1 Improving your water quality and answering questions about your water Developed and Prepared by 2013 Reynolds Water Conditioning Co.
2 Water Filtration & Purification Guide Including answers to common water problems and the benefits of good water This is a guide for homeowners and consumers interested in water quality and some of the common issues associated with various types of water used in home and business. City water is different from well water and can vary depending on the municipality and the source of the water. Even the quality of the water from the same source can vary depending on the treatment methods and delivery system. Fresh, clean water is essential for a healthy home. Depending on the water issues, there can be numerous options for treating water in your home or business. When water leaves a municipal treatment facility, it meets all the guidelines of the Safe Drinking Water Act. But, the water coming out of your faucet may not. Water travels a long distance to reach your home or business. It typically goes from a water treatment facility, to a water tower, through miles of pipes, to your home where it goes through your home s plumbing, and finally to your faucet. Furthermore, many consumers have older or contaminated water pipes in their home which, unknown to them, can decrease the quality of their drinking water. Replacing a home s plumbing can be costly, and providing municipal water to the requirements or needs for all residents in a community is unrealistic and can be unaffordable. The good news is that options are available to overcome these obstacles. Every household faces different water issues - You should consider calling in a trained professional whose expertise and equipment will address your concerns. The Water Quality Association is a non-profit trade association which helps consumers identify local water treatment professionals who have demonstrated a certified level of professional expertise and are dedicated to high professional standards.
3 Water treatment systems Protect your investment and save money with quality water systems for your home. A quality water system installed where the water enters the home removes all those undesirable minerals and chemical contaminants before they have a chance to cause problems. The system s are designed to do the job with great efficiency - year after year. Drinking water systems Many substances in nature, or municipal treatment chemicals, may be undesirable in your drinking water. Whatever your home s water source - municipal water or well water, you can enjoy the benefits of a drinking water system. Installing a drinking water system will provide your family with high quality water right at your tap. Reverse osmosis and filtration systems provide the best technology to reduce water borne impurities - at less cost and greater convenience than buying bottled water. Q & A How can I tell if I have hard water? Water hardness is demonstrated by scale in water heaters or on plumbing fixtures, by soap deposits on dishes and fabrics, and by soap scum in sinks and bathtubs. What makes my water hard? As water passes through the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, dew, or fog, it picks up impurities and gases. And, because water is the universal solvent, it picks up even more impurities as it travels through the earth as ground water. Whatever the water comes in contact with, it will dissolve a part of it. What is water hardness? Water 'hardness' is caused by the minerals calcium and magnesium in ground and surface water. If either or both minerals are present in your drinking water in high concentrations, the water is considered 'hard. These minerals come from sedimentary rock such as limestone that dissolves into our water. The result of hard water is difficulty making lather or suds for washing and a build-up of minerals on taps and on other fixtures. Water containing low concentrations of calcium or magnesium is called 'soft' water. What is softened water? A water softener replaces the 'hardness' minerals with sodium or potassium. The amounts of these elements added to the water are relatively insignificant in comparison to what is ingested from your food and should not pose a health problem. Should I be concerned about sodium in water? If sodium is a concern to you, your water quality improvement professional can explain the amount of sodium in softened water. This varies, depending on the hardness of the water supply. Any person on a sodiumrestricted diet should follow the advice of his/her physician. All municipal water supplies contain some naturally occurring sodium. If the sodium restricted diet is very strict, discuss the use of Reverse Osmosis, or some other water quality improvement system to reduce the sodium to meet your requirements.
4 For the sake of comparison, one slice of white bread contains about 114 mg of sodium, and an eight ounce glass of milk contains 120 mg of sodium. If your water contains 10 grains per gallon (GPG), and if you consumed a total of one quart of softened water a day, your intake of additional sodium would be 75 mg - less than either a slice of bread or a glass of milk. Why do my sinks and fixtures turn yellow? One of the most common water treatment problems found in well water is iron. Iron can be found in 3 different forms: Ferrous iron (dissolved) - Although not visible it is the most common type of iron. Later when oxygen is mixed with ferrous iron it stains sinks, toilets and laundry especially when bleach is added. To reduce levels of ferrous iron, softening and/or filtration is performed. Ferric Iron (suspended) - Ferric iron or brown water iron is oxidized and forms particles. Normally these particles can be seen in a glass of water. Sometimes these particles are too small to be seen and very difficult to remove. Iron bacteria -Iron bacteria is a general term given to iron that can leave a slimy growth or build up in toilet tanks and sometimes clogs filters, softeners and pipes. These bacteria are not harmful, but are considered a nuisance bacteria because of their difficulty in removing. Why is my dishwasher and/or washing machine stained brown or orange? Brown or black stains found in the dishwasher are usually from high levels of manganese. Manganese that is dissolved in water can stain when the level is above.05mg/l. The dishwasher is a perfect mechanism to oxidize it because it heats it, agitates it and mixes the water with air. Manganese can also stain clothes in the washing machine, due to the same reasons. If bleach is added staining is worse. Orange stains can result from iron in the water. Why does my water smell like rotten eggs? Hydrogen sulfide gas is a naturally occurring contaminant, which gives water a disagreeable rotten egg odor or taste. This usually indicates the presence of some form of non-harmful mineral reducing bacteria in the well. Testing is very difficult because it is a gas and it comes out of solution very quickly. There are no known health effects; however hydrogen sulfide can also make the water somewhat corrosive. My water doesn't taste good, yet it tested out O.K. What does this mean? There are two types of water problems: Primary problems -the dangerous sort of problem and Aesthetic problems ~ things that affect the taste, look or smell of the water. Strange as it may seem, you could have an aesthetic problem (such as iron or manganese) that will not pose an actual health risk. Why do I feel slippery when bathing in soft water? The "slickness" felt after a soft water shower is just the "real" you! Hard water does not easily rinse off the residue from cleaning products. When bathing in softened water, the use of less soap is desirable. Use sufficient water to rinse the skin thoroughly and your skin will feel softer and much smoother than it did with hard water bathing.
