Water - The Good and The Bad
Water is the key to life but it can be both good and bad. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggests that drinking 8-ounces of water daily would be beneficial. The human body is 70% water, it is essential in maintaining bodily functions such as temperature regulation, hydration, elimination of wastes, and many others. Between water and food, a person without water but with enough food won’t last long compared to a person with enough water but without food. The CDC also suggested that there is a connection between water and some diseases. Giardia intestinalis, hepatitis A, norovirus, and Shigella - to name a few. Water contamination from organic or inorganic matter, bacteria, viruses, and others can also cause various health risks. High amounts of lead in drinking water have been identified to slow down child development physically and mentally. These children would show signs of difficulty in learning and have short attention spans. Moreover, arsenic contamination in drinking water causes damage to nerves, heart, skin, and blood vessels.
Good Water Quality is Great for Appliances
Water that is of good quality, such as softened water, is economical for homes and appliances. Softened water is the result of the removal of metal cations such as calcium ions. Therefore, a lesser amount of detergent will be needed in doing laundry since there will be an absence of bonding between soap and calcium ions. According to some studies, shifting wash temperature from hot to cold would not affect the performance of washing appliances using this kind of water. Also, softened water helps you maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the appliances for a longer period of time.
The Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) commissioned a study that was conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute in 2009. They revealed that the use of water softener in heaters greatly helps in preventing clogs in showerheads, faucets, and drains. Thus, keeping them functional for a longer period of time. The researchers conducted an experiment for 30 days using a dishwasher and washing machine. They did 240 wash cycles and ran half of each unit with softened and hard water sources. At the end of the experiment, it showed that there is less debris on units that used softened water, unlike the ones that used hard water which needed constant cleaning in order to work properly. Furthermore, the researchers proved that the use of softened water can help maintain the original factory efficiency rating of the water heaters for about 15 years. Units that use hard water may have their efficiency reduced by up to 48 percent due to mineral buildup which also truncates the lifespan of the heating devices of electric water heaters. Some of the findings showed that tankless heaters that use hard water have been estimated to be functional for less than 2 years. Showerheads have also been found to be more efficient when using softened water rather than hard water. The use of hard water reduces the flow rate to about 75 percent in less than 18 months. The strainers of the faucets also clog within 19 days when using hard water.
Benefits of softened water according to a different study by the Scientific Services S/D, Inc., of New York, showed similar results:
In washing machines, it is economical to use softened water. You can save detergent and electricity. Detergent use can be reduced to half and washing machines with cold softened water have the same or better performance in removing fabric stains.
In dishwashers, softened water has the same cleaning effect even with fewer detergents.
Tips on improving or maintaining Water Quality
Always clean your water filters
There is a guide on how to remove the contaminants of the filters given by the manufacturers which include cleaning and replacement of cartridges. In some cases, you may also ask for assistance from a professional service to know more about the specifications. It is best to perform regular cleaning or replacing of filters and of washing water containers to avoid the accumulation of contaminants which might lead to foul taste and odor of tap water.
Always clean your water containers
Water treatment would be ineffective if you have a dirty container even if you placed clean water on it. The water may no longer be safe for drinking. That is why proper and regular cleaning of water containers such as pitchers and water bottles is crucial. The first step to proper washing is to mix a small amount of dish detergent with water into a clean container. Shake the mixture and scrub the inner part with a clean dish rag or a nonabrasive scrub brush thoroughly. You may disinfect the container with diluted and unscented chlorine bleach to achieve a higher level of cleanliness. To ensure that the inner part of the container has been properly disinfected, swish the mixture inside to hit every surface and let it stand for about 30 minutes. Lastly, rinse the container properly using tap water.
The water softener should also be properly maintained.
Water softeners use resin beads to capture hardness ions. Periodically, salt is used to cleanse the beads and to prepare them for removing more hardness ions. It is important to monitor the salt levels at least once a month by just lifting the tank lid. More salt should be added if the tank is less than half full.
Showerheads, sink faucet aerators, high-efficiency washing machines, toilets, and other appliances should be set to low-flow.
A shower is preferable to a bath. When taking a bath, always check if the drain stopper is properly working.
Regularly check any leaks to avoid unanticipated high water bills.
Consult a plumber for the presence of damp water spots on ceilings and walls which could be a sign of wastewater leakage that leads to structural damage to the house.
Be attentive to musty odors, dampness, or molds under the sinks and appliances which are probably caused by hidden leaks.
Immediately repair sink and shower faucet drip to avoid wastage of hundreds of gallons of water every month.
In the Kitchen
Use a stopper in the sink while washing the dishes to soak rather than use running water.
Keep a water container in the refrigerator to have access to cold water.
In the Bathroom
Make small changes in helping save hundreds of gallons of water by not using running water in brushing teeth, shaving, and washing of the face. You can also conserve water by shortening your shower time.
Regularly check the toilet by dropping coloring into the tank to see if there is a continuous leakage of water into the bowl but avoid flushing it many times to save water.
In the Basement
Adjust the water when washing a smaller laundry load or avoid running the washing machine if it is less than full capacity.
To save up water and salt usage, always upgrade the water softeners and filters.
Water softener with ultra-efficient demand initiated water softener replacement is efficient in a way that it regenerates when needed with the use of optimum salt and water.
Use a “no-burst” hose to avoid leakage and flooding especially when turning off both the hot and cold water sources of your washing machine. Regularly inspect for leaks.
In the Yard
Do not water the lawn or garden during midday and especially during the rainy season.
Save 30-50% of water sprinklers from evaporation and runoff by using drip irrigation systems for watering yards and gardens.
Shut off the automatic watering system during a rainy season and pay attention to water wastage on paved areas.
It is better to have drought-resistant flowers and plants in the garden than the ones needing large amounts of water.
Conserve rainfall water in a barrel for watering the lawns and plants.
To retain garden moisture, add a layer of organic mulch or plant with a compost pile.
Regularly check leaks on the outdoor faucets, pools, and spas.