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Water Treatment Tips and Advice

Water Treatment Tips and Advice (10)

While the EPA has worked to remove lead from drinking water over the years, it can still exist in trace amounts in drinking water. Here are the most common sources of lead in drinking water.

If your home was built prior to the 1980s, it's likely to have lead solder connecting the copper water pipes. Lead found in tap water often comes from corrosion of plumbing fixtures or the solder connecting the pipes. Today's plumbing fixtures must pass rigorous tests and be certified to contain levels of lead that are below safety thresholds.

Some major U.S. utilities use lead pipes to supply water from to homes and businesses. Because the pipes have been in use for a long time, they have formed a natural oxidation barrier that prevents lead from leeching into the water. Utilities will often add lime or orthophosphates as an additional barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water.

If you're concerned about lead in your home's drinking water, regular testing can help ensure that levels are safe to drink. In addition, EPA has an online guide called “How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” that can help you choose the right plumbing fixtures for your home.
The odor of rotten eggs, or sulphur, in water is often a sign that it contains hydrogen sulfide gas. The smell may be noticeable only when the water is initially turned on or when hot water is running. Because heat helps the gas escape into the air, the odor may be especially strong in the shower.

In high enough levels, hydrogen sulfide can be corrosive to metals, and cause yellow or black stains (metallic sulfides) on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures. It may also affect the appearance and taste of cooked foods. Fortunately, the levels of hydrogen sulfide found in drinking water will be in low enough concentrations that they are not harmful to your health.

What Causes Hydrogen Sulfide In Water?

There are a couple of reasons your home's water may smell like rotton eggs from hydrogen sulfide, they include:

1. Decaying organic material or chemical reactions of sulfur-containing minerals in the ground.

2. Water heaters can sometimes make hydrogen sulfide gas through the magnesium anode rod, which supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas.

Solving Hydrogen Sulfide Problems in the Water Supply

When the problem is occurring with the water supply itself, installing a water treatment is usually the most effective long-term solution. If the odor is a result of the hot water system, modifying your hot water heater may reduce the odor. The process involves replacing the water heater’s magnesium anode rod with one made of aluminum or other metal may improve the situation.

Have questions about your home's water quality? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help test your water and offer effective solutions for everything from odors and bad taste, to hard water.
Myth One - Using a water softener removes calcium and magnesium, important nutrients our bodies need.

The fact is, minerals found in drinking water are in an inorganic form that can not be absorbed by our bodies in the same way that nutrients are delivered through food and dietary supplements.

Myth Two - Water softeners cause a reaction in the water that leaves residue on your skin

Your skin often feels silkier after a shower with softened water because your skin's natural oils are able to more readily absorb into your skin’s surface. Softened water also helps soaps and shampoos lather up faster. So showering in softened water actually leaves your much cleaner than when you shower in hard water.

Myth Three - Water softeners add salt to your water, which can increase your sodium intake.

The salt used in a water softener facilitates the ion-exchange system that removes the salts binding the calcium and magnesium and replaces them with other salts. So the total salt level in the water is not increased to any significant degree. For comparison, a can of Coca-Cola has about 39 milligrams of sodium while a 12 ounce glass of softened water contains less than half this amount sodium.

Myth Four - Drinking treated water purges essential minerals from your body.

Nothing is removed from your body by drinking filtered or distilled water, The EPA actually recommends using reverse osmosis water treatment to remove harmful substances from drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that most municipal water suppliers in Florida provide consumers with an annual water quality report. Also known as Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), the report provides detailed information about the quality of the drinking water supply during the past year. Annual drink water quality reports can be obtained by visiting the EPA's Florida Consumer Confidence site

Most Southwest Florida homeowners will receive a copy of the report annually. If you don't receive a copy in the mail you can access this information on your community's website or by calling your local water department. Because the reports contain a lot of technical information, The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) provides information to help consumers make sense of water quality. Units of measurement for concentrations of contaminants, and detailed information on interpreting the results can help homeowners make informed decisions about whether additional home water treatment is needed.

If you have concerns about your drinking water, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can perform an in-home water analysis and recommend water treatment systems to ensure safer, better tasting water.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 17:00

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration?

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Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that is used to remove dissolved inorganic material from water, such as salt, magnesium and calcium carbonate. When attached to a home's plumbing system a reverse osmosis system will use water pressure to force the water through a semi-permeable membrane. This thin membrane allows the water to pass through, while trapping impurities and flushing them down the drain.

Why Use a Reverse Osmosis System?

The advantage of a reverse osmosis system include:
  • Better tasting and smelling water
  • Highly effective at removing particles and dissolved solids
  • No energy consumption
  • Flushes contaminants away reducing the need to clean or replace the filter as often
  • Very low cost per gallon filtration
Have questions about reverse osmosis water treatment? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help with all your home water purification needs.
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 19:40

Why Use a Water Softener?

