Household Water Treatment

  • Parrott, Kathleen;
  • Ross, Blake;
  • Woodard, Janice

Device Primary Use Limitations
Carbon Filter Removes chlorine, some organic chemicals, resin, general taste and odor problems Does not remove nitrate, bacteria, or metals. Periodic replacement of activated charcoal required
Mechanical Filter Removes sand dirt, and other causes of turbidity Requires regular cartridge replacement or backwashing (depending on type) to maintain effectiveness
Water Softener Replaces water hardness minerals (calcium, mangesium) with sodium

Improves cleaning action of soaps, detergent

Prevents scale deposits in pipes, equipment
Removes calcium and magnesium, replacing with sodium (consult physician if sodium is a health concern)

Softened water can be more corrosive than unsoftened water

Periodic backwashing and regeneration required
Iron filter Removes iron and manganese that can cause staining of clothes and plumbing fixtures

Prevents odor caused by iron, manganese
Periodic backwashing, addition of potassium permanganate required (frequency dependent on water usage, iron content)
Neutralizer Treats corrosive or acidic water May increase sodium or alter water hardness

Remember, the manufacturer's owner's manual is the best guide to the maintenance of your water treatment device. For additional information contact your local Extension office or county health department.

Return to Household Water Treatment

Publication #: 356-481

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More