TDS 101: Does TDS Really Matter?

TDS 101: Does TDS Really Matter?

We often get questions regarding whether or not our product reduces TDS. The simple answer is it does not. But that does not mean that our products are ineffective. To understand the effectiveness of our product, we need to understand TDS.

What is your TDS meter actually measuring? Water contains bacteria, pesticides, motor oil, dissolved organic and inorganic compounds, along with undissolved substances like sand, dirt, etc.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) measures the combined total of dissolved organic and inorganic substances contained in a liquid; this includes anything present in dissolved water other than the pure H2O molecules. These solids are primarily minerals, salts and organic matter that can be a general indicator of water quality. In addition, water supplies can contain dissolved organic chemical contaminants. These are usually pollutants that enter water as a by-product of human activities, including insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. A high level of TDS is an indicator of potential concerns and needs an inspection before drinking. When TDS levels exceed 1,000 ppm (parts per million) it is deemed unfit for human consumption [1].  While TDS is a good measure to evaluate whether water is fit for human consumption, it is not the right measure for all other modes of water usage.

Is TDS the correct water quality indicator you should be checking for your shower/tap water?

Let us take mineral water, for example. Even though mineral water is considered suitable for drinking, there are certain brands of mineral water with TDS values up to 3,000 ppm. A bottle of Vichy Catalan has one of the highest TDS values within drinkable water. TDS values only show the levels of mineral content in the water. However, it does not tell you about what minerals are present in the water. A high ppm may not always mean that the water is unfit or harmful. 

When we think of the salts present in our water, we think of salts made of calcium, magnesium, or sodium. However, we neglect harmful salts like lead, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic or chromium-6. When you measure your water’s TDS - it does not tell you whether or not the water has harmful minerals or otherwise.

Your water also contains traces of liquids such as gasoline, motor oil or pesticides. These are organic compounds that get mixed with groundwater and can be harmful to your skin and hair. However, the TDS reader does not measure such organic substances. A TDS tool cannot detect these substances as they are neutral in the water. We are pretty sure you would not want to brush your teeth, clean the dishes or take a shower in water that contains motor oil or pesticides.

Shower and Tap Filters condition water and convert these harmful chemicals and minerals into harmless ones that will wash away without reacting or causing harm to your skin or scalp.

WaterScience filters condition water and convert these harmful chemicals and minerals into harmless ones that will wash away without reacting or causing harm to your skin or scalp. The conditioning process reduces the hardness of the water without impacting the TDS levels measured by your reader.

Hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium, which are the minerals that are most present in hard water. These salts tend to stick onto surfaces and skin, resulting in limescale residue on bath fixtures and poor skin and hair quality. WaterScience filters convert these salts into harmless forms that do not stick easily to surfaces or react with skin and hair. Since the filter alters the chemical property of the salt without removing it, the TDS value does not change. However, the hardness reduces, giving you a better water consumption experience.

Looking for shower and tap filters? To learn more about our products click here

[1] Total dissolved solids in Drinking-water Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality

Image Credit: Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash  

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