminants, particles, and other molecules that are too large to fit through the membrane. Desalination, or the process of turning seawater into freshwater, is a prime example of reverse osmosis. 

Reverse osmosis is not a natural process but is rather the reversal of the natural process of osmosis. Reverse osmosis requires some external force to increase the pressure of a solution to pass across a membrane that will remove unwanted molecules and dissolved solids.

Reverse osmosis is a highly effective filtration process for removing dissolved solids from water. Reverse osmosis removes not only minerals and salts from water, but it can remove bacteria, fluoride, and other dissolved solids that other filtration methods don’t. This makes it an ideal method for producing potable water in both a commercial and residential setting. 

To learn more about residential reverse osmosis drinking water systems, please contact Rayne today. We carry both residential and commercial reverse osmosis systems and have locations in both Arizona and California! Everything from reverse osmosis systems in Phoenix to water softener systems in Orange County! Check out the location nearest you!

Find a location near you!

Sources:

  1. Lasky, Jack. 2019. “Reverse Osmosis (RO).” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.
  2. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 15.8, Osmosis, Water Channels, and the Regulation of Cell Volume. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21739/
  3. https://sciencestruck.com/osmosis-examples
  4. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/israel-proves-the-desalination-era-is-here/
  5. https://university.upstartfarmers.com/blog/reverse-osmosis-systems
  6. https://www.winespectator.com/articles/how-does-reverse-osmosis-work-and-whats-it-for-5360

A Guide to Reverse Osmosis Water Benefits

Posted by Rayne Water

Reverse osmosis (RO) is one of the most popular processes for producing fresh drinking water.

Many people who are exploring whether to get a reverse osmosis system wonder is reverse osmosis water good for you? Among the many benefits of drinking reverse osmosis water is a reduced risk of drinking harmful substances. Reverse osmosis is a highly effective method of reducing the number of contaminants within a water sample, including substances that can be harmful to our health like lead and arsenic.

Even if you have had water that has gone through a reverse osmosis filtration system, you may not be clear on what the reverse osmosis process is. By gaining a better understanding of what reverse osmosis is, you can gain a fully-informed view of the advantages and disadvantages of these types of syse have you covered tems.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is a filtration process used to remove dissolved solids from a sample of water. As the name would suggest, reverse osmosis is the opposite of the natural process of osmosis. To really understand what reverse osmosis is, it is helpful to take a quick look at the process of osmosis.

Osmosis

Osmosis is a natural process that is critical for life as we know it. The concept behind osmosis is relatively simple. In osmosis, a liquid moves across a semipermeable membrane from a solution with a low concentration of solutes to a solution with a high concentration of solutes. The liquid moving across the membrane is considered a solvent, and the solute combined with a solvent is considered a solution. Solutes are a dissolved solid.

Plants are one of the easiest examples of osmosis in action. The movement of moisture and nutrients from the ground into the roots of a plant or tree is the result of osmosis. The inside of a tree’s roots contains a high concentration of nutrients, which are solutes. The soil that the tree is planted in contains lower amounts of nutrients, along with necessary moisture. The roots of the tree function as a semipermeable membrane and nutrient-rich moisture is drawn across that membrane into the area that has a greater concentration of nutrients.

How is Reverse Osmosis Different?

Osmosis occurs naturally due to osmotic pressure, which is a term used to describe the process when a solution with a high concentration of solutes draws in a solvent. Returning to the example of the plant, this means that osmotic pressure is the term used to describe how water and nutrients are drawn naturally into the plant which has a higher concentration of nutrients.

Reverse osmosis is the opposite of the standard osmotic process. The way that reverse osmosis works is that a solvent travels across a semipermeable membrane from a solution with a high concentration of solutes to a solution with a low concentration of solutes. Since this goes against the natural process, it requires a source of external pressure greater than osmotic pressure. This external force is used to push the solvent across the membrane.

In reverse osmosis, the solvent is usually water. The starting solution has a higher-than-desired concentration of dissolved solids. As it is forced through a membrane, the undesired solids remain behind while the water continues through. In the end, you are left with filtered water that has a very low concentration of dissolved solids.

