Anti calcium/anti pollution filters

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Brian
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Anti calcium/anti pollution filters

Post by Brian » Thu 14 Jun 2018 20:17

We live in Oms, near Ceret. Number of plumbing features are affected by calcium levels - plumber recently advised to turn tap below hw balloon on and off 3 or 4 times a month to keep it operating! Another plumber has given us an estimate for fitting filter system after water meter on mains input. Are there any problems/disadvantages and cost etc regarding periodic change of filters? Presumably better for central heating boiler, washing machine etc?

Allan
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Re: Anti calcium/anti pollution filters

Post by Allan » Thu 14 Jun 2018 22:33

Brian wrote:We live in Oms, near Ceret. Number of plumbing features are affected by calcium levels - plumber recently advised to turn tap below hw balloon on and off 3 or 4 times a month to keep it operating! Another plumber has given us an estimate for fitting filter system after water meter on mains input. Are there any problems/disadvantages and cost etc regarding periodic change of filters? Presumably better for central heating boiler, washing machine etc?
I presume that by calcium levels you mean that your water is too hard and I am not sure that filters exist to soften it. Calcium carbonate is normally dissolved in water and there aren’t lumps of it that can be filtered

The effect of hard water is that kettles fur up, taps normally get deposits on them and boilers become less efficient.

The classic way to solve the problem is with a water softener that uses salt to replace calcium ions with sodium ions. There may of course be other technologies that I am not aware of.

We have one that does the whole house, there are no downsides other than the cost of the salt that we have to feed it with.

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Fri 15 Jun 2018 12:32

Have you actually had problems with scale build-up? If you drink tea, the element in your kettle will tell you. Or ask your neighbours. My water is quite soft in Port-Vendres, though that says nothing about Céret. You can get test strips (like litmus paper) very cheaply.

My impression is that built-in softening is much more common here than in the UK (though most people still don’t bother). Whether that is fashion, or pushy plumbers, or necessity, I don’t claim to know.

Allan is right, as always, that an ion-exchange softener is what you need if you need anything. You can get, and may be offered, magic magnetic things that go round the inlet pipe. I suspect that they are a bit like wearing copper bracelets to ward off arthritis, or whatever they are meant to do.

For myself, I quite like a bit of hardness: the water tastes better, and it’s easier to rinse off the suds in the shower.

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Post by martyn94 » Fri 15 Jun 2018 12:46

For completeness, I have seen rigs in the DIY barns which also have filters in-line with the softener (they look as though they use activated charcoal). No mains supply should need one, and you would have to change the filter medium quite often.

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Post by Florence » Fri 15 Jun 2018 17:15

Our water in Reynès is soft. No build-up in kettles or other items at all, and we use less soap/shampoo.

Brian
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Anti calcium/Anti pollution filters

Post by Brian » Fri 15 Jun 2018 18:30

THanks one and all for helpful comments. We do get build up on kettle element occasionally but what has brought it to a 'head' is the suggestion that I have to turn hw tap below tank on and off 3 or 4 times a month! If it this that much of a problem then does it not suggest something needs doing sofaras the incoming main is concerned? Allan - my concern regarding your advice - (forgive my ignorance!) does this input salt levels into the water which are probably worse for health than calcium?

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Post by Allan » Fri 15 Jun 2018 18:58

If by the hw tap below the tank you mean the groupe de sécurité, i.e a tap that you turn that lets water flow down the drain then I suggest that you change your plumber.

It is an expansion valve designed to stop your water heater from exploding.


They cost about 15€ and are easily changed, if your plumber suggests running it 3 or 4 times a month then it is probably to stop it getting blocked by limescale.

As for water softeners, we have noticed no increase in salinity, remember that the sodium from the salt is replacing calcium in calcium carbonate. Sodium carbonate is not the same as salt

https://www.leroymerlin.fr/v3/p/produit ... lt-wrapper

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Mon 18 Jun 2018 22:12

I think that Brian may not have understood Allan’s reference to salt. These softeners work by “ion exchangeâ€￾. Most of the time your tap water passes through them, and the calcium ions in the dissolved calcium carbonate in the water (the “hardnessâ€￾) is swapped for sodium ions which were previously fixed in the softening gizmo. The water now contains sodium carbonate which is harmless to health (in the relevant concentrations) and doesn’t fur up. And the calcium ions remain behind in the softening gizmo.

After a time, all the sodium ions in the softening gizmo have been replaced by calcium ions and it is necessary to regenerate it. This is done by flushing it with a strong solution of sodium chloride, aka common salt. Any excess goes down the drain. It’s the same system as in your dishwasher, if you have one.

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Post by martyn94 » Mon 18 Jun 2018 22:20

I suspect that the reference to the hw tap is to a cock at the bottom of the tank that simply stops the water flowing through the ballon. I think the idea is that this allows scale on the heating elements to fall off before it gets “baked onâ€￾. It seems like voodoo to me if the water is not conspicuously hard.

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