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COMMON SPRINGTIME WELL WATER ISSUES AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

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.

Salt Contamination 

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.

Seasonal Odors

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

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

 

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.

https://www.atlanticbluewaterservices.com/water-treatment/

4 WAYS TO SAVE YOUR HAIR FROM HARD WATER

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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

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GET RID OF IRON AND RUST STAINS ONCE AND FOR ALL

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

Stains on toilet bowls like this are the result of elevated iron content in a home’s private well water.

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.

Lime Descalers

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

Problems & Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

Originally written and published by Water Care

water-care

7 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR PRIVATE WELL

 

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

Funny-tasting water

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

well cap, well coverIt’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

road salt well waterIn 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.

Atlantic Blue Water Test Free In Home
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

water-care

HOW YOU CAN GET MORE DETERGENT FOR YOUR DOLLAR WITH SOFT WATER

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:

  • Coffee
  • Dust sebum
  • Grass
  • Blood
  • 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

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WINTERIZING YOUR WATER SOFTENER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

how-to-winterize-water-softener

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!

410-840-BLUE (2583)

 

 

Originally written and published by Water Care

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IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS WITH SOFT WATER

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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

soft-water-clean-wine-glasses

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

showering-in-soft-water

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

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WHY YOU CAN STILL GET SPOTTING WITH A WATER SOFTENER

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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.

Water-Right Salt Monitor

Water-Right Salt Monitor
(Model No. CV-3395)

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

testing water with TDS meter

Testing total dissolved solids with a TDS meter

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

whole house reverse osmosis systemIn 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

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