Is all well water the same?
The elements found in well water may vary so not all well water is the same. This is true even among wells that are within close proximity to each other. Common well water issues include sediment, dirt, hardness, bacteria, and iron. It is necessary to have your well water tested before the proper treatment for your water can be determined.
Why does water sometimes smell like rotten eggs?
Hydrogen Sulfide is often the reason for this unpleasant smell. Hydrogen Sulfide may be created by decaying organic matter, some types of bacteria, and petroleum refining. If the rotten egg smell is only present in hot water, it may be the result of a deteriorated anode on a water heater system.
My water tastes and smells like chlorine. What causes this?
Municipal water treatment facilities commonly use chlorine to treat water. It is often detectable in tap water due to taste and smell. While chlorine is effective for removing dangerous bacteria from the water supply, chlorine can objectionably affect drinking water by irritating eyes and skin. Since the chlorine has already served its purpose by the time water reaches your faucet, we can safely remove it from your water.
Why do rust stains occur?
Though it may not be noticeable to the naked eye, iron may be in your water. Once it is exposed to air, the iron oxidizes, leaves rust-colored stains on clothing, showers, sinks, and fixtures.
Is water softening equipment required to remove iron from water?
The answer depends on the type of iron you have in your water. There are three different types of iron water – ferric, ferrous, and iron bacteria. It is necessary to evaluate the kind of iron in your water before diagnosing what is needed to solve your iron issues.
Will hard water effect my water-using appliances?
Hard water leads to build-up in plumbing and water-using appliances, creating a restricted flow of water. In appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, the build-up can ultimately lead to the need to service or replace these items more frequently. In hard water areas, it is not unusual for the flow of running water through household water lines to be reduced to the size of a ballpoint pen head.
Does having hard water adversely impact my energy costs?
Hard water forms build-up in appliances, which can require as much as 33% more fuel to heat water in a water heater. The reason is that additional energy is required to heat hard water scales before it can heat your water. Since soft water eliminates hard water scale issues, the result will be lower energy costs.
Soft water causes a “slippery” feeling on my skin. Why is this?
With soft water, it may actually seem like soap and shampoo have not completely rinsed off your skin. This sensation is caused by the fact that there is no dissolved rock in your water. The water’s natural softening and moisturizing agents can do their job, and thoroughly clean skin and hair. Conversely, this is why hard water can cause skin pores to clog with soap residue, leaving skin dull and hair feeling dry.
What are the advantages of using a Water Softener?
Water that has been treated with a water softener has many benefits over hard water:
- Housework is easier without having to deal with hard water build-up on fixtures and appliances.
- Clothes laundered in soft water wear better, lasting up to 30% longer.
- Fabrics stay softer and whiter without the dingy gray caused by hard water.
- Soft water cleans silverware, dishes, and glassware better, leaving a shinier finish.
- Soaps and shampoos work more effectively because soft water allows them to lather better, enabling you to use up to 75% less product.
- Organic, chemical-free healthy soaps and laundry products perform better with soft water.
- Hair and skin feel softer and cleaner after bathing with softened water
- Water-using appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and coffee makers last much longer when used with soft water.
How does a water softener work?
The calcium and magnesium in hard water are removed by resin beads as it flows through the system. Hardness ions in the water are replaced with the soft ions of the resin beads in an exchange process to create the soft water.
Once the water softener resin beads become coated with calcium and magnesium ions, their ability to soften hard water decreases. Regeneration is a process during which water is flushed through the water softener with a concentrated amount of regenerant. Resin beads exchange the soft ions from the regenerant for the hard ions. The dirt and sediment filter sends dissolved dirt, rock, and sediment down the drain. Following the restoration of the resin beads, the water softener goes back to work, providing the entire home with soft, clean water.
Is it possible to soften water without using salt?
Magnetic or electronic devices (known as “descalers” in the water treatment industry) are available on the market. They are not actual water softeners because they do not remove the hardness from the water. They can be useful for preventing scale build-up in pipes and appliances, but they do not provide softened water or its benefits.
Are water softeners expensive to use?
The only household appliance that can actually reduce costs, a water softener can reduce water-heating bills by up to 29%. Soft water also requires less detergent and soap usage, so water softeners save you money on these items as well.
Can my septic system or drain field be compromised by the water softeners’ discharge from regeneration?
Studies done in the 1970s at the University of Wisconsin concluded that salt-brine discharge from water softeners had no ill effects on the operation of typical anaerobic or newer style aerobic home treatment systems. It was also confirmed that water softener regeneration discharge did not hurt drain field soil percolation and in some cases could improve soil percolation. Septic tank effluents containing water softener effluents include substantial amounts of calcium and magnesium, which balance the effect of sodium, in addition to promoting and sustaining soil permeability. According to the study results, it is preferable to discharge water softener waste to septic systems than to separate dry wells or ditches. Learn more at www.wqa.org.
