- COMMON SPRINGTIME WELL WATER ISSUES AND HOW TO TREAT THEM (5/4/2017)
The arrival of spring signals the start of many things. Flowers are in bloom, trees begin to bud, and the days get longer and warmer. The onset of a new season can also mean new issues for your water supply, especially if you have a private well.
Across the nation, about 12 million households draw their drinking water from private wells. If your home is among those with a residential well, here are a few common springtime well water problems to look for and ways to alleviate them.
During the winter months, many roads are coated in salt or a salt and sand mixture. While a great defense against slick and slippery roads, salt easily dissolves in water and often finds its way into streams, lakes, and, eventually, ground water, which can lead to well water contamination as temperatures rise.
Road salt mixtures applied in regions with heavy snowfall often blend with snow when plowed from the roads. When these banks of snow melt, the salt mixture often migrates through the soil towards the water table, which is the top level of an underground surface of rocks or soil that’s permanently saturated with water. This can cause contamination in your well water. Runoff from large piles of uncovered salt may also lead to contaminated aquifers and wells.
If your well becomes contaminated with salt, there are systems you can install to restore the quality of your home’s water. Reverse osmosis utilize multiple filters to minimize unwanted contaminants affecting your well water. You may also want to consider having a new well installed that’s uphill and away from drainage.
Wet Weather and Agricultural Runoff
Another source of well water contamination linked to seasonal changes is agricultural runoff. Homeowners in climates with large amounts of precipitation are more likely to encounter this in their private wells. Agricultural runoff occurs when water used for irrigation leaves farm fields due to melted snow, rain, or irrigation. As it moves, the runoff picks up pollutants such as livestock waste, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used in nearby farm fields. These pollutants are then deposited into nearby lakes, rivers, and private wells. The more precipitation an area receives, the more likely agricultural runoff is to occur.
One way to alleviate this issue or prevent it from occurring is to be sure your well is located on high ground. Wells drilled too close to septic systems or farm facilities are the most likely to become contaminated with pollutants from wet weather runoff.
Numerous water treatment solutions exist to combat contaminants in your home’s water supply. Our systems remove various chemicals and other pollutants from your well water, leaving you with clean water straight from the tap. You can also protect your household from bacteria and chemical runoff with the help of a UV water treatment system.
As the ground begins to thaw, you may notice a pungent odor coming from your water supply. Smelly well water can cause your entire home to reek like sewage or rotten eggs. Odorous well water is usually caused by hydrogen sulfide gas, otherwise known as H2S. Although it is usually only found in low concentrations when present in household water, even a small amount can be noticeable.
Sulfur isn’t likely to cause any health issues to homeowners, however, the smell can be a nuisance to residents and guests.
Water filters eliminate the odor by using air-injection technology to oxidize sulfur, changing it to particle and making it easier to filter.
Have Your Water Tested
While public water systems are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), private wells are the sole responsibility of the homeowner. Therefore, you must pay close attention to your well water to ensure great quality water for your household.
One way to make sure your water is crisp, fresh and, most importantly, safe is by having your home’s water tested by us! Give us a call at 410-840-BLUE (2583)
- CELEBRATE EARTH DAY WITH THESE 8 EFFECTIVE WATER SAVING TIPS (4/17/2017)
From washing your hair to watering your flower garden, it can be difficult to keep track of how much water is actually needed for daily routines. While letting the water run for an extra minutes you brush your teeth may not seem like a big deal, you may be surprised to find everyday tasks like this contribute to more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted every year.
The good news is curbing your water usage is easier than you think. Here are 8 simple ways you can cut back on water waste, promote sustainability, and save a little money along the way.
1. Look for Leaky Faucets and Pipes
If you’re noticing standing water under your kitchen sink or a steady drip when the faucet is turned off, chances are you’re dealing with a leaky valve or pipe in your home. Though it may seem like more of a nuisance than a serious problem, minor leaks can add up fast. A small drip from your faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. A faucet leaking just 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons of water per year, which can cost you an additional $10 over a 12-month period. If more than one faucet is leaking at a time, the cost can escalate quickly.
Leaks can spring from several areas on a faucet. The most common is the spout. A leak here will result in running and dripping water, even when the handle is completely turned off. If the leak has grown progressively worse over time, chances are your leak is coming from the spout.
The other two areas where leaks are common are in the faucet base and under the sink. Leaks at the base and under the sink can be difficult to detect since they’re generally only identifiable when the water is running.
The good news is that repairing a leaky faucet is simple and inexpensive, and can help save you water and money on your monthly water bill.
2. Check Your Toilets for Leaks
Twelve percent of all water use in the home comes from water leaks, with toilet leaks being one of the most common sources. In fact, a continuously running toilet can waste between 1,000 and 4,000 gallons of water per day and can potentially increase your bill by hundreds of dollars each year if unrepaired.
There are simple DIY tests you can perform if you suspect your toilet is leaking or running consistently. One way to pinpoint a leak is to squeeze a couple drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If you notice the color beginning to appear in the bowl in the first 30 minutes without flushing, you are dealing with a leak.
Much like repairing a faucet leak, fixing a leaking toilet is an inexpensive and easy way to cut back on water waste and save money on your water bill.
3. Take Shorter Showers
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after lathering up, and only turn it back on when it’s time to rinse. The average person spends around eight minutes in the shower, which equates to approximately 18 gallons of water used every time you rinse off.
With more than 300 million people in the United States, scaling back one minute of shower time can save approximately 165 billion gallons of water each year, which translates to significant savings in both water heating energy and money in the long run.
In addition to cutting down on your shower time, installing an energy efficient showerhead may help to reduce water waste without compromising your water pressure or showering routine.
Installing a faucet aerator is another great way to conserve water and energy consumption since it limits the flow of water through the faucet. Faucet aerators are particularly beneficial when using hot water, as limited water flow means less heat energy is used.
4. Don’t Use Your Toilet as a Trash Can
You may be tempted to throw your facial tissue in the toilet instead of carrying it to the trash can, but think again. The amount of water needed to flush varies based on the age of your toilet, with older toilets using 3-5 gallons of water and newer toilets using 1-2 gallons. However, over time, unnecessary flushes can add up.
The average household uses more water for toilet flushing than any other activity in the home, accounting for roughly 31% of a home’s water consumption. So, be smart about how often you flush.
5. Turn Off the Tap When You Brush Your Teeth
Depending on your commitment to dental health, most individuals spend 2-4 minutes in front of the sink brushing their teeth each day. Letting the faucet run as your clean your pearly whites may not seem like a big deal, and chances are you don’t even realize the water is on during this time, but just one minute of brushing with the faucet turned on uses more than a gallon of water.
In fact, over the course of the year, this equals out to more than 1400 gallons of water, enough to fill your bathtub roughly 30 times. Being mindful of how long and how often you run the water is a simple task that can have a substantial impact on your energy bill.
6. Only Wash Full Loads in the Dishwasher and Washing Machine
When it comes to washing linens and clothes, make sure that you are running full loads of laundry only. With the average top loading washing machine using 40 gallons of water per cycle, running your washing machine for half loads or single items contributes to hundreds of gallons of water and money wasted.
One way to lower your water bill when doing laundry is to skip the extra rinse cycle. Most washing machines have an option for an extra rinse, but using the right amount of soap can give you the same results without using excess water. If your home has hard water, your appliances may be working harder than they need to. Installing a water softener can also help give you cleaner clothes with less water used.
Cutting down on the number of laundry loads each week can also help you save on water and money. Reusing your bath and dish towels for multiple washes and waiting until your laundry basket is full to run a load are great ways to minimize water waste. In addition, cutting down on the amount of loads washed each week may free up some time normally spent on household chores.
7. Reuse Water When Possible
Just like reusing dish and bath towels helps lower your energy use, collecting and using water from rainfalls can translate to big savings on your energy and utility bills each month. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), just one rain barrel can save homeowners as much as 1,300 gallons of water in the summer months. In particularly rainy climates, you may even collect enough water to feed your indoor and outdoor plants throughout the spring and summer.
8. Water Your Lawn Sparingly
When it comes to watering your lawn, many homeowners believe more is better. But, you may be surprised to learn your lawn doesn’t need to be watered as often as you think. In fact, nearly 50% of water used outdoors is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation systems. Watering too often for too long can lead to a higher monthly utility bill and is a welcome mat for diseases in plants, insect infestations, and thatch problems.
Even a brief sprinkling every day is ineffective because water evaporates quickly and can lead to shallow root systems in the ground. Instead, you should water your lawn deeply once a week for roughly an hour or so, just long enough for it to soak down into the roots where moisture is needed most.
One simple way to tell when your lawn has been watered well enough is to place an empty tuna can on your lawn prior to turning on your hose or sprinkler. When the can is full, you’ve given your lawn about an inch of water, which is the amount needed to reach the roots.
Another trick to cut down on water usage is to water your lawn at the time of day when the temperature is lowest – typically in the early morning or late evening. This reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation.
Save Big with Water from Atlantic Blue
From storing rainwater to cutting down on laundry loads, you’ve gone to great lengths to conserve water. But did you know that reducing your energy consumption and saving money begins with having the right water?
Installing a water softener can help your home save water, energy, and money in the long run. That’s because washing with soft water can cut down on as much as 50% of the detergent needed to run your dishwasher and washing machine. Soft water also increases the lifespan of your appliances, which helps to reduce the amount of water needed to run effectively and lessen the amount of money spent on repairs.
If you love the water saving abilities of a water softener, but prefer a crisper taste, bundling your softener with an RO (reverse osmosis) system may be right for your home. RO systems remove fluoride, chlorine, and other impurities from your drinking water to provide safe, great-tasting water in your home whenever you want it. Contact us to learn how you can get the water you deserve each time you turn on the tap.
- WHAT’S THAT SMELL? COMMON REASONS WHY YOUR WATER MAY STINK (3/6/2017)
It doesn’t matter if you have city water or well water, turning on the tap only to be greeted by a strong, foul-smelling odor can be alarming for all homeowners. Your initial reaction may be to think your water supply has been contaminated, but there are a multitude of reasons why your household water may suddenly possess a pungent odor.
Although bacterial activity is often the cause of stinky water, this is not the only reason water may smell and taste off. Chemical reactions, elevated traces of minerals, and decaying organic material can all cause changes in your water. Below we take a look at some of the most common water smells, what causes them, and how to rid your water of unwanted odors for good.
Odor: Rotten Eggs
Cause: If there’s a rotten egg smell coming from your faucet, the most common culprit is sulfur bacteria that have found its way into your water supply. The foul smell usually comes from a lack of oxygen in a well, which produces hydrogen sulfide gas. It can also occur as a result of sulfur-containing chemical reactions in the groundwater.
If you only experience the smell when running hot water from the faucet or in the shower, it may be a chemical reaction occurring inside your water heater, not your water supply.
Odor: Dirty or Earthy
Cause: If you notice a burst of musty, earthy smelling water when using your hot tap, you may be dealing with iron bacteria in your water supply. Though this type of bacteria is not harmful, it can be a nuisance as it often imparts a bad taste. Iron bacteria are found in well water with high levels of iron. In addition to a pungent odor, you may also notice slime in your toilet’s tank or other plumbing fixtures in your home.
Iron bacteria forms when iron and oxygen mix. The bacteria feed on the iron and create a slime to protect itself. When the bacteria die, it gives off an earthy odor.
Because of its warm temperature, your home’s water heater is often the perfect breeding ground for iron bacteria. Bacteria in a water heater may produce a longer-lasting smell when you turn on your faucet.
Odor: Fishy Drinking Water
Cause: The most likely cause of a fishy smell in your drinking water comes from naturally occurring organic material that has made its way into your water source. This smell is often an indicator that you may be dealing with elevated levels of chloramines, barium, or cadmium.
Chloramines are a compound of chlorine and ammonia and are used to disinfect public water. While necessary to remove harmful contaminants, it can create a strong odor in your water. Barium and cadmium are naturally occurring metals found in natural deposits that can make their way into your water as a result of fertilizer contamination or deteriorating pipes and plumbing. Though the smell is off-putting, it rarely signifies the presence of harmful bacteria or contaminants.
Odor: Bleach, Swimming Pool Smell
Cause: Complaints of water with a bleach smell most commonly come from homeowners with city water, because chlorine is manually added to public water to disinfect it. Homes located close to a distribution plant may have higher levels of chlorine in the water. Chlorine is necessary for municipal water treatment, however, once the chlorine reaches your home’s water supply, it’s essentially doing nothing more than drying out your skin and giving your water a funky smell and taste.
Give Your Home Quality Drinking Water with Treatment from Atlantic Blue
It’s important to remember that although odorous water can be a nuisance, it’s typically not a health concern. To be certain of your water’s odor source, contact us for a free water analysis.
If you’re ready to eliminate that pesky smell from your water source once and for all, contact our specialists for more information on the best water treatment options for your needs and budget.
Save yourself time and money with the help of a water filtration system. Learn more about our various products that help to treat your water and remove minerals for good.
- 4 WAYS TO SAVE YOUR HAIR FROM HARD WATER (1/27/2017)
No matter what we do, sometimes our hair simply won’t cooperate. From dry ends in the winter to excessive frizz in the summer, it can be hard to predict what type of hair troubles you’ll encounter. But did you know the problem may actually be in your home’s water?
The hardness or softness of your home’s water can impact your shower experience. That’s because the mineral buildup in hard water can make it difficult to create a sudsy lather when shampooing and conditioning your hair, so if you notice a lack of suds when you mix soap and water, you’re likely dealing with hard water.
Treating Hard Water Hair
If hard water is a problem in your home, you may notice your hair feels filmy and straw-like. This is because the excess minerals in the water combine with shampoo to for a curd-like substance that sticks to your hair, much like soap scum sticks to the walls of your shower. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair; however, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture can effectively enter the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair, and also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff.
You also may notice your hair has a harder time retaining color. The minerals in hard water deposit on the hair shaft, often causing colored hair to turn a brassy tone. Frequent washing may also cause the color to fade quicker as well.
If you struggle with hard water hair, the good news is there are solutions that can help you tame your mane. However, only one provides an easy, permanent fix to your home’s hard water problem.
1. Use a Clarifying Shampoo
One way to keep your hair looking great and behaving well is to wash occasionally with a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo is different than daily shampoo as it penetrates minerals in water and products left behind from styling, whereas ordinary shampoo works to solely remove excess oil from your hair and scalp.
It’s important to note that clarifying shampoos are designed to strip your hair of stubborn residue and mineral buildup and can be harsh on hair if used too frequently. To combat hard water hair, you should incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your shower routine one to two times per month.
