Water in Vancouver, WA, usually comes from underground reservoirs and surface water. Most households are connected to public water infrastructure, although some residents have private wells. Hard water contains dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Water in Washington ranges from low to moderately hard with an average of 12 to 218 PPM, or parts per million. Although hard water isn’t a health concern, it can be problematic for other reasons. Water filtration systems are often used to remove minerals from a household water supply.
Minerals aren’t the only particles that may be present in water. Microbes like bacteria and protozoa can’t be seen, but some strains can cause illness. Agricultural run-off may contain pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Household and industrial chemicals and oil, fuel, antifreeze, and other fluids for vehicles can contaminate water sources. Public water supplies are treated and potentially harmful contaminants are removed, but water treatment doesn’t always remove everything. People with wells need to monitor their own water. Frequent testing and water filtration systems are tools to maintain clean water.
Types of Water Filtration Systems
Lots of water filtration systems exist, but most filtration methods target a specific type of contaminants. Homeowners need to figure out what minerals or other substances their water contains before choosing an appropriate water filtration system.
Ozone and UV Light
Ozone water filtration systems rely on a generator to produce ozone and inject it into water. It disinfects water by killing bacteria, protozoa, and other microbes. Some people prefer ozone to chlorine because ozone doesn’t leave a chemical taste or odor behind. UV light is usually generated by a UV lamp, and it also kills microorganisms. Ozone and UV light affect organic material, but they don’t remove chemicals and other inorganic contaminants.
Physical and Chemical Filtration
Ceramic and mechanical filters can catch or destroy biological contamination, but they’re also ineffective against chemicals. Activated carbon, deionization, distillation, and ion exchange water filtration systems target chemicals or mineral ions, but they don’t remove other types of contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems
Reverse osmosis water filtration systems are one of the most comprehensive methods available because they use multiple stages of filtration. Pre-filtration removes large particles and sediments such as sand, dirt, and silt. The multipart systems include semi-permeable membranes that catch chemicals such as arsenic, nitrates, perchlorate, and hexavalent chromium. An additional carbon filter removes chlorine and organic compounds.
Although reverse osmosis is very thorough, these systems have downsides. Lots of systems are available, so it’s important to make sure the system you’re purchasing actually does what you want. Households with reverse osmosis systems also need to maintain decent water pressure to force water through multiple filters and very fine mesh. These systems can’t work correctly if water pressure is too low.
Reverse osmosis also produces a lot of wastewater. The amount of discharged water varies depending on water condition, filter types, and the number of filters in individual systems. However, you can mitigate the wastefulness by using the discharged water. It isn’t safe to drink, but you can use wastewater for watering a lawn or garden.
Water softener systems remove calcium and magnesium. These minerals aren’t dangerous, but they leave residue known as scale inside plumbing pipes. Residue also builds upon plumbing fixtures, appliances, and any other surface that regularly comes into contact with water. Eventually, mineral residue can interfere with your plumbing and reduce water pressure or contribute to clogged pipes. It can also reduce the efficiency and functional lifespan of your appliances. Scale buildup interferes with the effectiveness of soap, shampoo, and other cleaning solutions. Clothing starts to feel stiff and scratchy after multiple wash cycles. Hard water can also dry out your skin and hair.
A water softener system may relieve many problems caused by hard water. Homeowners are sometimes surprised by the improvement after installing softeners. Dishes may look sparkling and clean without dull or cloudy spots caused by mineral residue. You may not need as much laundry detergent or fabric softener. In fact, built-up scale may prevent fabric softeners from working at all in severe cases.
Some people in Vancouver, WA buy bottled water to protect their health. The terms distilled water, purified water, and mineral water are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Purified water has undergone some kind of purification process. Distilled water is called purified water at times. The purified label is used so broadly that it doesn’t tell consumers much.
Distillation works because the boiling point of water is different from the boiling points of contaminants. Water boils at a much lower temperature than most liquids. As water turns into vapor, contaminants are left behind. The vapor cools and becomes liquid again. Distilled water is safe to drink, and it’s also used to clean fragile surfaces because it’s free of potentially damaging impurities. However, distillation can’t remove pesticides and some other chemicals from water. It only works on contaminants that don’t boil along with the water.
Mineral water is collected from mineral springs. Calcium, sodium, and magnesium enter the water as it flows through various layers of rock and sediment. Bottled mineral water may not come from springs. Consumers should do their homework if genuine spring water is important to them. Synthetic mineral water is created by adding minerals to tap water at bottling centers. Bottled water isn’t a good solution for issues with household water supplies anyway. Washing dishes and clothing, showering, cleaning, and taking care of pets require too much water for store-bought bottles to keep up with. Just using bottled water to drink and cook can get expensive fast.
Contact Pilot Plumbing & Drain to set up an appointment if you’re concerned about water quality in Vancouver, WA. A team of licensed and experienced plumbers can offer advice and help you obtain information about various water filtration systems. You can save a lot of time and may even achieve better results if you have a professional plumber install and maintain a water filtration system instead of going it alone.