Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I tell if I have hard water?
- My water doesn’t taste good, yet it tested out O.K. What does this mean?
- Should I be concerned about sodium in water?
- What is softened water?
- What is water hardness?
- What makes my water hard?
- Why do I feel slippery when bathing in soft water?
- Why do my sinks and fixtures turn yellow?
- Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
- Why is my dishwasher stained brown or orange?
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 sodium restricted 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 RO, or some other water quality improvement system to reduce the sodium to meet your requirements.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 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.
9. 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.
10. Why is my dishwasher 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.