2. Create Your Own Vinegar Rinse
One do-it-yourself solution for protecting your hair against hard water is to use a vinegar rinse.Because vinegar is acidic, it works to remove the scaly buildup of minerals like magnesium and calcium from your hair.
Distilled white vinegar will work; however, the preferred type for this rinse is apple cider vinegar. To create a vinegar rinse, simply combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 3 cups of water. Apply this concoction close to the scalp after shampooing and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it. To retain the moisture in your hair, apply this rinse once a week.
3. Rinse with Bottled or Filtered Water
Another option to protect your hair from hard water is to use bottled water or filtered water for the final rinse in your shower. While neither option offers a permanent solution to hard water in the home, this can temporarily resolve your hair’s unruliness from excessive mineral buildup.
Keeping bottles of water near your shower might seem inconvenient and can add up to be quite an expense over time. Another more sustainable alternative is to use filtered water from a pitcher or jug.
4. Protect Your Hair for Good with a Water Softener
There are solutions to temporarily alleviate flat or oily hair caused by hard water, but for long-lasting, continual results, installing a water softener is the way to go.
Water softeners work to remove calcium and magnesium in your home’s water supply, leaving you with soft water and smooth, manageable hair. Soft water requires less soap and fewer rinses to achieve optimal results, meaning your hair will maintain its color and condition for much longer. Soft water also balances your hair’s pH level, so you’re left with silky smooth hair after every wash.
And, as an added bonus, soft water can help to reduce topical issues such as eczema flare-ups and dry skin.
If you’re tired of dull, lifeless, unruly hair, don’t wait any longer for a permanent solution! Call us today for more information on installing a water softener that’s right for you!
Originally written and published by Water-Right Group on Jan 24, 2017
- GET RID OF IRON AND RUST STAINS ONCE AND FOR ALL (1/3/2017)
If your home’s water comes from a private well, you may have noticed that certain appliances, including your washing machine and dishwasher require more detergent and additional cycles before they appear clean.
But for many homeowners, an even bigger nuisance than increased detergent use and higher utility costs is the unsightly stains on your appliances and bathroom fixtures as a result of excessive mineral amounts in your water supply.
What Causes Mineral and Rust Stains?
Iron and Rust Stains
If you have a buildup of iron or other minerals in your water supply, you may notice no matter how often you clean your sinks or toilets, you still accumulate reddish/brownish rings around your drain or toilet bowl. These stains are caused by large amounts of iron in your water. That’s because minerals like calcium, magnesium, lime, and iron attach to nearly every surface they encounter.
In deep wells, where oxygen content is low, water containing dissolved iron and manganese will appear clear and colorless at the tap. Once it is exposed to air, iron becomes oxidized, leaving a solid reddish-brown stain on laundry, plumbing fixtures, and porcelain toilet bowls. Simply put, the more exposed iron is to oxygen, the darker the color it turns.
Rust can also form in the drum of your washing machine and stain your clothes as well, making some white fabrics (usually cotton) appear slightly yellow or orange after being washed.
Mineral and Limescale Buildup
Large amounts of calcium can also cause limescale to target bathroom appliances. It is commonly found on faucets, showerheads, and parts of the plumbing connected to washing machines. Limescale occurs any time hard water comes into contact with a surface.
Over time, limescale can clog hot water pipes and drastically minimize the heating efficiency of a water heater.
Solutions for Iron and Other Mineral Stains
Perhaps the biggest frustration homeowners with hard water face is the continual cleaning that must be done to keep iron and other mineral stains to a minimum.
Many commercial products, such as rust removing sprays and lime descalers are available to help homeowners eliminate the appearance of stubborn stains.
Iron and Rust Stain Removers
Iron and rust removal products come in a variety of forms. From liquids to powders, there’s a cleaner for just about any appliance or stain. Liquid rust stain removers are designed to dissolve rust and iron stains on white porcelain sinks and toilet bowls and are safe for pipes and septic systems. Powder versions, as well as bowl cleaners are also available for removing stains from household appliances.
Similar to liquid rust stain removers, descalers work by dissolving troublesome deposits on contact. Most commercially available descalers are strong enough to target calcium buildups, but gentle enough not to affect chrome, glaze, and grout, or corrode piping.
Combat Stubborn Stains with Vinegar and Lemon Juice
Looking for a more natural stain removal solution? A simple squirt of lemon juice or cleaning vinegar can temporarily dissolve limescale deposits with little effort and even less money. For washing machines, simply substitute a cup of detergent with either liquid and run an empty washing cycle.
Dishwashers can benefit from this remedy as well. All you need to do is pour one of the two substances into the base of the machine instead of the detergent dispenser.
Another tip to prevent iron and rust stains fro
m building up in your toilet bowl is to replace the flush valve if you notice your tank is having problems filling up or water is running constantly.
Beware of Bleach
One of the biggest mistakes many homeowners make when trying to remove stains from surfaces or appliances is to apply bleach. This can actually make stubborn stains worse, as bleach is a combination of chlorine and water which oxidizes iron upon contact. The chlorine compound works great to remove stains from clothing and is effective in killing germs but accelerates rusting when mixed with iron.
Save yourself time and money with the help of a water filtration system. Learn more about our various products below that help to treat your water and remove minerals for good. Call the water treatment experts today at 410-840-2583
Originally written and published by Water Care
- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Atlantic Blue! (12/22/2016)
- 7 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR PRIVATE WELL (12/19/2016)
When you get your water from a private well instead of from a public source, the water your family uses for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing is your responsibility.
If you can identify the warning signs of potential problems, you can avoid the hassle of having no running water in your home, or worse yet, compromising your health and safety because of poor water quality.
We’ve identified some of the most common signs that a residential well is having issues or that there could be a contamination concern.
1. Your Faucets are Sputtering
You turn on the kitchen sink, but before you see any water, there’s a blast of air and then short bursts of water spit out before it flows normally.
This probably means there is air in your plumbing system, and if it’s happening on a regular basis, it could mean your well pump needs servicing. The fix may be as simple as replacing a failing valve, or it could be a sign the drop pipe connected to the pump is damaged.
There’s also the possibility your well pump may need to be lowered because the water table has dropped and the pump is drawing in air.
2. Your Electricity Bill is High
If you have a private well and your jaw drops when you open your utility bill, it could also be thanks to the pump.
One of the first signs many homeowners get that their well pump is failing or needs to be lowered is a gradually increasing electric bill. This is because the pump is running continuously or cycling on and off all the time as it tries to maintain water pressure.
3. You Hear Strange Sounds
Are your pipes groaning and moaning? Is your well pump making loud humming, grinding, or growling noises?
These are signs that there are potential problems with your pump, and you should contact a professional to check things out as soon as possible to avoid damage.
4. Something Looks, Smells, or Tastes Strange
Even more obvious than odd noises in your plumbing system is the occurrence of strange odors, tastes, or murkiness in your well water.
Any time there is a noticeable change in your well water’s taste, smell, or appearance, it is best to have it checked by a professional.
Undesirable changes in your home’s water could indicate the presence of many different things. They may not necessarily pose an immediate risk to your health, but they do affect the aesthetics of your water.
For instance, a metallic taste could be a sign your water is high in iron and manganese. If your water smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, it may be the result of hydrogen sulfide coming from decaying organic matter in the groundwater.
Murky water is yet another sign of potential pump problems. It could mean water levels have dropped too low or that dirt is in the pump.
Causes of Discoloration in Water:
- Reddish/brown: Iron or manganese. May cause staining.
- Blue/green: Copper. Corrosive water may be leaching from pipes.
- Yellow: Suspended organic particles. Common in shallow wells.
- White/cloudy: High turbidity. Large amount of fine inorganic and organic particles.
5. Poorly Installed or Damaged Well Caps
It’s important to have a properly installed well cap or cover because if not, contaminants can enter your home’s water supply. If the cover on top of your well casing is damaged, insects and animals could crawl inside, decompose, and elevate bacteria levels, causing diarrhea and other digestive issues if consumed.
The well cap should be at least six inches off the ground, and homeowners should avoid growing plants or building boxes around the well casing.
A properly sealed well cap is the first line of defense against non-point source pollution such as runoff of pesticides, herbicides, and elements from nearby roads. Keep an eye on the cover of your well to make sure it’s in good shape.
6. Signs of Agricultural Contamination
Since many homes with well water are located in rural areas, agricultural runoff can be a common culprit of contamination. It may be from livestock waste (manure) or from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that are spread on nearby farm fields.
As the rain washes over agricultural land, it can pick up chemicals from these contaminants, which eventually enter the groundwater that is feeding your well.
Of particular concern are nitrates, which occur naturally in soil, and usually aren’t a concern at normal levels, which are under 10 parts per million for healthy adults.
However, concentrations can be excessive when they enter the groundwater supply from fertilizer and animal waste. Nitrates pose a specific health risk to pregnant women and young children. Babies should not consume water containing nitrates until they are older than 6 months.
Nitrates have no color, taste, or odor in water, so if there are contamination concerns, it’s best to have your home’s water tested for nitrates to make sure it is safe for your family.
It’s important to choose the right location for a domestic well to avoid potential contamination from agricultural sources. For example, you wouldn’t want your well downhill from a nearby livestock facility. The same goes for wells near septic systems and landfills. Wells should be located on higher ground whenever possible.
7. Signs of Salt Contamination
In areas of the country where winter weather is a factor, road salts can become another potential well water contaminant. It washes off roadways and infiltrates the groundwater.
The salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) is not a health concern to most people, unless you are on a sodium-restricted diet. However, it can impact the quality of your water, effecting the taste and leaving a white residue behind.
In one case, some residents in Connecticut had to switch to bottled water after the sodium and chloride levels in their well water made it unusable. An investigation suggested it could have come from runoff at a nearby prison’s parking lot.
If you live along a major roadway that gets salt spread on it regularly or downhill from a parking lot, you may want to keep an eye on your water quality after the snow melts.
Other Common Well Water Contaminants
Certain contaminants in groundwater are natural elements that get picked up as water dissolves rock and soil in your region.
For example, elements like uranium, radon, and arsenic occur naturally, but may be found at elevated levels in certain parts of the country depending on the geological makeup of the land.
Levels of coliform bacteria are another sign of possible health risks in your water. While many coliform bacteria are harmless, elevated total levels may indicate the likelihood of pathogens, such as viruses that can make people sick.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that about 20 percent of homes with private wells contain at least one contaminant at a level of concern.
Most private wells produce hard water. That’s because they are accessing groundwater, which has moved through rock and soil dissolving minerals like calcium and magnesium along the way.
Nearly every home with a private well deals with hardness, which could cause plenty of problems, from unsightly iron stains and soap scum to dry skin and spotty dishes. Hard can also cause appliances like your water heater to wear out quickly. Homes with private wells should have a water softener to help avoid these issues. Find out more about how a water softener works here on our blog.
What Can You Do?
Schedule a water test at your home or bring a sample into our store. This test identifies secondary contaminants in your water that may cause aesthetic effects in drinking water (such as bad taste, funny odor or coloring of water) and cosmetic effects (such as tooth or skin discoloration). These same contaminants can cause cloudiness in water, stains on fixtures or in laundry and mineral buildups that can damage appliances.
After the test is complete we will match your specific water problem with the correct technology and equipment needed to solve your issues. All with no obligation. Your water is tested by a technician, not a salesman.
Originally written and published by Water Care
- HOW YOU CAN GET MORE DETERGENT FOR YOUR DOLLAR WITH SOFT WATER (12/16/2016)
From cleaner dishes to smoother skin, the benefits of having soft water in your home are endless.
But did you know that soft water can also reduce monthly costs, energy usage, and the amount of detergent needed to thoroughly clean your household items?
Hard water occurs when groundwater collects minerals as it flows through rock and sand, picking up minerals like magnesium and calcium along the way. If you’re like 89.3% of households in the United States, your home probably has hard water. You may not know it, but this could be costing you hundreds of dollars in cleaning products and even more in wasted energy when it comes to heating your home and washing your clothing and dishes.
With the average family spending somewhere around $500 in cleaning products each year, you may be wondering how you can reduce your expenses when it comes to detergents and other household cleaners.
The Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) recently organized a study based on a series of experiments carried out by Scientific Services and Battelle to compare how various doses of laundry and dish detergent are affected by the hardness of water, as well as the role that water temperature plays in efficiently cleaning clothes and dishes. Here’s what the study found.
Using Soft Water to Keep Your Clothing Stain-Free
The study used five different laundry detergents to carry out the experiments. Nine stains were tested to identify two specific conclusions: the amount of liquid and powder detergent needed to effectively remove each stain and what the water temperature must be in order to penetrate the stained fabrics. The nine substances included:
- Dust sebum
- Red wine
- Ground in clay
- Chocolate pudding
- Chocolate ice cream
- Barbecue sauce
When washed with soft water, the stained fabric in the experiment required about 50% of the detergent that was needed for hard water, and was able to effectively remove all nine stains at nearly half the suggested temperature— 60°F compared to the 100°F needed to achieve the same results with hard water.
That means for the average household spending more than $100 on just detergent each year, switching to soft water could save you up to $50 on laundry soap and even more on energy bills.
Of the three determining factors, water softness had the greatest impact on successfully removing the stains, more so than water temperature or detergent dose.
In fact, washing laundry in soft water proved to be 100 times more effective in removing stains than increasing the water temperature or amount of detergent used in the load. The same conclusions were found for both top-loading washing machines and high-efficiency front-loaders. Simply put, the harder the water, the tougher the stains are to remove.
Dishwashers Benefit from Soft Water, Too
It’s not just your washing machine’s performance that improves with the use of soft water, but dishwashers as well.
A separate study was conducted to explore how detergent and water temperatures interact with water hardness levels in automatic dishwashers. Numerous factors were evaluated, including how well difficult foods, such as egg yolk and dried pasta sauce, were removed and what the results were in terms of spotting and leftover film on dishware and silverware.
For the study, four liquid types and two powdered detergents were used to remove residue. Dirty dinner plates, silverware and glasses were loaded into the dishwasher and were evaluated at the end of each cycle.
Two dishwashers were used to conduct each test. Both contained full loads consisting of:
- Common food used to contaminate dishware, including: dry milk, oatmeal, and grease
- Stubborn food, including: dried spinach, pizza sauce, brownie mix, fish, and olive oil
Similar to the results in the laundry detergent study, when washed with water from a water softener, only 30% of the suggested detergent amount was needed to clean the dishware. That means the average bottle of liquid detergent, generally priced between $2 and $5, can last you three times longer when used with a water softening treatment.
Even more impressive was the cleaning power of soft water on its own. Based on the study, using softened water with the recommended detergent dose for both liquid and tablets was up to 12 times more effective at removing food buildup and cloudy residue than using more than the recommended amount of detergent with hard water.
