Water quality is extremely important. Across the country, and even in our backyard, there are stories of poor public drinking water. Families are learning about dangers, such as lead, mercury or other toxins, that may be in tap water.
As a result, homeowners are seeking water quality solutions to provide safe water for their families.
What is causing the influx in poor water across the country?
It varies by location. For example, there is environmental factors and improper oversight of water facilities in places like Flint, MI. However, there are natural factors that create water issues in places like Plainville, CT.
Hard Water Reduces Water Quality
Hard water has a high mineral content. Originally, the term hard water referred to to the soap wasting properties of hard water, which is why many signs of hard water relate to cleaning. The “hardness” prevents soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble mineral contained within the water.
Hard water is a natural result deriving from minerals accumulating in the water. Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are in all around us. These minerals are contained in things such as chalk, limestone, and marble. In fact, most of the underlying elements of our planet are made from limestone and is the underlying cause of hard water.
As a result, the dissolved calcium and magnesium salts are primarily responsible for most scaling in pipes or water heaters and cause numerous problems with laundry and cleaning the kitchen or bathroom.
For example, as mineral deposits build up inside pipes or appliances they may clog these home systems. As little as 5 grains of water hardness may lead to an 8% efficiency reduction and an 8% increase in cost for water heaters.
Hard Water Impacts Our Health
Do you have a flakey scalp?
It might not only be dead skin, but also calcium deposits shaking out as well.
The minerals in the water react with most soaps and shampoos, which reduce their effectiveness and produces soap scum. It is likely to produce a downward cycle where your water makes your hair dry, frizzy, and unmanageable. In turn, many people wash their hair MORE, which further damages your hair and scalp!
In addition, certain studies linked hard water exposure with childhood development of eczema, which affects about 10% of the U.S. population.
If you have hard water, then you are not alone. Nearly 85% of people in the U.S. live with hard water!
Hard water can be tough on your home, skin and wallet and impacts our health due to the reduction in overall water quality. The tell-tale signs include things, such as:
- water spots on dishes or glasses.
- soap scum in the shower and sink.
- dulled hair and clogged pores.
- scratchy or hard clothes after doing the laundry.
- increased difficulty in household chores.
- reduced water flow and pressure.
Water Treatment Solutions Improve Water Quality
Whether your home has hard water or other environmental factors are in play, it is important to understand the specific solutions that can improve your overall water quality.
It may be time to find a qualified water treatment expert if you experience any of the following:
- tap water doesn’t taste or smell good.
- water doesn’t lather properly when mixed with soap.
- your water leaves scale or spots on surfaces.
- laboratory tests completed and you aren’t sure how to solve the problems.
Water seems simple, but is fairly complex to diagnosis. There are plenty of potential contaminants and there is no “one size fits all” solution to water problems. Often the best solution involves the following four steps:
- Investigate your options for treatment at the faucet.
- Investigate your options for treating the entire building.
- Identify the right specialists to improve your water quality issues.
- Identify and install the right products to alleviate your specific water quality issues.
For an idea into the complexity of water issues, then here is a snapshot of the potential contaminants to check.
Benefits of Water Quality
It goes without saying, but there are plenty of benefits of high quality water. For starters, water and health are linked.
As we all know, water has so many health benefits that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. According to the CDC, the top causes of disease outbreaks related to drinking water are Giardia intestinalis, hepatitis A, norovirus, and Shigella. Bad as that sounds, it’s far from a complete list. There are also health risks related to water contaminated with organic and inorganic matter, other bacteria and viruses and other pollutants.
Water Quality Improves Appliances
Additionally, high quality water also impacts your home appliances.
For example, softened water (or water with the natural “hard” contaminants removed) can save you money by keeping appliances at top efficiency, and making them last longer. Studies conducted by the independent test firm Scientific Services S/D, Inc., of New York, revealed the following benefits of softened water:
- In washing machines, softened water can reduce detergent use by 50% and save energy by making it possible to wash in cold (60ºF) rather than hot (100ºF) water. Cold water washes with softened water achieved the same or better results when it came to removing stains and whitening fabrics.
- In dishwashers, softened water can achieve the same cleaning results as unsoftened while using less than half as much detergent.
In addition, the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) commissioned a survey and found that adding a water softener helps water heaters and major appliances operate as efficiently as possible. The improved water is more efficient and works to prevent clogs in showerheads, faucets, and drains.
The study found that showerheads running with hard water lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 months. When running hard water through faucets, the strainers on the faucets clogged within 19 days.
As for water heaters, the study found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years, while running hard water through cut efficiency by up to 48 percent.
Tips to Improve Water Quality
Obviously, between environmental and natural contaminants, it is necessary to take some initiative to ensure your home has safe water. Fortunately, there are few simple water quality tips that you can start today.
- Keep Water Filters Clean
The Water Quality Association provides some advice on proper water filter maintenance and cleaning.
“If you have a filter to remove contaminants, maintain it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This might include cleaning it, replacing filter cartridges, and sometimes calling in a professional for service. Filters overdue for cleaning or replacing may no longer work properly to remove contaminants and may let foul tastes and odors remain in your tap water.”
- Wash Water Containers
For proper washing technique, the WQA offers this guidance.
“Mix a few drops of dish detergent into clean water and pour it into the storage container. Agitate the liquid, and scrub the inside with a nonabrasive scrub brush or a clean dish rag, then rinse the container thoroughly. If you want to achieve a higher level of cleanliness, disinfect the container with a mixture of unscented chlorine bleach and water. Mix it according to instructions on the bottle, and then swish the mixture around inside the container to ensure that it hits every surface. Leave the mixture inside the container for about 30 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse with tap water.”
