Frequently Asked Questions
How much air pressure should my pressure tank have?
This depends on which pressure switch you have. If you have a 40/60 switch, the air pressure in the tank should be set to 38 PSI. The general rule is to set the pressure at 2 PSI below the cut-in pressure (the pressure at which the pump turns on).
To set this accurately, your well pump must be turned off and all water needs to be drained from the tank.
What is Drawdown?
Drawdown refers to the amount of water available in a pressure tank for use before the pressure switch turns the pump back on to replenish the supply. The larger the drawdown, the longer your pump will run for each cycle increasing pump life by reducing the number of times the pump has to turn on.
Should I treat all the water that comes in the house?
We recommend that the nearest out side faucet should be bypassed and if you have a sprinkler system for your lawn that should be bypassed also. We like to see one of the outside faucets use condition water for such things as washing cars (no spots), washing windows and siding, kids pools etc. The last thing you need to do is clean the spots from windows that has just been washed with hard water.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water that contains more than 1 GPG (grains per gallon) of dissolved minerals. (Usually calcium, magnesium).
How is hard water measured?
Hard water is usually measured in either PPM (parts per million) or GPG (grains per gallon).
17.1 PPM or Mg/L = 1 GPG or PPM or Mg/L divided by 17.1 = GPG (grains per gallon).
I've read ads that claim that Magnetic (magic?) Softeners would solve hard water problems. What is your experience?
Magnetic "conditioners" have been around for over 30 years and we have yet to see one that works. When we see one and only one equal claims maybe we will carry them, until that time we will not get involved in an unproven technology.
Why does the water softener have to add salt to the water?
A softener works by passing the hard water through resin beads which have soft sodium/potassium ions attached to them. While the water is in contact with the resin beads an ion exchange takes place with the hard mineral ions (typically calcium and/or magnesium) trading places with the soft sodium/potassium ions. After a period of use the sodium ions are depleted being replaced by calcium and magnesium. The resin then needs to be regenerated with the sodium ions so the resin will again be able to exchange the hard for the soft. However you can use potassium chloride.
How long does it take for a softener to regenerate and how much water do they use?
It depends on which water softener you purchase. There are four categories manual, electric mechanical, digital, and twin demand. Each one has a different time span for regeneration. Some units are more flexible than others and you should call us at 1-800-767-8731 to discuss what options are available. One thing to remember is that the larger the unit the longer time between regeneration. You will use more water to back wash a larger system.
Is a water softener a purifier?
A water softener is not a purifier and should not be sold or purchased to be one. A water softener is used for the reduction of hardness, iron and manganese. Water softeners will not remove chlorine, bacteria, or solids.
Why would I want to soften my water?
The water feels great!!!! You will be amazed how much time and money you will save on soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, dish washing soap, hand soap and lotions. Soft water greatly reduces the scaling in pipes and faucets. You spend less time scrubbing with abrasives cleaners, and you will have no soap scum in tubs and showers. Facts show much longer life on hot water heaters, greater saving on fuel bills, extends the life on dishwashers, humidifiers, clothes and so much more. And if you like luxurious bubble baths, shinier hair and cleaner skin, soft water is the way to go.
Someone told me that softened water feels slimy. Is this true?
When you wash your skin with hard water, there is a layer of soap and minerals that is left on your skin. This is what causes the supposed squeaky-clean feeling. With soft water, the soap is completely rinsed away leaving just the natural oils your skin produces.
I've heard that a water softener adds sodium to my water supply. Is this true?
Yes. A household water softener removes the hardness minerals - calcium and magnesium - from water and replaces them with sodium ions or potassium ions (if you use potassium chloride).
How much sodium is added to the water by the softener?
That depends on the hardness of the original water. This table shows the additional amount of sodium consumed by drinking one quart of softened water.
Initial Hardness Sodium Added
1.0 grains per gallon7.5 milligrams/quart
5.0 grains per gallon 37.5 milligrams/quart
10.0 grains per gallon 75.0 milligrams/quart
20.0 grains per gallon150.0 milligrams/quart
40.0 grains per gallon300.0 milligrams/quart
As a comparison,
1 slice of white bread has 161 milligrams of sodium
3/4 cup of canned baked beans = 1130 milligrams
1 tablespoon of catsup = 204 milligrams
1 medium frankfurter = 610 milligrams
and 1 Cup of whole milk = 127 milligrams
Even a common Alka Seltzer tablet contains 532 milligrams of sodium
Do I have to use salt?
