Calcium is a very important mineral, and you need it to survive. For example, you probably know that calcium can be found in dairy products, and it is particularly important for protecting your bones. On the other hand, you do not necessarily want calcium present in your tap water.
If there is too much calcium in your tap water, it can leave calcium carbonate deposits on your plumbing surfaces. They are typically called limescale, and they can cause issues if they are allowed to grow, expand, and enlarge over time. This mixture of calcium ions and carbonate ions can damage your plumbing system and impact the safety of your tap water.
You have probably heard that water filters can help you purify your water supply. But, do water filters remove calcium and calcium carbonate? There are some filters, such as ultrafiltration membranes and reverse osmosis filters, that can help you reduce the content of calcium in your water.
However, most water filters, including whole house water filters and faucet filters, do not strip calcium from your tap water. For removing calcium from your water, you will want to use a water softener.
Learn more about water filters and water softeners below, and make sure you protect your plumbing system against the buildup of limescale.
Calcium Water Filters: Do They Work?
As mentioned above, the vast majority of water filters are not going to remove calcium. This is true regardless of whether you are looking at whole house water filters or faucet and pitcher filters. A calcium water filter is simply not the best way to remove calcium from water.
Whole House Water Filters
A whole house water filter is typically designed to remove chlorine, heavy metals, dangerous substances, and volatile organic compounds. To do so, a whole house water filter will employ filters of various sizes.
These filters have small holes in them, and as water makes its way through the filter, the holes will gradually get smaller. These holes are designed to filter substances by size. Given that calcium ions are very small, they will be able to pass through all of these holes without getting trapped.
There is a chance that there could be some calcium flakes that are caught by whole house water filters, but they are not designed to remove calcium ions.
Faucet or Pitcher Filters
If you have a filter on your faucet, or if you use a filter in your pitcher, they are not going to remove calcium either. These filters work the same way, and the holes are too small to catch calcium. They could catch larger calcium flakes, but they are not going to stop the flow of calcium ions.
Of note, you are probably using a pitcher filter to purify drinking water. Because drinking water with calcium in it is not going to have any negative consequences, you do not necessarily want a pitcher filter to remove calcium. You should remove calcium before this stage.
What Will Remove Calcium From the Plumbing System?
Even though a typical water filter is not going to remove calcium from your water supply, there are better options available. For example, you might use reverse osmosis, or you might want to use a water softener.
First, you might be interested in using a reverse osmosis water filter. This is a specific type of water filter that has a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane itself has a handful of tiny pores that will trap contaminants that would otherwise damage your water supply.
This system is strong enough to trap calcium, magnesium, and numerous other particles. When you use a reverse osmosis system, calcium is too large to pass through the membrane. Therefore, it is repelled into a chamber, which is used to trap waste products. Finally, these contaminants are flushed down the drain, stripping them from your water supply.
Reverse osmosis can be an effective way to remove calcium carbonate, magnesium, and numerous other particles from your drinking water.
Reverse osmosis is not a system that will last forever. Eventually, the filtration membrane will lose its effectiveness, and you may need to replace it. Therefore, many reverse osmosis systems will actually require you to pre-treat your water to remove calcium and magnesium. Otherwise, your reverse osmosis filtration system will not last as long as you would like.
Perhaps the best way to filter calcium from your water supply is to use a water softener. A water softener has been specifically designed to strip hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, from your water supply. For example, you might even use a water softener as a calcium filter to pretreat your water before you install a reverse osmosis system.
A water softener uses ion exchange to reduce water hardness and drop calcium concentrations. The ion exchange process will remove calcium from your water supply and replace it with electrolytes that do not contribute to the buildup of limescale. For example, your water softener may remove calcium and magnesium, replacing them with sodium or potassium.
A water softener is usually installed at the entrance of your home. Therefore, all of the water that passes into your home will be softened before it accesses your plumbing system. A water softener could completely prevent the buildup of limescale contaminants throughout your home, getting rid of the annoying stains that you might not be able to get out on your own.
Keep in mind that you may have to perform some maintenance on your water softener system from time to time if you want it to remain effective. You may want to take a look at our water softener options if you are looking for the best water softener system for your home.
Both reverse osmosis and a water softener can be strong options for removing calcium from your water supply, but a water softener is probably the most cost-effective and efficient way to do so.
Where Does the Calcium in Our Water Supply Come From?
So, how exactly does calcium get into our water supply? Calcium can be found in a variety of rocks naturally. A few examples include appetite, calcite, dolomite, gypsum, limestone, and marble. Many of these rocks encompass bodies of water, and we frequently tap into these bodies of water for our drinking and tap water.
While it may happen slowly, water will eventually degrade these rocks, and it will dissolve the calcium present in them. Then, as the calcium dissolves in these natural sources of water, it makes its way into our water supply.
Why Remove Calcium From Your Water?
As mentioned above, calcium is important for our health, and we need calcium to stay alive. On the other hand, there are a few reasons why we need to keep the level of calcium in our water supply to a minimum. They include:
If you have white stains in your kitchen and bathroom that will not come out, there is a chance that limescale could be the cause. Limescale is the buildup of calcium carbonate, and you might notice limescale stains in your kitchen and bathroom after the water evaporates. The best way to deal with these stains is to prevent them from happening by keeping the calcium in your water supply to a minimum.
Skin and Hair
If the water has too much calcium in it, it can have an impact on your skin and hair. Calcium tends to dry out your skin and hair, and you might notice your hair start to crinkle and crack. High levels of calcium in your water supply can also cause you to itch and scratch when you shower. It can also make it more likely for you to develop dandruff.
If you have excessive limescale buildup in your plumbing system, it can reduce your water pressure and cause an obstruction. If you feel like the flow of water throughout your house is a bit low, there could be a lot of calcium buildup in your pipes, potentially harming water heaters.
If this issue is not addressed, it could even cause your plumbing system to develop leaks. You might have to go through the process of replacing some of the pipes in your home, which can be expensive.
Water with a high level of calcium in it can be particularly harsh, and it can cause the color of your fabrics to fade. If you don’t want your laundry to start fading, you need to measure the calcium level of your water supply regularly and ensure it is kept to a minimum. If your water is too hard, it could deactivate the active ingredient in cleansers, rendering them ineffective when you do your laundry.
These are just a few of the many possible impacts of calcium in your water. While having extra calcium in your water is not necessarily going to impact your health, it can lead to a variety of other issues. You can read more here about the benefits of soft water.
Use Water Softeners To Prevent Calcium Carbonate Buildup in Your Home
Ultimately, the vast majority of water filters are not going to remove calcium from your water supply. Water filters generally remove contaminants by size, and calcium ions are simply too small to be caught by most water filters.
Therefore, you need to use a water softener if you want to remove calcium ions from your plumbing system. You should keep the calcium content of your water supply to a minimum because excess calcium can cause limescale build-up throughout your plumbing system, leading to changes in your water pressure while increasing the chances of leaks.
Consider reaching out to us, we can help you find the right water softener to eliminate calcium from your water supply.