Both osmosis and reverse osmosis rely on a semipermeable membrane to function. Essentially, this membrane acts as a gatekeeper, allowing water molecules through but forcing larger molecules to stay behind. In a reverse osmosis system, the type of membrane used is a determining factor for the types of contaminants and solids that are kept out of the finished product.

Desalination plants are an easy way to see reverse osmosis at work. Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater, turning it into fresh water that is drinkable. The seawater is the starting material, which has a high concentration of solutes, in the form of salt. Pressure is then applied to this seawater to force it to travel through a membrane. The membrane has holes small enough to allow water molecules through, but those same holes are too small for salt molecules. The end result is that salt is left behind at the membrane, and the finished product is clean drinkable water.

How is Reverse Osmosis Used?

You may not realize the many ways you interact with substances that are impacted by reverse osmosis. Here are a few of the most common ways that reverse osmosis is used around the world today.

Agriculture

Reverse osmosis is a key component of modern industrial agriculture. Reverse osmosis helps farmers by giving them greater control over the PH of their irrigation water. Water that has a PH that is too high, making it basic, can have numerous negative consequences for agricultural purposes. Typically this is due to the presence of carbonates in the water. These carbonates change the chemistry of the soil, disrupting nutrient delivery. To combat this, farms utilize reverse osmosis systems to produce water for their irrigation systems.

Power Plants

Power plants are an industrial application where reverse osmosis systems are used extensively. Most power plants utilize some type of fuel source to heat water up, turning it into steam. While fuel sources for power plants can vary, with nuclear, gas, or coal all being commonplace, they all share the need for clean water. That’s because if water containing contaminants is heated in a power plant boiler it can quickly lead to problems, while also reducing the efficiency of the power generation process. The use of RO water, on the other hand, improves efficiency and reduces maintenance costs. 

Desalination

The first use of reverse osmosis outside of a laboratory was a desalination plant opened in 1950 by the University of California Los Angeles. Desalination has come a long way since the 1950s and is now used in arid regions around the world as a reliable source of fresh water. Israel is the world’s leading example of the successful use of desalination, receiving roughly 55% of its freshwater supply from desalination efforts.

Food Production

Some of the foods we eat are even produced using reverse osmosis. Fruit juice concentrates are manufactured using a reverse osmosis process to extract water while leaving behind the fruit solids and sugars that give the juice its flavor. Reverse osmosis produces fruit juice concentrates that are far superior to evaporation. Winemakers also use reverse osmosis to extract excess alcohol from wine, while leaving behind the tannins and flavor molecules. 

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

Key Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Water

There are some substantial benefits to drinking reverse osmosis water. Although we touched on many of the ways that reverse osmosis is utilized in industrial and commercial sectors, reverse osmosis systems are also relied upon in a residential setting for water purification. 

Here are some of the key reverse osmosis water benefits:

Fewer Contaminants

The water coming through our tap often contains contaminants that we don’t want to drink. While municipal water suppliers must meet certain standards for the water reaching your house, those standards are not always adequate. 

A decade ago, the New York Times published a story detailing how over 62 million Americans were exposed to drinking water that didn’t meet at least one government health guideline. One might think that over the subsequent decade those failings had been addressed, but that simply isn’t the case. A more recent article, published in July of this year, found that over 300 public water systems within the State of California were out of compliance with federal requirements for safe drinking water.

RO water contains substantially fewer contaminants than the water that is typically provided by a municipal water supplier. This includes things like salts and carbonates, which are the minerals that increase water hardness. In the filtration process, reverse osmosis systems will remove heavy metals like iron and lead that can be toxic if consumed over time. Water-borne bacteria and viruses, such as norovirus and salmonella, as well as protozoa like giardia, are also removed by reverse osmosis systems. 

With a reverse osmosis system, you’ll have the peace of mind that nearly all of the contaminants in your drinking water have been removed, giving you fresh, clean water. Some people wonder, “is purified water good for you?” The answer is complicated. While RO water doesn’t contain trace amounts of minerals like tap water does, those minerals aren’t typically necessary for a healthy life. Most people in the United States get a sufficient amount of minerals from their diet, and so the extra minerals found in their water provide little benefit. Against that backdrop, the risk that contaminants pose is usually greater than the risk of developing a mineral deficiency.  

