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Is Cool, Clean, Fresh Water Flowing from your Taps?

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is probably the most common water problem found in the home. Hard water spots your glasses and dishes, makes laundry dull, and causes soap scum and scale to build-up making cleaning a chore. The most common hardness causing minerals are Calcium and Magnesium that is dissolved in a water supply. Using an ion exchange water softener is the most common form of treatment.

Treating your water can help you live a pure and healthy lifestyle:
Cleaner living – health experts advise drinking plenty of water – up to 8 glasses per day.
Water is a better choice – a cost-effective alternative to sugary drinks.
Better-tasting food and beverages – fuller flavor from your favorite recipes, coffee, tea and juices.
Cost-savings – cut your grocery bill for bottled water as you discover just how good drinking water can be.
Hassle-free alternative – the easiest way for your family to enjoy delicious water.

Benefits of Soft Water:
Reduces soapy residues on clothes and skin.
Helps make hair shinier, skin cleaner, and clothes cleaner and brighter.
Makes household cleaning easier and less expensive.
Reduces soap scum and scaling, decreasing use of costly detergents.
Improves water flow, reduces scale deposits in your pipes.
Reduces water heating bills.
Reduces hard water scaling of appliances and plumbing.
Two of the most cost effective ways to enjoy great tasting water in your home are with a bottled water cooler or with a home reverse osmosis (RO) system.

Hard Water Problems:
Leaves skin dry and hair dull
Uses more soap and cleaning products
Leaves behind soap scum and bathtub rings
Leaves spots on your dishes, glassware and flatware
Increases hard scale formations in your plumbing
Leads to higher electric and gas bills
Shortens the life of your appliances

TDS Problems:
Does your water have an unpleasant taste? A sour, salty, bitter or metallic taste can be a sign of high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your water, normally Chlorides, Sulfates and Bicarbonates (though these contaminants may not be in your water).
Bad taste to your water
Cloudy ice cubes
Scaling and spotting on your wetted surfaces
Accumulation of “mineral fur” around your faucet outlets
A “laxative effect” due to high sulfates

You can eliminate high TDS problems with a water system to reduce high concentrations of dissolved solids from your drinking water.

Water Odor Problems:
Does your water have an unpleasant smell? Before water enters your home, it can pick up odors from materials it comes in contact with as it flows and seeps through the ground. There may be multiple root causes, requiring more than one solution.
Rotten egg odor
Musty, earthy or wood smell
Chorine smell
Detergent odor
Chemical smell
Occasionally, an odor occurs only in hot water. This can be caused by a chemical reaction with the water that takes place in your water heater.

There are several ways you can get rid of bad smelling water:
Filter water from a single faucet with a filter system
POU Carbon Filter
Treat all of your water with a whole house filter

High Iron Problems
Does your water have a metallic taste? Excessive levels of iron are the second-most common problem today, after water hardness.
Reddish or red-brown stains on your fixtures and clothing
Yellow or orange colored water
metallic taste to your water

Iron problems exist in a few forms, which may require different water treatment for its removal

High Copper Problems:
Do you have blue-green stains on your water fixtures? High levels of copper in water are usually found when your copper or brass plumbing have begun to corrode.
metallic taste to your water
Blue-green stains on your fixtures
Toxic to your aquarium fish
Color variations in your hair toners, especially blond
Corrosion on aluminum surfaces

A water softener can reduce the level of copper in your water.

Reverse Osmosis
In simple terms, reverse osmosis is the process by which water molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure. Reverse osmosis systems provide filtered water everywhere, from homes and commercial applications like restaurants and hotels, to breweries and car washes, and even the space shuttle.