Make The Switch to Softer Water and Start Saving Today!
In addition to costing you more money in cleaning products and energy, hard water can cause buildups in your washing machine and dishwasher and can lead to broken pumps and problems in other appliance parts, forcing you to repair or replace expensive appliances more frequently than you should. Read more on how hard water ruins your appliances here.
To avoid unnecessary costs on dishwasher cleaners, appliance repair, and excessive energy bills invest in a water softening system from Atlantic Blue today and learn how you can save more with using less.
Call us today at 410-840-2583 or schedule an appointment directly on our website by clicking here
Originally written and published by Water Care
- WINTERIZING YOUR WATER SOFTENER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (11/25/2016)
Do you need to winterize your water softener or filter? And if so, what does winterization involve? That depends on the situation…
If you keep your water softener or filter in the basement of an occupied home, you shouldn’t have to worry about winterization. You will want to winterize your system if you have any of the following:
- A unit installed in an unheated garage
- A vacation home you’re not using in the winter
- You leave your home for an extended winter vacation
In all of these situations, it is smart to take precautions that ensure your water softener will be protected in below freezing temperatures. Frozen pipes could lead to pipes that burst, which could cause significant damage to your property as well as your water treatment equipment.
Let’s take a look at some helpful advice.
Insulation and Extra Heating
For people who plan to continue using their water softener during the winter, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure it doesn’t freeze in cold weather.
If you live in a milder climate, where the weather doesn’t get extremely cold, insulating your pipes and tanks should be enough to protect your system during the winter. You can purchase pipe insulation wrap at any home improvement store. Heat tape or electric pipe heating cables for the water lines are also a good idea.
When it comes to water softener tanks, some homeowners have an insulated box built around the system. You can also purchase plumbing insulation in sheets, or wrap an insulation blanket around them. There are even special jackets designed specifically for water softener tanks.
Because of the salt saturation, your brine tank is only likely to freeze in very cold climates where temperatures can drop below zero.
If you are using your water softener year round, the most important thing is to keep it warm enough to prevent freezing, which is why a space heater in your garage can help.
Remember, you only need to keep the temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should always take safety precautions as per the manufacture when using a space heater. Only turn it on when you know it is necessary.
Running water will also prevent freezing. If you’re only going to be away for a few days, you could leave a faucet running at a slow trickle to keep things moving in those pipes while you’re gone. Although not a cure-all, this will at times, prevent full-on freezing and bursting from freezing pipes.
Draining and Disconnecting a Water Softener
If you do not plan on using your water softener during the winter, and the heat in your residence will be turned off during that time, there are specific steps you should follow to disconnect, drain, and store your system.
It is recommended that you drain the tanks. This ensures there won’t be any water left in the system that could freeze and cause damage. You’ll need to put the softener into its regeneration cycle and wait until you notice the system backwashing water into the drain.
At this point, if your water softener has a manual bypass valve, it should be put into the bypass position to turn off the supply of water to the water softener. This will isolate and protect your system from the rest of the building’s supply of water during this time.
Remove the unit from the bypass valve and proceed to remove the valve from the tank. Once the riser tube is exposed, use plastic 3/8” – 1/2” plastic-tubing long enough to each the bottom of the riser tube and lower distributor. Siphoning the water from the media tank is recommended at this point.
The slower process of siphoning will ensure that all the water is removed from the tank. After water has stopped flowing from the siphon tubing, allow the tank to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This additional time allows for all the water to completely settle to the bottom of media tank. At that time you can attempt to siphon the balance of water which has settled out.
The majority of standing water should be scooped out of the brine tank, but the solution that’s left should not freeze because of the high salt content.
Consult your user’s manual for detailed instructions on how to completely drain your tanks, or call a water treatment professional for help.
Next, unplug the water softener or turn off the switch to the power source.
You should be able to leave the brine tank in the cold, but you may want to completely remove and store your softener tank in a warmer area.
Still Have Questions? Call the Experts!
Originally written and published by Water Care
- IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS WITH SOFT WATER (11/14/2016)
As the holiday season approaches, you may be getting ready to host family and friends in your home. Whether it’s a dinner party for friends and coworkers or a week-long retreat for extended family, opening your home to others takes a great deal of planning and preparation.
Installing a water softener is one easy way to ensure your guests have a comfortable holiday experience.
Hard water contains elevated amounts of calcium and magnesium and though generally safe to use, it has been known to cause a variety of problems related to cleaning, appliance maintenance, and deposit buildups. Over time, hard water may actually shorten the life of the pipes and appliances in your home and reduce the effectiveness of everyday household cleaning agents.
Water softeners not only alleviate problems such as scale buildup and clogging, they can help create a more enjoyable stay in your home for guests, all while easing your duties as host and homeowner. From vibrant looking clothing to shinier, cleaner silverware and dishes, softer water makes life a little brighter.
Impress Your Guests with Cleaner Dishes and Silverware
If you have hard water in your home, you may notice more streaks, white film, and residue on your dishes and silverware even after they have been washed. This happens as a result of hard water deposits that build up in your dishwasher. By switching to soft water, you can avoid the frustration of re-washing your dishes, allowing you to spend less time cleaning and more time entertaining.
Washing your dishware in soft water leaves them sparkling after the first rinse, but did you know having softer water can actually save you money as well? That’s because less detergent is needed to thoroughly clean your dishes. In fact, switching to a water softener can reduce your need for detergent by more than 50% as the minerals that inhibit the cleaning products are removed.
Reduce the Strain on Your Water Heater
Not only can installing a water softener benefit your dishes and silverware, but your wallet as well. Water softeners greatly reduce energy costs of water-using appliances, and have been proven to enhance the efficiency of gas water heaters by as much as 29%. This is because soft water is easier and quicker for hot water heaters to heat, equating to a reduction in energy consumption.
Additionally, hosting extra people in the house can definitely take a toll on your water usage and can really test the performance of your water heater. On top of saving energy and money, a fast heating water heater also means no wait time for showering or washing those extra dishes that come with having a full house.
Softer Water Means Softer Clothes and Laundry
Your houseguests will be happy to find their clothes look and feel cleaner longer when washed with soft water. Installing a water softener can help prevent laundry detergent from lingering in the fabric, and allows your clothing to maintain a higher level of quality and vibrancy longer than items washed in hard water.
Soft water helps preserve not just the quality and softness of your clothes, but your other laundry, too. While hard water can often leave your linens feeling stiff and scratchy, washing your towels and bed sheets with soft water leaves your items feeling fluffy and looking clean, all while using less product. Washing your bedding in soft water will make for softer and fluffier blankets, both of which will help keep you warmer. Towels will also be softer more absorbent than ones that have accumulated calcium and soap buildup from being washed in hard water.
Water Softeners Provide a Better Bathing Experience
Whether you’re giving your kids a bubble bath or taking a warm shower after a day out in the cold, soft water is the answer. That’s because hard water causes fewer bubbles to form in your tub due to a negative reaction between calcium and magnesium and the ingredients found in many bath products, such as soaps and gels. You are also less likely to get a rich lather from your body gels when mixed with hard water.
You may notice after a shower in hard water that your hair feels lifeless and straw-like, and your skin is dry, red, and even itchy. Because hard water limits how easily shampoo and soap rinse off, you may be left with soapy residue in your hair and body. Installing a water softener helps to allow the chemicals in your bath products to wash out completely, giving your hair extra shine and volume this holiday season.
Additionally, hard water can cause a buildup in mineral scale over time, which can affect your water pressure. This occurs when excess minerals get trapped in your faucet or shower head, leading to low water pressure and a less efficient shower experience. The benefits of installing a water softener will leave your guests talking long after their visit has ended.
This holiday season, give the gift of comfort by installing a water softener in your home. Call us today at 410-840-2583
Originally written and published by Water Care on Nov 11th, 2016
- WHY YOU CAN STILL GET SPOTTING WITH A WATER SOFTENER (10/12/2016)
Here’s a confusing question we get from people every now and then …
They’ve got a water softener to help remove the minerals that cause soap scum, scale buildup, and other hard water problems, but they’re still seeing spotting on things like their dishes, faucets, and after washing the car.
So what’s going on? Shouldn’t a water softener keep that from happening?
There are few reason why you may still get spots on surfaces even with a water softener installed.
Your Water Softener Needs Maintenance
The first question you should ask is whether your in-home water treatment system is functioning properly. If it’s not, your water won’t be the quality you expect and spotting could easily occur.
Do you need to add water softener salt? If your brine tank is less than half full, that could be the problem.
You could also have a salt bridge or salt dome. This happens when a hard layer forms on top of the salt pile in the brine take. This layer is supported by the edges of the tank, creating a gap that prevents the salt from dissolving in the water.
You may be able to break up the crusted layer yourself using something like a broom handle.
“Salt mushing” is what happens when dissolved salt recrystallizes and forms a mushy sediment at the bottom of the brine tank. Salt mushing may keep your water softener from properly regenerating. The best way to fix this problem is to completely drain the system of water and replace the salt.
Yet another maintenance issue you may run into is the need to clean your resin beads. Even though a water softener’s regeneration cycle recharges the media, it’s still necessary to flush the resin bed every so often.
Are you sure your system settings are correct for your usage? That can also affect the performance of the system and quality of your water.
If you have questions about your water softener’s settings or any of the maintenance concerns mentioned above, contact us!. We are happy to help service your system.
You Still Have High Total Dissolved Solids
Water softeners are designed to reduce the amount of hard minerals in your home’s water. However, water softeners do not reduce total dissolved solids (TDS).
TDS is the measure of all matter that is dissolved in the water – inorganic and organic. Water softeners remove things like calcium, magnesium, and iron, but there could easily be other dissolved solids in the water that are leaving behind some sort of film or residue when the water evaporates.
Water is an incredible solvent, and it will dissolve practically anything given enough time. That’s why the TDS in water can include anything from minerals, metals, and salts to organic material from the soil or agricultural runoff.
A TDS meter measures the conductivity of water from positively and negatively charged ions in the water. We provide a free in-home water consultation and analysis, during which a technician will measure your water’s TDS.
You’re Seeing Spots from Sodium in Soft Water
You may be wondering why a water softener can’t reduce TDS when it is removing minerals like calcium and magnesium.
That’s because water softeners use an ion exchange process to replace hard minerals with sodium ions. You can learn more about how a water softener works here on the Water-Right blog.
Since sodium ions are being exchanged for calcium and magnesium ions, the TDS of your water isn’t directly affected. For every sodium ion taken out, a sodium ion is put in. The higher the mineral content in your water, the more sodium is exchanged to soften it. The sodium content of softened water completely depends on how hard it was to begin with.
Softened water is certainly better for cleaning and bathing, and will extend the life of appliances like your washing machine and water heater. However, the spotting you notice from soft water may actually be sodium spots.
When water evaporates from your clean dishes or after washing your car, a powdery sodium residue could be left behind.
The good news is, sodium spotting can be very easily wiped off with a towel. The same cannot be said for soap scum and limescale spotting. You can also avoid sodium spots by thoroughly hand drying your car or dishes instead of letting them air dry.
How a Whole Home R.O. System Can Help
In many cases, homeowners will use a reverse osmosis (R.O.) system for drinking water and cooking. There’s typically a special faucet where the filtered water is dispensed.
Yet there are others who want R.O. quality water throughout their entire home, even from outdoor faucets.
That’s because reverse osmosis systems are the best way to remove total dissolved solids, including contaminants that negatively impact water quality.
You’ve probably noticed how car washes often advertise a “spot-free rinse.” They’re actually using reverse osmosis water to give you that perfectly clean, shiny-looking car during the rinse cycle.
A whole house R.O. system can let you have that same sort of spot-free rinse for your cars as well as dishes and more!
Contact us with your questions today! 410-840-BLUE (2583)
Originally written and posted by Water Care October 11th 2016
- Thank you! (10/6/2016)Our grand opening was this past Saturday and even with the rain it was a huge success! We want to thank everyone that came out to support us on this special day. A very special thanks to Sweetfrog, WTTR, & Almost Home BBQ who helped make the day possible by providing food, dessert and a live radio broadcast. We also want to thank those who couldn’t be in attendance, but who sent us well wishes throughout the week via phone calls, emails and Facebook!And to those who donated to support Carroll County Food Sunday, THANK YOU for your generosity. Your donations provided over 300 lbs of canned goods!Finally, a big thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for helping us put this memorable event together (and for providing us with the giant scissors)!Below is a photo of our ribbon cutting that took place. Click HERE to see a video of it!We hope you know how grateful we are for your support and we look forward to serving you at our new location!–The Atlantic Blue Team
- SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT LEAD CONTAMINATION IN YOUR WATER? (9/15/2016)
If you’ve kept a close eye on current events in 2016, you no doubt heard the story of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The city dealt with a serious lead contamination issue after starting to use highly corrosive river water, which caused unsafe levels of lead to leach into the public supply. That situation raised concerns over water quality and lead contamination around the country.
You may be wondering if you need to be worried about the water in your city and home.
We turned to Michael Hanten, lab director and general manager at Water-Right’s Clean Water Testing facility, to get some answers.
The first thing Hanten says people should realize about lead in drinking water is while it can certainly be an issue, it’s nothing new. Plus, the situation in the United States is improving over time, not getting worse.
“Lead has been used in water infrastructure for many years,” he explains. “There’s been decreasing amounts of lead in our drinking water systems for decades now. It’s no bigger of an issue than it was before Flint, Michigan. ”
So Hanten’s advice is not to freak out about lead contamination, although it is smart to be aware of the problem and ask questions if you have concerns.
When the Flint, Michigan, crisis was making headlines, Water-Right’s Clean Water Testing center was getting a lot of extra calls from homeowners with questions, including from some people in Flint.
However, Hanten says there’s only been a slight increase in the number of residential lead tests his lab has actually performed.
On thing Hanten has noticed is an increase in monitoring of lead levels in drinking water from school systems. Some schools are taking additional steps to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.
What’s the Situation in Your Hometown?
When asked who needs to worry about lead contamination, and whether the problem tends to stem from a municipality’s infrastructure or a homeowner’s plumbing, Hanten says it all depends.
“Some municipalities have completely eliminated lead, while others have a lot of lead mains still in their systems,” he says. “It depends on the infrastructure of the municipality. You can go down to the street level and it depends on the infrastructure of that street.”
When concerned residents call Hanten and ask about lead in city water, he usually suggests they start by requesting official reports from their city’s water authority. The Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for quality and requires the release of an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).
These reports will provide details on lead levels in your city’s water supply. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website to find out how to get your CCR.
The Importance of ‘Made in America’ Fixtures
Lead contamination may occur in the home because of outdated plumbing and solder containing lead.
