If your drinking water tastes salty or bitter, in most cases, it is because of dissolved salts and minerals, referred to as total dissolved solids (TDS in water). So the next step of action should be to reduce high TDS levels in your drinking water.

It will take more than the normal filtration process to eliminate or lower high TDS levels in your drinking water. However, reverse osmosis filtration (RO system), distillation and deionization are some of the common ways to reduce the TDS level of your drinking water supply.

Measuring TDS Levels

An unusual taste and appearance in your water may not be a surefire confirmation that it is because of dissolved substances in your water. It can also be harmful contaminants and dissolved impurities such as sediment, silt, suspended solids, etc.

So to make sure that it’s total dissolved solids (TDS) in your water, you need to measure the TDS level in your water using a TDS meter.

The maximum TDS level in water that’s considered harmless for human consumption is 500 ppm (parts per million) or Mg/L (Milligrams per liter).

total dissolved solids TDS levels

The range of water TDS levels includes:

  • Below 300 ppm: excellent
  • Between 300 and 500 ppm: good
  • Within 600 and 900 ppm: fair
  • Between 900 and 1200 ppm: poor
  • Above 1200 ppm: unacceptable

Acceptability levels of TDS include:

  • Below 50 ppm indicates low TDS water, which translates to a lack of natural nutrients. It’s not a permissible range and unfit for consumption by the human body.
  • Between 50 and 150 ppm is acceptable for water supplies, preferably between 80 and 150 ppm.
  • 150 and 250 ppm is the optimum TDS level or range for drinking. It’s considered the healthiest range.
  • Between 250 and 500 pm is a good range.
  • 500 and 2000 ppm is not a suitable range for consumption. We recommend using a RO water purifier to lower the TDS level.

Three Ways to Reduce TDS in Water

You’ll need a TDS water filter to deal with the presence of inorganic substances and hazardous chemicals in your water. The different ways of purifying water to reduce TDS in your water supplies include:

1. RO Water Purifiers

We recommend using a reverse osmosis purifier to reduce TDS in water and improve water quality. When it comes to an RO filter, the water passes through a semipermeable membrane. Therefore, an RO water purifier is effective in terms of cost and performance.

This water filter’s membrane has microscopic pores that can eliminate a wide range of organic substances and elements making up TDS in water. The membrane pores are as small as 0.0001 microns.

2. De-ionization

De-ionized water is filtered water or pure water produced via a membrane equipped with positive and negative electrodes. The process is ion exchange (just like water softeners). During deionization, the positive ions disconnect from the water supply and attach themselves to the negative electrode.

Usually, water is first purified through a RO water purifier before being de-ionized.

It plays the role of a water softener because it filters out minerals such as calcium and magnesium in your water sample, which means your pipes and household appliances are safe from the effects of hard water.

3. Distillation

Distillation is another method to consider for producing water with acceptable TDS. Producing distilled water doesn’t require water filtration or a water purifier to lower TDS in water. It’s a very convenient method of producing low TDS water, though it doesn’t compare to reverse osmosis and deionization in terms of performance or effectiveness.

Distillation is a process that involves boiling water, which means you can do it at home with a simple setup and a boiling solution. When the water reaches the boiling point, the resulting vapor goes up to a cool surface where it condenses to liquid form. This separates the water from the dissolved solids because the latter cannot evaporate.

Reasons to Reduce Dissolved Ions in Your Water

Better Tasting Water

Untreated water with high TDS levels tastes bitter, salty, or sulfuric. This is one reason to measure TDS levels and know how much TDS is in your water for improved water quality.

Health

The consumption of significant quantities of fluorides, copper, lead, and arsenic through your tap water can trigger health hazards or serious health problems in the long run.

Proper Meals

Using water with high TDS levels to cook meals or prepare tea or beverage can affect the taste of your food.

Protect Plumbing and Appliances

Water containing significant dissolved minerals such as dissolved calcium and magnesium salts can trigger the buildup of scale in your pipes and appliances such as water heaters. This can result in a shorter lifespan.

Summary

RO filtration is the most ideal and effective method to tackle TDS in water. However, for maximum performance, we recommend you combine the RO system with other types of water purifiers. You can opt for a RO system combined with a UV water purifier (ideal for high TDS levels and microbes in your water supplies) or a RO system combined with a UV and UF water purifier.

About the Author

Lucas Greer

Lucas vs. Wild - Lucas is a true nature lover and survivalist. When he's not teaching science at school, he can be found in nature, hiking, climbing, camping, and rafting. He knows all the tricks and DIYs for making unclean water drinkable with simple means in an emergency. At school, his students love him for his exciting water filtration projects.

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