85% of the water in the U.S. contains relatively high concentrations of hard water ions, including calcium. Dissolved calcium salts can have detrimental effects on your household appliances, faucets, and showerheads. To avoid such problems, you’ll need to have sufficient knowledge of how to remove calcium from water.
How to Know if Your Water is Hard
Water is naturally soft. However, as it flows through rocks and grounds with significantly high hard minerals, it picks up traces of such materials. Tasting your water is one of the easiest ways to determine if it’s hard. You can taste the minerals present in the water. When hard water is boiled, the minerals present, including calcium, won’t evaporate with it. These minerals will solidify and settle on the surfaces of objects, such as appliances, machines, and faucets.
Hard water affects household and grooming products and often leaves a white residue on your skin. This water will also not lather as much, which means wasting too much soap or detergent when washing.
Water is said to be slightly hard if it contains 17 to 60 mg/L of calcium, moderately hard if it has between 60 to 120 mg/L, and very hard if it contains at least 120 mg/L. Healthy Kitchen 101 suggests that the most accurate way to determine the level of hardness is to send a sample of your water to a professional lab. This will enable you to make an informed decision on the most effective calcium removal method to use.
The good news is, there are quite a number of effective ways that you can apply to get rid of the calcium salts dissolved in your water.
How to Remove Calcium From Water
1. Water Filter
A water filter is one of the most convenient methods of softening hard water. Most filters use activated carbon for the absorption and trapping of contaminants. They can filter an array of impurities, including some of the heavy metals, allowing you to enjoy the many benefits of filtered water.
A carbon water filter, however, is not as effective as a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment system. RO methods purify hard water by isolating hard water ions via controlled pressure. The water will then be passed through a filter to prevent calcium and other minerals from passing through.
One of the main advantages of RO is that it doesn’t replace calcium ions with new molecules. However, RO machines require regular maintenance to enhance and maintain their effectiveness. The RO method also removes other healthy minerals in the water, making it taste “flat.”
2. Water Softener
A water softener applies an ion-exchange method to soften hard water by replacing hard water ions with sodium. It is an easy way of converting hard water into soft water. It uses strong acid/strong cation (SAC) resin beads to remove calcium ions (Ca2+).
The resulting water can make your skin and hair feel smoother, cleaner, and softer. It can restore the rich lathering of your shampoos and soaps and eliminate the formation of soap curd, hence keeping your fabrics softer and brighter. It can also enhance the life of your appliances, such as the washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker.
Salt-free softeners can also be used to remove calcium from the water. However, this method does not apply the ion-exchange process, but rather it transforms the calcium ions into tiny crystals. As a result, the crystallized calcium will be suspended in the water and won’t be able to stick to surfaces.
Depending on your water needs and budget, you can choose to install an under-the-sink or whole-house softener. An under-the-sink softener is efficient for specific water needs, such as your kitchen and shower needs. A whole-house softener, on the other hand, will remove calcium from the main water supply line.
3. Chemical Treatment
You won’t require any special skills to use chemical treatment in removing calcium and other contaminants from your water. You’ll only need washing soda or sodium carbonate, which will help break down and remove calcium from the water.
This chemical, however, is a cleaning agent; hence the water will not be safe for consumption. Other chemical options are also available, but they are usually typically reserved for larger water treatment plants.
Heat can separate calcium and other impurities from the water. These impurities will settle at the bottom of the heating device. You can then remove the impurities easily using a filter.
It requires no chemicals or special tools, and your water will be safe for all uses. However, this method only addresses temporary hardness and is less effective on a large scale.
5. Distilled White Vinegar
Calcium is alkaline with a pH level greater than 7, whereas distilled white vinegar is acidic with a pH level of approximately 2.5. Therefore, vinegar will neutralize the calcium compounds in the water.
This method is ideal for cleaning and handwashing. You won’t want to add boatloads of white vinegar into your drinking water.
There you have it, how to remove calcium from water efficiently. This guide has hopefully provided you with the necessary information when deciding on the best method to use for your water. Ensure also to consider your needs, preferences, level of water hardness, and budget.