What is the best way to have my water tested?
It is best to have well water tested for hardness, iron, and pH. City water should be checked for hardness, pH, and chlorine. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-home water test so we can identify your water problems and determine the right water solution for your home.
I have heard a lot of advertising about salt-less water softeners but none of the well-known, established companies seem to promote them, why?Great question. One of the main reasons is that most salt-less water softeners have not been scientifically proven or certified by an accredited third party. Established companies have too much to lose by promoting unproven science and understand this to be more “marketing” than science. However, new technology emerges for salt-less alternatives in the form of scale inhibitors, but most of these systems must be used in controlled environments. These systems are geared towards utilizing a municipal water supply, but for consumers utilizing a private well water supply, these systems are not up to the task. Additionally, these systems are meant to prevent the formation of scale buildup within the plumbing, thus they are not actually softening the water or removing hardness. A traditional water softener operates on the basis of ion exchange, completely removing the calcium and magnesium ions from the water. Traditional Salt Softeners require water for backwashing and must be regenerated using salt or potassium chloride and require a drain to discharge the salty water and minerals.
I try to keep salt in my salt tank full, but sometimes I forget and it runs out. One of my buddies told me that’s why my water gets bad occasionally. I understand a softener needs salt to work right but last night, my wife said she had read that running out of salt can ruin a softener. Is she correct?Great question. Keeping your salt tank filled is critical and can not be overstated for the consistent performance of your equipment. The salt provides a brine solution that literally cleans the resin beads in your water softener when it gets dirty from removing the contaminants in your water. If there is no salt, this cleaning process cannot happen, resulting in dirty water passing through the system and into your home or business. This seems straightforward enough. What many do not realize is when this happens repeatedly, the “pores” in the resin beads become clogged and can no longer be cleaned, which eventually leads to the softener no longer working properly to absorb the dirty water. Major service is then required to get the system operating correctly.
I have a water cooler that uses 5-gallon jugs. I recently was at a friend’s house and she also has a cooler but hers doesn’t have a jug. She told me she has a filtration system right inside the cooler itself. How does this work? It would be great not to deal with the storage & hassle of those big jugs.Self-contained water coolers are the new technology…smartphones are not the only devices that need to be upgraded. All-Rite’s line of bottle-less coolers delivers higher quality water via Reverse Osmosis or Micro-filtration. The product water is then stored in a stainless steel storage vessel featuring UV technology, ensuring the safest & healthiest water possible. Traditional 5-gallon jugs are also prone to spreading bacteria while removing & replacing bottles in an open-air environment. 5-gallon jugs are also very troubling for the environment. The carbon footprint is very heavy when factoring in all the transportation costs associated with its delivery & recycling. In many cases, bottle-less coolers are also less expensive to operate.
Does certification by the Water Quality Association really matter?Absolutely! The Water Quality Association certification program is the only accredited program in North America. It demonstrates not only technical expertise but a true commitment to continuing education and best practices. Further, the effort by staff & management to devote the time & resources necessary, to study 2 inch thick textbooks and take 3-hour exams, which are proctored by professionals who take your smartphones & check your hands for cheat sheets, shows they are serious about their career and taking care of their customers. Yes, it matters significantly.
Is the sodium in softened water anything to worry about?The amounts of sodium in softened water are minuscule compared to other normal dietary sources of sodium. In fact, ion exchange softening of water with 75 grains per gallon of total hardness would add less sodium to your drinking water than is allowed in beverages that meet the FDA regulations for “Low Sodium” labeling. In most cases, less than 3% of your daily intake of salts comes from water consumption. For those that are on a low sodium diet, it is important to consult with your doctor, there is a method available to calculate the sodium content of your water.
I’ve seen filters at a couple of my friends’ houses. They are fairly large, about 2 1/2 feet tall. My friends told me it’s the best way to treat their city water and that the only maintenance is replacing the filters every few years. Supposedly all their water goes through these filters before it goes into their house. Do you know anything about these filters? I find it hard to believe they actually treat the city water.Based on the dimensions you provided, it sounds like the filters are for the whole house. All water entering the house would pass through the filters. In general, this type of filter removes chlorine taste and odor. The hardness would remain, which is usually between 7-11 gr hard in municipal water, which is considered extremely hard. Also, even though the filters probably remove chlorine, they do not remove chloramines. Chloramines are created from a mixture of chlorine and ammonia and are needed to sanitize city and county water. Overall, filters such as you describe are not third-party certified, meaning experts in the water industry do not get consistent test results when these filters are used. All-Rite Water believes that while Vero Beach and Sebastian do a good job providing municipal water, further water treatment equipment is necessary to provide high-quality water. We recommend third-party certified water treatment equipment.