Household RO systems typically filter water using the following steps:
1.Raw tap water first flows through a sediment filter to remove dirt, rust and other solid objects.
2.The water then flows into a carbon filter that takes out 98% of the chlorine and organic chemicals.
3.The next stage is the reverse osmosis membrane that separates 70-99% of the dissolved contaminants from the water molecules. These removed impurities are rinsed down the drain producing the final product, “pure water”.
4.This water is stored in a reservoir tank typically located underneath the kitchen sink and is accessed with a separate faucet.
5.When you open the valve the water is filtered one last time with a carbon block “polishing filter” right before it reaches your glass.
Using a quality RO membrane as a strainer is typically much better than a faucet mounted filter alone. Under magnification the pores of an RO membrane are undetectable, while the pores of a pleated filter are easily seen. Reverse osmosis treatment generally removes a more diverse list of contaminants than other systems. RO can remove nitrates, sodium, and other dissolved inorganic and organic compounds.

Selecting and Using Water Treatment Devices
Many consumers have difficulty determining whether they actually need a water treatment system or they are not sure what type of system would be best for them. The choice regarding whether or not to install and use a water treatment system is up to you. If you have identified a specific contaminant whose presence in your water is causing you concern, you can use the Internet or your local water treatment specialist to locate products that have been certified to reduce that specific contaminant.

Consumers are encouraged to educate themselves about the quality of their current drinking water supply. By attempting to identify the contaminants that are present in your water supply, you can then ensure that you are selecting a water treatment system that will be capable of treating those specific contaminants.

It is important to keep in mind that all home water treatment devices need regular maintenance to operate effectively. Please read the operating manual that comes with your water treatment system to ensure you are operating your system in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. Filter cartridges should be changed on a regular basis as recommended by the manufacturer.

Styles of Water Treatment Devices
There are several styles of water treatment devices available on the market today. The most common styles are listed below, along with a brief description of each.

Point-of-Entry (POE) System
These systems typically treat most of the water entering a residence. Point-of-entry systems, or whole-house systems, are usually installed after the water meter. (Water meters are usually located in the basement of a house. In warm weather climates, the water meter may be in the garage or outside of the house.) A water softener is an example of a POE system.

Point-of-Use (POU) System
These systems typically treat water in batches and deliver water to a single tap, such as a kitchen sink faucet or an auxiliary faucet mounted next to the kitchen sink.

The following information contains a brief explanation of different POU systems and points to consider when determining which style of a system will best suit your needs. The list is ordered from easiest installation/operation to more difficult or complex installation/operation and should not be construed as any type of recommendation.

Personal Water Bottle This type of product consists of a bottle and a filter. The filter may be integrated with the push/pull cap of the filter bottle or may be integrated with a straw.

Pour Through In pour-through products, gravity causes water to drip through a pitcher, which is usually stored in the refrigerator. They typically have a lower capacity (i.e. can filter fewer gallons) than other types of systems.

Faucet Mount This type of filter is mounted on an existing kitchen sink faucet (usually replacing the aerator or installed immediately before the aerator). A diverter is usually used to direct water through the system when treated drinking water is desired.

Counter-Top Manual Fill This system is usually placed on a counter and filled by pouring water into the system and activating it for a batch of water. (A manual fill distiller is usually considered to be a Counter-Top Manual Fill.)

Counter-Top Connected to Sink Faucet This product is usually placed on a counter and connected by tubing to an existing kitchen sink faucet. The treated water dispenses out of a return tube from the kitchen faucet, or the treated water is dispensed from a spout on the system.

Plumbed-In This type of system is usually installed under the sink and requires a permanent connection to an existing water pipe. The filter water is dispensed through the existing sink faucet.

Plumbed-In to Separate Tap This product installs in the same manner as plumbed-in systems (above). However, the filter water is dispensed through an auxiliary faucet mounted next to the kitchen sink. People who live in apartments may not want to drill a hole in the counter top.

This paper is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes legal, financial or other professional advice. Transmission of these materials is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any relationship of any kind between the provider and the recipient. Some of these points may not apply in your area. Different term and conditions may vary from state to state and province to province. All articles, text and photographic material presented here is for the use and pleasure of the recipient only. Download PDF

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