Yesterday we talked a little bit about neutralizing water without a calcite neutralizer. As we mentioned, this can be done fairly effectively with a Birm blend iron filter – that is, an iron filter filled with a mix of gravel, calcite, and Birm filter media. However, for best results we recommend using a standalone calcite neutralizer tank. Today one customer wrote to us to ask about the potential drawbacks of using a calcite neutralizer, and we wanted to share our answer with you readers who might be considering such a system for use in your home.
The main drawback to using a calcite acid neutralizer is the increase in water hardness that tends to result from the dissolution of calcite into water. Calcite is a calcium carbonate that neutralizes acidity by slowly dissolving calcium into water. Calcium, along with magnesium, is the primary cause of hardness in water, and over time it will contribute to scale formation and clogged plumbing and fixtures.
Fortunately, the increase in water hardness from a neutralizer is generally negligible if the water isn’t too hard to begin with: around 170 mg/L (10 grains per gallon) is the range where one might consider using a softener. Even in this range you might decide that your water is fine for your needs, but if you decide after some time using the neutralizer that your water seems too hard, you can always add a water softener.
For more precise management of your water supply, use the Langelier Index to determine the scaling and corrosion potential of your water based on its hardness, alkalinity, and TDS concentration. The Langelier Index is used by water operators for optimizing water supply systems and identifying the potential for leakages; you can use it to manage your water supply system at home with our simple Langelier Index calculator.
For those considering a calcite acid neutralizer, we recommend our CWS Plus neutralizer system. It features a fully adjustable backwash cycle, a user-friendly LCD display, and a rugged control valve designed to last for years with little maintenance.
And if you think you’ll want a softener to remove the hardness added by the neutralizer, consider our CWS Plus softener systems. These systems are also fully adjustable, built to last, and very reliable due to their electronic sensors.