Your fixtures can also cause problems. Hanten says he’s constantly educating homeowners on the risk of saving a few bucks at popular home improvement stores.
“If you buy fixtures like kitchen sinks or bathroom sinks at a big box store, and those fixtures are being imported from China, foreign manufacturers don’t have to meet the same regulations that U.S. manufacturers have to maintain,” Hanten explains. “There can be lead in those fixtures, and there is lead in those fixtures.”
This is why you may find it’s more expensive to get a sink from a licensed plumber. These professionals are required to follow rules prohibiting the use of fixtures containing lead, so they won’t use cheaper products. On the other hand, foreign-made fixtures available in stores are not subject to the same regulations.
When and How to Test for Lead in Your Water
Atlantic Blue is now an EPA Certified water testing collection service when you need water tests done for primary contaminants. Useful for determining the safety and potability of drinking water. Usually required for real estate transfers and can include any of the following tests:
- Bacteria Testing
- Nitrates Testing
- VOC Testing
- Radon Testing
- pH Testing
- Hard Water Testing
- Lead Testing
- Potability Testing
- MTBE Testing
Call today for pricing to schedule our certified water sampling / water testing service.
Get Extra Peace of Mind with a Reverse Osmosis System
One way to enjoy safer water in your home is to have a reverse osmosis (R.O.) system installed. This type of water treatment is very effective at reducing contaminants, including lead.
Hanten calls it an ideal solution for many homeowners.
“It’s got to be properly maintained, but an R.O. filters out so much and does so much that I have hard time not recommending one to people for their drinking water.”
Originally posted and written by Water Care on September 15th, 2016
- WATER QUALITY AWARENESS – 10 ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT U.S. TAP WATER (8/18/2016)
August is National Water Quality Awareness Month, and it comes at a time when drinking water in America is making headlines again.
Researchers say the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is nearing an end as tests show significantly fewer homes have water contaminated with lead. The situation there has heightened awareness about drinking water contamination nationwide, which could be more widespread than the public realizes.
Lead is far from the only thing that can contaminate a home’s water, and it’s important to know what your family is drinking. This article is not intended to shock and scare people about water quality. However, you should be aware of possible risks and take steps to keep your family safe and healthy.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about water quality in the U.S.
1. How Does U.S. Water Quality Compare to the Rest of the World?
We are very fortunate to live in part of the world in which the water quality is much better than other places. That’s why you’re often warned not to drink tap water when you travel to certain foreign countries.
This infographic, which cites research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates only the U.S. and Canada along with western Europe, Japan, and Australia have tap water that’s considered safe for drinking.
According to the organization WaterAid, more than 650 million people around the world have no access to safe drinking water, and 900 children die every day because of digestive issues from unclean water and poor sanitation.
While it’s true that things could be much worse for Americans, we must continue to be vigilant about water quality.
2. Who Regulates the Water We Drink?
The answer to this question depends on which kind of drinking water you’re talking about. There are multiple agencies responsible for regulating water quality in the U.S., and there are some who are more critical about the way it’s handled.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of overseeing the water that comes out of your tap. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees and regulates the quality of bottled water.
Individual states are responsible for regulating water that is bottled and sold within their borders. Finally, your municipality must make sure it is following federal and state standards regarding water quality.
The EPA does not regulate private wells, and rules for testing differ from state to state. In many cases, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their well water is safe.
3. What are Water Contaminants?
According to the EPA, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) defines water contaminants quite broadly. A contaminant can be anything that isn’t a water molecule. So if it’s not H2O, it’s technically a contaminant.
This means that not every contaminant is unsafe to consume. For instance, the dissolved minerals found in 80% of the water in the U.S. pose no health risks. However, minerals like calcium and magnesium can cause hard water problems.
There are many other water contaminants that could lead to health problems. The Water Quality Association (WQA) provides a list of common water contaminants and documents their potential health risks.
The EPA says water contaminants can be:
- Physical– sediment or organic material that changes water’s physical properties.
- Chemical– either naturally-occurring or man-made.
- Biological– microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
- Radiological– chemical elements that emit radiation such as cesium, plutonium, and uranium.
4. What Contaminants Might be Found in Ground Water?
According to GroundWater.org, more than half of the U.S. depends on groundwater, which can be used for municipal water and as the source of water for people with private wells.
Groundwater is an important resource, but it can become easily contaminated and polluted. As the experts at The Groundwater Foundation explain …
“Groundwater contamination occurs when man-made products such as gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals get into the groundwater and cause it to become unsafe and unfit for human use. Materials from the land’s surface can move through the soil and end up in the groundwater.”
Those materials also include pesticides, fertilizer, and other agricultural runoff like manure, as well as toxic material from hazardous waste sites and leaky landfills.
The graphic below shows the many ways groundwater becomes contaminated and the sources from which those contaminants may come.
5. What Goes Into Municipal Water?
Municipal water is processed at a water treatment facility before it’s delivered to the public, which should make it safe for residents to use.
Municipalities add chemicals to the water when it is treated. One of the most common chemicals used in water treatment is chlorine, which is used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and other microbes. Sometimes chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is also used.
A small, but potential risk of these chemicals comes from byproducts they create in the water when reacting with organic compounds. Those byproducts are trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Some studies indicate THMs and HAAs are linked to increase risk of serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.
However, it’s important to note that water quality would be much worse if municipalities did not use these chemicals to eliminate what could be harmful. The World Health Organization (WHO) says health risks from chlorine are small compared to the dangers of failing to properly disinfect public water.
6. How Does Lead Get in Drinking Water?
Due to the media attention Flint, Michigan, received over its water crisis, a lot of people have questions about lead in public water systems around the U.S.
Lead (as well as copper) typically enters the public supply by leaching into water from corroded fixtures and outdated plumbing. Homes built before 1986 will likely have plumbing with copper pipes using solder that may contain lead.
Lead can cause serious negative health effects, especially in children. The challenge is that it is undetectable by human senses. You can check with your local water authority for information about lead levels, but it’s important to note that the CDC and EPA say there’s no level of lead recognized as safe for consumption.
If you have concerns about the presence of lead in your water, you can have it tested in a state-certified laboratory.
7. What if My Water Tastes, Smells, or Looks Strange?
Certain things can affect the flavor, odor, and appearance of your tap water, not all of them are necessarily harmful.
Many people with public water can taste the chlorine, although the most noticeable problems tend to come from private wells. Contaminants like sulfur can impact the smell, while iron will cause discoloration and staining.
The overall amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your tap water will definitely affect the taste, smell, and appearance. While many of these issues are not serious concerns, they can certainly be a nuisance. Water filtration systems, including a high-efficiency water softener to reduce hardness, can provide solutions.
You can contact a residential water treatment expert to come to your home and evaluate things like mineral content and TDS.
8. Is Bottled Water Safer and Cleaner than Tap Water?’
You might think the safest bet is to purchase bottled water at the store if you want to avoid contaminants in the water you drink. In the past 10 to 15 years, regulations surrounding the quality of bottled water have improved, and bottlers need to back up their claims concerning how their product is marketed. However, bottled water may not be the most cost-effective or environmentally-friendly way to get quality drinking water.
In many cases, bottled water is nothing more than tap water that has usually been treated. This means you could be wasting your money and creating unnecessary waste by drinking bottled water when other filtration options can give you the same quality in your home.
Learn more about why you should stop buying bottled water here on our blog.
9. How Can I be Sure My Water is Safe to Drink?
The most trustworthy way to find out what’s in your water and its safety is to send samples to a state-certified lab and have it tested.
You can also do some of your own initial research into water quality. For example, the EPA requires your local water utility to provide a Consumer Confidence Report on water quality every year. It should have details on contaminants that may be in your water and the health risks. Use this online tool to find out how to get your report.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also provides an online database to help people find reports from their area.
For homeowners with a private well, the Groundwater Foundation recommends having your water tested at a state-certified lab, like Water-Right’s Clean Water Testing, at least once every year.
Water samples for testing should be taken from the source as well as the tap. For bacterial concerns, it’s best for homeowners to contact a local lab because the bacteria could die before an out-of-state lab can test for contamination. For instance, e-coli only lives in water for 48 hours, so testing must be done as soon as possible.
10. Are There Residential Water Treatment Products that Can Help?
If you want complete peace of mind concerning what’s in your water, there are various in-home water filtration options.
One of the best ways to reduce contaminants and get safe water from the tap is to install a reverse osmosis (R.O.) system. Find out more about how R.O. systems work as well as the benefits of reverse osmosis water here on our blog.
Yet another option for improving water quality is a UV light purification system.
All Atlantic Blue technicians are equipped to help you with your water needs. Call us today at 410-840-2583!
Originally posted and written by Water Care on August 18th, 2016
- THE BENEFITS OF DRINKING REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER (8/11/2016)
We’ve finally learned our lesson in America. More of us are starting to skip the soda and drink a lot more water instead.
A 2016 Beverage Marketing study found water consumption in the U.S. grew 120 percent between 2000 and 2015, while carbonated drinks fell 16 percent over the same time period.
Drinking more water is a smart and healthy decision! But, you still have a lot of choices when it comes to what kind of water you drink. Bottled? Distilled? Natural spring water? Tap water?
Reverse osmosis drinking water systems provide you with clean, refreshing water right in your home. Here are some reasons why it’s the best option for you.
Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove Contaminants
Contaminated water and its negative effects on health have been making a lot of headlines lately. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan involving lead prompted increased scrutiny of public water around the country.
No matter where you live, there’s a lot more than just H2O in your home’s water. However, with a reverse osmosis system, you can drastically reduce those unwanted contaminants. The special membrane filters out the vast majority of microscopic organisms and heavy metals. Learn more about how reverse osmosis systems work.
Our systems are tested and certified for the reduction of the following contaminants:
- nitrates and nitrites (hexavalent & trivalent)
- cyst (cryptosporidium)
- total dissolved solids (TDS)
If pure water is what you want, a reverse osmosis drinking system is what you need!
Reverse Osmosis Reduces Sodium from Soft Water
Water softeners are specifically designed to remove hard minerals from the water. Water softeners solve a lot of hard water problems, but they are not meant to for purification.
The water softener in your home gives you water that’s excellent for cleaning, bathing, and laundry. However, not everyone enjoys the taste of softened water.
Remember, in the ion exchange process your water softener uses, hard minerals are replaced with sodium molecules. You could still have a high level of total dissolved solids, which will impact the taste. Reverse osmosis filters out the sodium that your water softener adds.
A reverse osmosis drinking water system partnered with a water softener allows you to enjoy the benefits of both soft water and purified drinking water. Plus, R.O. systems are more efficient when they start with soft water.
You’ll Stop Buying Bottled Water
If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, or you’re concerned about what might be in it, there’s a good chance you’re buying bottled water all the time.
Bottled water is expensive. Those plastic bottles create a lot of waste as they all too often go unrecycled and end up in landfills. Plus, the bottom line is much of that bottled water isn’t as pure as you think. It’s just filtered tap water.
In the U.S., one study found we spent more than $15 billion on bottled water in 2015.
A reverse osmosis system will pay for itself in no time because you’ll only be paying pennies per gallon. Plus, whenever you need clean drinking water, it’s right there at the tap. Find out more about why you should stop buying bottled water.
It’s Better for Cooking
The impurities in your home’s water are going to affect the taste of the food you make.
That makes a lot of sense when you think about, because the water you cook with often ends up in your food. When you boil pasta, make soups, or bake homemade bread, pure water can make a big difference.
If you’re using municipal tap water for cooking, there’s a good chance you have too much chlorine in it. That will not only cause food to taste odd, it discolors it as well.
Crystal Clear Ice Cubes
Have you ever noticed how when you make ice cubes they tend to look white and cloudy?
The reason for that is the impurities and gasses in your water, which crystalize as it freezes. Ice forms from the outside in, and as this happens the impurities are forced to the center of the ice cube, resulting in the cloudy appearance.
If you like making eye-catching cocktails, crystal clear ice cubes will look fantastic in your drinks. But there’s more! Cloudy ice cubes have been shown to be softer and melt faster than clear ice cubes with pure water from a reverse osmosis system. That means ice cubes made with an R.O. will keep your drinks cool longer without watering them down as much.
Reverse Osmosis Water Tastes Delicious
Perhaps the best reason to have reverse osmosis drinking water in your home is how great the water tastes! When you remove all those impurities, you’re left with nothing but clean, refreshing water.
In addition to the membrane that filters contaminants, Water-Right’s reverse osmosis systems send your drinking water through three carbon filters before it comes out of the tap. The last carbon filter is simply a “polishing” filter to make sure any lingering tastes or odors are removed.
Jason Fitzpatrick, a writer for Lifehacker.com, was fed up with his city water and ended up being pleasantly surprised with the results of an R.O.
“After years of tap water, I’d finally had enough of drinking water that tasted like it had been skimmed from the pool of the local YMCA. Between the chemical taste and concerns over lead and other contaminants, installing an under-sink filter became the most economical option to ensure my family was drinking pure water.”
After getting a reverse osmosis drinking water system, Fitzpatrick noticed a major difference in both the taste and appearance of his water.
Many families who start using an R.O. (including Fitzpatrick’s) find themselves drinking morewater and less sugary juice, sports drinks, and soda.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
The only thing skeptics of reverse osmosis can point to as a disadvantage is that reverse osmosis systems filter out minerals, which they assume are valuable to their health.
In reality, you should be getting most of the mineral your body needs from the food you eat.
Furthermore, the dissolved mineral found in drinking water are organic, which means your body has a difficult time absorbing them. This negates any potential health benefits.
For those who are concerned about losing out on mineral intake, you can always look for mineral supplements. Some people will put a pinch of sea salt in their reverse osmosis water.
The bottom line is that the impressive benefits of reverse osmosis water far outweigh any minor objections.
Ready to learn more about getting an R.O. system installed in your home?
Call the experts today. 410-840-BLUE (2583)
Article Originally Written and Published August 8th by WaterCare
- Building Sign Time-Lapse (8/10/2016)
Check out our sign being put on our brand new building!
- HOW DO REVERSE OSMOSIS DRINKING WATER SYSTEMS WORK? (7/28/2016)
If you’ve ever taken a sip from a glass of water that came from the home of someone with a reverse osmosis system, you know how pure and refreshing it tastes.
Or, perhaps you have concerns about water quality and want to make sure your family is drinking healthy water that reduces contaminants as much as possible.
Reverse osmosis (R.O.) drinking water truly is the purest choice for any home. It’s water the way nature intended us to drink it.
But how exactly do these systems work, and what do they do to your home’s water?
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Osmosis is defined as the process of molecules passing through a semi-permeable membrane from a less-concentrated solution into a more-concentrated solution.
