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BERKEY AND THE CASE FOR THE TASTE OF HARD WATER

What does "HARD" water taste like?
Pure water does not exist in the natural world. Naturally occurring water has any number of things that water has picked up from it's travels over, on and in the earth. The various minerals that dissolve in water make it "hard".

Hard water typically has the following characteristics:

  • Bathing - Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage. Soaps will leave behind a scum both on the surface of the water and also on whatever is being washed, including your skin and hair. This scum on the surface of things is typically what makes the squeek in "squeeky clean". It's not a good thing.
  • Flavors - Coffee, tea and other products that are used to flavor water will not dissolve as readily in hard water.
  • Laundering - Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. The hardness minerals combine with some soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to remove. Soil on clothes can introduce even more hardness minerals into the wash water. Continuous laundering in hard water can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.
  • Problems in Water Boiler Systems and Pipework - Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (limescale deposits) that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%

HARD WATER IS NOT A HEALTH HAZARD

Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs. They further state that in some instances, where dissolved calcium and magnesium are very high, water could be a major contributor of calcium and magnesium to the diet.

The ideal solution would be to leave the calcium in the water, but alter its state so that it couldn't form limescale. This is what magnetic water conditioners aim to achieve but, although they do work for some people, the science behind them is not fully understood.

SEDIMENT - IT'S HARD BUT DOESN'T MAKE WATER HARD, JUST DIRTY

Sediment is anything inorganic that is suspended (NOT DISSOLVED) either permanantly or temporarily in the water. The brown color you see in many rivers is a result of water having picked up and carried along dirt or sand.

Affect on Taste and Odor of Water - Sediment may or may not contribute a taste or odor to the water. Most often it just makes water look cloudy and unappealing. Berkey removes sediments from water leaving your water clear and appealing

DISSOLVED SOLIDS - THESE MAKE WATER HARD

Dissolved solids are minerals that have been dissolved by water as it passes over them. An common example would be dissolved salt in a glass of water. The salt will not settle out or be visible as would be the case with sediments.
Iron in higher concentration is found in many areas and is responsible for the orange color imparted to things often in contact with iron bearing water.
Chlorides and sulfates are two other commonly dissolved minerals.

Affect on Taste and odor of Water - While dissolved iron does not affect taste to any great degree it can make the water look orange colored and unappealing. Other dissolved minerals are usually in concentrations too small to affect taste or odor or color of water. Berkey does not remove dissolved minerals from the water. Water is one of the suppliers of these essential elements to our body, so this is a good thing.

HARD WATER

Calcium and Magnesium are a special category of dissolved solid and are the minerals most commonly found in water and in smaller concentration are healthy additions to the water. In larger concentrations they are the main cause of "hard water". Higher concentrations contributes to the formation of an unsightly scum on the surface of water used for cooking, drinking or washing.  Minerals in the water will add taste to the water to a small degree; however the problems they cause in drinking water are most often related to the inability of the water to absorb other flavors.

Affect on Taste and Odor of Water - Calcium and magnesium may or may not affect the taste of the water depending on their concentration. Larger concentrations may contribute some taste to the water. The primary affect on the use of water for drinking is that it makes it difficult to dissolve other flavors in the water, such as teas, or coffee and it may create a scum on top of the water when it mixes with other things added to boiled water.

Berkey will not remove these minerals from the water. The accepted method for household removal is through the use of a Water Softener which uses an ion exchange process.

CHLORINE

Chlorine is added to water by municipalities as a way of controlling pathogenic micro-organisms in the water. The health effects of chlorine have been fairly well documented and they point to chlorine and the bi-products of chlorine found especially in hot shower vapor as being the culprit in a number of ailments.

Affect on Taste and Odor in Water - Chlorine will affect the taste and odor of water depending on it's concentration. An extreme example of both it's taste and odor can be found in a swimming pool or even more so in a jacussi or hot tub, where concentration are usually highest.

Berkey removes both chlorine and chlorine bi-products.

INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS

The existence of chemicals such as VOC's, pesticides and benzene in water as a result of industrial contamination.

Affect on Taste and Odor in Water - All industrial chemicals may adversely affect the taste and odor of water depending on their concentration.

Berkey removes these chemicals as well as other man-made chemicals, some or all of which may contribute to bad odor or taste in water.

HYDROGEN SULFIDE

Hydrogen sulfide can exist naturally in water

Affect on Taste and Odor in Water - Hydrogen Sulfide gives water the smell of rotten eggs and a bad taste.

Berkey removes hydrogen sulfide from water.

ORGANIC MATERIAL

Organic material in water may come from many sources. In some cases it is microscopic and not visible, in other cases it is visible, as in the form of green formation in or on the surface of standing water.

Affect on Taste and Odor in Water - Untreated water containing organic contaminates will begin to smell and taste badly over time as these organisms multiply, die off and decay.

Berkey removes organic contaminants with the exception of viruses, which because of their small size, need to be killed, generally by the addition of chlorine to the water.

SUMMARY - WHAT'S IN YOUR WATER

What's in the Water - The taste and odor of water varies tremendously from place to place and is affected by both natural and man-made circumstances.

What's Your Preference - Whether water tastes and smells good is dependant on your taste and odor preferences.

What Can the Berkey Do - If your water tastes and smells bad the Berkey is an excellent choice for improving both the taste and odor of your water as it removes or reduces those contaminants that affect the taste and odor of water.

What the Berkey Can't Do - If your water has a high concentration of minerals (TDS) then you will find that making coffee or teas or dissolving things in the water is difficult.
The Berkey does not remove minerals from water so you will need another solution. Water softeners, reverse osmosis filters and distillers are options to consider. Each has its own limitations and drawbacks.

HELPING YOU MAKE A GOOD PURCHASE

Help Me Choose BUYERS GUIDE
Water Quality Issues - ARE YOU AT RISK?
Technical Information about the - BLACK BERKEY FILTER
Testimonials (rave review really) from BERKEY USERS

CHECK OUT OTHER MODELS TO GET THE RIGHT "FIT" FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE

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