No, stores that sell softener salt will also sell a salt substitute (potassium chloride). This is just as effective as the regular salt, but add potassium instead of sodium. The downside is that potassium chloride costs between 2 and 3 times more than the regular softener salt.
What should I look for in a water softener?
One of the main features you should look for is capacity (measured in grains) and how it determines when to regenerate. We carry 24,000, 32,000 48,000, 64,000, 96,000, 128,000 grain capacity plus water softeners. Most units meter how much water has been used to determine when it should regenerate. This is what we call demand regeneration.
Some units regenerate after a fixed period of time regardless of how much water you've actually used. This type of unit will may use more water and salt.
What difference does size make?
Example…. 32,000 grains softener in combination with knowing your hardness level will tell you how often it will regenerate, and consequently how often you will have to add salt.
If you have a family of four and your hardness level is 10. Divide the 32,000 by your hardness (10), giving you 3,200 gallons of treated water. The average person uses about 75 gallons per day, so divide the 3,200 by 300 (75 gallons x 4 people). This gives you 11 days between regeneration. Our softener uses about 9 lbs. of salt per regeneration.
How much water does it take to dissolve 9 pounds of salt?
One gallon of water will dissolve 3 pounds of salt. To dissolve 9 pounds of salt, you will need 3 gallons of water.
Do I need an exact amount of salt in the brine tank for the softener to regenerate properly?
The amount of salt placed into the brine storage tank has nothing to do with the amount of salt used during the regeneration cycle. Water will dissolve and absorb salt only until it becomes saturated. A given amount of brine (salt saturated water) contains a specific amount of salt. Just make sure that there is at least enough salt for a regeneration cycle.
Should a softeners capacity be large enough so that it does not regenerate more than every two days?
Yes, most dealers like to see four days or more.
What is an ideal period between regenerations?
Once a week is a good rule of thumb.
Do long periods between regeneration (say a month) have any negative effects on the softener?
A water softener should be regenerated when the softener has reached its capacity and is unable to keep exchanging the hard ions for the soft ions. How often a water softener regenerates is dependent on how many grains per gallon of hardness is present in your water and the capacity of your water softener. If the capacity of the water softener is 40,000 grain, and you have 10 grains per gallon of hardness, then your softener would regenerate after 4,000 gallons of water had passed through it. How quickly you would use 4,000 gallons of water would really depend on your water usage. Long periods between regeneration would not have any effect on the softener if water were being used and traveling through the softener. If water is not being used, sitting in the softener, then the water in the softener could be bacteriological fouled. Fouling would depend greatly on condition of your well water or water source.
What should I do if I have not used water through my water softener for a month?
Add 2oz. of chlorine bleach to brine tank. (pour it down the brine well).
What makes your softeners (or filters) better than others that charge as much as two to four times the price?
The first thing to look when purchasing a system is the company. Aqua Science is a 26 year old company with over 50,000 customers. Our only business is water.
All softeners, regardless of price, should soften your water (i.e. reduce the hardness to 0 grains).
The question is how long will the unit last?
How often does it regenerate?
How large is the grain capacity?
What is the warranty?
Does the softener regenerate based on time rather than how much water has been used?
How easy is it to change the settings and service the unit?
How quickly can you get your questions answered and your problems solved?
What's the difference between demand versus timer units?
The difference is that a demand softener only regenerates when you use enough water to cause it to regenerate. The automatic timer or day clock model units will regenerate at a specific day even though you have not used any amount of water. ( however the day time models are some time better with ph neutralizers, backwash carbon filters, iron filters etc). Savings in salt and water is the big difference and this is very important in your purchase decision.
Why do you recommend a two tank system over a one tank system?
Salt water is corrosive. If you live by a beach and have a car, you see the results all the time. With one tank system the controls are very close to the salts. We feel that it's far better to keep the electronics away from the effects of the salt. Another important thing to consider is with a cabinet model unit the mineral tank is in the center of the salt. Tanks will sweat from time to time. The sweat gets into the salt, causing the salt starts to dissolve. The sweat will stop sooner or later depending on the humidity in the air. The wet salt will bridge causing a problem that could cost you a service call. With a bridged brine tank there will not be enough brine to regenerate your system and your water quality will suffer.
Can a water softener harm my septic tank?
