How to Take Care of Your Water Softener System

How to Take Care of Your Water Softener System

Becoming a homeowner requires a great deal of effort, the work doesn’t end once you close on your house; maintaining all of the new systems, appliances, and fixtures is a neverending task.

Water quality is an important characteristic of your new home. By investing in a water softener system, you made a responsible investment in the longevity of your appliances, pipes, and air conditioning.

Considering that your water softener system plays such a valuable role in your new home, taking proper care of it is important.

Here are five ways to take care of your water softener system:

1. Only Use Pure Salt With An Ion Remover

Some people try to cut costs on maintaining their water softener system by using standard rock salt; however, this can be detrimental to the system.

Standard rock salt is the least pure salt that you can buy. It receives no type of processing whatsoever.

This type of salt can result in an intense build up on sediment over time and requires more frequent cleanings. The build up that can result from rock salt can clog valves in the water softener system and cause it to malfunction. These types of repairs can cost hundreds of dollars — something no one wants to deal with.

Thankfully, these damages are preventable. Using only pure salt with an ion remover prevents any nasty buildup from occurring — and keeps your water softener system running smoothly.

2. Remove And Prevent Salt Bridges

If you’re noticing that your tank is full but your water is still hard, there may be a salt bridge if you water softening system.

A salt bridge is the result of a hard layer of buildup between the water and salt in your water softening system. This prevents the salt from dissolving in the water and creating brine. Brine is the catalyst that helps make your water soft.

To check for salt bridges, it is recommended to take a broomstick and insert it into your system. If you apply pressure and feel some sort of breakage, this is an obvious indication of a salt bridge being present.

Multiple factors can increase the possibility of a salt bridge forming. Such factors include humidity, using the wrong kind of salt, or temperature changes in your water softening system.

To remove a salt bridge, continue applying pressure with the broomstick. This should remove the buildup. Be sure to drain the water softening system afterward and refilling it with water and fresh salt.

Preventing a salt bridge can be done on your own. To prevent buildup, be sure you are using the recommended type of salt for your system and maintain the correct humidity percentage. Increased humidity can result in the salt “sticking” together and creating the buildup. It is also recommended you don’t overfill your system with salt.

3. Clean The Venturi Valve Twice A Year

You don’t need a professional to clean your water softener system throughout the year. While it is recommended you have an annual servicing, it is possible for you to do some standard cleaning on your own.

By unscrewing the venturi valve and cleaning it twice a year, you’re preventing any nasty sediment buildup that can prevent your water softener system from functioning properly.

To clean the valve, simply scrub it with soap and water. Be sure to remove all of the parts inside the valve and clean them, too.

4. Flush Your Water Softener System With Softener Cleaner

Cleaning your water softener valves in the first step in preventative measures you can take to maintain your water softener system. However, those measures don’t stop there!

To clean the areas of your water softener system that you can’t reach by hand, it’s recommended to flush your system with a water softener cleaner every other month.

These softener cleaners are inexpensive and require little effort on your part. Simply just follow the instructions on the cleaner and let your water softener system do the rest.

By creating a schedule for flushing your system, it will assist your resin in being functional. Small cleanings every so often are key to keeping your water softener system performing at the highest level.

5. Maintain Scheduled Cleanings

Scheduled cleanings are key to keeping your water softening system healthy. Newer water softener systems require annual servicing. During these service appointments, a professional will properly clean your system so it can function to its full potential.

The technician responsible for servicing your water softener system will also inspect it for any parts that may need to be replaced. By catching potential problems early, you will have the ability to fix those problems before they create bigger, more costly problems — and it will save you plenty of headaches in the meantime.

By keeping up with these scheduled cleanings, you can also save money in the process. If you have had any changes in your water usage over the past year, be sure to tell the technician; these usage changes can result in adjusting your settings for your water softener system to regenerate less frequently. Small adjustments like these can save you hundreds on your energy bill.

Who doesn’t want to save money? We know you do!

Conclusion

Water softener systems have amazing benefits, but only if your system is functioning properly.

