The damaging effects of scale buildup

BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s April issue, Assistant Editor Maria Woodie writes about hard water and how it can result in scale buildup.

lime scale
lime scale

BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s April article, “Addressing hard water and scale with sustainable solutions,” Assistant Editor Maria Woodie writes about the effects of hard water, especially in regards to scale buildup within a delivery system’s pipes and fixtures.

While other minerals can impact the quality of water, hardness is mainly due to high levels of magnesium and calcium, and as mentioned, could result in scale buildup, which may reduce the overall productivity and efficiency of a delivery system.

Although hard water can cause other various aesthetic and efficiency concerns, scale buildup is arguably the most damaging effect, and can form within a system, shortening its lifespan and reducing its overall effectiveness. Scale can also reduce the flow of water passing through the system, explains James “Jamie” Wakem II, president and CEO of Atlantic Filter Corporation, in the article.

Appliances requiring “super-heated” water will scale much quicker than other conventional appliances, continues Wakem in the article, resulting in more repairs and early replacements. Additionally, the amount of energy required to heat the water, he adds, increases when scale is present which can be especially concerning for water heaters.

Effective April 16, new rules for energy efficiency from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) affects the design and installation requirements for hot water heaters. Tankless instantaneous gas and electric heaters are anticipated to replace many existing hot water heaters as a result, reports Wakem in the article, which tankless heathers have proven to be “very sensitive” to hard water scaling and will require water with very low hardness to operate effectively and reduce maintenance issues.

“Our industry needs to stay abreast of these new rule changes and capitalize on the opportunities that will be presented to all of us in the very near future with increased demand for our products,” advises Wakem.

When it comes to treating/removing hard water, several treatment technologies are available, and depending on the quality of the water and the individual needs of the consumer, treatment can be accomplished at the point-of-entry (POE) and the point-of-use (POU).

Hardness minerals, according to the Water Quality Association (WQA), can be reduced in water by using one of three basic methods: Membrane separation softening (nanofiltration); chemical softening (lime softening, hot and cold); and cation exchange softening. Additionally, due to the common debate regarding the salt discharge from water softeners, different approaches to traditional softening have been spreading throughout the industry, including anti-scale systems, often referred to as “no-salt” water softeners, and physical water treatment systems. However, it is important to note that these alternatives should not be confused with traditional water softeners.

Water dealers must help educate their customers on the potential damaging effects of scale, in addition to other possible impacts of hard water, and why, although largely considered to be free of health risks, it is important to treat hard water and scale buildup.

Read the entire April article on hard water and scale buildup here.

Addressing hard water and scale with sustainable solutions

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