What causes orange staining in showers? I’m on municipal water and my wife is complaining she is constantly scrubbing the shower walls due to the orange stains. I don’t see orange in the water when I shower, brush my teeth, do laundry, or wash dishes. Any thoughts?The orange staining is caused by the iron in your water. Iron is only visible after it has been oxidized by contact with the air and/or chlorine. We have been seeing more cases of iron in city & county water and the only way to remove it and solve this problem is with a whole-home filtration system. In most cases, an efficient and economical water softener will remove the iron & hardness which will eliminate the orange staining and soften the water which provides other significant benefits. In severe cases a specialty iron filter is necessary. There is also an upgraded filtration system that will remove the chlorine as well and deliver bottled water quality from every tap.
Why does coffee at Starbucks or other coffee shops taste so good…someone told me the water they use is much better.The coffee at Starbucks is indeed fantastic! And it is related to the water. Their water quality is high because they use filtered water to brew their beverages. The more filtering water goes through, the higher the purity and the better the taste. If you wish you could make better tasting coffee and tea at home, we recommend processing the water through a reverse osmosis drinking water system. ROs have a dedicated faucet and the system is usually installed under the kitchen sink. It features a holding tank that automatically replenishes when you use the water. Many of our customers even use RO water for cooking pasta and or for their pet’s drinking water.
Why are my ice cubes cloudy? Yuck…Cloudy ice cubes are caused by numerous factors, but the hardness of the water can be a cause for this. If you want clearer ice cubes, a reverse osmosis system to feed your ice maker is recommended. This will improve the clarity, however, this may not get you crystal clear ice, like what you see at restaurants. Restaurants have ice makers that actually boil the water to evaporate contaminants, similar to distillation, and then freeze them so they come out completely clear.
I have well water and have a softener. It does a good job for me and my wife. But we are expecting a houseful of people to visit us over the holidays. My wife keeps telling me our water is going to be terrible because of the extra people. I told her I will put it through its cycle an extra time or two to prevent it. Then she told me one of her friends recently got a system that will automatically adjust for more water being used without someone having to remember to put it through the cycle. And she says her friend uses less salt now. I thought all softeners worked the same. Am I right?All water softeners are not the same. There are two types, metered and timer-based. From what you described, you have a timer-based water softener. That means it’s set to regenerate on a set schedule, no matter how much or how little water is used. An example of a timer-based water softener would be if your softener was set to regenerate every other day using 10 pounds of salt per regeneration- even if you are away on vacation (not using water) or have 10 extra people staying in the house (using much more water than usual). Metered systems are more technologically advanced because they count the gallons of water used, rely on your past water usage history to predict when the softener will need to next regenerate and tend to require less salt per regeneration to clean the water. Metered water softeners compensate for more or less water usage without having to put the unit into a cycle yourself since regeneration is based upon actual water usage. Both types of softeners use a regeneration cycle to produce clear, clean, soft water.
I live in Lakewood Park and have a water softener and a carbon tank. I’ve been told it’s time to “rebed” the carbon tank. What is that and why does it need to be done?Rebedding the carbon tank is synonymous with replacing the carbon inside of it. A carbon tank is used to eliminate odor from either iron or a very low amount of sulfur (in Lakewood Park, you could have either one). Carbon is like a sponge and when it absorbs everything it can, it should be replaced. All-Rite Water recommends replacing carbon annually. This prevents the problems that crop up when the carbon is overdue to be rebedded- such as grayish water, black specks in the water, or experiencing an odor in the water. Having the maintenance done to your equipment is an investment in your water quality.
My wife has light blonde hair and we have well water. She keeps saying that the water is making her hair orange! Is this iron? She is spending too much money having her hair fixed for it to turn orange all the time. What are my options?It is indeed iron that is causing your wife’s hair to turn orange. Have you ever gotten that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling after you take a shower? Well, I would hate to burst your bubble, but squeaky is not clean in terms of skin & hair care. That feeling you get after the soap is rinsed off is hardness and iron deposits in the pores of your skin and hair follicles. Typically, blondes will see it the worst because their light hair color cannot mask the buildup. Iron as low as 0.3 ppm is enough to leave orange stains and typical well water in Indian River County is between 2-10 ppm of iron. If you have no water treatment, your wife is bound to continuously get orange hair. Your best option is to have your water tested and analyzed by one of our certified professionals, to measure the levels of contaminants found in your well water. He/she can then determine a system that will fit your family’s needs to provide consistently clear, soft and iron-free water. Your wife will love it, not only will she not get orange hair anymore, but her hair will be more manageable and she can use fewer products. Her trips to the beauty salon will be minimized as the soft water will prevent fading of hair color and buildup. That ‘squeaky clean’ feeling will be replaced by a soft, slippery feel when rinsing off, as the natural oils on your skin will no longer be stripped away or blanketed with hardness and iron deposits.
