Water Treatment

Growing up we remember the crisp cool taste of water straight from the tap.  Since then, there have been many changes to the environment and, ultimately, to our tap water.  Woodstock City tap water now contains added chemicals to stop water-borne bacteria from spreading through the system.  Unfortunately, these added chemicals, like chlorine, not only affect the taste of the water and affect the efficiency of our soaps and detergents, but are potentially dangerous if ingested over prolonged periods of time through rinsing and boiling foods, and drinking water.

Along with the additives to the water, Woodstock also carries a high level of hard water through the municipal water systems which can cause mineralization clogging filters on washing machines and dishwashers, and causing heating elements like irons, hot water heaters and kettles to stop functioning.  With time hard water can cause buildups in piping, reducing water transfer and efficiency.

We’re happy to offer Excalibur products for a full line of water treatment, filtration and reverse osmosis applications to keep your home and appliances running at peak efficiency, and your drinking water pure every time.

Plumbing Services - Water Treatment
Plumbing Services - Water Treatment
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How does a Water Softener work?

Hard water is simply water that contains minerals that are mainly found in bedrock. When it rains, water percolates through the ground and dissolves some of this rock which ends up in our water system.

As water enters the home through the water main, it is pushed through the water softener mineral tank, containing the resin. Resin looks like very small plastic beads. As the water flows past the resin any calcium and magnesium compounds will stick to the resin and will be removed from the water.

Eventually each tiny bead of resin becomes completely bound with calcium and magnesium and cannot remove any more from the water. At this point the softener goes through its regeneration cycle which is usually set to happen in the middle of the night, and the salt added to the softener ‘cleans’ the resin.
Monitor the salt level in the brine tank and add a bag of salt when it is getting low. The water softener should take care of the rest.

With soft water, you’ll find that the amount of soap, detergent and shampoo required is much less and lathers fuller since they are not competing with the minerals in the water in order to clean.

How does a water softener work - Oxford Plumbing, Woodstock Ontario

When to use a UV Filtration system

Some products are designed to filter sediment or remove chemicals from the water. UV Filtration devices are designed to remove biological contamination. If you are concerned about possible or proven microbiological contamination in your drinking water, consider a UV system to accompany your filtration.

Both e.coli and coli form bacteria should not be present in a drinking water supply, and are the most common reasons your may consider using UV. Once it’s been established that either of these two bacteria are present in your water supply, it’s left to you, the property owner to decide how to proceed.

Traditionally, an option has been Chlorine. When it’s added to water it very quickly attacks the tissues of bacteria or other micro-organisms that might be present in the water. The trouble is chlorine also mixes with some of the naturally occurring chemicals in the water to produce harmful disinfection byproducts that end up in the drinking water.

UV, on the other hand, adds nothing to the water. It simply disrupts the DNA of the bacteria and other micro-organisms as they pass by the UV lamp, rendering them harmless

When to use a UV Filter on System - Oxford Plumbing, Woodstock Ontario

Rural Well Systems

Studies suggest that 20 – 40 percent of the private wells in rural areas are contaminated with bacteria.

The most common bacteria found in water supplies are coliform bacteria and e.coli. Coliform bacteria are a family of bacteria that are found in lots of places including soil. Coliform is not particularly concerning unless water supplies contain massive amounts. The presence of e.coli in your water indicates that fecal matter has made its way into your water supply. Consuming water that contains e.coli will usually result in cramping and diarrhea. However, there are some strains of e.coli that are much more aggressive.

Ultraviolet light (UV for short) is able to render bacteria harmless; a simple device that is plumbed on the main water line in the home. As bacteria move past the lamp they are zapped and eventually die. A UV system will take care of e.coli, coliform bacteria as well as most other bacteria, viruses and cysts that might be found in your water supply.

Remember, whatever road you take, there is no substitute for frequent water testing to ensure your well water is safe to drink.

Rural Well Systems - Oxford Plumbing

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is used to remove impurities from water in order to improve the colour and taste and substantially reduces most suspended and dissolved matter from water. RO systems are not appropriate or intended for treating water supplies that are contaminated by bacteria.

Reverse osmosis uses a membrane (filter) that is semi-permeable, allowing water to pass through it, while rejecting the contaminants that remain. The process requires a driving force or pressure to push the water through the membrane. Contaminants are removed by forcing this water through a membrane having microscopic holes that allow water molecules, but not larger compounds, to pass through.