There are plenty of ways you can prevent any detrimental malfunctions of your water softener system, including the maintaining of scheduled cleanings, flushing it with a cleaner, being sure to clean valves, preventing salt bridges and using the proper type of salt.

If you don’t currently have a water softener system but are wanting its full benefits, we can help. We want the health of you and your home to be the best that it can be.

Feel free to contact us about installing a water softener system in your Chicago home today!

10 Amazing Benefits of A Water Softener

10 Amazing Benefits of A Water Softener

Soft water is something most people take for granted. You’ll never know just how good you have it until your faucets start spitting out minerals. Not many people are aware of the benefits of a water softener.

Those of us who’ve lived with hard water know that it does all manner of nasty things to your body; not to mention it just feels bad on your skin.

Oh, and then there’s the damage hard water does to your household items and plumbing. Mineral-heavy water will cost you excess money.

Luckily, you don’t have to live with hard water. Simply buying a water softener will make your life infinitely better.

We’re here to show you why the benefits of a water softener far outweigh any costs.

Benefits of a Water Softener #1: Moist Skin

The minerals in hard water (read: magnesium and calcium) cause your skin to dry out and become flaky or itchy.

These minerals won’t dissolve on your skin, and settle into your pores. The resulting residue irritates your pores and causes inflammation. Thus the flaky appearance.

Unfortunately, even soap has a hard time washing the minerals off your body. Once they stick in your pores, they don’t like to leave.

A water softener prevents this problem by filtering these minerals out of your water. No minerals equals no dry, flaky skin.

#2: Get Rid of Those Tub Stains

The minerals in hard water don’t just leave residue on your skin, but on almost every surface they touch. Ever see stains on your tub or sink?

Well, those stains are a result of the minerals left behind when your water evaporates.

Removing these minerals is possible, but you’re fighting a losing battle. Every time you shower or wash your hands the build up starts again.

The only way to prevent this build up for good is installing a quality water softener.

#3: Save On Your Water Bill

An unexpected addition to the benefits of a water softener is lowering your water bill.

We commonly find that most people have never even considered that hard water is denser than soft water.

What happens is the minerals in your water make your plumbing system work harder. You’ll need more water pressure (and thus more water) to get the same flow.

In addition, mineral build up on the insides of pipes causes the same phenomenon. Your appliances run less efficiently because of the reduced flow.

#4: Save Your Glassware

Anyone with hard water knows the destructive effect it has on glassware. Mineral buildups at best cause stains, and at worst break your glasses.

Over time the minerals on your cups and plates will cause the glass to become brittle and prone to breaking.

If you’ve ever picked up a glass only for it to shatter in your hands, it might have been because of hard water.

Of course, an easy way to prevent this is with a water softener. Trust us, saving yourself from broken glass is one of the best benefits of a water softener.

#5: Save Your Plumbing

Remember that mineral build-up on your pipes we mentioned? Well, that same build up does more than just increase your water bill.

Limescale build up can occur when your water pressure decreases from other mineral build-up, which in turn causes more limescale build up.

It’s a never-ending cycle that’s only fixed by eliminating your hard water with a water softener.

In the worst case scenario, the build up can actually erode your pipes and cause leaks.

#6: Protect Your Clothing

Another of the overlook benefits of a water softener is protecting your clothing from fading.

Mineral build up will fade your clothes by obstructing their natural colors. The minerals can also wear down the fabric, drying it out over time.

Clothes washed in hard water are prone to rips and tears as they become brittle from constant mineral abuse.

#7: Protect Your Appliances

All of that mineral build up and scaling we’ve talked about on the insides of your pipes is also happening inside your appliances.

Hard water forms the same mineral deposits on tea kettles and washing machines as it does on pipes.

This scaling reduces appliances efficiency, and in the long run could cause total failure.

Investing in a water softener could save you from a very expensive washing machine repair.

#8: Better Hair

Yep, we’re finally getting around to one of the most known benefits of a water softener.

Hard water is bad for your hair. It causes your hairs “scales” to stand on end. This makes luscious locks feel dry and brittle.