Highly Efficient

Reverse osmosis systems are very efficient when compared to other types of filtration systems. This means you’ll use less energy to produce consistently clean drinking water. One of the downsides to reverse osmosis filtration systems in the past was that they produced a large amount of wastewater. 

Some modern reverse osmosis systems, such as the Rayne Eradicator, have addressed this issue by using  over 75-95% less water than other systems. Although the efficiency of residential reverse osmosis systems hasn’t reached the same level of efficiency as industrial systems, they are rapidly closing the gap.

Small Form Factor

In a residential setting, most reverse osmosis filtration systems are designed to provide a clean water supply at a specific tap, such as your kitchen sink. Although there are reverse osmosis systems that can provide clean water to your whole house, these are less common. One of the core advantages of typical reverse osmosis systems is that they can be easily installed in small spaces, such as under your sink. 

Less Waste

Residential reverse osmosis systems replace the need for getting drinking water from other sources. Most people that need drinking water simply buy bottled water from the store. However, these bottles quickly produce a massive amount of waste. About 50 billion bottles of water are purchased annually in the United States, averaging to about 156 bottles per person per year. At the same time, less than a quarter of those bottles are recycled, leading to millions of plastic bottles that end up in landfills every year.

Water bottle delivery services are another common avenue of getting drinking water for most households. These services typically deliver drinking water in 5-gallon reusable bottles. The downside to these services is that they are expensive. They also don’t provide drinking water on-demand, so if you run out you’ll have to wait for your next delivery. 

In contrast, reverse osmosis systems allow you to conveniently produce gallons of drinking water whenever you need it, without the hassle of bottle delivery or bottle recycling.

Closing Thoughts

Reverse osmosis is used to remove contaminants and unwanted molecules from water by forcing it through a membrane. The membrane allows water to pass through, but not anything that is larger than a water molecule. While reverse osmosis systems are a critical component for many industrial and commercial applications, they are also a very popular way to produce drinking water in your house.

The benefits of reverse osmosis systems are that they are efficient and cost-effective. These systems are low-maintenance, and only require changing the semipermeable membrane periodically. The use of a reverse osmosis system allows families to eliminate waste in the form of used water bottles, and reduce costs if they are using a water delivery service.

The core benefit that reverse osmosis systems provide is turning tap water into incredibly clean drinking water. Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective filtration methods in the world, and cutting-edge residential systems can reduce dissolved solids in water by 95% or more. If you want consistently clean drinking water at your sink, there is simply no better choice than a reverse osmosis water filtration system.

Rayne Water is proud to provide services to California, Nevada, and Arizona! We have you covered whether you need reverse osmosis in San Diego or a water softener system in Orange County. Check out all of our locations to find the nearest to you! To learn more about residential and commercial reverse osmosis systems, please contact Rayne today.

Sources

  1. Lasky, Jack. 2019. “Reverse Osmosis (RO).” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.
  2. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 15.8, Osmosis, Water Channels, and the Regulation of Cell Volume. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21739/
  3. https://sciencestruck.com/osmosis-examples
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html?_r=2
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/us/the-crisis-lurking-in-californians-taps-how-1000-water-systems-may-be-at-risk.html
  6. https://www.earthday.org/2018/03/29/fact-sheet-single-use-plastics/

A Breakdown of the Water Hardness Scale

Posted by Rayne Water

If you have hard water, you probably want to know exactly how hard your water is.

To do so, you’ll have to test the mineral content of your drinking water. Understanding the mineral content of your water requires an introduction to water hardness levels, and then comparing your results with a water hardness scale.

In this article, you will learn about the difference between hard water vs. soft water and see how it affects your tap water at home.

What Is Water Hardness?

Water hardness is the concept used to communicate how much or how little dissolved minerals a sample of water contains.

Water is considered “hard” if it has relatively high levels of dissolved minerals. The most common minerals found are calcium and magnesium.

Water with very low levels of dissolved minerals is considered “soft”. To attain “soft” water, many people consider installing a water softener. So what is a water softener exactly? A home water softener system decreases the hardness of water, resulting in softer water.

What Is the Water Hardness Scale?

