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Monday, December 23rd by Mike Ohlinger
There are a lot of reasons to look into water treatment solutions for your home. Maybe you’ve finally had enough of the iron stains that your water leaves behind on your antique porcelain sink. Maybe you’re sick of the weird smells wafting out of your kitchen tap every time you turn it on. Or maybe your mother, who is staying at your house during the holidays, is complaining that the hard water flowing through your home has turned her morning shower into a weak morning drizzle.
Whatever the reason for pursuing a treatment solution for your home, the decision is usually preceded by a problem rearing its head. This isn’t the wrong way of looking at things: water softeners and filters are solutions to problem water, after all.
If you’re on the fence about whether you really need that reverse osmosis system beneath your sink or that water softener in your basement, a better way of looking at water treatment may be to examine how you use water in your home. How are some of the daily tasks that you do impacted by the quality of water that you’re currently using? More importantly, what quality of water should you be using for the tasks around your home that you do every single day?
1. Eating and Drinking: Whether you’re baking, cooking, or just looking for a glass of water in the middle of the night, you want the water that you use in the kitchen to be of the absolute highest quality possible. A reverse osmosis (RO) system provides the best water for everything that happens in the kitchen. Crystal clear and taste-free, RO water is the best foundation for your morning coffee or the bread recipe you stole from the corner bakery to one-up your mother at the next family gathering.
The contaminants like iron, manganese or sulfur common in well water, and high amounts of chlorine found in some municipality’s water supplies have a distinct effect on the flavor of the recipe that the water is used in. Hard water minerals can also cause water to take longer to boil, ruining the taste and texture of some of your favorite dishes. So, for the best tasting, most consistent cooking and drink-making, it’s recommended to use softened or reverse osmosis water in the kitchen.
2. Bathing and Cleaning: For baths and showers, soft water is the way to go. Not only does it eliminate the damaging buildup on your shower head and bath fixtures that hard water leaves behind, but it also leaves your skin and hair more moisturized after getting out of the shower and realizing that your mother, who is still staying at your place, has taken the last towel off of the hook, leaving you nothing to dry off with.
Mopping the floors or wiping down your kitchen counter also benefits from soft water, allowing your cleaning agents to work harder while using less of them. For cleaning surfaces that require streak-free finishes, consider using reverse osmosis for the small jobs but that high-quality, purified water isn’t necessary throughout the rest of your home.
3. Outdoor Work: Often, but not always, water softeners or filters are able to bypass outdoor water connections. Consider the sprinkler in your front yard that you run during the hot summer months. If you use it for an hour a day, you can use up to 1020 gallons of water. A whole month of regular sprinkler usage will have consumed 12,240 gallons of water. This volume of water running through your home’s water filter or softener will force your unit to regenerate more often and, in the case of a softener, require more trips to the brine tank to add more salt.
That’s not to say treating your outdoor water source isn’t useful in certain instances. For example, if you have very high iron content in your water, the outdoor hose can leave your driveway, sidewalk, and home stained and dingy. Filtered water can fix that problem.
But, in most cases, using untreated, “raw” water for your outdoor tasks is perfectly adequate.
4. Home Appliances: Nothing’s worse than an appliance not working when it needs to, like when your mother, who decided last minute to stay an extra couple of days, wakes you up at 5:00 in the morning complaining that the coffee machine isn’t turning on…
The rule of thumb with water-using appliances is to supply them with soft water. In most cases, running hard water through appliances will decrease their lifetime by years, leading to significant cost and frustration over time. Switching to soft water means your appliances won’t need to work as hard, will break down less often, and in the case of clothes washers and dishwashers, will use less detergent and soaps to get the job done properly.
In some instances, using a higher grade of water, like reverse osmosis, is beneficial. Humidifiers or certain CPAP units, for example, require very pure water to keep their heating elements in good working order.
Knowing what grade of water to use in the right situation can help keep your home running smoothly and the complaints from certain family members staying over for the holidays down to a dull roar. If you’re ready to start using the right water for the right job, contact your local Evolve dealer to see how you can start saving time and money today!