The minerals in hard water catch on these scales and make it difficult to rinse the shampoo from your hair.

What you’re left with is hair that’s tainted by minerals and excess shampoo.

#9: Sediment-Free Ice

Only people who’ve live with hard water will immediately understand what we’re talking about when we say sediment free ice.

When you freeze hard water, the minerals in the water stay trapped inside of your ice cubes.

Put those cubes in a glass, and the sediment is released when they melt. It’s gross, and no one wants to drink minerals.

We’ll sound like a broken record, but again, a water softener takes care of this completely.

#10: Good Tasting Water

The final benefit on our reasons to buy a water softener list is better tasting water. Sometimes the minerals in hard water give the water a bad taste.

You know what we’re talking about, even if you’re not aware of it. Ever been to another part of the country and the water tasted gross?

That’s most likely due to hard water. Water filters can work to alleviate this problem, but eventually the minerals will clog them just like pipes.

The best solution is to buy a water softener.

If you’re dealing with hard water we hope our list of the benefits of a water softener has given you some perspective into a better life.

While the pitfalls of hard water seem trivial, those of us who know its consequences will staunchly support purchasing a water softener.

If this sounds like you, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

We’re experts on hard water in the Chicago area, and know the ins and outs of making your water enjoyable.

9 Signs You Need Well Water Treatment Services

9 Signs You Need Well Water Treatment Services

Many people living in the United States don’t worry about the safety of their water systems because there are plenty of regulations and standards in effect for public drinking water.

State and federal standards are in place to help safeguard public drinking water, but nearly 20 percent of well-water in the United States is plagued with at least one contaminant at a level of concern.

It’s easier for contamination to happen in private wells because responsibility for water treatment and testing lies with the homeowner.

9 Signs You Need Well Water Treatment

Most water flowing into your home contains more than just H20.

Well water can contain minerals, impurities, contaminants, and microorganisms. While these trace amounts don’t typically post health concerns, if you spot any of these significant changes or oddities, it might be time for well water treatment services.

While trace amounts don’t typically post health concerns, if you spot any significant changes or oddities, it might be time for well water treatment or services.

1. Change in smell or unusual smell

Odors in your drinking water can have several causes, the most common of which is hydrogen sulfide, which results in the very recognizable egg smell.

This smell can sometimes be associated with either hot or cold water in particular. Other odors might be caused by certain species of algae, which can cause fishy or moldy smells.

Potent smelling water is often due to decaying flora and you can treat this with activated carbon.

2. Change in taste or unusual taste

Some factors that might contribute to unpleasant tastes in your well water can include metallic compounds, magnesium chloride, and magnesium bicarbonate, to name a few.

Issues with taste in well water can be a reaction to chemicals from past well water treatment, derivatives from nearby industrial activity, or can have originated within the well organically.

Once again, change in taste can be cleared up with well water treatment in the form of activated carbon.

3. Change in appearance or unusual appearance

Murky or discolored water can be a sign of a few different issues from mud entering the pump to metallic chemicals standing in your well water.

If your water looks red, blue/green, yellow, or white you should have a well water treatment to balance out the composition of your well water and make it safer and more pleasant to drink and use in your home.

4. Health problems

If you notice intestinal issues or any other persistent health concern in those drinking your well water, contact a professional immediately and, in the meantime, drink something else.

Agricultural runoff including nitrates can cause some issues in children and pregnant women and is common in rural wells.

Since nitrates have no color, odor, or taste, if you are in a rural area or suspect agricultural runoff has entered your well, you should have your well tested for nitrates to make sure that it’s safe for you and your family.

5. Stained sinks, tubs, and laundry

Wells can frequently contain too much iron in their water, and this results in rust colored stains in your fixtures.

In addition, you might see your laundry and even your ice cubes begin to take on yellowish stains. Iron in your well can also cause a metallic taste, and, depending on how it’s used, can create a variety of different colored stains from yellow to black.

If you struggle to achieve that pearly shine lately, it might be time for a sediment filter well water treatment.

