Energy Management at Home


blog7Ion exchange (water softener)

Treats hard water (calcium and magnesium)

Removes barium, radium, dissolved iron, manganese

Removes some bad odors, colors and tastes

Anion exchange unit can remove nitrate, fluoride

Water Softeners

“Hard” water is not considered unhealthy; however, hard-water problems end up costing you money through increased soap usage, reliance on water softening products and a shorter life for appliances due to scale buildup in pipes and other factors. To correct water hardness, Watts offers a wide range of water conditioning systems, designed to improve water quality throughout your entire household.


How does a Water Softener work?

Basically, the resin or mineral inside the mineral tank is specially designed to remove “hard” particles of lime and calcium, by a simple ion exchange process. The resin beads inside the softener tank have a different or opposite electrical charge than the dissolved particles of the incoming water. Because of this electrical charge difference, the dissolved particles suspended in your water will cling to the resin beads on contact, thereby ridding the water of these particles, causing the water exiting the unit to be “soft”. The resin has a limit to how much of these hardness particles it can hold, which is why there are many different sizes of softeners and also why regeneration or brining is required.

Enjoy these many benefits water softeners provide
  • Spot-free glassware and dishes
  • No mineral deposits on bathtubs and shower stalls
  • Brighter, softer laundry
  • Less reliance on water-softening products
  • Dramatic reduction in soap usage
  • Manageable hair because shampoo works better
  • Pipes remain free of calcium scale build-up
  • Extended life of appliances and reduced energy costs because scale is virtually eliminated
  • Spot-free car wash (if softened water is used)
Calculate your hardness

Either in PPM (Parts Per Million) or in GPG (Grains Per Gallon)

  • If you have PPM convert by dividing by 17.1
  • If you have GPG convert by multiplying by 17.1

Until you have reached your grain hardness

Compensated hardness

When sizing water conditioning equipment, the hardness should be based on compensated hardness. Compensated hardness takes into consideration minerals and other factors that will reduce the softening capacity of a softener. These items cannot be picked up in a standard hardness test. To arrive at compensated hardness, multiply the figure on the right by the hardness in grains per gallon. An ion exchange column is one of the most common water treatment systems found in the home.
Also known as a water softener, a cation exchange system will remove calcium and magnesium compounds, barium, radium, and low concentrations of dissolved iron and manganese. An anion exchange unit can also be installed which will remove nitrate and fluoride.
Ion exchange works by passing water through resin beads. In cation exchange units, the beads are coated with positively charged sodium ions. These sodium ions exchange places with calcium, magnesium and other “hard” ions in the water. In anion exchange columns, the resin beads are coated with negatively charged chloride or hydroxide ions, which exchange with nitrate or fluoride in your water.
Ion exchange systems need to be periodically charged so that coating ions are available. Many water softener systems automatically recharge from a sodium storage tank. People with hypertension or high blood pressure should be aware that water treated with a water softener contains an elevated level of sodium.


Removes lead, nitrate, sodium chloride, pesticides, organic compounds A distillation unit works by evaporating water and collecting the steam that is produced. Impurities in the water are left behind. Distillation can remove lead, nitrate, sodium chloride, and many pesticides and organic compounds. Distilled water often has a flat or bland taste, due to the removal of minerals. The distillation process is slow and requires a lot of water – a typical distiller produces two to five gallons a day, and requires five gallons of water for every gallon of distilled water produced. A distiller must be cleaned frequently and consumes significant electricity to heat the water.

Reverse Osmosis

Removes radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, fluoride, phosphorous Removes some pesticides and organic compounds In the reverse osmosis process, water passes through a semipermeable membrane which removes inorganic minerals like radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, nitrate, fluoride and phosphorus. It also helps to remove some organic compounds including some pesticides. Often, reverse osmosis units are used in combination with a mechanical filter and an activated carbon filter. The water passes through the mechanical filter first, where sand and large particles are removed, then through the reverse osmosis unit, and lastly through the activated carbon filter which removes organic compounds.


