Different water systems and what they actually do

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With over 25 years of experience in the water filtration, we have gotten so used to what each unit does that we sometimes forget it may not be so clear to everyone. This post breaks down what types of filters are out there and what exactly they treat. Before we delve into all the different water systems there are, it’s important to note that you should get a full water test before proceeding with any installations if you have well water. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in!

Water Softener

Ah yes, the Water Softener. It is one of Ireland’s most popular units because of our lime-filled landscape, which causes water to become hard. Read more about the effects of hard water here.

What does it treat?

As mentioned, it treats hard water, which isn’t bad for you to consume necessarily, but it can have a detrimental effect on your appliances. Hard water solidifies into limescale, particularly when it comes in contact with heat (think your kettle or showerhead). Hard water also takes away the power of cleaning products and even can do damage to your skin and hair.

How does a water softener make water soft?

We won’t get too technical about it – there are small beads in the water softener called resin beads. These resin beads’ catch’ the hardness in the water as it passes through. The water that is left is soft and flows into your home. At nighttime, salty water flushes through the resin beads to regenerate them so that they can do their job of removing lime particles again the next day.

If you are unsure whether you have hard water or not, or if you want to know the level of hardness, get in touch to get a free hard water test.

Iron Filter

Iron is a problem in many counties around Ireland. It has a brownish-reddish colour and tends to stain sinks, bathtubs and toilet cisterns. If your water is also hard, the combination can do severe damage to your pipes.

 What does an Iron Filter treat?

An Iron filter treats Iron and Manganese primarily. As well as staining different items in the household, iron usually also makes your water undrinkable.

How does an Iron filter treat iron and manganese?

The iron-manganese filter fits your well-water supply, and it then filters iron out under pressure through a vessel containing manganese greensand. This process filters out the iron. At nighttime, the container backwashes itself so that it is ready for the next day. Take a look at this diagram:

chart shows two iron filters diagrams. One diagram is for the daytime and the other is for nighttime. During the daytime, water flows into the head of the filter, arrows show the direction of the water as it enters and flows down through the unit. The water then flows up through a pipe inside the filter and exits from the head to the right. At nighttime, the arrows indicate the flow of water down through the pipe in the center of the filter. The water then exit a pipe just before the head of the filter, which is the water being sent down the drain.
How an Iron Removal Filter works

Ultra Violet Lamps

Households typically use UV lamps if they are on well water. If a home uses mains water, then the water is usually treated elsewhere. Read more about the differences between mains and well water here.

What does a UV Lamp treat?

UV Lamps kill 99.9% of bacteria in water, meaning that you no longer have to fear dodgy water tests or that microorganisms are contaminating your water. UV Lamps also have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly and chemical-free.

How do they kill bacteria?

We can’t help but be a little technical here. When a UV light attacks bacteria at a particular wavelength (253.7 nanometres, if you wanted to know), they are no longer able to reproduce – they then deactivate. Once inactive, they are no longer a threat to our health.

While UV Lamps kill bacteria, it’s important to note that they do not change the colour, taste or odour of water. If you have some foul-tasting water, it could be more serious, and a more in-depth water test may be required.

pH Neutraliser

The water you use on an everyday basis should have a pH of 7. If it is lower than that, the water is more acidic; if it is higher than 7, then the water is more alkaline. When the pH of your water is too low, it can lead to your blue stains in your bath, on shower trays, on tiles and in sinks. If it is overly acidic, it can even corrode your copper pipes, cylinders and water-heating elements. 

What does it treat?

A pH Neutraliser does what it says on the tin; it neutralises the pH of your water so that it isn’t so acidic. The neutralisation of water prevents those blue-green stains from showing up, and you can be sure your pipes, cylinders and water-heating won’t corrode.

How does it treat it?

As with water softeners and iron filters, the pH Neutralising filter contains some beads. The beads in this unit are called pH beads. These beads essentially have a high level of calcium, which brings up the pH of the water passing through them, raising the pH to 10. This water is then mixed with your low-pH water to give you a neutral pH of 7. 

Reverse Osmosis Unit

You can read the article on Reverse Osmosis Units and if you need one here, but let us give you the short version in this post too. When people talk about water filtration, reverse osmosis is a phrase used so often that it starts to roll off the tongue. While it does remove most of the bad stuff from water, it also removes the good stuff. 

What does a Reverse Osmosis Unit remove?

Reverse Osmosis units remove parasites like Cryptosporidium, viruses like Rotavirus or Hepatitis B, lead, copper, chlorine, chromium, sodium, phosphorus, nitrates, arsenic, magnesium, calcium, sulfate, radium, fluoride and potassium. Woah, that’s a lot.

How does it filter?

Water flows through the Reverse Osmosis’ semi-permeable filter membrane, preventing a lot of the contaminants from proceeding further. The water and contaminants separate through the reverse osmosis process by passing through the filters’ membrane.

Crypto Drinking Water Filter

Last but not least, there is the humble drinking water filter. These drinking water filters are compact but powerful. They can fit in under your sink and make most people’s water drinkable. 

What do they treat?

The Crypto Drinking Water Filter reduces or removes:

  • >99.99% Bacteria Removal (E.Coli/Cholera/Shigella/Typhoid/KlebsiellaTerrigena)
  • >99.99% Cyst Removal Cryptosporidium Giardia
  • >97% Free Chlorine Removal
  • >85% Trace Organics (Herbicides, Insecticides)
  • >50% Trace Organics (Phenol)
  • >95% Trace Organics (Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons)
  • >50% Trace Organics (Trihalomethanes)
  • Other Parasites and Cysts
  • Common metals, such as lead
  • Other Chemicals, Pesticides and Solvents
  • Foul Tastes & Odours
  • Sediment & Discolouration

How does it filter?

On the outside, there is a porous ceramic filter, which prevents parasites and cysts passing through it. On the inside, there is a carbon block filter, which absorbs chlorine and odours from your drinking water. You can also add a fluoride filter or a nitrate filter to this installation to remove fluoride or nitrates if they are of concern.

There you have it. These are the primary units you will come across when trying to treat your water. While you may need to have a water test before getting an installation, you now at least have some idea of what each one does and whether it might be suitable for you. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to click here to contact us

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