I have a white substance that’s hard and cakey in my dishwasher. It’s also on all the faucets in my house. What is it? Is it safe? And how did it get there?The white, chalky substance you see on your dishes, in your dishwasher, and on your fixtures is calcium buildup. This is formed when hard water deposits the calcium over time. You may also notice that your glasses are etched or look like they have a milky film on them. In order to prevent hardness buildup, and save your water-using appliances, dishes, and fixtures you need something that will remove the hardness from your water. That’s where a water softener comes in, the only certified process for removing hardness and iron from your water supply.
Why do I have white streaks on my glasses and dishes?The white streaks are caused by hard water. This can be eliminated with a properly sized water softener. In addition, soft water provides other significant benefits like increasing the energy efficiency of all water-using appliances, using up to 50% fewer soaps, shampoos, etc., and brighter and longer last-lasting laundry. The soft luxurious water is a treat to your skin as well. It has been said that a lot of dermatologists would go out of business if more consumers softened their water as hard water is like washing your skin with rocks in one hand and a washcloth in another.
I have been told I do not have a lot of iron in my water, but I always have stains in my toilets and sometimes on other fixtures. What could cause this?Even small amounts of iron, anything over 0.3 parts per million, can cause staining in your home. Consistent long-term iron removal is easy to achieve with the proper equipment sizing and application. It is critical to have a complete water profile as the presence of other contaminants and their levels can either help or hurt the iron removal process. In addition, if iron persists in your water supply, it can lead to iron bacteria which is harder to remove & control.
Is the water supply safe in Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Indian river county? After reading the articles in the 32963 paper recently should I be concerned?
The City of Vero Beach states, “The mission of the Water Treatment Division is to continuously produce an adequate supply of potable water that protects and promotes the health and well-being of all individuals in the community and meets State and Federal Standards.” Most municipalities have the same purpose, to provide a consistent source of potable water; potable water being water that is fit for consumption for humans and animals.
Municipal water treatment facilities will typically use various methods to sanitize and treat our natural water supply so that it is “safe” for consumption, bathing, and other household uses.
The CDC has an article that explains the various forms of water treatment used by the majority, if not all, water treatment facilities. The flaw in this system is not the treatment of the water, but the vast distribution system that gets it from the water plant to your kitchen sink; the potential for harm is very real.
Contaminants may be present despite treatment:
Disinfection byproducts (DBPs)
Post-treatment potential points of contamination:
Breaks in distribution lines (boil water alerts)
Repairs or replacements of distribution lines
Cross connections with waste
Power outages and leaks (negative pressure points)
Leaching from pipe walls
The CDC offers some basic education on the different types of point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems that offer a secondary level of protection. These systems provide proven reductions of:
Disinfection byproducts formed during treatment and transmission
Corrosion products from distribution lines and in-home plumbing
Contaminant intrusions into the system
Endemic microbiological organisms
Point-of-use and Point-of-entry treatment systems provide a final barrier of protection for your home and your family.
I just read the article about water in the 32963 magazine. Is hard water actually bad for your skin and hair? And how does it affect your clothes when you wash them with hard water?
Glad that you read the article in 32963! We thought it was very informative. Here’s a link to it for those people who didn’t read it: http://vb32963online.com/ebooks/Online%20Issues%202014/VB32963_OEI02_09January2014/
It can be found on page 30 of this issue.
Hard water has been known to cause several problems for hair. If you dye your hair and then use shampoo in hard water, the hair dye will not last as long. It is harder to remove tangles in your hair if your water is hard. Hard water can also make your hair feel coarse.
Hard water also affects your skin. Municipal water that enters your home untreated has chlorine in it, which will dry out your skin. People don’t ingest chlorine and it’s been medically proven to be harmful to humans. Your skin is the largest part of your body. Every time you shower or bathe, if you don’t treat your water, your skin is absorbing the chlorine and it’s getting into your body. Over time, this can add up to a lot of chlorine your skin has absorbed. Or, if you have the chlorine removed by a carbon filter and the hardness of the water remains (i.e., not having a water softener), skin tends to be more blotchy, less smooth, and not as soft.
Washing your clothes in hard water can shorten the life of your water-using appliances, including your washing machine, due to corrosion of the water going through the pipes to the appliance. In addition, you have to use more detergent to clean the laundry- soft water uses about 1/4 of the soap products because it lathers up more quickly. Your clothes tend to be more stiff washed in hard water and they typically will not last as long before they need to be replaced. You don’t need to use fabric softener when you have soft water. Soft water prevents your clothes from getting dingy and fading. Hard water deposits into the fabric and causes fading quickly.