Disinfection Methods


UV Radiation

Kills bacteria and some viruses (Note – does not kill Cryptosporidium, Giardia and some other microscopic organisms)Removes some bad odors, tastes and colors Chlorine added to water kills most bacteria and some viruses.
Water can be chlorinated in two ways: a “shock” chlorination in which a strong chlorine solution is pumped through a well or plumbing system to kill bacteria on a one-time basis; or chlorine is added continuously through a chemical feed pump to constantly kill bacteria.
Shock chlorination is usually used when a pump or well has just been installed to kill bacteria that may have been on the pipes or installation equipment, or if a well has become contaminated by a faulty cap or seal. Continuous chlorination is used when the source of the bacteria in the water cannot be eliminated.
Chlorination has a residual effect in water – it continues to disinfect for some time after treatment. If followed by mechanical or activated carbon filtration, chlorination can also remove hydrogen sulfide, and dissolved iron and manganese.
Chlorine can impart a disagreeable taste and smell to the treated water. Also, if the water being treated contains organic molecules, the formation of hazardous chlorinated organic compounds (trihalomethanes) is possible.

Kills bacteria, some viruses
This type of water treatment uses a mercury arc lamp to kill pathogens in the water. UV radiation kills most bacteria and some viruses, but is ineffective against cysts (such as Giardia) and worms. Cloudy or turbid water can reduce the effectiveness of UV radiation. UV lamps should be replaced annually or as suggested by the manufacturer, as they become less effective with time.

Kills bacteria, some viruses
Removes some pesticides, can remove iron, sulfur, manganese Ozone occurs naturally in our atmosphere; in fact the ozone layer in our atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. In ozonation of water, electrically generated ozone kills bacteria and some other pathogens, and removes some pesticides. In combination with an activated carbon or mechanical filter, ozonation oxidizes and precipitates out iron, sulfur, and manganese. Ozone does not produce any taste or odor in the water.
Ozone generators are relatively expensive to install. Ozonation does not have any residual effect in the water, unlike chlorination.

Filtration Methods


Activated Carbon
Green Sand

Removes organic compounds, pesticides, radon gas Removes hydrogen sulfide, mercury, chlorine, some cysts Solid Block Activated Carbon filters can remove Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts.
Activated carbon filters absorb organic compounds and remove them from the water. These filters can remove volatile organic compounds, some pesticides, radon gas, hydrogen sulfide, mercury, and residual chlorine. Activated carbon filters are often used in combination with other water treatments such as reverse osmosis, chlorination, and ozonation.
There are different types of activated carbon filters. Granular activated carbon (GAC), composed of loose granules of carbon, have some problems associated with their use. GAC filters accumulate the organic impurities they remove from the water, but these impurities can then become food for bacteria. Also, the filter can become saturated with organics, which are then released back into the water. Finally, channels can form between the granules in the filter, which reduces contact time between the water and carbon, resulting in less effective filtration.
Solid block activated carbon filters (SBAC) are a solid compressed block of activated carbon.
In addition to removal of chemicals mentioned above, the carbon is so tightly compressed that it can filter out some cysts such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Because SBAC filters are so fine, they easily become plugged with particulate matter, and frequently need to be replaced. They are also more expensive than granular activated carbon filters.
Inadequately maintained carbon filters can become breeding grounds for bacteria, so the filters need to be kept clean and replaced as recommended by the manufacturer. If a carbon filter is unused for several days, run water through it for at least 30 seconds to flush any bacteria.

Removes sand, silt, clay, organic matter
Mechanical water filters remove suspended material from water, including sand, silt, clay and organic matter. This filtration system does not remove dissolved or very fine particles and is often used in combination with other water treatment equipment. Mechanical filters commonly consist of fabric, fiber, ceramic or other screening material. Mechanical water filtration system can be cartridge units, mounted in a single waterline or on a tap, or tank units, which treat an entire household water supply. The filters must be serviced periodically.

Removes iron and manganese up to 10 ppm, prevents rotten egg smell (hydrogen sulfide) Manganese green sand filters remove iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor). As water is passed through the filter, soluble iron and manganese are pulled from solution and later react to form insoluble iron and manganese.
Insoluble iron and manganese build up in the green sand filter and must be removed by backwashing. Backwashing should be done regularly twice a week or as recommended by the manufacturer. Periodically, the green sand must also be regenerated by washing with a permanganate solution.
Regeneration will leave the green sand grains coated once again with a manganese material that adsorbs soluble iron and manganese. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for frequency of regeneration. If the level of iron and manganese in your water is over 10 parts per million (ppm), use chlorination followed by

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