Tips on Keeping Your Water Softener Running Efficiently

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your water softener over time, and regular maintenance is a must if you want to ensure that your unit works consistently. Below are a few common issues with water softeners and some tips that will help you make your softener work more efficiently and last longer.

Avoid Salt Bridges and Salt Mushing: 

A salt bridge occurs when a hard crust forms in the brine tank and creates a space between the water and the salt. This prevents the salt from dissolving into the water to make the brine. You may notice an issue if your salt tank appears full, but your water seems hard. The best way to tell if you have a salt bridge is to take the end of a broom handle and press against the top of the salt wall. If the top of the salt collapses inwards, then you have a salt bridge.

Salt Mushing:

This is the more serious of the two issues and happens when dissolved salt recrystallizes to form sludge at the bottom of the tank. The thick layer of salt at the bottom keeps the water softener from properly cycling through the regeneration process and leaves the water hard and blocking the rest of the tank filtration. Salt mushing is probably the cause of hard water if you already tested for bridging. 

Be Selective with Your Salt Choice:

There are three basic types of water softener salts available for softeners: rock, solar, and evaporated. Rock salt, the least expensive of the three, contains higher levels of insoluble minerals or impurities and can muddy your tank over time, decreasing the softening elements. The second option is solar salt, which is more soluble than rock salt, is obtained by the evaporation of seawater, and is found in both pellet and crystal form. The last option is evaporated salt and is obtained through a combination of mining and evaporation and is the purest form of salt at 99.99% sodium chloride. 

By periodically checking your water softener, you can keep it running smoothly with little to no hard water occurring. Read more on other tips to ensure you have a fully functional water softener system here

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Water Quality Association Executive Lists Life-Sustaining Businesses Essential for Covid-19 Pandemic

Paul Undesser, WAQ Executive Director, announced Shelter-in-Place Directives for the COVID-19 pandemic on March 20, 2020. Undesser announced that certain water treatment businesses are deemed “essential” for sustaining life per the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

The types of companies listed are; water treatment professionals, manufacturers, deliveries, and service providers point-of-use and point-of-entry (POU/POE) water treatment products and services. Due to the critical products and services these companies provide within the water drinking and purification industries, they provide crucial roles in life-sustaining activities.

The DHS issued advisory guidance to state, local, and tribal officials on March 19 regarding the assigning of essential workers who are critical to maintaining important operations and public works. The DHS labeled those within the plumbing, electrical, extermination, and other service providers “essential” who provide services that are necessary to maintaining safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences. More on this announcement can be found here.

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The Use of Water Softeners Continue to Rise Worldwide

According to this article, a global survey was conducted showing an increase in the use of water softeners to create safe drinking water worldwide. Additionally, there has been a rise in awareness for utilizing water softeners for balancing the proper amounts of magnesium and calcium safe for drinking levels.

If a person drinks soft water with higher levels of magnesium or calcium, it can lead to increased health problems. Experts are also advising people to stay clear of water softener systems that use sodium instead of magnesium and calcium. 

Water softener systems that use magnesium and calcium can not only offer health advantages but also save you money when compared to other softener systems.

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Coronavirus Sparks Concern on Bottled Water Shortage

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of reassuring residents that water from their tap is safe to consume. However, hundreds of people are crowding local grocery stores throughout the country to stock up on bottled water supplies due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Government officials have stated that conventional water treatment and disinfection removes any viruses, including the COVID-19, and no extra measures like boiling water will be necessary. In this article, the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities offers information on their website to advise customers and answer questions that the public may have regarding this matter. It is always a best practice to have a four-day supply of water for emergency precautions; however, the department has downplayed the need to stockpile water for the coronavirus outbreak.

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EPA Announces Regulation for PFAS

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they would begin to regulate a category of chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS’s are linked to cancer and other health issues that can be found in the environment and the human body.  

Environmentalists have voiced their concerns that Trump’s EPA administration have procrastinated with environmental regulations rather than steadfast on issues. Currently, the EPA recommends water should contain 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS or less; however, this amount is not mandatory. Many health officials argue this number is still too high. 

The next step will be a lengthy process entailing two long years with agency debates to determine a consensus on new contamination level standards. Once a consensus has been reached, the agency will have another 18 months to finalize the drinking water requirements. The EPA will create two drinking water standards during this process. The first standard will be heavily based on health considerations, and the second will focus on financial investment obligations. For more information about this EPA update, read this article.

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4 Steps on How to Remove Rust from Drinking Water

Rust is commonly regarded as one element but is actually composed of several compounds that consist of iron and oxygen. Rust forms when free iron is exposed to oxygen and water. The water color in your home could be yellow, orange, or brown depending on the concentration of the rust. Typically, rusty water pipes on a well water system will have a higher concentration of iron leading to rusty water issues. Thankfully you can remove rust in your home with water softeners, oxidizing filters and sequestration.

