Calcium is a major cause of hardness in water and its effects can be seen in mineral deposits left on utensils or laundry, and scaling in water pipes. Because of these effects, it is important to remove it from water. This article examines how water filters can be used to achieve this.
Ion exchange (IX) filters can be used for the complete removal of calcium and other mineral ions to produce fully demineralized water. Reverse Osmosis filters also do an excellent job removing calcium from water but excess minerals in the water supply can clog or degrade the filters fairly quickly. The best solution is a water filtration system that uses a water softener and a three-stage filter.
Nano filters can also achieve more than 90% calcium removal and operate at higher flux and lower pressures (ranging from 75 to 150 psi). They have been used successfully for groundwater softening and are also perfect at removing color and disinfecting water. Their main drawback is their high cost for large-scale applications like municipal water treatment.
Should you remove calcium from your water?
According to The World Health Organization (WHO), water treatment methods that remove all the calcium are not encouraged to be used for drinking water.
Calcium adds taste to water naturally, as opposed to distilled, deionized, or demineralized waters that are practically tasteless, and have to be treated by adding calcium carbonate (limestone), sodium chloride, or mixed with small amounts of water rich in minerals to improve their taste and reduce their corrosiveness to metal pipes. Distilled and low mineral content water also does not quench thirst much.
Low mineral levels in drinking water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, cholecystitis and nephritis, goiter, pregnancy complications, and several complications in newborns and infants, including jaundice, anemia, fractures, and growth disorders, as well as edema and anemia in pregnant women.
Although drinking water is not the major source of calcium, many people’s diets may not provide an adequate source of minerals and microelements, so the minerals in the water might help. Elements in water exist as free ions, which are more readily absorbed from water compared to those in food, which are bound to other substances.
Calcium is a major component of bones and teeth, it decreases neuromuscular excitability, enhances the proper function of the myocardial system including heart and muscle contraction, and improves intracellular information transmission and the coagulability of blood.
In other words, if you don’t have calcium in your diet, you may want to have it in your water.
How does calcium get into water?
Calcium gets into the water when calcium salts are present in the soil and rocks are dissolved into surface water. Increasing levels of dissolved calcium eventually make water hard.
Usually, calcium concentrations above 60 mg/L will cause hardness. These levels vary depending on the water source. Generally, bottled waters in the US and Canada have the same calcium concentrations as tap water, with only a few areas having differing amounts.
Calcium in tap water contributes to about 13% of the recommended daily calcium intake, while mineral waters account for 54%.
Common Problems Associated with Excess Calcium in the water
Even though calcium is good for your health, too much of it can cause problems. A study that looked at populations that used water with hardness levels greater than 5mmol/L found that that the risk of gall stones, kidney stones, urinary stones, arthrosis, and arthropathies increased sharply.
So if the calcium levels in your water are 5mmo/L and above, it might be a good idea to use an Ion Exchange water filter to demineralize the water.
Hard water is a particular problem for bathing. When there are large amounts of calcium, soaps and detergents will simply not be as viable. They also do not lather because the chemical reactions are not as vibrant.
In addition to the lathering problem, the excess calcium can also cause a build-up of film on the porcelain of the tub or shower, which can eventually harden into calcified grime over time. To keep the bathroom clean, it is a good idea to soften the water as soon as possible.
One other particular disadvantage of hard water – and excess calcium – is that it tends to create odd stains in certain fixtures. Calcium is very often found alongside iron in the tap, as both are abundant in the Earth’s crust and can be picked up by groundwater as it percolates through.
Brown or red stains in the toilet bowl or in the sink are a sign that your intake might not be particularly pure, which means it is highly like to have unfiltered calcium, magnesium, iron, and even manganese in it.
Excess calcium is also a problem for clean laundry. Calcium prevents soap from washing away the dirt and grime that naturally builds up on cotton, polyester, and other fabrics while they are being worn.
