A common misconception when it comes to water conditioning is that it’s reserved strictly for homes that are still served by well water. While homes connected to well water should certainly have their water conditioned, homes served by public water also see immense benefits from having their water conditioned.
What is water conditioning?
Water conditioning is a catch all phrase to describe treating water to fix whatever may be wrong with it. The four main types of water conditions we see in this area are hard water, acidic water, iron algae bacteria, and coliform bacteria. Unfortunately, Chester County and its surrounding areas are known for their notoriously bad water. From Chester Springs where there is a lot of iron algae to Collegeville where water hardness can be in the high twenties to Downingtown where the well water is acidic, and the public water is hard. The diverse range of water conditions means you need a qualified technician to test and determine what remediation would best fit your situation.
Get a free water test today!
Diagnosing and installing water conditioning equipment requires a professional plumber who understands not only public water systems but private well systems as well. We carry a range of water test kits on all of our trucks and can conduct a free water test right in your home to detect pH, hardness, TDS, and Iron. We also offer a more in-depth water test kit that is lab tested through a partnership with Penn State University and can check for biologicals, heavy metals and other contaminants.
Hard water is water that has a high content of minerals (usually magnesium and calcium). The minerals in the water clog plumbing pipes and faucets; decrease the efficiency of water heaters, dishwashers and ice makers and greatly reduce the effectiveness of cleaning agents. In addition, hard water is bad for your hair and skin, creates soap scum in your sinks and showers and makes your laundry fade faster and wear out more quickly. Not only is hard water detrimental to the systems within your home but it can also cause some troublesome issues with you, the homeowner. Dry skin, dry hair and stiff, starchy laundry can all be hard water culprits.
Install a Water Softener
A water softener removes the minerals in your water through a process called ion exchange. The water is passed thought the softener where the magnesium and calcium ions are exchanged with sodium ions. The result is softer water.
Benefits of Softer Water
What are the benefits of soft water? In short, everything that your water touches will last longer. From the copper in your plumbing system to water heaters, ice makers, dishwashers and faucets, the elimination of minerals in the water will benefit several systems in your home.
Softened water is also beneficial to you. Not only will your water taste better and wash better, its softer properties leave your hair and skin feeling softer and shinier too, while also needing less shampoo and conditioner to get clean.
Acidic water has a low pH which is why we refer to it as acidic. Acidic water, just like hard water, can cause several problems in a plumbing system. The acidity causes metal ions such as iron, manganese, copper, lead and zinc to leach into the water, resulting in elevated levels of toxic metals in your water which can corrode pipes and fixtures. If you’re noticing blue or red staining in your sinks or pinhole leaks in your copper piping, these could serve as telltale clues that your water is acidic.
Install an Acid Neutralizer
An acid neutralizer works to change the pH of the water by passing the water through a special media mix which counteracts the low pH, resulting in neutral water. While this process work to neutralize the water and protect your home’s plumbing, it is highly recommended to pair its installation with a water softener to maximize its benefits.
Benefits of Neutral Water
One of the most critical benefits of neutralized water is the elimination of pesky pinhole leaks in your plumbing system, especially copper piping. With the absence of acidity in the water, you will find that appliances and faucets will also last longer. Aside from longevity of piping and appliances, you will also see a reduction of nasty staining in sinks and showers.
Iron Algae Bacteria
Iron algae can cause red stains, cloudy and/or smelly water. Iron algae bacteria is common in many parts of Chester County including the Chester Springs, Downingtown and Coatesville areas. Algae is a living organism that is most often found in homes on well systems. The algae can decrease the life of a well pump and its components (well tank, pressure gauge, etc.) and in extreme cases can cause staining of laundry.
A Multi-phase Approach
Every well systems environment is different, and a water test is necessary to determine the appropriate remediation steps. Paramount Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning offers this simple test free of charge. In situations where there is concerns for biologicals or heavy metals we also offer a more in-depth test through a partnership with Penn State University. Generally, a combination of physical removal and chemical treatment is combined to kill and eliminate the algae.
Coliform Bacteria in Water
Coliform and other bacteria can be found in some well water systems. There are a variety of causes ranging from infection of springs to past use of the land or surrounding lands. Our partnership with Penn State allows us the opportunity to utilize a state certified lab to offer water tests for these situations. If bacteria are found the most common solution is the installation of a UV light.
Install an Ultraviolet Light (UV Light)
The UV light works by passing the contaminated water through a chamber that is exposed to the ultraviolet light and thereby preventing the bacteria from reproducing. Most UV systems need to have the bulb changed yearly otherwise the effectiveness can wear out.