Step 1: Connect an ion exchange water softener to your water supply. This device will contain sodium that will combine with the iron and remove the rust from your water.

Step 2: Install an oxidizing filter before the water softener line. This device will contain manganese oxides that will convert soluble compounds into insoluble compounds, which then will filter out of the water. Oxidizing filters are most appropriate for treat water with a moderate level of concentrated iron and where the pH is at least 6.8

Step 3: Use a solution feeder to add polyphosphates to your water supply. Polyphosphates contain phosphorus, which disperse in the water so the iron doesn’t form rust. However, a polyphosphate chemical feeder can be more expensive than other options. It is only recommended to use a polyphosphate feeder if the rust issues are severe enough warrant this option.

Step 4: Add about half gallon of bleach to your water supply. After adding the bleach, allow to water to sit for about 12 hours and run the water until no more bleach is present in the system. This system is most effective when the rust in your water is being produced by bacteria.

Read More on How to Effectively Remove Rust from Your Water Supply

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New Study Shows Danger of Chlorine in Drinking Water

During a new study, researchers at John Hopkins University have found unintended and toxic byproducts during the cleaning process of water with the use of chlorine. The chemical, chlorine, has been used for over one hundred years to disinfect water supplies, and no doubt it has had positive benefits that have saved millions of lives from diseases like typhoid and cholera. According to this study, when chlorine is mixed with phenols, which is a naturally occurring compound in the environment, a large amount of byproduct is made. Further research is needed to find these actual byproducts inside our drinking water and determine if a new method should be sought to disinfect our water. To read more about this study, click here

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Water Filter System Must Haves

Tap water in the U.S. is the most tested and regulated water source. Unfortunately, our tap water can still contain chemicals, such as fluoride, chloramines, and other pollutants that are not ideal to consume, cook with, or bathe in. A water filtration system is the best solution to give your home safe access to quality drinking water. According to this article, there are three items to take into consideration when choosing a water filter. The first being the filtration rate. It is important to know how much your daily water consumption is and choose a filter that will meet your daily usage needs. The second item to consider is water quality. There are many options to choose from, but a reverse osmosis system will give you the purest form of filtration, sometimes even removing helpful minerals from the water. Lastly, take into consideration your budget. Water systems with an extensive filtration are generally more costly and keep in mind the expense of replacing water cartridges.  

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Possible Uranium Spill Occurs in the Detroit River

A partial collapse of a seawall on the property that was holding aggregate dirt piles that potentially is contaminated with uranium has spilled into the Detroit River during the Thanksgiving weekend. The site has been marked as contaminated with uranium by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Detroit Bulk Storage currently leases the site which was formerly owned by Revere Copper and Brass factory in the 1940s and 50s for use of World War II-era research and development, in an effort to build an atomic bomb. Regulatory agencies were not informed of the spill until days afterward and, of course, they are concerned about the impact it may have on the environment and the public water quality. To read more on this recent spill, click here

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What You Should Know About Hexavalent Chromium

Due to the rising attention given to the seeping of hexavalent chromium (or “green goo”, as called by area residents) in Madison Heights, MI, it is important to understand how you can protect your family from such dangers should they arrive near your home.

What is Hexavalent Chromium?

While the hexavalent chromium (made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich) seepage in Madison Heights poses little health risk to residents due to differing drinking water sources, it is important to understand exactly what this health risk is and what it can do to you and your family. Hexavalent chromium, according to this OSHA article, is one of the valence states (+6) of the element chromium, usually produced by an industrial process. Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer and targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin, and eyes.

What Can be Done to Prevent This?

What happened with the Electro Plating Services building in Madison Heights was the result of gross incompetence with waste disposal by the owner and thus posed a huge risk to residents who are ill-equipped to deal with such contaminants when the seepage was discovered, as reported in this WXYZ article. A net positive with this unfortunate incident is the growing awareness of how to deal with potentially harmful contaminants in your home’s water going forward. One proven combatant to contaminants like Cr(VI) is reverse osmosis, which sends water through a thin membrane that naturally filters particles too small to be filtered through prefilter systems located within the overall reverse osmosis filtration system. By installing a system like this in your home you’re able to keep harmful contaminants, not only Cr(VI) but a vast quantity of other similar agents, out of your home’s water and keep your family safe.

Reynolds Water is the best local source that provides you with a variety of filtration systems to keep your family safe. Give us a call and we can set you up with the right system for your family at the best price in the area.

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