In fact, lots of calcium may mean that you must use twice as much detergent and steaming hot water to clean your clothes. This ends up causing your clothes to wear out faster. The key, then, is an elegant filtration system that will remove impurities and give you water that is as clean as possible
Best ways to filter calcium from water
Let’s look at the water filtration system options for removing calcium:
Reverse osmosis filtration systems
- Salt-free softeners
- Magnetic softeners
- Ion exchange filters
Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems
Filters generally work through reverse osmosis, a fancy chemistry term that is quite straightforward. When pressure is applied on a certain solution, the compounds are forced through a membrane into an area with lower concentration.
This is the common method for removing salt from water, and it is highly effective. Reverse osmosis systems are, in effect, efficient mechanisms for action when it comes to getting rid of impurities, especially in tap water. They are the kings of filtration systems and are reliable when manufactured according to code and set up correctly.
Other types of filtering systems might also work for certain homeowners.
A salt-free device removes the calcium or magnesium from the water and replaces it with potassium chloride, which is especially for people who suffer from moderately high to high blood pressure. The potassium chloride that is added to the system through the softener also prevents lime-scale from adhering to appliances and intake pipes, which is better for the system overall.
Avoiding salt deposits will also protect against clogged pipes and keep your plumbing network in great shape for a long time to come.
Perhaps one of the most innovative mechanisms is a magnetic softener, which can be affixed to the intake pipe itself without too much trouble.
It really is a high-tech solution, and people who come into contact with it are impressed with its efficiency. This technique transforms the minerals’ electromagnetic properties, most frequently calcium carbonate. The magnetic field prevents the calcium from acting as normal hard water would, which will give you, in effect, soft water.
Ion Exchange Filters
These are the classic filters that fit neatly over the kitchen faucet. They are primarily used to improve how the tap tastes and are great at removing many different minerals.
They can even be placed in a specially made filter, which catches the calcium and other minerals as the water comes out of the tap and falls into the bottom segment of the filter. Ion exchange mechanisms are relatively inexpensive and will hold up well for a long time to come.
As long as the corresponding pitcher is purchased, you can keep large quantities of beautifully tasting liquid in your refrigerator for drinking and recipes going forward.
Does a carbon filter remove calcium?
Carbon water filters improve the taste by taking out chlorine and organic chemicals but will not remove calcium to a significant degree. Activated Carbon Filters (ACF) may include mixed media that remove heavy metals and absorb organic contaminants that bring bad taste and smell.
Some designs remove chlorination byproducts, while others remove cleaning solvents and pesticides, and others may be efficient in removing metals such as lead and copper but do not remove nitrates, bacteria, or dissolved minerals.
Activated carbon filters have small pores that increase their surface area for adsorption. Water is then passed through the filter, which traps the contaminants. These filters vary in micron rating, from 5 microns to 0.2 microns, and can be selected based on the contaminants that need to be removed.
However, they can block over time, so they need to be replaced regularly or as prescribed by the manufacturer.
What kind of filter removes calcium?
An Ion exchange filter is used to reduce scale minerals from the water and is a highly effective treatment for moderate to very hard water. It removes calcium and other ions that cause water hardness and scaling.
IX filters have a fixed-bed process in which a synthetic resin is placed. Water is passed through the resin bed, which exchanges contaminant ions present in the water with ions on the surface of the resin, thus removing them. The resin must be regenerated frequently to remove the contaminant from the resin surface and replace lost exchange ions.
The filter needs to be replaced as it expires with time when the resin becomes saturated with the blocked calcium.
Do water filters remove minerals?
Some filters will remove mineral content, while others will not. If the filter removes one contaminant, it may not remove others. Filter brands include many different types of filters in their line, including pitcher filters, refrigerator filters, faucet-mounted filters, faucet-integrated (built-in) filters, on-counter filters, under-sink filters, and whole-house water treatment units.
For example, reverse osmosis (RO) filters use membranes and additional filters to remove dissolved solids and other contaminants from water to provide purified water. They require less frequent membrane change and use up to 4+ gallons of water per gallon of filtered water.
In summary, not all filters are well-suited for removing calcium in the water. Your best bet is an Ion Exchange filter. However, you may want first to test your water to know the calcium content before trying to filter it. Calcium is beneficial and should only be removed if it is too much.
The ion exchange filter will remove not only calcium but other minerals as well, and that is why you should only use it when necessary. If your calcium levels are less than 5mmol/L, you don’t have to worry about it.