Now, you must know that drinking water isn’t considered either hard or soft. Rather, water hardness is a sliding scale that is used to tell exactly how hard water is.

Water can have only trace amounts of dissolved minerals, or be saturated in dissolved minerals, with water of varying degrees of hardness existing in between.

The water hardness scale is used to define the specific hardness of water. The scale can help you understand how hard your tap water is in relation to other water hardness readings, and to make an informed decision about whether you need a water softening solution in your home or business.

How to Use the Water Hardness Scale

In order to determine your water hardness, you have to take a sample of your water and measure its mineral content. You can use a test kit to measure the mineral and calcium hardness in your tap water.

The most common water hardness tests measure this mineral content in grains per gallon (GPG). Specifically, your hardness test will let you know the GPG of calcium carbonate that a sample of water contains.

This measurement is then applied to the water hardness level scale to determine how hard or soft your water is.

Here is the most common scale used to determine the dissolved mineral content of your water supply:

Factors Contributing to Water Hardness

So how do traces of dissolved calcium and magnesium end up in water? These minerals originate from natural geological formations and are further increased by human activities such as agriculture and industrial processes.

Natural Sources of Water Hardness

Various natural processes add to water hardness.

Water that leaks through mineral-rich formations like limestone or chalk picks up calcium and magnesium ions, which contribute to hardness. Water from underground aquifers also tends to be harder due to more contact with mineral deposits.

Additionally, surface waters like rivers, lakes, and streams collect minerals from their surroundings, further increasing hardness.

Anthropogenic Factors Contributing to Water Hardness

Agricultural activities, particularly the use of fertilizers, introduce extra calcium and magnesium into water bodies. Industrial discharges also add minerals and metals into water systems.

In urban settings, rainfall gathers pollutants from paved surfaces, such as oils and debris, which then flow into waterways, adding to water hardness and increasing the risk of pipe blockages.

Regional Variations in Water Hardness

Water hardness varies by region due to several factors:

Why Is Water Hardness Important?

Understanding whether you have hard water, and how hard your water is, can help you take steps towards combating the impact of hard water.

But why bother finding out if you have hard water in the first place?

Most people want to know because hard water can have a number of detrimental effects to your water supply. Some of these you may already be familiar with, even if you didn’t know what caused them.

Here are some of the most common signs of hard water around the house:

Addressing Hard Water Concerns and Effective Solutions

So far, we’ve established that dealing with hard water can be a hassle. It’s notorious for causing stubborn mineral deposits, reducing the efficiency of household appliances, and causing skin and hair irritation. It’s important to catch these issues early and explore effective solutions like water softeners.

Exploring Effective Solutions for Hard Water Problems

There are a few approaches to mitigating the effects of hard water:

Test your water today and eliminate hard water issues.

Ultimately, by understanding your options and the impacts of hard water, you can choose the best solution to keep your home running smoothly and your skin and hair looking their best.

Rayne has delivered top-notch water softener & drinking system solutions since 1928. Our water softening systems tackle hard water and start saving you money from day one. Get started with us today!

Sources:

  1. https://water.usgs.gov/owq/hardness-alkalinity.html#hardness
  2. https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits
  3. Ungvarsky, Janine. “Hard Water.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science, 2018.
  4. Luqman, Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Haris Ramzan, Usama Javaid, Roshan Ali, Muhammad Shoaib, and Muhammad Ayyas Luqman. “To Evaluate and Compare Changes in Baseline Strength of Hairs after Treating Them with Deionized Water and Hard Water and Its Role in Hair Breakage.” International Journal of Trichology 10, no. 3 (May 2018): 113–17.

FAQs

What is the water hardness scale?

The water hardness scale measures the concentration of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium ions, in water. It helps classify water as hard or soft based on the level of mineral content.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can lead to scale buildup in pipes and appliances, reducing their efficiency.

What problems can hard water cause?

Hard water causes scale buildup in pipes and appliances, reducing their efficiency and lifespan. It also leads to soap scum on surfaces, skin irritation, and dull hair.

How can I soften hard water?

Hard water is softened using water softening systems such as ion exchange softeners, salt-free conditioners, or electronic descalers. These systems remove or prevent the buildup of minerals in water.