An example or osmosis from nature is the roots of plants drawing water from the soil.
Reverse osmosis is simply the opposite of that process.
The Reverse Osmosis Process
Molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane to form a less concentrated solution. Essentially, the membrane acts like a type of filter as it has extremely tiny pores that help remove microscopic contaminants from the water you drink by straining them out.
In the case of reverse osmosis drinking water systems, the semi-permeable membrane only lets water molecules through while other contaminants are collected and flushed away.
How Reverse Osmosis Filtration Works
There’s a bit more to the process when using a reverse osmosis system to purify drinking water.
If you’ve ever seen an R.O. system, you’ve likely noticed the three cylindrical canisters on a manifold. One of these is the membrane and the other two are carbon filters. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these cartridges do.
Step 1: Pre-filtration
The first step in purifying water with reverse osmosis is meant to protect the membrane. It removes larger sediment, including some dissolved solids, and helps reduce chlorine.
This first cartridge is referred to as the sediment filter or carbon block filter. It helps conserve the membrane, which can get clogged by excess sediment or damaged by exposure to too much chlorine, which you’ll find in municipal water.
Reverse osmosis works best when you start with good water and then make it great. That’s why you should never use a reverse osmosis system with hard water unless it is under 10 grains per gallon. If your water is too hard, start with one of our other water treatment solutions.
We often recommend having a water softener installed before installing an R.O. system. Scale buildup from hard water can damage these systems in the same way they damage other appliances. Learn more about how hard water ruins appliances here on our blog.
Step 2: The Reverse Osmosis Membrane
Following the initial filtration comes the real magic of an R.O. system.
Your water is forced through the semi-permeable membrane under pressure. The membrane is a synthetic plastic material that allows the passage of water molecules. However, sodium, chlorine, and calcium as well as larger molecules like glucose, urea, bacteria and viruses cannot pass.
We have reverse osmosis drinking water systems that are tested and certified for reduction of:
- nitrates and nitrites
- chromium (hexavalent & trivalent)
- cyst (cryptosporidium)
- total dissolved solids (TDS)
Steps 3 & 4: Post Filtration and Final Polish
Before your home’s water is ready to drink, it goes through a second carbon filter (or post filter), which removes any remaining contaminants in the unlikely case they slipped past the membrane.
Then the water fills up a storage tank where it waits until you’re ready to use it.
Finally, there’s the in-line activated carbon filter, which gives your water one last polish as it comes out your faucet. This is used to remove any remaining odors or flavors that may come from the system hoses or the holding tank.
The polish is a “just in case” step to make sure the water you drink tastes incredibly fresh!
Is Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Right for Your Home?
Soft water is excellent for cleaning, showering, and laundry. However, some people would rather not drink it. Depending on how hard your water is to start with, it could still have high total dissolved solids (TDS), which can negatively affect the taste. That’s because the hard minerals are replaced by sodium, and there may be other contaminants in your water that a softener will not remove.
A reverse osmosis system can remove that sodium along with other contaminants and dissolved solids, which makes a water softener and an R.O. system an ideal combination for most homes.
When you install a reverse osmosis system, you’ll enjoy better-tasting coffee and tea, clearer ice cubes, and pure, healthy water right from your kitchen sink. If you’re still using bottled water for drinking, you’ll be making a smart investment that saves you money in the long run and is better for the environment.
Reverse osmosis systems are commonly installed under kitchen sinks or in basements. If desired, Water-Right also offers whole home R.O. systems. So you can even wash your car with reverse osmosis water for a spot-free finish!
Get further details on reverse osmosis drinking water systems and how they work on our site or call us at 410-840-BLUE (2583)
Originally posted and written by Water Care on July 27th, 2016
- HOW DOES A UV SYSTEM PURIFY WATER? (7/22/2016)
You’ve likely heard of UV rays from the sun. Those rays can be beneficial, helping your body create vitamin D, or they can be harmful, causing skin damage like sunburn.
Ultraviolet light is also present in lamps used in tanning beds, to sterilize medical equipment, and it’s inside black lights at nightclubs, roller rinks, and cosmic bowling.
However, one of the most beneficial uses of UV light is water purification.
Here’s how that works …
A UV water treatment system includes four main parts: the ultraviolet lamp, a high-quality quartz sleeve surrounding the lamp, a stainless steel chamber, and a system controller.
There’s a lot of complex science behind the process of UV water purification, but the idea is quite simple.
Water runs through the steel chamber where it is exposed to the UV light, which deactivates bacteria and waterborne pathogens. Then the water is safe to consume.
Once a microorganism’s DNA is damaged, it can no longer function or reproduce, which means it can no longer cause an infection or harm.
Pathogens in water require different intensities of UV light in order to inactivate the DNA. Plus, the flow rate of water also has an effect as it determines the length of time microorganisms are exposed to the light.
There is an accepted standard for UV light application, and most manufacturers have various systems providing different doses depending on what is required.
The Benefits of a UV System for Water Purification
UV light treatment offers some impressive advantages for homeowners who choose to invest in this type of water treatment.
For one thing, UV purification is a physical process, not chemical, which means it doesn’t involve the use of chemical disinfectants such as chlorine. There are also some microorganisms that are chlorine-resistant, yet UV treatment is able to take them out.
Because these systems are chemical-free, they’re better for the environment. UV systems, such as those from our partner Viqua, are also energy efficient. A typical Viqua UV system uses the same amount of power as a 40 watt lightbulb.
Maintenance of your UV system is fairly easy, but some homeowners do choose to have a water treatment professional help them out when it’s time to replace the lamp or clean the quartz sleeve.
To ensure you’ll always have microbe-free water, UV system control units will alert you when the lamp needs to be changed.
You see, sometimes pre-filtration is needed in order to get the most out of a UV system.
UV light does not remove hardness or other dissolved solids. In fact, suspended particles in water may actually protect some microorganisms from the ultraviolet light.
The turbidity or cloudiness of your water can also hamper UV effectiveness because light cannot travel through hazy water as easily. Instead, suspended particles absorb and diffuse the light.
The Viqua Home Plus series does offer some pre-filtration with a sediment and carbon filter. These filters will improve the water’s odor and taste, but can’t reduce hardness.
That’s why Viqua recommends pre-treatment with a water softener, and possibly other types of in-home filtration, before your water is purified with UV light. We often say: you need good water to make great water!
For those who have serious concerns about water quality or potential contamination, you can have your water tested to get the answers you need.
Call us at 410-840-BLUE (2583) to schedule a Free in home water analysis!
Find Out More About UV Water Purification from Viqua
Originally posted and written by Water Care on July 14th, 2016
- 2016 Carroll’s Best Vote!! (7/19/2016)
2016 Carroll’s Best voting is here!! Follow the link to vote us as Best Water Softening/Conditioning and Plumbing company! As always, we appreciate the support.
- HARD WATER – WHY YOUR APPLIANCES DON’T STAND THE TEST OF TIME (7/7/2016)
They just don’t make things like they used to.
You’ve probably muttered a statement like that when replacing a washing machine that kicked the bucket, calling a service tech to repair your dishwasher, or had a water heater leak all over the floor.
There is something you can do to ensure your water-using appliances have a nice long life.
It starts with identifying the problem, and in many cases, the problem is hard water.
Here’s why so many appliances end up in the junkyard before their time.
How Hard Water Ruins Your Appliances
Calcium and magnesium are good for healthy bones, but they are the bad guys when it comes to certain appliances in your home.
Those minerals are what make water hard. They’re also responsible for what’s known as scale buildup or mineral deposits.
Scale from hard water can clog plumbing, and it damages your water-consuming appliances, wearing them down over time. They become less and less effective until eventually they break down.
However, since water softeners remove those hard minerals, treated water doesn’t leave behind the scaly build up that harms appliances.
The Water Quality Association (WQA) commissioned a study in 2009 examining the impact of hard water on typical household appliances and fixtures. See some of the results below. (Read the complete Battelle study online)
It’s plain to see how hard water can ruin appliances. The WQA research indicates hard water damage takes years off the life of dishwashers and washing machines. Having a water softener in your home helps protect these costly appliances.
But, that’s not all …
WQA researchers also found that with soft water, appliances need to use less soap and detergent and can be run at lower temperatures, yet be just as effective.
Detergent use dropped by 50% in washing machines with soft water, and you could save as much as 70% on dishwasher detergent.
With softened water, tests showed washing machines could run with a water temperature of 60 degrees instead of 100 degrees and still remove tough stains. Depending on the stain, eliminating the hardness in water could improve removal by 100%.
Hard Water and High Efficiency Appliances
Today, many homeowners are choosing to purchase high efficiency appliances, which can save money in the long run and cut back on energy. However, high efficiency appliances also require a significant initial investment.
If hard water is being run through those appliances, their efficiency is going to decrease dramatically as months and years go by. That means you aren’t actually getting the energy savings you think you are.
With soft water, appliances like dishwashers and washing machines are much more likely to retain the original factory efficiency rating for an extended time.
Most of us don’t actually pay much attention to appliance manuals, but if you did, you’d see many of them recommend using treated water for the best performance. In fact, the warranties for some high efficiency models are void if you’re using them with hard water.
A water softener can also reduce your home’s carbon footprint. That’s because they not only help appliances run on less energy, the treated water allows you to use less soap and detergent as well. Detergent has a number of negative environmental effects and pollutes the water.
The Most Expensive Hard Water Problem for Homeowners
According to the Department of Energy, heating water accounts for 14% to 18% of the energy costs in your home, and it could be as high as 25%.
That’s a pretty big chunk of your utility bill!
Water heating is second only to heating your actual home when it comes to energy use. So it stands to reason that you’ll want your water heater to be running efficiently.
The best way to do that is to make sure your water heater is on soft water. An efficient water heater can save you as much as 29% per year on water heating costs.
The 2009 WQA study indicates soft water has a very positive impact on the lifespan of water heaters.
“As for water heaters, the researchers found that when they used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years.”
On the other hand, if your home has hard water, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a gas water heater, electric water heater, or a tankless water heater … the results of testing show they won’t last nearly as long or run as efficiently.
“Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent. Scale buildup shortened the lifespan of the heating elements inside electric water heaters, and some tankless water heaters using hard water failed after just 1.6 years.”
In fact, not a single water heater operating with hard water even made it to the end of the testing before it broke down!
Check out the lifespan of water heaters using hard water below. That scaly buildup means you’ll be shivering in the shower and getting a new one in half the time.
More About How a Water Softener Can Help
Hard water can cause a lot of other issues in your home. You can read about 8 hard water problems here on our blog.
Soft water will make your life a lot easier and has the potential to help you save money as well as energy.
If you’re ready to learn more about having a water softener in your home, Atlantic Blue is here to help!
Give us a call at 410-840-BLUE (2583) or contact us on our website at www.atlanticbluewaterservices.com
Originally posted and written by Water Care on July 1st, 2016
- NEW NEW NEW! (6/30/2016)
First, as you’re probably aware, our logo has been a staple of ours for the last 22 years we have been in business. Today we unveil an additional, abbreviated logo as a companion to
the original. Our goal is to simplify our brand, while keeping with a look the community will recognize.
The second, even bigger announcement that we have been eagerly waiting to share is that after 10 years at our Aileron Court location, we are moving to a new building on Rt. 140! (Next to Royal Farms) Paperwork is finalized and now we are undergoing the renovation process. We expect to be moved and operating out of the new building by mid August and with our grand re-opening the second week in September. We will continue to keep everyone updated over email blasts and social media, so be sure to like us on Facebook for a look at some behind the scenes action!
We’re exited for the future and eager to be able to better serve our customers.
Thank you again for all your support!
- MYTHS ABOUT WATER SOFTENERS – 8 THINGS PEOPLE GET WRONG (6/16/2016)
Water softeners can make life more convenient for many homeowners. Unfortunately, there are quite a few myths about residential water treatment that people believe. Some of them are just misconceptions, others are complete lies.
Here’s the truth about what happens when you use a water softener in your home as we bust eight different soft water myths.
Myth No. 1 – Water softeners put salt in your water.
It’s easy to understand why people make this mistake. However, you are not drinking salt water if you install a water softener in your home.
It’s true that you you’ll need water softener salts, but you shouldn’t taste salt in your water. Water softeners use an ion exchange process to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium, which make the water hard.
A special media stored in a mineral tank makes this process possible. That media is charged with sodium ions, which replace the hard minerals in your water. So it isn’t salt (NaCl) that gets added to your water, it’s sodium (Na).
- Find out more about how water softeners work
Myth No. 2 – The amount of sodium in softened water is unhealthy.
How much sodium a water softener adds to your water depends on how hard your home’s water is in the first place.
That being said, the typical amount of sodium in softened water is too small to have any sort of negative impact on your health. The Mayo Clinic states on its website that “the added sodium shouldn’t be an issue for most healthy adults.”
Check out the chart below. It compares the amount of sodium in softened water to common foods. As you can see, soft water adds a small amount of sodium to your diet when compared to everything else we eat.
However, not everyone likes the taste of softened water, but they don’t want to deal with hard water problems either. Thankfully, there are options. You could separate the tap you use for drinking and cooking from your system while still getting the advantages of soft water for cleaning, bathing, and laundry.
Better yet, you could install a reverse osmosis system to get pure and refreshing drinking water straight from a faucet at your sink.
Myth No. 3 – Water softeners purify water.
Water softeners are specifically designed to reduce the hardness of water. They do an excellent job of removing minerals and metals that cause scale and create all sorts of household headaches.
However, water softeners do not filter out all contaminants. This is another reason why you may need a reverse osmosis system for the water your family actually consumes. You can also look in to other types of in-home filtration systems to deal with iron and sulfur issues.
We like to remind people that “sometimes you need to get good water before you can havegreat water.”
Myth No. 4 – Water softening takes away healthy minerals.
When some people hear how water softeners remove calcium and minerals they think the softening process is taking away important nutrients. After all, calcium and magnesium can benefit things like bone health.
The truth is that the calcium and magnesium deposits in hard water are inorganic minerals, which don’t provide the same benefits as obtaining minerals from food or supplements. The calcium and magnesium in hard water cannot be easily absorbed by the cells in your body.
Plants are able to transform inorganic minerals into an organic state, which is why you need to eat your veggies, but drinking hard water won’t do much for adding minerals to your diet.
Myth No. 5 – Soft water leaves a film on your skin.
Some people notice a different feeling on their skin when they first shower in soft water. It feels slick, and some might even say slimy.
This is not a film being left behind on your skin, and it isn’t soap that doesn’t wash away either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When you have hard water it does leave soap scum on your skin. What you notice after showering in hard water is not a sign you’re “squeaky clean,” but instead, that you are covered in a sticky residue.
