Author Topic: dealing with hard water  (Read 1964 times)

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jlsoaz

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dealing with hard water
« on: June 05, 2016, 02:02:47 PM »
the water here (near Nogales, AZ, USA) is pretty seriously hard and as far as I can tell there is no one perfect solution to this. 

My present solution is:

1) drinking and cooking water:
hard water provided by the utility->
water softening using either NaCl or KCl->
Reverse Osmosis Unit removes most (not quite all) of NaCl or KCl->
water distillation (remove as much of the remaining salt as I can)->
any waste goes to septic.

2) landscape water:
no processing - this just comes from the utility

3) all other water for washing, etc.:
hard water from utility->
softened with NaCl or KCl->
any waste flows to septic

There are various pros and cons. 

Failure to soften the water means that cleaning is more difficult.  I have also heard different schools of thought as to whether it is healthy to drink such hard water, and then there are different opinions about whether it is healthy to remove the minerals.

There is more than one area of energy and water use to process the water (water softener is plugged in, and uses up some water, distillation requires a substantial amount of energy, reverse osmosis unit I think uses up water?, energy expenditure of going to store for bags of NaCl or KCl).

KCl around here is very expensive (about USD $24 per 40 or 50 pound bag as versus about USD $4-$6 for NaCl bag) and very difficult to get.  However, given all the prominent comments about the dangers of consuming sodium (in particular), it seems advisable to consider issues that may come up if one softens with NaCl.  I'm not convinced that consuming much of either Sodium Chloride or Potassium Chloride is great for a person).

If anyone has any thoughts, they are welcome.  I guess I'd quickly add that I probably won't immediately (or even in the mid-term) jump on any recommendations.  For one thing, some things can be expensive.  For another thing, there are a lot of complicated pros and cons to consider about the many suggestions that one might run into, in this area.  Often devices recommended as being salt-free may have considerable drawbacks.  Long-term, some sort of rainwater harvesting is an option ... but there are only a couple of monsoon seasons per year around here to gather the water, and so one concern is I'm a bit wary of drinking water that may sit for months and months in a cistern of some sort (not to mention all the other aspects of that, such as the expense, permits, etc.).

 

zracer

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 01:47:00 PM »
Keep the reverse osmosis in your plans. I've been drinking utility water from various cities and towns throughout Nevada since last summer. Now I have nerve problems in my hands and feet from now arsenic poisoning. Some people can handle the arsenic, others cant. Reverse osmosis is the cheapest most effective way to remove it.

oztules

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 02:47:58 PM »
I built a solar power reverse osmosis unit for battery water and drinking water.
The water is not good for you nor bad for you, it is inert, but will detox your system if thats what you want. I like it.  It is about 1ppm.
One 250 watt solar panel makes about 600-1000liters per day.

It is the way to go, as it also provides water for peoples battery systems across the island for free as well.

We have the cleanest air in the world apparently, but the wife still won't drink tank water from the roof.

...........oztules
Flinders Island Australia

george65

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 05:20:55 PM »

I believe you get a lot of sun where you are.  What about a solar Still ( or several) for your Cooking/ Drinking needs?
Can be very cheap to Build and literally costs nothing to run.

jlsoaz

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 01:25:20 PM »
Keep the reverse osmosis in your plans. I've been drinking utility water from various cities and towns throughout Nevada since last summer. Now I have nerve problems in my hands and feet from now arsenic poisoning. Some people can handle the arsenic, others cant. Reverse osmosis is the cheapest most effective way to remove it.

Thanks, certainly a cautionary tale.  I have indeed kept the RO unit going, and have recently paid for some upkeep on it.  I have dropped this matter of distilling things for now, as that seemed like overkill.  During the maintenance process, the Culligan repair person indicated the tests on my RO unit showed low ppm, and things were functioning well.  I think in the long run I could harm the RO unit if I fail to put salt in the water first with the water softener.  I have indeed been lax about that, as I don't like putting so much salt ultimately into my property (through the septic) over the decades, but I guess I will keep doing it.  (I'm told that the RO unit will function on hard water, but would not last as long between required maintenance or filter replacements, something like that.)


jlsoaz

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2017, 01:27:21 PM »
I built a solar power reverse osmosis unit for battery water and drinking water.
The water is not good for you nor bad for you, it is inert, but will detox your system if thats what you want. I like it.  It is about 1ppm.
One 250 watt solar panel makes about 600-1000liters per day.

It is the way to go, as it also provides water for peoples battery systems across the island for free as well.

We have the cleanest air in the world apparently, but the wife still won't drink tank water from the roof.

...........oztules

Thanks, I'm confused are you talking about Reverse Osmosis or about some sort of electrolysis or distillation using the power from your solar panels?  You may well be talking about RO (I'm not knowledgeable really about most of this) just want to make sure I understand what you built.

jlsoaz

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2017, 01:29:03 PM »

I believe you get a lot of sun where you are.  What about a solar Still ( or several) for your Cooking/ Drinking needs?
Can be very cheap to Build and literally costs nothing to run.

Unquestionably if I stay here and save enough money and time, then I will put them into harvesting water.  I hadn't thought so much about a "solar still" (which I will look into) as about "rainwater harvesting" but in any event, it would be a good way in my view to continue to move forward with my home and its sustainable and independent aspects.

oztules

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 02:39:32 AM »
We are talking real/true reverse osmosis only.

Running at about 150-200psi. Because of it's cycling system, drain water is about the same as product water rates, cycling through the membrane is about 6:1.
Total power to run it is now down to about 3.5 amps from a 24v solar panel.... usually about 1.5-2lpm. Long summer days you can get in the >1000liters per day..... winter only about 500........... Colder water and shorter days. ( viscosity goes up as temp drops.)


..............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

jlsoaz

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Re: dealing with hard water
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 10:03:30 AM »
We are talking real/true reverse osmosis only.

Running at about 150-200psi. Because of it's cycling system, drain water is about the same as product water rates, cycling through the membrane is about 6:1.
Total power to run it is now down to about 3.5 amps from a 24v solar panel.... usually about 1.5-2lpm. Long summer days you can get in the >1000liters per day..... winter only about 500........... Colder water and shorter days. ( viscosity goes up as temp drops.)


..............oztules

Ok, thanks.