Common Water Problems
It is extremely rare to find any water supply that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Our well water typically has high levels of iron, tannins, and/or manganese that cause staining, hardness that causes scale build-up, low pH that causes corrosion or hydrogen sulfide that causes a rotten egg smell. Although none of these contaminants may be harmful to your health, they cost you extra time and money cleaning, ruin pipes, fixtures, and appliances, and may even keep you from drinking the amount of water needed to keep your body hydrated. In addition to these secondary contaminants, we often find high nitrates, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), bacteria, arsenic, radium and other contaminants that may exceed the EPA’s primary drinking water standards. If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, contact Ecowater Systems for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Hard Water, the most common problem in our area, forms those difficult to remove white spots on stainless steel sinks and shower walls, creates bathtub rings and soap scum, and generally makes housecleaning difficult. It causes scaling in pipes and water-using appliances which increases maintenance costs and causes water heaters to operate inefficiently. It clogs the pores of your skin and clings to your hair, leaving it dry and brittle.
Iron, is characterized by staining on sinks, tubs, and clothing. It makes water and beverages such as coffee or tea look and taste bad.
Hydrogen Sulfide Gas, more commonly referred to as “rotten egg” odor doesn’t cause physical problems within the home, but makes the smell and taste of the water objectionable and can be embarrassing when guests are over.
Bacteria, in water take many forms and the best way to know the type of bacteria present is to have your water professionally tested. A common symptom of bacteria in water is slime build up in the toilet tank.
Chlorine, can make water smell and taste bad. Chlorine is a powerful oxidant and is commonly used as a disinfectant in commercial and household sanitation, bleaching, and in maintaining swimming pools. The most significant application is in the disinfection of public water supplies where it is used to manage bacteria levels in drinking water and kill other potentially harmful agents that seep into lakes, rivers, streams or ground water. Chlorine, even at acceptable household levels, can contribute to dry eyes and skin irritation as well as exacerbate conditions such as eczema.
Frequently Asked Questions all of which can be solved with EcoWater Systems full complement of products
A: Hard water is caused by excessive levels of calcium and/or magnesium dissolved in water. Hardness is based on the concentration of calcium and/or magnesium as measured in grains per gallon (gpg).
A: Hard water can produce a rock-like scale that builds up in pipes, dishwashers, water heaters, ice machines and other appliances. This scale can also reduce water flow and clog valves and vents to create maintenance problems and reduce the life of your appliances. Calcium and magnesium are the primary hard water minerals. Hard water reduces the ability of soaps to clean and produce suds, leaving a dingy gray residue on clothes, and spots on dishes.
Hard water is more abrasive than soft water. The tiny mineral particles combine with soap curd or detergents to become like little pieces of rock pounding away at clothing fibers and fragile glassware. Over a period of time, the structural integrity of the product is weakened. This means glasses become etched and the life of clothing is reduced. Skin and hair are affected by hard water as well. A greater amount of shampoo and soap is needed to clean, and hard water doesn't rinse off as well as soft water. That means soap residues remain, leaving skin susceptible to blemishes and hair less shiny.
A: Water is softened or conditioned by replacing hard ions such as magnesium and calcium with softer sodium or potassium ions. Water softeners must be regenerated regularly with a brine solution, renewing their ability to remove hardness from water. The hard water is passed through a tank containing resin beads coated with sodium ions or potassium ions. The calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for the sodium ions, thus conditioning the water. When the beads have trapped all the hardness they can hold, the unit is regenerated with salt brine to replace the hardness ions with sodium ions. The unit is then ready to condition water again.
A: Many municipalities treat water with chlorine to kill bacteria. A few even soften water. But their goal is to only meet minimum federal requirements. To eliminate chlorine aftertaste and common water problems, an in-home water treatment system is often necessary. Local health and water department authorities only certify that water is potable. Water is deemed potable, or safe to drink, when and only when it is free of disease-causing organisms as well as toxic chemical contaminants. Water that is deemed potable does not necessarily mean that it is palatable. To be palatable water must be free of detectable tastes and odors. It must also be free of turbidity as well as strong color. Tastes and odors can be traced to one or more of the following: decaying organic matter; living organisms; iron or manganese; the metallic products of corrosion, industrial waste pollution, and/or chlorination; and high mineral concentrations.
A: Chlorine. Chlorine can make water smell and taste bad. A powerful disinfectant commonly employed in commercial and household sanitation, it is used for bleaching and maintaining swimming pools. It is most commonly used for disinfection of public water supplies to manage bacteria level in drinking water.
A: Municipal water is treated with chlorine, a powerful bleaching sanitation agent and oxidant used to manage harmful biological agents that seep into the water supplies from lakes, rivers, streams and ground water. Chlorine is a highly toxic chemical that even at acceptable levels can contribute to dry eyes and skin irritation as well as exacerbate conditions such as eczema.
A: The savings provided by a water softener will produce a return on investment within two to four years, but there are also many hidden benefits:
- Removal of existing scale from your hot water tank and associated pipe work - save on repairs and maintenance.
- Sinks, taps, toilets, shower screens and bathrooms will remain scale free - no more ugly white stains to wash off.
- Shower heads will never have to be descaled again.
- Soft water is a natural conditioner for fabrics, hair and skin.
- Up to 75% reduction of soaps and detergents - use only one tablespoon of washing powder for your washing machine.
- Crystal clear bath water and lovely rich lather with very little soap required.
- Soft water is kinder to heating systems, washing machines and dishwashers making them last years longer.
- No more messy scum - save on cleaning times.
A: Turbidity. Your water is not clear because it has dirt or suspended particulate (materials) in it which can clog small water orifices and cause wear on valves, seals, and washers. You also never really feel clean after bathing.
A: Rust-colored stains on sinks, clothing and linens indicate the presence of iron in the water. Iron can also form scale in pipes and water-using appliances, and make food, water and water-using beverages look and smell bad. Iron is measured in parts per million (ppm). Even in concentrations as low as 0.3 ppm, iron can leave stains on sinks, dishes and cooking utensils, and give the water an unpleasant metallic taste. Iron affects both the color and the flavor of foods, and reacts with the tannins present in coffee, tea and some alcoholic beverages to produce a black sludge which affects both taste and appearance.
A: Water readily dissolves iron from the earth's deposits. As the iron-bearing water enters the house it is usually clear and colorless but with a distinct iron taste. After exposure to the air, the iron precipitates and leaves behind the unsightly reddish-brown stains on sinks, showers, tubs, and clothes. There are several ways to remove iron from water. The two most common types of equipment used are water conditioners (ion exchange) and oxidizing filters. We normally recommend the use of a water conditioner which employs effective counter-current brining and backwash cycles.
A: The easiest way to find out what is in your water is to contact EcoWater Systems at 1-815-758-0607 or toll free at 1-800-475-0607 for a free water analysis. A trained Specialist will come to your home or business and conduct tests for hardness, iron, pH, nitrates, and total dissolved solids. They might also conduct tests for other constituents if they have reason to believe they are present. After the tests are completed the consultant will explain the results and make recommendations for treatment if required. The entire procedure takes 30-45 minutes and is completely free.
A: In actual fact, in many cases water treatment can actually save money. For example, conditioning water to eliminate hardness can reduce the cost of soap, lower the cost of heating hot water, increase the useful life of water-using appliances, and increase the life of clothes and linens. It might also eliminate the need to purchase bottled drinking water.