6. Moans and groans

If your pipes are moaning and groaning, or if your well pump is making a loud humming, grinding, or even growling noises, there might be problems with your pump or plumbing.

If this is the case, you should contact a professional to come check things out ASAP to avoid permanent damage.

7. Residue left behind

Hard water is basically water containing excess calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Hard water can leave a thick film on shower walls and dishes, and can stiffen laundry. Hard water can clog not only your pipes but your coffee maker, washing machine, and other appliances due to its notorious and difficult to manage residue.

You may even notice a residue left behind on your hair, making it feel sticky or look dull. Water softeners have much success in decreasing hardness and water scale.

8. Spike in electricity bill

Well water pumps can wear out or become blocked, both of which makes the system work much harder than before. This can result in a noticeably higher power cost.

This can result in a noticeably higher power cost.

Sometimes the only issue is a lower water level, meaning you need to lower your pump slightly to work effectively.

9. Sputtering faucets

We’ve all seen it in movies and old houses, but sputtering faucets are actually completely resolvable!

If it takes a moment for your water to run smoothly after you turn on your faucets, it probably means that there is air in your plumbing system.

If it happens regularly or if the problem is getting worse, it can mean that your well pump needs servicing by a professional.

Wrapping up

Well water provides many advantages like never having to pay a water bill! However, wells can still go awry and wreak havoc on your health, your appliances, and your laundry.

A professional well water treatment service provider can check your well for physical and chemical signs of contamination and can help identify the best treatment options.

Regardless of any of these signs, you should test your well every year for everything from bacteria to pH levels. If, before a year is up, you suspect contaminants, don’t hesitate to have it tested more often.

We know you don’t want to take any chances with your water supply, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of our free water analysis to find out the easy way if it’s time for well water treatment or service.

What’s In Your Water? How a Water Purification System Saves

What’s In Your Water? How a Water Purification System Saves

Think about your water system for a minute.

How does the water get into your house? Where does it come from?

These questions seem innocent enough, but do you really have all the answers?

The pipes that run from your water source, through the ground, and into your home are likely pretty old. In fact, many are reaching retirement age.

This means that any manner of things could grow in those pipes, not to mention the chemicals that might start leaching into your water supply.

When we installed those pipes 100 years ago we didn’t have nearly the understanding (or caring) about the dangers certain materials pose to humans.

We’re not trying to scare you, but it’s the truth. What’s more, even if your pipes are brand new, did you know that sometimes chlorine levels aren’t adequate in public drinking water?

Lack of chlorine can expose the public to many nasty bacteria, viruses, and even protozoa. The importance of filtering and purifying your water is too often overlooked.

We’re lucky that a simple water purification system can limit our exposure to bacteria, chemicals, and any other vile things floating around in your drinking water.

Let’s take an in-depth look at water purification systems and how they keep us healthy.

What Are We Afraid Of?

You wouldn’t think much, considering the U.S. is lucky enough to have treated drinking water straight from the faucet.

However, this water isn’t as safe as some would have you believe. We’re not even just referring to old pipes, but to some of the chemicals used to treat our water.

First, let’s look at the stuff that isn’t supposed to be in our water.

Safe Drinking Water Act

The government enacted The Safe Water Drinking Act in 1974 in an attempt to purify our nation’s drinking water. The Act specifically banned 91 contaminants in our water supply.

This sounds well and good until you realize there are more than 60,000 chemicals used within the United States, per the Environmental Protection Agency.

So we’re only protected against 91 of 60,000? Yes, you read that correctly.

What’s worse, many of those chemicals associated with a cancer risk are sometimes found in drinking water.

A New York Times analysis showed that since 2004, more than 62 million Americans were exposed to water that didn’t meet at least one Safe Water Drinking Act guideline.

How’s that for government regulation? The problems in Flint, Michigan aren’t as contained as one would think.

Pharmaceuticals

Not only is our water contaminated per the Safe Drinking Water Act, but sometimes it’s contaminated by modern medicine.

An associated Press report shows that major U.S. drug manufacturers have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into water sources used for drinking.