The slickness on your skin when you bathe in soft water is actually your body’s natural essential oils. It’s how clean is supposed to feel! Think of it as having silky smooth skin instead of sticky soap scum skin.
- Learn more in our article about showering in hard water
Myth No. 6 – Water softeners waste water and energy.
It’s true that some water softeners can waste water and salt during the regeneration process. This is a cycle your system goes through to re-charge the media with sodium ions.
Today, there are high efficiency models available to homeowners which help save money and energy by learning your home’s water needs and using only the amount of water and salt that’s necessary for regeneration.
There are also other ways in-home filtration can help the environment. Soft water is more efficient at cleaning, that means you’ll use less detergent and chemical-filled cleaning products, which in turn reduces water pollution.
Plus, when you have a reverse osmosis system, you can stop buying water in plastic bottles. The environmental impact of bottled water is huge!
Myth No. 7 – Water softeners cost a lot of money.
Putting a water softener in your home will require an initial investment. However, it will save you quite a bit of your hard earned money in the long run.
Yes, your water softener will use electricity, you’ll have to buy salt, and it will need to be serviced on occasion. But in reality, water softeners put much more money back in your pocket.
Perhaps the biggest savings come from your water heater. These appliances operate much better on soft water while hard water makes them inefficient and forces you to run the water heater at a higher temperature. That’s one way a water softener will lower your utility bills while extending the life of appliances.
Water softeners help keep other appliances running longer, too. Soft water reduces the amount of laundry detergent you use to clean clothes by more than 50-percent, and prevents colors from fading.
Learn about other savings in the Water Quality Association’s (WQA) Softened Water Benefits Study.
Myth No. 8. You don’t need a water softener if you have city water.
This might be one of the biggest misconceptions of all. Water softeners are most-commonly found in homes where there is a private well using ground water. In that case, the water almost always needs softening.
However, municipal water is rarely ever perfect water. In fact, more than 80-percent of all homes in the United States have hard water. Every city has different water quality. If you’re unhappy with your home’s water – whether its drinking, cleaning, laundry, or bathing – there are things you can do that will provide an effective solution.
Ready to get some advice?
Atlantic Blue is here to help. Call us at 410-840-2583
Originally posted and written by Water Care on June 6th, 2016
- HOW WATER SOFTENERS WORK AND WHY YOU PROBABLY NEED ONE (6/16/2016)
So, you’re sick of dealing with hard water problems and need a water softener… but what does that mean?
There are a lot of good reasons to soften your home’s water as hard water problems can wreak havoc on your plumbing, as well as your hair and skin, while making it harder to keep the house clean. For a list of areas in your home affected by hard water, click here.
If you’re going to install a softener in your home to take care of these issues, you might want to know what is going on inside of it.
Hard Water vs. Soft Water
There’s more in your home’s water than just H2O. Water quality differs depending on where you live and whether you’re getting water from a municipality or a private well. Both sources are known to contain hardness minerals.
Minerals in water are what makes certain water considered “hard.” Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals found in water. Typically, minerals get there because groundwater will dissolve rock like limestone, or metals, like iron and the remnants travel with the water until it is in your home.
Those dissolved solids can cause a scaly buildup on everything from dishes, to pipes, to the heating elements of your appliances, to your own body. Soap scum and clogged, corroded plumbing are usually the result of hard water.
Water softeners remove those hard minerals making it easier to clean your home and your laundry, while prolonging the life of appliances that use water.
How Hard Water Becomes Soft – The Ion Exchange Process
So how do water softeners get the minerals out? This is where the incredible science of residential water treatment comes into play!
Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove things like calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese – replacing them with sodium ions.
Ions are atoms or molecules that carry either a positive or negative charge because there’s an imbalance between electrons and protons. Cations have a positive charge and anions have a negative charge.
Calcium (Ca+2), magnesium (Mg+2), iron (Fe+3), and sodium (Na+) are all positively charged cations. However, sodium has a much weaker charge, which allows for the exchange.
The Ion Exchange Process in Water Softening
The media our water softeners use are either ion-exchange resin beads or zeolite, which is a special inorganic mineral that comes in the form of tiny crystals.
Each resin bead or zeolite crystal is negatively charged and has space to hold on to positive ions. The fresh media starts by holding on to the weaker charged sodium ions. As hard water passes through your water softener tank, the stronger charged calcium or magnesium are pulled to the media like a magnet. Since the hardness minerals have a higher positive charge than the sodium, they will knock the sodium ions off and take their place.
All the hardness minerals stay trapped inside the water softener tank while the H2O, with a few sodium ions, disperse throughout your home for use. No more scaly build up!
It’s important to remember that soft water is not salt water, it only contains a small amount of sodium due to the ion exchange process. Typically less than eating two ounces of cheddar cheese!
In the animation below, you can see how water flows from the external source, through the media that removes minerals, and then provides your home with softened water.
Watch How a Water Softener Works
You may be wondering what happens to the hardness minerals that are trapped inside your softener’s tank. If all the media beads or crystals are full of the calcium, magnesium, etc., how can treatment more water in the future?
That’s where the second part of the water softening process takes place: Regeneration!
Regeneration – How Water Softeners Keep Working
Regeneration is how a water softening system cleans and recharges itself so it can continue providing your home with soft water.
All water softeners will come with some kind of secondary storage tank. This is where the home owner will need to add water softener salt. Water is added to the tank to create a salt solution called brine. Therefore, this component is known as the brine tank.
During regeneration, the water softener will take the brine solution into the softener tank and the ion exchange process happens again, only this time in reverse.
The media gets a bath in the salt solution. Hard minerals caught in the resin (or zeolite) are released and the media gets replenished with sodium ions. The water softener is also cleaned and disinfected during regeneration. Finally, water containing the hard minerals and other waste gets flushed out of the system.
Ion Exchange During Regeneration
The regeneration process usually happens in the middle of the night when your family is asleep and nobody needs to use any water.
Do You Need a Water Softener?
Some people think water softeners are a luxury. Others think they’re only necessary if you have a private well with extremely hard water. That’s not quite right. If you do have a well, you will probably need a water softener, and possibly other types of filtration to improve the water quality.
However, even people living in the city can have hard water coming from the tap. Municipalities are required to treat the water for impurities, but they do not remove hardness minerals because they are not harmful to your health.
The modern home depends on soft water. High efficiency appliances can not run as designed when they suffer from hard water build up. Dishwashers and washing machines could end up with a much shorter lifespan because of hard water. If you notice a lot of soap scum around your home, if your towels are hard and stiff, or if you have a hard time getting a nice sudsy lather in the shower … you may have hard water problems.
Have additional questions or looking to schedule a free water test? Call us at 410-840-2583 or https://www.atlanticbluewaterservices.com/contact-us/
Article Originally Written and Published May 18th by WaterCare
- 6 REASONS TO STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER (5/5/2016)
Bottled water has become a regular part of everyday life for many Americans. We drink more bottled water than beer or milk. Entire aisles at the grocery store are full of it. But are we making a huge mistake?
Many of us have heard some of the logic behind why using bottled water is a bad idea. Yet we continue to purchase it anyway. Sometimes seeing the big picture laid out in front of your eyes can make things more clear.
Here are six reasons you should stop buying bottled water.
1. You’re Wasting Your Money
Bottled water is a huge global industry. That’s why there’s a trade association called the International Bottled Water Association, which works to improve the industry’s image and lobbies world governments on bottled water’s behalf.
Experts now say bottled water is poised to pass up carbonated soft drinks in the packaged beverage market as the number one product in the United States by the end of 2016. The soda giants like Pepsi and Coke aren’t bothered by this news because they sell their own brands of bottled water.
North America is by far the largest consumer of bottled water. Mexico uses the most per capita, but people in the United States are spending a ton of money on it, topping $15 billion in 2015 according to research by Mintel. Other estimates say Americans spend around $100 per person on bottled water each year.
Numbers comparing how much more expensive bottled water can be cover a wide range. Depending on what you purchase, drinking bottled water could be anywhere from 300x to 2,000x more expensive than getting it from your home faucet.
Watch a Video on Why Bottled Water is Expensive
2. Many Brand Are Selling You Tap Water
The quality of the bottled water you buy is going to vary quite a bit. Much of it is nothing more than municipal water that goes through some filtration at the bottling plant. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates around 25% comes straight from the tap, and some of it isn’t even further treated. Manufacturers of bottled water are good at marketing. They use the right words to make you think their product is the purest, most refreshing water imaginable.
Remember, water filtration is something you can do in your own home if you choose.
Do you ever drink Aquafina bottled water? PepsiCo recently admitted that its brand of bottled water is nothing more than filtered tap water, and the company was forced to change the labeling on Aquafina. Consumer groups are now targeting Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand of bottled water too.
Check the labeling on your favorite bottled water. If it says “Public Water Source,” you are drinking packaged tap water.
3. Bottled Water Can be Contaminated
We’re not trying to scare you. Most bottled water is likely safe. However, the bottled water industry does not have a perfect track record.
An article from CBS.com states there have been more than 100 recalls of bottled water. The article lists common water contaminants like algae, types of bacteria, and chlorine. But it also mentions things like glass particles, mold, and even crickets were found in Texas bottled water back in 1994. More recently, a North Carolina woman claimed she found larvae in her Dasani bottled water. Coca-Cola disputed the claim.
Keep in mind, while the FDA does have some standard for water bottlers, it cannot regulate water that’s bottled and sold within the same state. You have to look carefully to find the truth. In many ways, regular city water is more regulated than bottled water.
4. Buying Bottled Water Hurts the Environment
Drinking bottled water creates unnecessary waste. You might think that shouldn’t be a problem because water bottles can be recycled. Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening. The majority of those bottles end up in a landfill.
In 2015, The Association of Plastic Recyclers reported that the recycling rate for plastic bottles reached 31.8% – a 1% increase year over year. However, that still means more than two-thirds of plastic bottles do not get recycled. Two-thirds of 50 billion bottles a year is a lot! Americans are using 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, and bottled water makes up a sizable chunk.
The waste created by plastic bottles isn’t even the worst of the environmental impact. It’s the production and transportation that is truly hurting the planet.
Peter Gleick is an environmentalist who authored the book Bottled and Sold, which criticizes the bottled water industry. He conducted a study estimating bottled water requires 2,000 times as much energy cost as tap water.
Gleick’s report, which was published in 2008 concludes:
“Given an annual consumption of 33 billion liters of bottled water in the US, we estimate that the annual consumption of bottled water in the US in 2007 required an energy input equivalent to between 32 and 54 million barrels of oil or a third of a percent of total US primary energy consumption. We estimate that roughly three times this amount was required to satisfy global bottled water demand.”
5. Plastic Bottles Could be Harmful to Your Health
A big reason for the rise in bottled water is that many people are trying to be healthier. That’s great! Water is essential to a healthy body and mind, but plastic bottles could be an issue.
“Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”
You’ll find a few bottled waters being marketed as BPA-free. However, some researchers are calling foul. They say the chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous. Read more about that in an article on The Huffington Post.
The recyclable PET plastic bottles may come with their own health risks. Chemicals known as phthalates have the potential to leach from the plastic into the water. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means they have the potential to mess up your hormones.
This is more likely if you let your water sit in a plastic bottle for a long time and allow it to be exposed to heat or sunlight. This increases the risk of plastic breaking down and getting into the water.
The NRDC tested more than 1,000 bottles of water and concluded, “There is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap.”
Even the government has publicly stated that in-home water filtration is a better idea than bottled water if you want to be healthier. An annual report from the President’s Cancer Panel states:
“Filtering home tap or well water can decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Unless the home water source is known to be contaminated, it is preferable to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water.”
6. Bottled Water May Not Even Taste Better
With all the money we spend on bottled water, you would think there is some sort of benefit. Even if it’s not healthier for you, it has to taste better, right? If it does, it’s probably the placebo effect.
Time after time, blind taste tests show most people can’t really tell the difference between bottled water and tap water, much less specific brands of water.
One of the most interesting taste tests involved Fiji bottled water. It launched a marketing campaign that made fun of Cleveland’s water. The campaign stated, “The label says Fiji because it’s not bottled in Cleveland.”
Cleveland took offense to that and had Fiji water tested. Turned out, it contained 6.31 micrograms of arsenic. Then Cleveland held a taste test pitting Fiji’s water against the city’s. We bet you can guess who won.
There’s a Smarter Way to Get Better Drinking Water
Household water can be quite different in terms of quality and taste depending on where you live, the plumbing in your home, and your personal preference. It’s certainly possible that your tap water isn’t the best to be drinking.
The 2015 Water Quality Association report on consumer opinions found 77% of survey respondents use bottled water. At 41%, the top reason cited in the survey for choosing bottled water was their tap water didn’t taste good. Another 37% said they had concerns about contaminants in the water.
Bottled water is certainly not the only solution!
If you’ve read all these points and feel a little bit duped by bottled water marketing, it’s not too late to make a change to your water drinking habits.
In-home filtration can transform your tap water, making it safe and enjoyable to drink. Products like reverse osmosis systems provide you with the purest, most-refreshing water right at your tap.
If you’re interested in learning more, we suggest you contact the Water-Right dealer for more information. We have trained water-treatment experts all over the country.
Article Originally Written and Published March 24th by WaterCare
- REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER – DOES IT MAKE BETTER-TASTING COFFEE? (5/5/2016)
Coffee lovers come in all shapes and sizes – from the barista who only uses locally-roasted beans to your grandmother and her Folgers crystals.
When you’re making coffee at home, the water you use to brew your morning joe is easily one of the most important parts. After all, a cup of coffee consists of 97% to 99% water.
So it makes sense that if there are other things in your water, like minerals, bacteria, chlorine, or any sort of contaminant, it’s going to affect the flavor. Getting a consistent answer from all the coffee-making advice out there isn’t easy, but it stands to reason that the purer your water is, the more of the coffee you’ll be tasting.
The Benefits of Using Reverse Osmosis Water for Coffee
A reverse osmosis (R.O.) system is an ideal solution for drinking water in your home. They’re designed to transform tap water, providing your family with water that’s pristine, fresh, and healthy.
An R.O. system dramatically reduces mineral content, which is what makes water hard. Plus, Atlantic Blue’s reverse osmosis offerings are certified to reduce a host of other things including lead, fluoride, nitrates, and nitrites.
If you have city water, you’re probably dealing with a certain amount of chlorine, which gets added during the municipality’s water treatment process. Chlorine in your water is one of the most common ways to ruin a cup of coffee. An R.O. system from Atlantic Blue sends your drinking water through two carbon filters (pre-filtration and final polishing), which reduces chlorine particles.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has established some standards for what it says is ideal water for coffee making (see chart below). According to the SCAA, you want your water to be completely odor free with a clear appearance, no chlorine at all, and it should have a neutral pH level of as close to 7 as possible.
