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There are several types of water systems that may be incorporated in a home. One or more may be utilized at any given time. The quality of water in any area and the type of water system can dictate if additional systems are needed in a home. Large systems carry water into and out of a house, while smaller systems make changes to the water once it has entered a home.
Main home water systems are used to carry the inflow of water into a house. The two most common types to supply water are city water and well water. City systems include a large tank from which the water is piped into a home, apartment, or building by traveling through a meter to gauge the amount of water used and charged to the customer. A water well system may be used as a personal well on a homeowner's property or can be used by a subdivision or community as a source of water to homes.
Water that comes from city systems sometimes has additives from water treatment systems. Common additives include fluoride and sterilization chemicals, such as chlorine, to ensure the water quality. These chemicals can affect the taste of the water. City water may also be treated to remove metals, which naturally occur in ground water.
When a home water well is installed on private property, owners may want to use a water filtration system to remove minerals, such as iron and calcium, from the water. There are several types of filtration systems that can be used between the water holding tank and the inflow into the house. Additionally, water filters can be used on the kitchen faucet or in the refrigerator so that the ice and water dispensed through the door is of premium quality.
Other types of water systems include treatment with a water softener. The water enters a tank and is filtered through salt to remove chemicals and minerals. Hard water contains calcium, which can eventually lead to leaky faucets, toilets, and hot water heaters. Extremely high levels of calcium in water can be seen as small white pieces of matter in the bottom of a glass of water. A water softener can also reduce the amount of soap and shampoo needed because a smaller amount can produce as much soapsuds when the water does not contain calcium.
Hot water systems use a water heater to warm water before it enters a home. A hot water heater uses one or more heating elements to warm the water before it is used. Hot water systems are most commonly either electric or gas, although there are also systems that use solar energy to heat water for a home.
@ Alchemy- Since you brought up the subject of sustainable design, I thought I should add a bit about whole house water systems that also separate gray water from wastewater, and catch or recycle this water. The gray water is then filtered through a specialized filtration system. After filtration, the water is pumped underneath lawns, landscaping, and flowerbeds to irrigate plants and lawns.
A well-designed gray water system will save water, replenish the water table, and be completely safe. Gray water is naturally fertilized because the potassium and other fertilizing minerals are not filtered by the system. Instead, they are fed directly to the plants. You just have to be careful to use soap products that are biodegradable and safe for gray water systems.
I have seen some residential water systems that incorporate evaporative cooling and aesthetic beauty into the design of the system. Homeowners can install small reflection pools with aquatic plants or waterfalls in breezeways, helping cool and purify circulating air.
These systems are visually pleasing but also have a functional purpose. Air temperatures in the house remain cooler, and the system regulates home humidity. This puts less of a burden on the homes heating, cooling, and ventilation system, saving a homeowner money and promoting energy conservation. In addition, these features create nice conversation pieces, and the sound of flowing water is soothing.