You may think that water is just water. But the fact is, there is a lot of variation regarding the contents and type of water in your home. That’s why we offer free water quality testing to analyze your particular circumstances and see if your water can be improved by filtration or softening.
Here’s a look at some of the things we’ll test for and what it means…
Hardness in natural water supplies varies quite a bit, from just a couple of “grains per gallon” (gpg) to several hundred in certain parts of the country (and, presumably, at Superman’s house). Excessively hard water can react badly with soap and synthetic detergents as well as cause “hard water scale” in your pipes and fixtures.
Hardness is best removed from household water supplies with water softeners, utilizing something called an “ion exchange process.” In short, the hardness is absorbed by an ion exchange material and a chemically equivalent amount of sodium or potassium is released into the water. When the supply of sodium or potassium in the exchanger is exhausted, it is restored by flushing a strong salt solution through the tank. After the salt and the hardness are rinsed down the drain with fresh water, the softener is ready for another softening cycle. The ion exchanger is not consumed by this process, but can be used over and over again.
Too much detail? Never mind; call us and we’ll take care of it for you.
The recommended limit for hardness is < 4 gpg.
Iron, even very small amounts, can lead to severe staining. As little as 0.3 parts per million (ppm) can cause the familiar brown stains you’ve no doubt seen on sinks, dishes, fabrics, and your brother-in-law who refuses to get out of the tub. Most water supplies have iron concentrations in the zero to 10 ppm range, but 20 to 30 ppm is common in some areas.
Iron may be present in water in one of two basic forms – and in some cases, a mixture of both.
A water supply containing soluble iron (Ferrous Bicarbonate, for the chemistry nerds among us) may be perfectly clear when it is drawn from a household tap but, after the water has been exposed to the air for several minutes, a reddish brown sediment will appear. This is what causes the troublesome stains. Water softeners are a great tool for removing soluble iron in levels up to 5.0 ppm.
When insoluble iron is present, a combination iron filter and water softener are recommended.
The recommended limit for iron content in water is 0.3 ppm.
Although manganese is kind of fun to say, it creates severe black staining at 0.05 ppm. Manganese treatment equipment is identical to what we use for iron. Soluble manganese is treated with a water softener when dealing with concentrations less than 1.0 ppm. If insoluble manganese is present, we recommend a combination iron filter and water softener.
The recommended limit for manganese is 0.05 ppm.
Occasionally mispronounced as “Fff,” pH is a measurement of Hydrogen ion activity in the water supply. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 considered “neutral.” Any pH below 6.9 is acidic and has corrosive tendencies which can deteriorate plumbing fixtures. A pH reading above 7.0 is fine.
For pH levels between 5.7 and 6.9, we correct these by using an acid neutralizer of calcite and/or NS-mix. For levels below 5.7, we use a chemical feed pump to inject a soda ash solution. Since the hardness of the water increases when using calcite or NS mix, we recommend that a water softener be installed after the acid neutralizer. The NS Series combination units provide both acid neutralizing and water softening in one unit.
The recommended range for pH is 7.0 to 8.5.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Total Dissolved Solids represent the sum total of all ionized minerals and metals dissolved in water. Ionized minerals and metals are divided into two categories; Cation and Anion. The Cation minerals and metals have positive charges while the Anion minerals and metals have negative charges. The common ionized minerals are alkalinity, chloride, hardness, iron, manganese, potassium, sodium, and sulfate.
High TDS water (above the 500 ppm range) can create severe mineral deposits in the plumbing system and on water-using appliances. High TDS water can be reduced with the use of a Reverse Osmosis System. Whole house reverse osmosis systems are available, but can require the modification of the existing wastewater system for the home or building.
The recommended limit is 500 ppm.
Color is a function of materials dissolved in the water. In most cases, water color occurs due to the presence of organic matter such as tannin or organic iron. Color removal techniques vary widely, due to the equally wide variety of causes. We will let you know what the options are once we test your water.
Recommended limit is < 10 color Units.
There are two ways nitrates may be introduced into your water supply. First, they may be dissolved from rocks or minerals. Second, and much more serious, they may occur as the result of the decomposition of animal and/or human waste, something which indicates contamination of the water supply.
In either case, the presence of nitrates indicates that a bacterial analysis of the water should be performed by a local EPA-registered laboratory. We can arrange for water sampling and delivery of samples to a local lab.
Very important: While rarely found, high levels of nitrate nitrogen (nitrogen present in the water in the form of nitrates) have been known to cause a condition known as “blue babies.”This occurs when nitrates interfere with the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood of very young children who drink the water. In some severe cases, this has resulted in death. Pregnant women and young children should not consume water containing high levels of nitrate. Nitrates can be reduced with the use of Reverse Osmosis Units.
The recommended limit for nitrates is 10 ppm.
We offer a No-Salt Water Softener Alternative called EasyWater. This innovative FREIJE water treatment technology began in commercial applications and is now available for residential use. EasyWater uses electronic frequencies to physically change the shape and charge of the minerals in water, preventing scale build-up.
Of course, we offer installation, annual maintenance and repairs on water softener systems. Give us a call any time for a FREE water analysis and consultation.