Clear and clean water is essential to a happy and healthy home. Most people view water as a naturally pure substance. However, water quality and composition can vary greatly according to where people live, even if you can’t see it.
Yes, water has a simple molecular composition, but it can contain other elements. This is called hard water. The potable water supplied to homes can carry mineral elements. This is true even after treatments by municipal water plants, and the best private well filters. These elements are typically safe to drink, but they can cause problems to the home and belongings. The good news, is that hard water is very common to diagnose and treat. Check out these several ways to tell if your home has hard water:
Changes in Family Member Health
When trace minerals accompany drinking water, it can result in some pesky health issues. Some people will develop rashes because of an allergic reaction to minerals like iron. Rashes, and other changes like dry and itchy skin are good reasons to have your water tested. Again, most people can safely digest water that is hard.
Ruddy and Rusty Stains Appearing in Strange Places
When condensation and seepage from a home’s water system penetrates a surface, it can leave a noticeable stain pattern. Homes with water having a high mineral content will have stains near sink seals, refrigerator and washing machine outlets, toilet bowls, and spigot ends. Sometimes, water that is very hard will stain human teeth. Instead of a yellowish, plaque-like appearance, teeth can begin to develop a rust color.
The Water Isn’t Putrid, It’s just Hard!
Water containing certain minerals like sulfur will emit strange smells. It could also taste bitter. Sulfur has the scent and taste similar to rotten eggs. Even the air that is trapped in pipes will smell bad. While this is not normally dangerous, it can make brushing teeth, washing hands, bathing, and other water use very unpleasant.
Minerals Result in Expensive Fixes
Pipes along a home’s water supply route will corrode very quickly if there are many minerals present. The lifespans of iron pipes will be severely compromised because of water that is hard. Even black ABS piping will clog quickly because of deposits. Major damage can also happen if corrosion starts in pipes that are within a home’s walls. If you are constantly calling a plumber because of corrosion, your water is probably very hard.
Keep an Eye on that Expensive Coffee Maker
Water that is filtered through certain appliances will leave mineral deposits. If you notice that appliances are needing repair, it’s a good sign that you are using water that is hard. Discovering various types of hard “flakes” in coffee makers, refrigerator water dispensers, washing machine centrifuges, and on iron cookware is a common sign.
Use Caution When Washing Clothes
Water with a high mineral content tends to turn your entire wardrobe into “delicates.” Some minerals neutralize and coagulate detergents. They can also remain in clothing fibers after several rinse cycles. Constantly dealing with stubborn stains could be due to water hardness issues.
Are You Afraid of Entertaining Guests?
There is nothing like using spotless dishes to set a table for guests. With extra minerals in your water, this could be a difficult thing to achieve. Hard dishwater leaves scaling on dish surfaces that collect soap residue. When this happens, don’t blame your skills as a dishwasher. It could be the water.
The surest way to beat hard water problems is having a water softner installed. This type of system monitors, measures, and filters water to reduce mineral content. Some systems use a specialized salt for water treatment. Other softners use ionization to neutralize the caustic effects of minerals. If you live in a geographic area that is known for having water that is very hard, getting an estimate for a water softner system installation is great idea. It could be a wonderful investment for home value, health, and minimizing repair costs.
Millions of Americans are affected by unsafe or poor drinking water each year. Low quality drinking water can affect your health and appliances. Fortunately, installing a filtration system can help to reduce waterborne contaminants.
Testing Your Drinking Water
Testing your drinking water at home is relatively simple and cheap. The first step in testing your water involves identifying key areas of concern for your family. You may be interested in assessing the presence of specific contaminants that affect the health of your water system. You might also be concerned issues like water hardness, which is a term used to describe calcium and magnesium levels in your water supply.
There are two primary methods to test drinking water: One method involves sending your water to a lab for analysis. The other method involves testing your water at home.
If you go with the first option, you will need to contact local water authorities in your area to find labs that offer sampling. The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories regularly tests water in the state and accepts individual samples from homeowners. Make sure to follow packaging procedures carefully if you go this route.
Purchasing a testing kit may yield quicker results. Water testing kits can be found at many home improvement stores or ordered online.
In the case of well water system, the state of Idaho recommends to test drinking water at least once a year. More information about testing procedures can be found on the website.
