How to Remove Calcium from Well Water?

Every homeowner has heard the term hard water and possibly dealt with its effects. The elements responsible for hardness in your water are mainly calcium, magnesium, and sometimes iron. If you own water well and are worried about excessive calcium (hardness) in your water, you are at the right place. In this article, we will discuss ways to remove calcium from well water, its impacts, and some other important things.

Please keep in mind that water rich in calcium is termed as hard water. Hence it is important to understand some basic things about hard water. The level of water hardness is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium (combined or individual) in the water. Our aim is to make sure that the levels are within the soft water limit. The following table indicates the levels of water hardness.

Category Amount in mg/L Amount in grains/Gallon
Soft Water 0 – 17 0-1
Slightly Hard 17.1 – 60 1-3.5
Moderately Hard 61 – 120 3.5-7.0
Hard 121 – 180 7.0-10.5
Very Hard More than 180 10.5 and above

Impacts of Hard Water (High Calcium Well Water)

If you have a high calcium percentage in well water, you may notice the following signs.

  • Dry skin and hair; dandruff and rashes on your skin
  • Soap scum on your hands: a film like feeling on your hands and body
  • Reduced water pressure in your home
  • Poor lather formation with soaps and shampoos
  • Stained laundry
  • Stained and weak crockery
  • Dirty and stained plumbing fixtures, bathtubs, sinks, showerheads, and toilets
  • Frequent plumbing maintenance
  • High water bills (only for city water users)

How to Know about the Levels of Calcium in your Well Water?

Calcium and magnesium will demonstrate their presence through the above impacts. These impacts may not be specifically related to hard water. However, to know the exact levels of hardness in your water, you need to get your water tested. You can perform a home test or hire the services of a certified testing facility. A list of licensed labs is available on the website of your state’s health office.

Is Hard Water Drinkable?

Yes, you can drink hard water as no health risks are associated with it. It contains calcium and magnesium, and both are needed by human beings for proper growth and functioning. However, if you avoid calcium and magnesium or your doctor has prescribed to stay away from a calcium-rich diet, you must avoid drinking hard water and eating foods cooked in hard water.

Ways to Remove Calcium (Water Hardness) from Well Water

The following are the best strategies against water hardness.

Salt-Based Water Softener

A salt-based water softener is a commonly used machine to remove hardness from well water. It uses resin and a softening salt to remove calcium and magnesium from your water. Some models also come with a designated iron filter to remove iron from well water. The process behind the working of a salt-based water softener is ion exchange. When water enters the softener, the salt captures calcium and magnesium, and they are replaced with sodium or potassium (depends upon the salt being used) ions. The brine is then discharged, and the resin is washed away according to the adjusted settings. You need to make proper arrangements for the discharge from a water softener. Improper disposing can lead to calcium and magnesium re-entering the water table and getting absorbed by the well water. If you are on a sodium-free diet, you must not use sodium salt in your water softeners. For homes with high water demands, a dual tank or big size water softener is perfect.

Pros

  • Safe to drink (except for sodium-free diet people)
  • Automatic operation
  • Great for whole-house use

Cons

  • Needs regular maintenance
  • Salt storage and replacement
  • Wastes water

Electric Water Softeners

Another way to remove calcium from well water is to use electric water softeners. However, an electric water softener is more of a device-specific machine because it cannot produce water needed for the whole house. You can use it with a water heater, washing machine or a dishwasher and it will give very good results. Electric water softeners do not remove calcium and magnesium from water but change the way it interacts on surfaces. It stops the stickiness of water. The water does not leave stains/marks on plumbing fixtures, clothes, and crockery.

Pros

  • No maintenance
  • Best for individual appliances

Cons

  • Small working capacity
  • Costly

Magnetic Water Softener

A magnetic water softener is the easiest to install. It alters the electromagnetic behavior of water with the help of magnetic rays. The calcium and magnesium don’t stick to surfaces anymore, and you get soft water for your use. The magnetic water softeners also have the same problem as a small working capacity.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Best for appliances and small families

Cons

  • Small working capacity
  • Costly

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System – Best for Drinking Water

RO system

Setting up a reverse osmosis system in your kitchen is a great idea to avoid calcium and magnesium in your drinking water. Though they don’t harm your health, it is better to avoid continuous exposure to high concentrations of calcium and magnesium. The RO membrane can remove contaminants up to 0.0001 microns in size. It comes with 3-4 filters, which help improve the water quality and provide up to 99% pure water.

Pros

  • Effortless working
  • Purified water; safe and healthy for drinking

Cons

  • Needs regular maintenance
  • Wastes water

Boiling

Boil well water

Boiling the water is a temporary measure for dealing with calcium in well water. It results in the formation of precipitates of calcium carbonate. When the boiled water is filtered 3-4 times, the precipitates are removed. Boiling will impart a flat taste in water, which is quite irritating to drink. Boiling needs a lot of time and energy, and it is practically impossible to boil water every day.

Pros

  • No tools needed
  • Water is safe to drink except for the flat taste issue.

Cons

  • Uses time and energy
  • Very small output
  • Can be a hazard if not managed properly

Chemical Treatment

You can use washing soda (sodium carbonate) to remove calcium and magnesium from well water. Chemical treatment is best for laundry, cleaning hard water stains. You must not consume water treated with sodium carbonate.

Pros

  • Best for clearing hard water stains

Cons

  • Not consumable

Shower Heads with Water Softeners – Best for People with Sensitive Skin

shower head for well water

Some people have very sensitive and delicate skin. A little amount of calcium and magnesium can cause rashes, allergies, and dandruff. A water softener will help you remove 100% calcium from the water and provide you safe water for showering.

Pros

  • Best for people with sensitive skin

Cons

  • Costly

How to Remove Hard Water Stains?

Once you have successfully put in place a mechanism (water softener) to remove hardness from your well water and ensure that it won’t be coming back any time soon, you should now think to remove hard water stains from your home. You can use the following to do

  • A mixture of vinegar and baking soda
  • Commercial hard water stains removal sprays

Final Words – What’s the Best Solution?

We hope that you will now be able to deal with the hard water problem in your home. A salt-based water softener is the best solution to remove hardness from water. However, before buying a salt-based water softener, check the state laws as some states don’t allow the use of water softeners without a proper discharge management system.

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