- Proper Water Softener Maintenance
A water softener system treats your home water when the water enters the your home by removing the impurities before the water travels through the pipes and into your water-using appliances. Water softeners stop hard water from coming out of the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen (or wherever you may have faucets).
For more tips, here are ways to improve your water quality around your home.
Water Quality Tips for the House
- Choose low-flow shower heads, sink faucet aerators, and high-efficiency washing machines, toilets, and other appliances.
- Avoid running the washing machine or dishwasher at less-than-full capacity, or adjust the water usage settings for smaller loads.
- Pay attention to your water bill. An unanticipated increase indicates a possible leak.
- Don’t ignore damp water spots on ceilings and walls. These leaks not only waste water but also can cause structural damage to your home. If you suspect a leak, consult with a plumber.
- Leaks easily hide unnoticed behind appliances or underneath sinks and shelves. Pay special attention to musty odors, dampness or mold under sinks and appliances.
- Be aware of any dripping faucets. Sink and shower faucet repairs are simple and cost effective.
- Upgrade existing water softeners and filters to achieve water and salt usage savings.
- Replace existing water softener with ultra-efficient demand initiated water softener that regenerates only when needed.
Water Quality Tips for the Kitchen
- If you wash dishes in the sink, use a stopper to allow dishes to soak rather than running the faucet continuously.
- Instead of letting the faucet run until the water becomes cold, simply keep a container of water in the refrigerator.
Water Quality Tips for the Bathroom
- Do not leave the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face.
- Make sure water from your toilet tank is not continuously leaking into the bowl. Check by dropping some food coloring into the tank and wait one hour to see if the water in the bowl has become tinted.
Choose showers over baths whenever possible.
Water Quality Tips for the Backyard
- Avoid watering your lawn and garden during midday or during rain. Try not to overwater the lawn and garden as well.
- Use drip irrigation systems for watering yards and gardens. They can save 30-50% of the water sprinklers loss from evaporation and runoff.
- If you have an automatic watering system, make sure no water is wasted on paved areas. Always remember to shut off the automatic system off during a rainfall.
- Collect water in a rain barrel and use it for watering lawns and plants.
- Add a top layer of organic mulch, or plant with a compost pile, to help your garden retain moisture.
- Check outdoor faucets, pools, and spas on a regular basis for leaks.
Proper Water Filtration Improves Water Quality
As noted, water filters are a great way to improve water quality.
Water filtration refers to any system or process that removes particles and/or pollutants from water. For example, water filters remove impurities in the water. Technically, water filtration encompases anything that removes particles, sediment, bacteria or simple removes the taste of chlorine. If it has a filter of any type, it’s a filtration system.
For example, some appliances, such as refrigerators, are designed with water filtration features that include filtered water or ice. Here is an overview the standard water filters that a professional water treatment expert would look to install in a home.
- Point-of Use Water Filters focus on lead removal.
With a point-of-use water filtration system, the filter removes lead from water immediately prior to consumption. This is incredibly helpful in preventing lead from entering the body.
- Countertop Water Filters and Under-the-Sink Filters focus on safe drinking water.
Countertop water filtration systems provide a steady source of clean, healthy water. The under-the-sink filtration system is a smaller version of the countertop system. As a result, families can avoid the costs and environmental waste associated with constantly drinking bottled water.
- Whole-House Water Filters offers a comprehensive solution to water contaminants.
The whole-house water filtration system provides high quality water at every spot in your home. From faucets to toilets in the bathroom to the washing machine and dishwasher, this system provides clean water for everything in your home.
Water filtration systems differ in size, price, installation and efficiency, but they all in some way improve home water quality.
How to Select the Right Water Treatment Specialist
It is clear that high quality water is imperative to providing a safe household. As water quality issues have evolved, there are many new players to emerge in the market. It is important to understand the experience and expertise of anyone that may work on your home water.
As a result, making an informed decision when selecting a water system can be difficult. In conjunction with the WQA, here are some questions to ask any potential water solutions professional.
- Are you certified by WQA?
- Do you have a contractor’s license, business license and liability insurance?
- How long have you been in business, and who can I call for a referral?
- What do my water testing results show?
- How do I know that the test results cover the main contaminants of concern for my home? Could you be missing something?
- Do these results indicate health hazards in my water?
- Do the water quality issues in my home require whole-house filter? Will I be okay with a single-tap or other point-of-use filter?
- Will the device you’re recommending treat enough water to accommodate my family’s needs?
- What is the total purchase price, and how much more can I expect to pay to maintain the system year in and year out?
- Will you be installing and servicing the device?
- Has a third-party organization certified the performance of the products you offer?
- What type of warranty comes with this product?
- How will I know if the equipment is operating correctly?
- What secondary effects might this water treatment unit have on my water quality? Any byproducts?
- Will you provide free follow-up water testing a few months after installation to ensure that the equipment is doing its job?
How SolvIt Improves Connecticut Water Quality
At SolvIt, we take immense pride in our professionalism and customer service. As a result, we only work with the best product and partner with like-minded organizations.
To help find a reputable water expert and certified products, then consider Costco. It may seem surprising, but Costco offers tremendous options, high quality products and partners with expert local technicians to provide trustworthy water quality solutions.
SolvIt Home Services is one of those local companies. Costco recognized SolvIt as the premier service provider for water treatment in Connecticut and partnered with us to better deliver comprehensive solutions for its members.
We provide Costco with staff members who have professional training and experience working with drinking water systems so that you have an expert to consult in the store, and we offer installation and maintenance services for Costco members who buy a water treatment system. In other regions, you’ll find the similar partnerships.