Many homeowners notice that they have an unsightly white film at various locations around their homes. This white material can be found in areas, such as glassware, faucets, shower doors and water using appliance. In the majority of cases, this is caused by dried water hardening minerals deposits, such as magnesium and calcium and this can be fixed by installing a water softener. But, in some cases, hard water isn’t the issue and Silica is the source of the problem.

What is Silica?

Silica (SI02) or more correctly silica dioxide is a dioxide of silicon, which is the second most common element that we have on Earth. All natural water supplies contain silica, and it’s also found in foods, such as root vegetables, wheat, oats, avocados, and strawberries. Silica is found in other materials, such as granite, flint, quartz, agate, sand, and sandstone, and some people believe that has health benefits. Some studies have shown that silica has no nutritional benefits, but it hasn’t been shown to be any threat to human health, and it isn’t regulated by the EPA.

Silica in Water Supplies

Silica can exist in the water supply in one of three different forms; they are: colloidal, particulate and dissolved. When silica is present in higher concentrations, it can form deposits of hard white scale and the correct treatment to remove it will depend on its form. Silica in its particulate form can be removed with some simple filtration. But, silica in a colloidal form is more difficult, magnesium salts or some other chemical additives may be needed, and this would be followed by a filtration or reverse osmosis system.

How Can You Test for Silica?

So, if you have hard white deposits in your home, how can you find out if you have hard water scale or a silica scale? There is a simple test that you can do yourself with white vinegar. Wipe the hard white scale areas with the white vinegar, and if the film or scale deposit is removed, it’s more likely to be a hard water issue. If the vinegar cannot clean away to white scale, then you probably have higher concentrations of silica in your water supply.

Removing Silica from Your Water Supply

As you can see, removing silica from your water supply isn’t an easy process. A water softener will not remove silica at all, and you can still have high concentrations of silica in soft water. The best way to remove silica from your water is to use a reverse osmosis water filtration system. The reverse osmosis process forces the water to pass through a semipermeable membrane that has extremely small pores. Only water can pass through, and any other contaminants are left on the surface of the membrane to be flushed away later. This provides you with water that’s extremely clean and free from contaminants.

If you have a whole house system, every faucet and fixture in your home will be supplied with this cleaner water. When the silica is removed, you will notice that the white film and scale buildup problems are far less likely to trouble you again.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.