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All About Water

Dealing With Hard Water

Hard water is a common problem in many households across the United States. If you've ever had to clean soap scum off of shower walls, had water scale clog up your pipes, or your freezer has produced milky, cloudy ice cubes, you have experienced some of the common problems associated with hard water.

But what is hard water? Put simply, hard water is water that has a high mineral content. The minerals in the water prevent soap from sudsing properly, leave a white film or residue behind, and can result in damage to water heaters.

A water softener is often all that is needed to fix hard water problems.

How Water Softeners Work

Salt is one of the main components of a water softener and must be resupplied in order for the system to continue working correctly. So just how does a water softener work? In the simplest terms, hard water passes through a filter that contains negatively charged resin (plastic) beads. The resin beads attract and filter out calcium and magnesium minerals from the water – the two main culprits of hard water.

The newly soft water then passes through the filter and into the home. Water softener salt is required for cleaning the water softener system, also known as regeneration. During regeneration, positively charged salt ions force the magnesium and calcium off of the resin beads. The salty regeneration water is then flushed out of the softener and down the drain.

How Water Softeners Works Animation

How Reverse Osmosis Works

How Reverse Osmosis Works Animation

Contaminants in Tap and Well Water

There is no such thing as 100% pure tap water. All tap or well water contains some degree of dissolved solids or minerals. While not all minerals in water are harmful, it’s important to have your water tested to ensure it is free of undesirable pollutants. If particulates are found in your water, a home water filtration system can be easily installed in your main water line. Home water filtration systems improve water quality and taste in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry by removing iron, silt and other sediments.

Under sink water filtration systems are ideal solutions for removing chlorine, lead, bacteria and sediment from just tap water. Lean about contaminant levels in your area! The University of Cincinnati performed an independent study to review drinking water contaminant levels across the U.S. The data gathered was used to create an interactive chart that shows the drinking water quality and amount of contaminants in drinking water across 80 major metropolitan areas. Learn more about the U.C. Water Study.

Home Water Filtration System Benefits

A home water filtration system benefits your family in many ways. For example, municipal water treatment plants add chlorine or chloramines to tap water as a means of sanitization. However, sometimes the amount of chlorine or chloramines added results in an unpleasant water taste and odor. One of the benefits offered by a home water filtration system is the removal of chlorine and chloramines from tap water.

Many home water filtration systems are also capable of softening water and removing hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium - great benefits in addition to chlorine removal. Households with water filtration systems experience softer linens, softer skin, and spotless dishes; just a few of the many benefits noticed with softened water. A drinking water system can provide crystal clear ice cubes, and better tasting water and coffee, by removing potential impurities that could be in your water.

Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
click image to enlarge

The Process of Water Testing and Treatment

Water Quality Testing

We rely on water in more ways than we realize, and at Culligan, we think it's important to know what's in it. Testing the chemical compounds in your drinking water is the first step to fresher and better-tasting water.

When and Why Should I Test My Water?

Some dissolved solids, heavy metals, minerals, and other impurities can cause odors or odd tastes, and in some cases can even affect one's health. More importantly, some water additives and impurities, like arsenic, can cause problems you can't taste, see, or smell.

Culligan recommends you test your water:

  • After moving into a new home
  • As soon as you notice something seems off, such as water's odor, taste or appearance
  • If appliances that use water are collecting residue
  • If utility bills are climbing

Water tests screen for:

  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Total coliform and E. coli

Unseen problems can hide in water that may look otherwise clear and clean. Total contaminants, like lead, arsenic, nitrates, total coliform, and E. coli can cause potentially serious illnesses, depending on the levels of concentration. Traces of dissolved minerals can cause problems in plumbing and appliances, and can even be harsh on one's stomach, skin and hair.

Common Water Contaminants tested for include:

  • Calcium
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • pH
  • TDS (total dissolved solids)

Additional Water Contaminants that can be tested for include:

  • Aluminum
  • Arsenic III & IV
  • Barium
  • Chloramines
  • Chlorides
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Mercury
  • Nitrates
  • Sulfur

Lab Water Test

Culligan's lab test can reveal the harder-to-identify water problems. Based on the results from the initial water test, your Culligan Man will determine if a laboratory test is necessary. Culligan will then send your water sample to our EPA-certified lab for in-depth analytical testing. Results will be returned in about three days – that's when your Culligan Man can discuss findings/recommendations with you.

Glossary of Common Water Filtration and Water Purification Terms


Free Water Test

Don't wonder what's in your water - your Culligan Man™ can tell you. Contact your Culligan Man today for a free water test!

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