For some reason, the U.S. government has consistently chosen to overlook this issue. Well, that’s not entirely true, they did monitor some of the chemicals, but only those classified as “industrial.”

So chemicals dumped into the water are only bad when they come from industry. Got it.

Oh, and we forgot to mention the trace amounts of antibiotics, mood stabilizers, sex hormones and anti-seizure medication also found in our drinking water.

Chlorine, Chloramines, and Fluoride

We already talked about Chlorine not reaching safe levels, but what about when Chlorine concentration exceeds safe levels?

It’s something that doesn’t get much coverage but routinely happens. At safe concentrations, Chlorine kills microorganisms in our water, and that’s great. We need it for a safe water supply.

However, higher concentrations of Chlorine are linked to cancer. Chloramine, a chlorine derivative, is even worse. It doesn’t evaporate nearly as well as Chlorine and thus more of it reaches our taps.

Information about Chloramine’s link to cancer is available on the EPA’s website.

Fluoride is the trickiest chemical of them all. Found in almost every water supply across the country, we use fluoride to improve oral health. Specifically, protecting our teeth from decay.

Found in almost every water supply across the country, we use fluoride to improve oral health. Specifically, protecting our teeth from decay.

We’re ever grateful for fluoride, but research has suggested that large quantities over time can cause more harm than good.

Dental Fluorosis occurs when young children with developing teeth are exposed to excessive levels of fluoride. The result is the fluoride eating through tooth enamel.

The condition is widespread enough that the CDC acknowledges that it affects at least some people from every community.

Filtration and Purification

Water purification systems protect people from exposure to all of the aforementioned chemicals.

There are many different kinds of purification systems and they all do different things. We’re going to keep it general and walk you through what systems to choose and why.

Whole House Water Purification System

This kind of water purification system filters water before it reaches the pipes in your home. This means every tap in your home is free from contaminants.

Whole house purification systems remove hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, chemicals like chlorine and chloramines, and other organic materials.

Chlorine and chloramine removal is especially important as the system prevents these chemicals from releasing into the air during hot showers.

Whole house systems also provide the added benefit of softening your water. This helps preserve your hair’s natural sheen and luster.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration

Reverse osmosis filters work best when installed in tandem with whole house purification systems. Working together they provide almost 100% protection from contaminants.

The reverse osmosis systems filter out every contaminant imaginable. This works because the water purification system is pushing water through a membrane at pressure.

By pushing water from high to low pressure, we can force the higher concentration (concentration of contaminants) to filter into the lower concentration.

The lower concentration becomes runoff and we’re left with clean drinking water flowing into our homes.

Quality reverse osmosis systems have upwards of 10 filters contained in replaceable cartridges. This makes home maintenance easy and encourages proper upkeep.

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on how important it is to install a water purification system in your home.

For us, the amount of unregulated chemicals pouring into our water supply is just too great to ignore. Keep yourself healthy using a water purification system to get the clean drinking (and bathing) water you deserve.

Hard vs. Soft Water: What’s Hard Water Doing to Your Home?

Hard vs. Soft Water: What’s Hard Water Doing to Your Home?

What’s the deal with hard vs soft water?

What does it mean when water is either hard or soft? More importantly, what does this mean for your home?

Millions of homeowners are now paying attention to the differences between hard and soft water. They know there’s an impact on household cleaning, expenses, and even health.

Once you understand the difference, it’s much easier to take action on improving your drinking water, plumbing, bathroom sanitation, and other household components that are directly impacted by the quality of your water.

Ready to get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all? Keep reading to learn the facts and consequences of hard vs soft water.

Hard Vs Soft Water: What Is It?

According to recent geological surveys, 85% of all our water in the USA is actually hard water, not soft water.

Hard water contains far more minerals than soft water. It’s literally packed with calcium and magnesium carbonates! That’s because hard water is filtered through chalk and limestone deposits before it hits your tap.

The more minerals there are, the more “hard” your water is.

On the other hand, soft water contains extremely low amounts of these minerals.

Instead of filtering through limestone, soft water is acquired from surface water, rainfall, and rivers with minimal calcium-rich rocks. That’s why hard and soft water tastes a little different.