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Water softeners are designed to remove minerals from the water supply that can cause problems with a home's plumbing system. Hard water contains excessive deposits of calcium and magnesium carbonates that can affect the taste of water as well as causing a host of other problems, including:
  • Spotting on dishes and cutlery
  • Streaking on shower doors
  • Reduced effectiveness of laundry detergents and soaps
  • Clogged faucets and shower heads
  • Clothes that look dull and feel less soft
  • Skin that feels drier
Today's home water softeners can solve all these problems economically with little maintenance. Have questions about whether a water softener can help in your home? Give ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call. Our water treatment specialists can analyze your home's water and recommend solutions for softer, better tasting water.

Thursday, 10 September 2015 19:10

The ABC of Plumbing - How a Water Softener Works

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A water softener is designed to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium that cause "hard water". These minerals dissolve into the groundwater from surrounding rock. When you have hard water in the home you will find that the mineral scale shows up on glassware and in your tub and shower. When severe enough, hard water scale can harm you home's plumbing system by clogging pipes and reducing the effectiveness of your water heater. It can also make laundering clothes more difficult by reducing the effectiveness of soaps and detergents.

The Answer to Hard Water is a Water Softener

A water softener is a mechanical appliance that is attached to a home's plumbing system. Using a process called ion exchange the minerals in the water are exchanged for sodium. A mineral tank filled with tiny polystyrene beads that create a negative charge. Because the minerals in the water carry a positive charge, they will cling to the beads as the water flows through the mineral tank.

Water softeners have a separate tank with a brine (liquified salt) solution. When the brine is added to the mineral tank the sodium ions, which also have a positive charge, it saturates the beads and displaces the magnesium and calcium "softening" the water.

The sodium attaches to the beads, replacing the calcium and magnesium, which get rinsed down the drain. Once rinsed of minerals, the tank is flushed of brine and refilled.

Have questions about hard water in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.

Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:41

When Should You Have Your Water Tested?

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For many Florida homeowners, knowing the safety and quality of drinking water important. Some of the reasons you may want to test your water include:
  • Your home has lead pipes, or lead soldered joints
  • The water in your home has a strange taste or smell
  • You have soap soap scum on bathroom fixtures.
  • You're buying a home with a water treatment system and want to ensure it is working properly
  • You're installing a water treatment system and want to measure it's effectiveness
  • There are recurring gastrointestinal problems with occupants drinking water in the home
  • You are pregnant, or there is a child under six months old living in the home
  • You have a well that is near a septic tank, abandoned gas station or agricultural land
If problems are found with your drinking water, there are a number of water treatment solutions available to treat hard water and contamination. Have questions about water quality in your home? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we're here to help.

Thursday, 11 June 2015 01:31

Drinking Water Quality in Southwest Florida

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Every year the EPA requires Florida community water systems to provide its customers with a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).The CCR is intended to help residents make informed choices about the water they drink by disclosing what contaminants if any, are in their drinking water, and how these contaminants could affect their health.

You can search for your local water system here. More Florida drinking water resources are available at the EPA water site.

If your drinking water comes from a private well, you are responsible for the safety of your water. The EPA recommends that well owners have their water tested annually. Contact your state to get a list of certified commercial laboratories that test drinking water.

Water Quality Solutions For the Home

Whether your water comes from a municipal water system or a private well it's a good idea to have a water analysis performed to identify any possible contaminants. If problems are found there are home water filtration systems that can remove organic and inorganic contaminants that may cause health concerns.

Hard water can cause problems for homeowners in both increased energy usage and a shortened lifespan of appliances. The two minerals most commonly found in hard water, calcium and magnesium, make heating water less efficient. It requires more energy to heat mineral heavy water compared to clear, purified water.

Hard water can also cause limescale build-up, drastically restricting the water flow in your pipes. Steel pipes are the most prone to this problem, copper and PVC are not as susceptible to limescale build up. Over time this scale build up can lower water pressure in your home's plumbing, eventually leading to costly damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures. As the flow in pipes becomes more restricted, the limescale buildup will happen at a faster rate.

The areas that you may first notice mineral build up are in areas around shower heads, plugs, faucets and valves. Slowly dripping faucets can cause scale build up on sink surfaces and could damage the rubber washers that are required to keep the mechanism water tight. If this occurs, the washers can sometimes be difficult to replace.

Valves that are found in various appliances, such as ice-makers, washing machines and dishwashers can also end up with scale build-up. If small amounts of limescale build up around the valves, they may not be able to completely close, which can allow water to leak.

Hard Water and Water Heaters

Heating elements in water heaters can also quickly form mineral deposits. When there is limescale between the heating element and the water it will act as a barrier, preventing the water from heating up efficiently and causing the burners to work overtime. Mineral deposits from hard water can also dramatically reduce the lifespan of a water heater by clogging pipes, valves and drains.

Have questions about hard water in hour home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

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