Common Problems Associated with Poor Water Quality
There are many potential problems related to poor water quality and the presence of contaminants in your water system. Common problems impacting water quality include:
- High levels of copper, lead or other metals
- High pH or alkalinity
- Water hardness
- Excessive levels of chlorine
Poor water quality can wreak havoc on your digestive system, discolor or cause deposits to form at areas of high use, and even affect your skin and hair.
Poor water quality can also affect the performance of appliances like dishwashers, laundry machines, and water heaters and can cause unpleasant odors to emanate from drains and tubs. It is imperative to address water concerns before more repairs are needed.
Water Filtration Systems
Water filtration systems are the most effective means of combating water quality issues in the home. Filtration systems are designed to remove contaminants from your water system. Filtered water has been shown to be better for your health and can save you money on appliance repairs in the long run.
Ashley Heating Air & Water Systems, which has been serving the Boise area since 1919, installs home water filters to improve water quality. Specialists are trained to identify problems affecting your home and to develop affordable solutions. Visit the company’s website to request a quote.
In our current technologically advanced world, there are many advancements we take for granted. One of the most important and overlooked of these is access to clean, uncontaminated drinking water. Surprisingly though, the average drinking water supply can be tainted in ways including those listed below.
1. Chlorine is one of the most infamous impurities commonly found in drinking water. When out of the pool and into a glass, chlorine can give unsuspecting thirst-seekers a moderate bout of stomach discomfort in addition to the off-putting aftertaste.
2. Lead and Copper, siblings in a family of impurities commonly known as “heavy metals”, don’t actually have to do with the water supply. Instead, faulty and out of date plumbing puts these additives in tap water, which can induce effects such as bone deterioration and ailments of the nervous system.
3. Fluoride is a curious addition to the list. Initially, this element was introduced into the water supply to strengthen tooth enamel and promote healthy bone growth. But, at high levels, Fluoride attacks the very body parts they were meant to protect: teeth.
4. Insecticides and pesticides have long been accepted as a double-edged sword. If left unchecked, common vermin and pests stand to wipe out entire global economies and produce to survive. Although pesticides are good for crops, normal runoff causes these chemicals to seep into reservoirs and deep into underground water supplies. Short term high exposure can result in vomiting and stomach pain. Lower level long term exposure has been tied to liver and lung cancers.
5. Legionella bacteria are a particularly nasty strain of bacteria that emerge due to substandard conditions of industrial water. These deceptively dangerous bacterial threats inflict Legionnaire’s Disease, which can be compared to a particularly virulent form of pneumonia.
6. Hard water makes up a three-part package on this list. Calcium and magnesium carbonates are the culprits of hard-water build up and its by-products, two otherwise inauspicious elements that actually do good for the body in trace amounts. Unfortunately, the negative repercussions of hard water build up even affect hygiene, as hard water inhibits soap from lathering properly. Limescale buildup is a separate but equally troublesome after effect of hard water buildup. Pots, kettles and other metal kitchen supplies that are built to retain water are susceptible to this condition. Cardiovascular disease is the last, and probably most alarming by-product of hard water, as it affects the human body itself. Enough said.
Groundwater has its own surprise for those that pride themselves on living off of well-water. The highest concentrates of all of the above minerals manifest primarily in the ground.
So what can be done to create safer water for you and your family? Our Ashley Heating water purification system is the perfect system at eliminating all unwanted elements, creating the purest water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, etc.. The extra layer of filtration makes for a fresh start on home safety.
Why Are We Bottled Water Crazy?
I don’t count myself an over-the-top environmentalist; however according to a recent Forbes article we are now throwing away a million plastic bottles a minute and a shocking 91% of them are NOT recycled. Worse yet it takes 400 years for this stuff to naturally decompose and we’re producing more and more of it each year. Recent production estimates say 300 million tons a year and hundreds of tons of that in bottled water containers and we keep on buying more.
So why are we so bottled water crazy? I suppose a lot of us think drinking bottled water is healthier, more convenient and better tasting. Here’s where the perception meets reality. We all been exposed to marketing messages that lead us to believe bottled water comes from exotic and pristine sources and while some of it does, tthe nation’s leading brands simply filter municipal water supplies to create their product. It other words its all too often more perception than fact.
It also doesn’t make economic sense either, on average those single serve bottles we love so much cost us about $7.50 a gallon, that’s 2,000 times to cost of tap water. Now that’s crazy even if you’re not a penny pincher. (more…)