But what’s the real impact of such high mineral composition or lack thereof?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hard vs soft water.

Hard Water: Pros and Cons

The most talked-about benefit of hard water is the fact that it does contain these large doses of calcium and magnesium, two important minerals that are vital to our diets. Hence, why we have “mineral water.”

However, because of this high mineral concentration, hard water can do a number on your home and appliances.

Any of these issues sound familiar?

  • Calcium buildup and clogging of your pipes.
  • Residue and curdled laundry detergent fusing to your clothes.
  • Soap residue and limescale on your bathroom tiles, tub, sink, and shower doors.
  • Fading of fabric colors after each wash. One study even found that hard water increases color fading by 15%!
  • Dingy or “yellowing” of your white clothes.
  • Mineral scaling and build-up in your coffee maker.

These are the most obvious consequences of hard water that you can see with your own eyes, but there are more issues that are often missed by the naked eye.

These frequently missed problems include:

  • Mineral buildup in your washing machine
  • Hard water does not interact as well with soap than soft water. That’s why it takes longer to lather up with hard water than soft water.
  • Hard water makes your gas heater less efficient, causing your energy costs to go up.
  • Calcium scaling and build-up in your water heater.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try to minimize the negative impacts of hard water.

What You Can Do To Combat The Consequences of Hard Water

For starters, you can buy special soaps and dish detergent that are meant to effectively interact with hard water. This is one way to get rid of that frustrating post-laundry residue.

You can minimize the mineral concentration in your hard water by keeping your boilers set at around 50 degrees.

Get a well-water treatment that greatly reduces the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water.

Call your local water professional about installing a water softener or distiller.

Now, let’s get the skinny on soft water.

Soft Water: Pros and Cons

As you now know, soft water is basically the opposite of hard water. Instead of high amounts of calcium and magnesium, soft water contains very little minerals. This is the primary reason why soft water is not considered the best drinking water.

Moreover, the fewer minerals there are in your water, the more likely it is to weaken metal-based structures like metal frames and railings for example.

Soft water has also been known to decrease the effectiveness of chlorine. Coupled with its impact on metal, soft water may not the best choice for jacuzzis and pools either.

Now, for the pros.

When it comes to cleaning, you can’t beat soft water. In fact, soft water can help you minimize detergent use by more than 50%! You can even wash your clothes in cold soft water and they will still come out cleaner than clothes washed in hot hard water.

Want to feel cleaner? Soft water makes quick showers more effective because it interacts perfectly with body wash and lathers right up. It also doesn’t leave that icky post-shower residue on your skin either.

Soft water makes it easier to clean grease encrusted pans quicker and more effectively after you cook.

Soft water is just better for your clothes. Period. It keeps your colors vibrant and your whites brighter for longer. Plus, it greatly minimizes wear and tear from your washing machine.

Because soft water is far more superior for cleaning, it keeps your bathroom, food dishes, floors, and countertops more sanitary.

Enjoy crystal clear windows, faucets, mirrors, and shower doors by preventing calcium buildup caused by hard water.

Hard Vs Soft Water: Your Next Step

Now that you have a good handle on hard vs soft water, it’s time to take action.

Why not take advantage of both water types to lower your energy costs, improve your cleaning, maintain your pool, and keep that mineral-rich drinking water?

Think of your water system as any other important home element that must be routinely checked, upgraded, or even replaced if the situation calls for it.

To start, use this post to create a hard vs soft water checklist to access your issues.

For example, if you’re sick of those clumps of laundry detergent or wasting money on dish soap, then it’s time to consider a water treatment solution to improve the performance of your washing machine and pocketbook.

Once you’ve assessed your water situation, your next step is to talk to a water professional about a plan of action.

That plan may include a water analysis, installation of a new water filtration system, purchase of a water softener, or opting for full reverse osmosis treatment.

When it comes to your water and expenses, you can’t afford to not address the consequences of hard vs soft water.

Start addressing these issues now for a cleaner and more cost-effective home.