5 Water softeners are among the very best household energy savers Independent examination shows how the devices offer green benefits for water heaters, appliances, and showerheads. Water softeners can save significant amounts of money and energy in the home. That is the conclusion of the Battelle Energy Savings Study (aka Battelle Study). Softeners help preserve the efficiency of water heaters and major appliances and keep showers and faucets unclogged. The study was commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) in Battelle Memorial Institute is a renowned independent testing and research facility dedicated to applied science and technology development. GAS WATER HEATERS Gas storage tank household water heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15- year lifetime. On the other hand, hard water can lead to as much as a 24% loss of efficiency in water heaters. Each five grains per gallon of water hardness causes a 4% loss in efficiency and 4% increase in cost for gas storage tank water heaters when using 50 gallons of hot water per day. (On 30 gpg hard water, that s 24% less efficient than with softened water.) ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS Up to 30 pounds of calcium carbonate rocklike scale can accumulate in these heaters over time, according to the study. The life of the heating element will be shortened due to scale buildup because of increased operating temperature of the heating element. Also each five gpg of water hardness causes 0.4 pounds of scale accumulation each year in electric storage tank household water heaters. Such scale adversely affects the water heater s performance. Battelle says, in the electric storage water heaters operating on unsoftened water, the life of the heating element can be expected to shorten due to scale buildup increasing the operating temperature of the element.. TANKLESS HEATERS Indoor instantaneous gas water heaters (tankless heaters) operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. The study found that tankless water heaters completely failed to function because of scale plugging in the downstream plumbing after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water use on 26 gpg hard water. Softened water saves 34% of costs compared to operating on 20 gpg and saves 47% compared to operation on 30 gpg hard water. SHOWERHEADS AND FAUCETS Showerheads on soft water maintained a brilliant luster and full flow. Faucets on softened water performed well throughout the study; nearly as well as the day they were installed. Showerheads on hard water lost 75% of the flow rate in less than 18 months. Faucets on hard water could not maintain the specified 1.25 gallons per minute flow rate because of scale collection of the strainers. The strainers on the faucets using unsoftened water were almost completely plugged after 19 equivalent days of testing. APPLIANCES In the study, dishwashers and washing machines were operated for 30 days and 240 completed wash cycles on soft and hard water sources. The units using soft water were almost completely free of any water scale buildup. As the report states, they appeared as if they could be cleaned up to look like new with just a quick wipe down. The appearance of the inside of units using hard water showed the need for deliming and cleaning due to the buildup of scale and deposits.
6 Dishwasher and Laundry Studies Softened water can significantly cut detergent and energy use - and even lead to cleaner dishes and whiter clothes. Two studies show washing machine dial can be switched to coid and dishes cleaned with much less detergent. even cleaner than if they used hotter water and more detergent. Those are a few conclusions of two new independent studies conducted for the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF), unveiled and discussed at WQA Aquatech USA Consumers can cut back on dish and laundry detergent use by 50 percent or more and can lower washing machine temperatures from hot to cold just by using softened water. Whats more, they might find their clothes and dishes The detergent savings studies conducted by the independent testing firm Scientific Services S/D Inc., of New York and funded by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF), reveal that using softened water:
7 In washing machines - can reduce detergent use by 50 percent and save energy by washing in 60 degree F cold water instead of 100 degree F hot water, achieving the same or better stain removal and whiter clothes compared to results in hard water. In dishwashers with areas having very hard water - can cut detergent use by more than 50 percent after softening. Notably, softened water with the least amount of detergent and lowest temperature actually provide a higher degree of whiteness. The results show that softened water might not only save consumers money and get better results but could also be environmentally-friendly. They can reduce reliance on polluting fuels because of energy savings and help cut back on harmful detergents going into water streams. (It should be emphasized that these environmental benefits, however, are not quantified in the studies.). Better performance and savings can be achieved with softened water, the report authors conclude. THE LAUNDRY SAVINGS STUDY: A CLOSER LOOK AT WHITER CLOTHES Save money, save energy, get cleaner clothes, all with softened water. Here are some of the remarkable conclusions: Stain removal performance increases dramatically when hardness is removed even when dose and temperature are also lowered. Depending on the stain, hardness reduction was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing temperature or increasing detergent dose. Softening water will allow use of less detergent and save energy by lowering water temperatures while still maintaining or improving performance. When water of any hardness is softened prior to its use in washing, the detergent use can be reduced by 50% and the washing can be carried out in 60 degree F cold water instead of 100 degree F hot water and achieve the same or better stain removal yielding whiter clothes. These results held true for all stains and all detergents tested. These were also verified for top-loaded and high-efficiency front-loaded washers.
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