[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Whole house water conditioning and aquarium water
My city shares the arsenic problem that your town has. Our water isn't as
hard as yours, but it has other problems.
First, don't worry too much about the arsenic problem. It's pretty hard to
identify a health risk. Arsenic supposedly increases the chances of certain
cancers of internal organs. Albuquerque (my town) is the largest "at-risk"
population in the country, with an average arsenic concentration in the
supply that exceeds the promulgated standard and a few neighborhoods (mine,
for instance) where the arsenic in the city water supply was sometimes 5
times larger than the standard. Despite that, Albuquerque has a lower than
average incidence of those cancers that we are supposed to be at risk for.
So you don't need to do anything without taking the time to consider your
options. In the mean time, keep an eye on your town's progress with fixing
the arsenic problem. In my experience, public water systems are *very*
concerned about meeting public health requirements. If they don't, then
incumbent politicians tend to lose elections. Keep track of progress and
make sure the political system works the way it's supposed to.
A good whole-house system might be to put a standard water softener system on
the feed to your hot water system. That should slow down the growth of new
deposits in the water heater and the hot water pipes. That should also leave
your cold water unsoftened. Artificially softened water is bad for lawns and
gardens, bad for house plants and bad for aquariums because of its high ratio
of sodium to calcium+magnesium, so you want the cold water unsoftened. In
some cases the high sodium levels in softened water -- aside from tasting bad
-- can even be a human health problem. Warm water for washing is a mixture
of softened hot water and unsoftened cold water. The mixture should be soft
enough to give you the benefit of softer water without the cost and downside
of having the cold water softened.
If you want to do something else for your drinking water, then do that with a
different system. Buying bottled water is probably an expensive alternative.
A deionizer (Brita, for instance) is inexpensive and works well but is fairly
expensive to maintain. An under-counter RO system is more expensive to set
up but less expensive to maintain. It also wastes water, because RO system
often drain about 3 times as much water as they filter and store. RO systems
are attractive for kitchen installations where they can supply water to both
the sink for drinking and the ice maker for clear, fresh ice. If you get a
large enough system then you can also produce enough RO water to mix some
back with your tap water and get water for your aquariums at whatever
hardness level you want.