Reverse osmosis is perfect for getting clear, odor free water, although it does tend to have a lower pH level. Many people use additional filtration to increase the alkalinity of their R.O. water so that it is less acidic and closer to neutral pH.
A lot of coffee enthusiasts agree that reverse osmosis water is ideal. One reader of the website MakeGoodCoffee.com wrote coffee expert Marc Wortman to ask how her new reverse osmosis system might impact her coffee.
“The short answer to your question is that not only will it not affect the flavor of your coffee adversely, but it will likely make it taste even better.”
Coffee manufacturers from The Roasterie in Kansas City, makers of high-quality, air-roasted coffee, agree that reverse osmosis water is a wise choice. They sang its praises in their article 5 Tips for Brewing the Best Cup of Coffee.
“We recommend using filtered water because tap water will often include chlorine and other elements that will affect your coffee’s flavor. However, reverse-osmosis water is the best choice.”
There is somewhat of a debate around using reverse osmosis water for coffee. You may come across people who say it is not the best choice. They claim that removing minerals from drinking water takes away its flavor and produces coffee that tastes “flat.”
One thing all coffee experts confirm is water that’s too hard will make a terrible cup of coffee.
The Science of Water Hardness and Coffee
Hardness of the water is defined in terms of Total Dissolved Solids or TDS. The SCAA says the ideal TDS for making coffee should be 150 mg/L. However, the science of coffee and water goes beyond that. The type of minerals making your water hard is truly what alters the taste.
A 2014 study on coffee and water, first published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, found that cations (positively-charged molecules) in water may help draw out some of the aromatic flavor compounds in coffee.
For instance, magnesium in water may actually enhance the taste, giving it a “woodsier” flavor, and calcium bicarbonate seems to increase the bitterness of coffee. While the study did not say that sodium content in softened water would negatively affect coffee, the researchers found that soft water did little to impact the flavor.
Water Technology magazine used the 2014 study to take a look at the pros and cons of using different types of treated water for brewing coffee. They suggest blending reverse osmosis water along with tap water, which would contain some mineral content to potentially help extract more flavor.
The Bottom Line
Not only is the science behind making coffee surprisingly complicated, it’s also very subjective. Coffee is one of those things that everyone has their own opinion about. Each one of us enjoys it a different way.
There are so many factors involved with brewing the kind of coffee you like best – the freshness of the beans, the coarseness of the grounds, the method you use to make it, and of course … the quality of your water.
Great-tasting coffee is far from the only reason to install a reverse osmosis system in your home. If you’re concerned about what’s in your water and how it might affect the health of your family, an R.O. system is an ideal way to put those concerns to rest. Plus, many homeowners find they love it so much they end up drinking more water and fewer sugary sodas, juices, and sports drinks. Not to mention, you’ll be able to stop buying bottled water.
Want to learn more about what reverse osmosis systems can do? Atlantic Blue offers a variety of models to fit your needs. Look for our brands below distributed in your area.
Article Originally Written and Published March 24th by WaterCare
- HARD WATER VS. SOFT WATER – THE EFFECTS ON YOUR SKIN (5/5/2016)
How does your skin feel when you step out of the shower? Would you call it silky smooth or squeaky clean?
Do you feel dry and itchy after bathing? Do you have to lotion up every day to avoid itchiness and skin irritation?
The water in your home can have significant effects on the condition of your skin, and it may all come down to whether you have hard water or soft water.
What Hard Water Can Do to Your Skin
Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. Those minerals make it harder for water to form a solution with soap, and it leaves behind a scummy residue.
If you have hard water in your home, you’ll notice that white soap scum all over your bathroom fixtures. Hard water can also clog up your plumbing and your shower head, reducing pressure.
But what you may not realize is that same soap scum builds up on your skin. Instead of getting a nice lather, you’re leaving behind a residue that clogs your pores the same way it clogs your pipes. Clogged pores can lead to breakouts and worsen skin conditions like acne or eczema.
The natural oils your body produces are distributed through the pores of your skin. When those pores are clogged, the oil gets trapped and blemishes like pimples and zits form.
Not only can soap scum from hard water clog your pores, many people find it also causes them to feel dry, itchy, and irritated. The minerals in hard water can actually strip moisture from your skin while preventing the natural oils your body produces from doing their job, which is to lubricate your skin and hold in moisture.
Hard water may also be making your skin age faster. That means it could cause you to look older than you really are!
Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, told YouBeauty.com that many of the impurities in hard water, like iron and magnesium, can form free radicals that damage healthy skin cells. That can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Free radical damage can even cause a breakdown of collagen, which is a structural protein that helps your skin look and feel firm and healthy.
If you are experiencing the negative effects of hard water; don’t worry – there’s a solution.
Why Soft Water is Better for Maintaining Healthy-looking Skin
One of the biggest advantages to having a water softener installed in our home is the fact that soft water is better for cleaning. That goes for your clothes and dishes as well as your skin.
Soft water makes it easier to form a sudsy lather, and it makes it easier to rinse the soap away. That means your soap works more efficiently and you aren’t left with that pore-clogging soap scum residue all over your body.
Because of the fact you don’t get a good lather with hard water, you’ll find yourself using more soap to get clean, which only exacerbates the problem more. But with soft water, you will be able to use less soap product to get clean. In fact, after installing a water softener, you may not need to purchase the expensive body wash and lotion you thought you needed.
It’s really quite simple to understand…
Hard water is hard on your skin. Soft water is gentler on your skin. Hard water makes it difficult to get completely clean. Soft water is better for getting your body completely clean.
Squeaky Clean vs. Your Natural Sheen
Some people get used to the feeling of washing their bodies in hard water. They incorrectly assume that the “squeaky clean feeling” we get after showering means the soap did its job.
However, what you’re really experiencing is the sticky soap scum all over you – not to mention dead skin and dirt that didn’t get washed away.
On the other hand, when some people first have a water softener installed in their home, they notice a slick or slippery feeling to their skin. It’s easy to assume you are not getting completely clean and blame it on the soft water, but that’s not the case.
The slippery feeling is how your clean skin is actually supposed to feel. Since the natural oils from your own body haven’t been stripped from your skin, it feels different. Don’t forget, those natural oils serve an important purpose.
The truth is, the idea of “squeaky clean skin” is more of a marketing tactic than anything else. That squeak comes from mineral deposits and soap scum.
Water Quality and Skin Conditions
Softening your water is not a cure for any sort of skin disease or chronic condition. However, it can be a helpful step towards avoiding irritation and improving certain health problems.
There has been a significant amount of research examining how hard water may impact the common skin condition, eczema. This is something that experts say affects 20% of kids 11 and under, as well as 8% of teenagers and adults.
One study that took place in the U.K. found schoolchildren who lived in areas with hard water were 50% more likely to suffer from eczema. Other agencies have identified hard water as an environmental trigger for eczema.
Hard water may not be the cause of skin conditions, but there is a lot of evidence indicating it can aggravate things further. With soft water, you’ll be less likely to clog your pores and dry out your skin, you won’t be as itchy and irritated, and you’ll be more likely to have the beautiful, clear skin you want.
So Should You Get a Water Softener?
Skin issues may not be the only problem hard water is causing you and your family. Check out our article on 8 Major Hard Water Problems for even more signs.
If you’re sick and tired of dealing with hard water in your home, a water softener is the most effective and most permanent solution to hard water challenges. Atlantic Blue has the most innovative residential water treatment products on the market.
Article Originally Written and Published Feb 19th by WaterCare
- Earth Day 2016 (4/21/2016)
Smart technology has been a growing segment for consumers for some time. Sure, you may have had that smart phone in your pocket for several years now, however there is so much more out there!
From smart cars and solar panels to home security systems and thermostats, smart technology can make life simpler, conserve resources and save you money.
There is one aspect of home technology that has remained virtually unchanged for years and it has to do with a resource we use daily: water. But a new system, W.E.T. will change how you think about your water consumption.
To borrow the words of the Jedi Master Yoda from “Empire Strikes Back”: “You must unlearn what you have learned.” That water softener systems will be nothing more than what they currently are: water-guzzling and salt-using machines that sit in the dark corners of basements.
With W.E.T., Water-Right has developed a smarter, more economical, and environmentally-friendly way for water softeners to work.
The U.S. Geological Survey says 85 percent of homes have hard water (dissolved calcium, metals, or other minerals), according to a 2012 story in the Chicago Tribune.
For those of you who have water softeners, many of those systems are inefficient when it comes to their water use during regeneration. However, Water-Right’s patented W.E.T. (Water Efficient Technology)reduces the amount of water and salt that its softener systems need to clean themselves, compared to others on the market. The long and short of it: W.E.T. learns when homeowners are going to need more water – or less water during a week’s use.
So what does this mean?
When the softener industry touts ‘salt savings’ through ‘high efficient’ systems, all that’s being expressed is the amount of salt being saved. However, W.E.T. learns your water usage and tells when to regenerate.
Let’s say, for example, your water softener system uses 1,175 gallons between regeneration. After four days, the household has used 960 gallons and regeneration will begin because there is only 215 gallons (18 percent) of capacity remaining – not enough water to get through the next day’s average water usage.
Our W.E.T. system automatically calculates the amount of salt and water the system needs to complete regeneration, based on the remaining capacity. Therefore, using the W.E.T. system can save an average consumer 18 percent on water and salt per regeneration. That’s on the low end; in some instances, uses can see up to a 50 percent savings in salt alone.
In turn, you conserve energy and keep water, salt (and money) from needlessly going down the drain!
This system can be applied to both well and municipal water sources. However, applying W.E.T. to city water systems has shown the most savings on salt, backwash and rinse waters.
So, on this Earth Day, while your mind might venture towards more traditional ways to do your part in protecting the environment, don’t limit your efforts to environmental clean up or more traditional home efficiency upgrades. Remember that old water softener sitting in your basement and give the experts at Atlantic Blue Water Services a call to find out how you too can get your water W.E.T.!
Article Originally Written and Published April 7th by WaterCare
- IS HARD WATER RUINING YOUR LAUNDRY? (4/18/2016)
Water is water and laundry is laundry, right? Put your clothes in the washing machine, dump in some detergent, press a few buttons and everything gets nice and clean.
If only it were that simple. The truth is, the type of water you have in your home can have a huge impact on laundry.
You may be blaming your appliances or the detergent you use, but the problem likely starts outside your home.
Hard water is everywhere. It’s not just something people living in rural areas deal with, municipal water can have hardness as well. It’s an established fact that 85% of the water in the United States is considered hard. That means it contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
Those dissolved minerals can cause a laundry list (see what we did there?) of problems for your clothes, sheets, and towels. People with hard water may find many of these issues to be quite familiar.
Clothes Aren’t Getting Clean
Soap and detergent simply don’t work as well in hard water. Those dissolved minerals hamper the effectiveness of many cleaning products.
That’s because minerals like calcium and magnesium prevent water from mixing with detergent to form a solution. As a result, soap scum gets left behind. The same white, chalky substance in your sink and shower gets on your laundry. Sometimes, the stuff that sticks to the fabric is referred to as “detergent curd,” which sounds even more disgusting.
The result is dingy looking clothes that don’t feel completely clean after they come out of your dryer. The residue on your clothes will even attract and hold more dirt as you wear them.
Clothes Become Dull or Discolored
The soap scum and mineral residue on your clothes can also negatively affect their appearance. Your favorite outfit could wear out before its time and get ruined because of hard water.
Hard water can cause your dark clothes to fade faster than they should. Blogger Heather Solos, of the site Home-Ec101.com, explained the idea of hard water and fading clothes to one of her readers who’d moved to a new home and suddenly saw a change in her laundry.
Do you find mysterious yellow or reddish brown stains on your clothes after they come out of the wash? That could be hard water’s fault too. You get those stains for the same reason you get similar-looking stains inside porcelain sinks and toilets – iron in the water.
Household water containing a lot of iron may leave those stains on your clothes. It’s even more likely to happen if you use chlorine bleach to wash your whites. That’s because when iron particles combine with bleach, it creates iron-oxide, also known as rust.
Towels and Sheets Feel Hard and Scratchy
Hard water not only ruins the appearance of laundry; it also makes a difference in how it feels against your skin.
We all want those fluffy soft towels and comfy sheets, but you may need to soften the water in your home first. Thanks to hard water, your favorite flannel shirt may not feel as soft as it should either.
Mineral buildup leaves your bath towels feeling stiff. The hard water literally makes them hard. Not only that – the residue that collects on your towels will make them less absorbent over time.
Washing clothes in hard water may lead to irritated skin – especially if you already have sensitive skin or a dermatological condition like eczema.
Carrying around a residue of detergent curd on clothes and bed-sheets that contact your skin could lead to an increase in redness, chafing, and dryness.
That’s why some people with irritated skin try all sorts of lotions, creams, and special soaps, but still can’t find relief. Their skin is constantly in contact with irritating residue!
More Detergent is Needed
When you have hard water, much of the detergent you put in ends up being used to soften the water. That means you’ll need to use more laundry detergent and hotter water to get your clothes clean. But more detergent means more residue, so it’s a vicious cycle.
Detergent usually contains synthetic chemicals that aren’t environmentally friendly. Adding more detergent means you’re contributing more to water pollution.
Using extra laundry detergent also means you’ll need to buy it more often. Plus, using more hot water will affect your utility bills. True, the impact may seem relatively small, but it all adds up over time.
There are special detergents you can buy and water conditioning products you can add to soften water for washing clothes. However, if you do have hard water, your problems extend beyond laundry. That’s why you should consider investing in a water softener for your home.
- Read about other hard water problems
How a Water Softener Can Help You Have Amazing Laundry
Soft water is ideal for cleaning. And installing a water softener is the most permanent solution to laundry problems from hard water in your home.
Water softeners remove or deactivate the minerals that lead to those annoying, and potentially costly issues. During the water-conditioning process, calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with soft minerals (such as sodium or potassium ions).
Laundry, your home, your skin – everything gets cleaner when you have a water softener.
Interested in finding out more? We offers a variety of water solutions for homeowners like you.
- SHOWERING IN HARD WATER – ARE YOU REALLY GETTING CLEAN? (4/18/2016)
You are supposed to get out feeling clean and refreshed. But if you’re showering in hard water, your showering experience could definitely be better.
In fact, when you bathe or shower in hard water, you may not be getting as clean as you should. Here’s why…
How Minerals in Hard Water Keep You from Getting Clean
Dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium are what make the water in your home hard. Those minerals also create an undesirable chemical reaction with your soap, shampoo, and body wash as well as shaving cream.