Limitations and Maintenance:

  • Although reverse osmosis removes many organic chemicals, it does not remove all. And it does not remove 100% of most chemicals. RO systems are not appropriate for treating water supplies that are contaminated by coliform bacteria.
  • These units waste large amounts of water. Household RO units typically deliver small amounts (2 to 10 gallons per day) of treated water and waste 3 to 20 times the amount of water treated. Waste water is typically connected to the house drains.
  • The membrane can develop problems from precipitate buildup and scaling. A softener must be installed ahead of the reverse osmosis unit if hard water is used. Otherwise, the minerals will quickly plug the membrane filter.
  • Frequently, mechanical and/or activated carbon filters are installed before the reverse osmosis unit to remove turbidity and improve taste and odor. This can result in improved overall water quality and extend the life of the reverse osmosis membrane.

The reverse osmosis membrane will need periodic replacement according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Occasional cleaning and flushing of the whole reverse osmosis unit may be required.

We recommend an Air Gap Faucet for your Reverse Osmosis System:

The Air Gap faucet is a device designed to provide a siphon break for an under counter reverse osmosis unit. The purpose of the air gap faucet is to assure that no water from a stopped up sink can be siphoned back into the reverse osmosis unit via the drain connection.

Reverse Osmosis Systems - Oxford Plumbing

Iron in your water

There are many concerns that iron can cause in your water system including rust on your clothes, faucets and sinks, suspended particles in your drinking water and the growth of bacteria in your plumbing system that feeds on iron. If you notices vegetables cooked in water turning unusually dark and have a harsh after taste, we would recommend testing for iron levels in your system. The same can happen with Tea and Coffee.
How does the Iron Removal process work?
Most iron removal water filtration systems work with the notion that the iron needs to be oxidized to convert it from a ferrous (dissolved) state to a ferric (undissolved) state. Once undissolved, the iron can be filtered properly.
What is pH and what role does it play?

The pH (potential of Hydrogen) of a water source plays a very important role in understanding the way that the iron can convert to an undisolved state. The higher the pH level, the faster iron can convert. It is suggested to have a pH of at least 6.5 or higher for the iron to convert.

Iron in your Water - Oxford Plumbing

Whole house Water Filtration Systems

The whole house water filter unit is designed as a point of entry system that filters water directly as it enters a home plumbing system from a municipal or private well water source.

While not as immediately effective as point of use water filters, like Reverse Osmosis filters that filter water directly before use, the whole house water filter provides clean, filtered water to every water source in the household. Ideally, this type of filtration system is used in conjunction with a reverse osmosis filter in order to ensure the removal of elements that corrode from pipes after water enters the home’s plumbing system.

Most whole house water filters use a four stage filtration system in which most, if not all harmful contaminants are removed from the water supply.
The first stage of filtration removes any sediment materials in the water that may clog the filter reducing its effectiveness.

The second stage then uses a chemical process called water atomization to alter the molecular structure of contaminants so that they can be removed from the water.

The third and fourth stages of filtration involve carbon activated media to remove biological matter and harmful chemicals.

By removing harmful chemicals at the point of entry, whole house filters not only provide cleaner, healthier water, but better air quality as well. They prohibit chlorine from vaporizing in the air when used in the shower and dishwasher. Whole house water filters also prevent harmful chemicals from embedding in clothing in the laundry, and they lessen the amount of detergent needed in both laundry and dishwashing.

Whole House Filtration Systems - Oxford Plumbing

Point of Use water treatment

Single point of use water treatment systems have become increasingly popular, offering a source of clean filtered water to a single faucet without requiring the space usage of a whole house filtration system.

Under counter water filtration systems require only a feed from the main water line and a connection to the cold water line. No separate drain is required. Most installations can be completed in less than an hour.

As with any filtration system, point of use filters have a cartridge that must be replaced periodically. Replacing the cartridge is easy. All you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, all that is required is to unscrew the cover of the under counter water filter and take out the cartridge, replace it, and then return the cover.

With any water treatment system we recommend testing your water prior to selecting your treatment system to ensure that you have selected the appropriate system for your water treatment.

Point of use water treatment - oxford plumbing

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