The taste and sanitary quality of tap water has become a real concern. Added to this is the desire to have water that does not risk damaging some equipment of the sanitary installation by fouling or clogging with limestone. It is also useful to know the different pollutants that can degrade tap water.
Limestone in the water
If the calcium carbonate contained in tap water is not dangerous to health, everyone knows the consequences of too calcareous water for the sanitary installation and, in particular, for certain appliances using resistors such as water heaters and washing machines or dishes. By covering these, the limestone causes a energy consumption.
The excess of limestone is also formidable for the mechanisms of modern faucets (thermostatic mixing valves) which it clogs the bushels, but also for the shower heads which it obstructs the nozzles. While evaporating, a chalky water leaves traces on the shower walls, basins, the shower tray and the bathtub.
Water that is too calcareous lowers the foaming and degreasing power of soaps, shampoo, washing up liquid and laundry. Hence, also overconsumption of these products and also some inconvenience (towels and linens, dry skin, etc.).
The limestone dissolved in the water is invisible. However, the traces can easily be noted, for example the white deposits that accumulate in a kettle where you will regularly bring water to a boil. A simple visual examination of the resistance of the dishwasher will also give an idea of the physical quality of the water.
To appreciate the extent of the problem
The hardness of the water is directly related to the amount of limestone dissolved in the water, which is deposited in the form of scale. It is possible to measure the hardness of the water.
The TH (hydrotimetric title) is the unit of measurement for assessing the calcium content of water: 1 TH corresponds to 4 mg of calcium carbonate per liter of water. We also speak of "French degree" (° F)
The scale of values is as follows:
- very soft water: 0 to 7
- fresh water: 7 to 15
- fairly hard water: 15 to 30
- hard water: 30 to 40
- very hard water: over 40
Tartar is a deposit that forms on the resistances and inside the pipes by combination of calcium with the hydrocarbonate which is in water in a natural way.
Pollution of tap water
Health issues are now a major concern for the consumer who, at the rate of one in three, no longer trust the tap water and turns to bottled water, ordinary or "mineral". The quality of the water, in this respect, is uneven from one region to another. But recent surveys have shown that 96% of the water distributed in France is of very good quality.
A number of pathogens that can be carried by tap water feed these fears.
Micropollutants visible to the naked eye
They color the water to make it "chocolate". They are sludge, rust, algae, hydrocarbons most often revealing networks or outdated facilities. They will be eliminated by effective filtering.
They come from accidental contamination of the drinking water supply system (overflow of wastewater treatment plants during heavy storms or floods, sewage leaks, unsafe discharges or faulty septic tanks near leaky supply lines, rejection of intensive rearing, etc.) or neglect of network maintenance (micro-leaks). When water services detect such anomalies, they increase the rate of chlorine-based disinfectant products, making drinking water tasteful but disgusting.
Pesticides and herbicides
They result from intensive agriculture and are found today in quantity in groundwater.
Also from intensive agriculture, they are dangerous from 50 mg / l (the maximum rate recommended by WHO is 15 mg / l for pregnant women). They infest many French regions, especially those in the West.
Lead has become a serious threat because of the aging of the domestic sanitary facilities (currently totally forbidden to install), the eradication of which is not subject to sufficiently drastic measures. However, the regulations stipulate that if the lead content in tap water exceeds 10 mg / l, the pipes must be replaced.
There are traces of other heavy metals in the tap water, such as nickel, resulting from the use of this metal in some plumbing fixtures and fittings. It is formidable for the kidneys.
Appropriate filtration is essential, but above all the screening of installations that must imperatively be redone in copper, steel, PER, polyethylene, multilayer or PVC-pressure.
This new type of pollutant is linked to the intensification of the use of drugs for humans, but also for animals, hospital discharges and individuals, but also those intensive livestock.
(photos / visuals: © DIY-Prod, except special mention)
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