Scale buildup is a common water problem. It is caused by precipitation of dissolved minerals in the water. Precipitation is a process in which dissolved substances turn solid. The solidified minerals can attach to and build upon the internal surfaces of water pipes and containers. Over time, the buildups become thicker. This can cause blockage in water pathways and cause pressure problems. This can also cause heating elements to become less efficient which increases power consumption. A scale filter, for the most part, can prevent the problems caused by scale buildup.
To get a clear understanding of how scale filters work, information on chalk can be helpful. A primary component of scale is chalk. Anyone who has been to school is familiar with chalk. However, there is more to chalk than something to write on the blackboard. So, what really is chalk and where does it come from?
Chalk is a sedimentary carbonate rock. It is a type of limestone and is primarily made of the mineral calcite. Now, this is where it gets neat. Calcite is made up of millions of shells of dead marine microorganisms.
When viewed under the microscope, chalk can be seen as composed almost completely of shells from microorganisms called coccolithophores. The shells are called coccoliths. Those millions of dead corpses gradually accumulated under the sea for millions of years to form rocks. Afterward, earth movements cause the sea floor to shift up above the sea level.
The layer of sedimentary carbonate rocks is excellent at holding groundwater. But as we extract water for our use, it is impossible to avoid the water from containing dissolved chalk. And as such, we have the challenge of managing scale buildup.