What happens is the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water react with fatty acids in soap to form insoluble lime soaps, which are ineffective at cleaning.
If you were paying attention during Chemistry class, here’s the chemical equation:
2 C17H35COO−Na+ + Ca2+ → (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na+
In this chemical reaction, positively-charged calcium ions replace sodium ions in your shampoo or soap leaving scum and lime scale deposits on your skin and in your hair.
That’s right. If you have hard water, the same disgusting soap scum you’re always scrubbing in the tub is on your body too.
The best way to know if you’re dealing with hard water problems in the shower is to look at how well you’re lathering up. Hard water prevents you from getting a nice soapy lather in the shower. When you have soft water, it’s much easier to produce a foamy lather from your soap and shampoo.
After installing a water softener in their home, some people notice their skin feels slick and even slippery after bathing.
Part of this may be due to the fact you aren’t accustomed to how truly-clean skin feels. What you feel might simply be the real you. But you may also be in the habit of using too much soap. You won’t need to use as much with soft water.
How Hard Water Affects Your Hair
Have you ever noticed how your hair can look and feel different when you shower in different places?
Your hair behaves one way after showering at the gym, turns out another way when you’re vacationing or staying in a hotel, and looks completely different when you wash your hair at home.
If you have hard water at home, your hair may feel dry all the time and become frizzy m
aking it tangled and difficult to manage. It may also have a dull, lifeless appearance. That’s because those minerals and deposits build up in your hair.
With a water softener in your home, those hard water issues are eliminated. You will find that your hair has a more-attractive shine when you shower in softened water. And soft water will make your hair more manageable, so it’s easier for you to style it the way you want.
Sometimes people with finer hair complain that soft water can make their hair feel flat or even greasy. This is probably because you’re using too much soap and not rinsing it out of the hair completely. Rinsing your hair in the shower for a little longer may solve that problem.
Of all the hard water hair issues, the scariest has to be hair loss. Calcium build up can form around the base of hair follicles causing hair to break off and potentially hindering growth of new hair.
How Hard Water Affects Your Skin
Hard water can give you skin troubles too. Let’s start with the scalp.
You might assume it’s the shampoo you buy causing dandruff. But hard water may be the real culprit.
Hard water can make the rest of your skin feel dry and itchy as well. That’s thanks to the soapy residue left on your body, which clogs pores. Plus, the minerals in hard water can suck moisture right out of your skin leaving it even more dry and irritated.
In fact, certain studies indicate hard water may cause additional aggravation in people with skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. According to the dermatology site DermaHarmony.com:
“While hard water itself doesn’t cause dermatitis, it can irritate the condition or even initiate a flare-up. The combination of hard water with a co-existing dermatitis condition can lead to more frequent and severe outbreaks.”
Even washing clothes in hard water can be problematic to those with sensitive skin. Hard water leaves soap residue on your laundry too, and that residue is in contact with your skin all day long. If you have sensitive skin, the soft water a high-quality water softener provides could help you avoid much of the dehydration that occurs.
As the American Cleaning Institute explains, soap’s “effectiveness is reduced when used in hard water.” That means not only will you fail to get clean in the shower, it will be tougher to keep your house clean as well.
With hard water, you’ll end up using more soap to keep your body clean and more product to clean your home too. Softer water could mean you save significant money and time in the long run.
What Can You Do?
If you have a private well, you’re definitely dealing with hard water. But the majority of municipal water sources have levels of hardness as well. According to the USGS, in the United States, 85% of the water is considered hard.
There are certainly little tips and tricks you can use to try and improve your showering experience. However, there’s really only one permanent solution…that’s a water softener.
Water softeners remove those dissolved minerals from the water in your home. They are an investment that will make life for you and your family more convenient and more enjoyable.
Want to learn more about water conditioning options and what kind of water softener would be ideal for your home? Click the link to find out about our products!
Originally posted and written by Water Care on January 18th, 2016
- HARD WATER – 8 MAJOR SIGNS YOU HAVE PROBLEMS IN YOUR HOME (4/18/2016)
You just moved into a new place and you notice something is not quite right. There’s something going on, and you have a sneaking suspicion it might have to do with the tap water.
Hard water problems can be a real hassle, especially for new homeowners who may be unfamiliar with the issues it causes. Solving those problems can vastly improve your family’s quality of life and get things back to normal again.
So What is Hard Water?
We all learned in school that water is H2O – two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom make up a water molecule, right? What many of us don’t realize is that extra stuff can get into the water we drink. Some of it is perfectly safe to consume, while other water contaminants could negatively impact your family’s health. But tap water is certainly not 100% pure H20.
Hard water is basically water containing a high mineral count. Groundwater often percolates through limestone where it picks up calcium and magnesium deposits.
Drinking water can also contain trace minerals like iron, which gets picked up from the soil, lakes and rivers – even older, corroded plumbing. In some regions, hard water may also contain manganese or aluminum.
Of course, things like calcium, magnesium and iron aren’t necessarily bad for you. In fact, they’re actually beneficial nutrients. However, hard water sediments can also carry potentially harmful bacteria along with them. A 2014 study found hard water scaling is directly responsible for bacterial growth in residential drinking water.
If your home gets water from a well, you most likely have hard water. But it’s not just a rural issue. The U.S. Geological Survey says 85% of homes in the nation have hard water.
Here are eight potential problems hard water causes. Do any of them sound familiar?
1. Your Water Tastes or Smells Funny
A strange odor or taste to drinking water is often one of the first clues you have a water conditioning problem. It’s a sure-sign there is hard water or some sort of bacterial contaminant.
For instance, if your water has an unpleasant metallic taste. That’s probably too much iron.
If your water smells like rotten eggs, that could be naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide gas or certain bacteria reacting with magnesium to form sulfates.
Some people say their water tastes like dirt.
That could be sediment (actual dirt), old pipes or algae. Algal blooms can also give tap water a moldy aftertaste.
No one likes to drink water with a funky smell or flavor. But that’s just the beginning of your problems.
2. You’re Getting Strange Stains
Ugly brown or reddish stains on the porcelain are a big embarrassment.
You can blame hard water for that too – specifically iron.
It’s no coincidence those stains look a lot like rust spots. The iron in your water could be coming from rusty pipes.
You’ll have to use a lot of elbow grease to get rid of those stains.
3. You’re Constantly Cleaning Up Soap Scum
That’s what you get when water evaporates and leaves calcium deposits behind.
When you have hard water, you’ll notice nasty soap scum seems to accumulate all over the place. That’s because soap and the minerals in hard water just don’t play nicely together.
If your dishes are always spotty, it may not be your dishwasher, it’s probably your water. What’s worse – soap scum left on shower curtains can lead to the development of a microbial biofilm that might contain disease-spreading bacteria.
With hard water, you may find yourself cleaning the bathroom and kitchen more often and using more cleaning product to get the job done. Who wants to do that?
Showering is your time to escape the world for ten minutes to wash the dirt and worries away. But when you have hard water, shower time can be ruined.
As we’ve mentioned, minerals cause hard water to react ineffectively with soap.
This makes it harder to get a good lather when you bathe. It also makes it more difficult to wash all the soap off your body, leaving a film of soapy residue on your skin.
Deposits from hard water can clog up your shower head too. That means weaker water pressure.
With hard water, you may not be getting as clean and you may notice your hair is hard to manage. Yes, hard water could even be responsible for your bad hair days.
- Find out more about showering in hard water
5. Your Pipes Keep Getting Clogged
It can cause major plumbing issues as well.
Scale deposits build up inside your pipes, like plaque inside an artery, constricting the flow of water, eventually leading to backups and the need to call a plumber for help.
If you have PVC or copper pipes, this probably is not an issue. It’s most-common with older, steel pipes.
6. Your Clothes Aren’t Getting Clean
Soap is used to wash away dirt and grime, but when soap doesn’t get rinsed off, it can actually increase soil build up on your clothes.
Clothes washed in hard water often appear dingy and wear out faster. It can even make your towels scratchy and rough.
When you have hard water, you may have to buy detergent formulated to soften the water for you. However, you’ll likely have to use more laundry detergent (and hotter water) to get your clothes clean. It’s even advised that people with hard water use four times as much detergent.
Plus, just as iron stains your bathroom fixtures, it can stain your clothes. Premature yellowing of your whites could be caused by iron content in the water. When combined with bleach, iron oxidizes, and iron oxide is just another name for rust.
- Find out more about hard water and laundry
7. Your Family Has Skin Irritation Issues
Mineral deposits left on the body can also suck moisture right out of your skin.
The skin condition eczema is fairly common, especially among younger children.
There is research indicating that bathing in hard water could cause eczema symptoms to worsen.
Another study concluded exposure to hard water could increase the risk of developing eczema in elementary-school-age children.
8. Your Appliances Are Wearing Out Quickly
A build up of sediment in your water heater can make it far less efficient. The same goes for other appliances. Poor efficiency means bigger utility bills.
The icemaker in your fridge can stop working as scale deposits clog up valves. The American Water Works Association says hard water can cause a washing machine to wear out 30% faster than normal.
It’s not difficult to see how hard water can cost you money in the long run. In fact, it’s estimated hard water expenses could cost you $800 or more every year.
How Water Conditioning Could Help
There are different solutions to different problems, but there’s only one perfect answer to all your hard water issues. That would be installing a water softener in your home.
Water softeners remove things like calcium, magnesium and iron from your water as it comes in from the source. It’s an investment that could save you headaches as well as money.
There are also other types of water conditioning products, like a reverse osmosis system, which can help eliminate potentially harmful contaminants.
If you’re ready to look into the possibility of a water softener in your home, or if you simply have questions about the options available, we offer free water testing in your home or at our store giving you instant results and an honest recommendation for treatment.
Originally posted and written by Water-Care on December 7th, 2015
- Home Shows 2016 (3/8/2016)It is that time of the year again! We will have booths set up at the home shows in Frederick, Timonium, and Westminster this month!The home show dates are as follows:
- Frederick Home Show: March 19th and 20th at the E‑ventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds.
- Carroll County Times Home Show: March 12th and 13th at the Shipley Arena.
- Maryland Home and Garden Show: March 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, and 13th at the Timonium Fairgrounds Cow Palace.
- Mr. Blue (2/29/2016)
- Did You Know? (2/12/2016)
- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (12/21/2015)
From all of us at Atlantic Blue, we want to wish you and your
family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We also want to thank you for another great year. We look forward
to serving you even better in 2016.
As always, if you run into any problems during the holidays, we
are here with 24/7 same day emergency service.
-Mark and Chris Mather
- Holiday season is coming! (10/15/2015)Believe it or not Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. As we all prepare for family to visit, we always recommend that your water treatment and plumbing is up to par and ready for all the extra use it goes through during these seasons.This is where we come in! if you have any projects that you have been putting off, now is the time. We have brand new winter savings coupons for all your plumbing and water treatment needs.Find out why we’ve been voted Carroll’s best 16 years running. Give us a call and let us worry about it.
- Earth Day 2015 (4/23/2015)
Yesterday was Earth Day! Did you know that nine out of ten plastic water bottles end up as garbage or liter? In fact, we dispose of 28 billion water bottles in the landfill each year. Think outside the bottle and go bottle-less today! Click HERE to find out more!
- New Bottle-less Water Coolers! (4/23/2015)
- 24/7 Emergency Service no matter the weather (2/23/2015)
- Frozen Pipes (1/9/2015)
An article with a couple tips on how to prevent frozen pipes during this frigid weather.
Westminster, MD 21157
- Jingle! (10/21/2014)
Take a listen to our brand new jingle!
- Atlantic Blue is Carroll’s Best in Water Softening & Conditioning for 2014! (9/30/2014)
- Carroll’s Best 2014! (8/15/2014)
It’s time once again to vote for your favorite Carroll County Businesses!
There are four categories that we aim to win: Best Water Softening/Conditioning, Best Plumbing Contractor, Best Services Facebook page & Best Services Website.
The link to vote is below:
Thank you for making us Carroll’s Best 14 years running!
Voting ends August 17th!
- Facebook Sweet Frog giveaway! (7/28/2014)
- New Savings!!!! (6/16/2014)
Brand new savings on our website! Check them out here:
We service all of Carroll County Maryland and surrounding areas with same day or next day service available.
Call or email us for any of your residential or commercial plumbing needs. Areas serviced include the following. If you don’t see your city below, please call.
Westminster, Finksburg, New Windsor, Union Bridge, Upperco, Union Mills, Taneytown, Manchester, Hampstead, Keymar, Lineboro, Linwood, Woodbine, Gamber, Eldersburg, Sykesvile, Marriottsville, Mt Airy, Winfield, Taylorsville.
- Sweetfrog Giveaway! (6/3/2014)
- Emergency Service Provided (5/6/2014)
- Sub Zero Temps (5/6/2014)
- Clogged Drain? (5/6/2014)
- Sump Pump Replacement (4/30/2014)
With all this rain make sure your sump pump is working properly!
Atlantic Blue offers sump pump repair & replacement services. Our technicians service Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Cecil County.
Locally, we service Hampstead MD, Westminster MD, Finksburg MD, Manchester MD, and Eldersburg MD. Atlantic Blue also provides a wide range of water conditioning and plumbing services to residential homes, businesses and offices throughout Carroll County Maryland.
- ***New Review*** (4/14/2014)
- New Billboard (4/14/2014)
- 2014 Carroll County Home Show (3/24/2014)
- March Madness 2014 (3/20/2014)
Just because we’re a plumbing and water treatment company doesn’t mean we don’t participate in #MarchMadness!
- Carroll Home Show (3/17/2014)
We will be at the Carroll Home Show this weekend at the Carroll County Ag Center! Click Here for more information!
- Frederick Home Show (3/17/2014)
- Emergency service! (3/12/2014)
- Replacing a septic line in Phoenix MD! (3/12/2014)
- Clipper Ad (2/26/2014)
- Well pump replacement Woodbine MD in the snow storm! (2/18/2014)
- Frozen Pipes?! Give us a call!! (2/7/2014)
- Homeshow 2014! (2/6/2014)
As the home shows in 2014 quickly approach, we have thought of many new ways to save you even more! Make sure you come by and check out our booth in the Timonium, Carroll and Fredrick MD locations!
- PLUMBING DIVISION! (1/30/2014)
- **NOW AVAILABLE** – Bottleless Water Coolers (1/29/2014)
Bottleless water coolers are now in stock. Stop in to see one today or give us a call. These are available to dispense hot water, cold water, room temperature water or any combination. These are great for residential homes or local businesses that want to provide water for their customers. Bottle-Less Water Coolers by Atlantic Blue Water Services
- New Truck!! (1/20/2014)
- Sub Zero? No Problem! (1/9/2014)