After targeted research, the answer is NO -- soften with confidence.
On-site household sewage disposal systems work simply. The main soil pipe from a home's plumbing system empties into a concrete or steel tank buried a prescribed distance from the house and beneath the frost line. The common single-compartment tank has a baffle near the inlet pipe, which prevents the effluent from backing up, and reduces the turbulence of the incoming waste. Once the effluent enters the tank, the heavier solids sink to the bottom, while more buoyant substances rise to the surface. Various bacteria present in the effluent, as well as other organisms, which have been introduced to the tank, digest the waste material and chemically change it. The bacterial action, working in the absence of oxygen, is referred to as an anaerobic process. Another vented system is operation all similar, but the decomposition is aerobic, i.e., requires air.
After the bacterial action occurs, relatively clear water is discharged through the outlet pipe of the tank. It flows to a distribution box, where it is diverted to the drainage field through perforated, loosely connected pipes. The loose joints and perforations permit seepage into the surrounding soil. To enhance the water dispersion, the pipes are generally laid in beds of gravel or loose rock.
This covers the disposal system side of the story. The other side concerns water before it gets to the tap, and features the water softening system.
A typical water softener uses a resinous material that attracts sodium ions. The ion exchange resin reacts with the influent water exchanging the sodium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions. Calcium and magnesium are naturally occurring minerals present in many water sources. The presence of these ions makes water "hard." Exchanging the calcium and magnesium ions for sodium or potassium ions "softens" the water. During the regeneration cycle, the hardness ions are removed from the softener exchange resin, and discharged with the backwash and some excess regenerant salt (sodium chloride or potassium chloride) that is necessary to drive the regeneration reaction.
In the 1970s, a number of counties and states became concerned about the effects of the softened water on septic systems. Although the assumptions proved wrong, there were three primary reasons for what turned out to be unfounded concerns and false assumptions. It is commonly known that bacterial life forms are threatened if their surroundings have too much or too little salt. It was feared that the higher concentration of salt in the effluent or softened water would be harmful or fatal to the tank's bacterial action.
The second concern was that the backwash flow rate during regeneration would introduce water faster than the tank could handle. This would force effluent out of the tank before the bacterial action could be completed. In other words, "unprocessed waste water" would be sent out into the drainage field.
Finally, it was feared that the salt brine produced by the softener would lower the drainage field's ability to absorb water. This assumption came from agricultural studies on irrigation systems with high sodium content.
These were "common sense" arguments about a suspected problem, and weren't verified facts resulting from scientific testing. As a result of these assumptions and to address this situation, the Water Quality Association (WQA) sponsored research at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and at the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). These groups conducted comprehensive studies to confirm or reject these assumptions.
Results Favor Softening
The opposite of the assumptions listed above was shown to be true as a result of scientific testing.
First, the effect of softened water on bacteria was actually beneficial rather than detrimental. The normal salt content found that in "unsoftened" effluent is less than ideal for bacterial growth. The addition of sodium to the system was found to bring the bacterial environment closer to the optimal range. Soft water was, in effect, "healthy" for the organisms.
Second, the volume of backwash during regeneration did not disrupt the time involved in bacterial processing of effluent; it was easily within the limits that the tank could handle. It was noted that an automatic dishwasher would pose a greater threat on these grounds than would a water softener.
Concerns about salt and soil absorption rates were also dispelled. The increased sodium content in the tank's discharge was shown to have no detrimental effect on the soil's ability to absorb water in a normal drainage field. Interestingly, certain soil conditions benefited from it. Additionally, when the softener's calcium-rich regeneration backwash emptied into the septic system, the discharge could actually improve the soil's percolation. (Gypsum, a high calcium mineral, has long been used to increase the porosity of clay soils.)
The conclusions drawn from these tests is that softened water is NOT harmful to a normally operating septic system or drainage field. Obviously, this is good news to anyone who has suffered through dingy dishes or clothes, or struggled with precipitate build-up in pipes due to hard water. Homeowners can enjoy all the benefits of soft water without worrying that it will disrupt the efficiency of the household septic system.
REF: Water Review technical, (1988) volume 3,
Ref: Water Quality Research council; Revised September 1992.
Will a softener remove iron/red stains from my water?
If the iron is in its soluble form or clear iron (ferrous iron or Fe++) then in most cases it will, however it depends on how much iron you have. To remove ferric iron (Fe+++), you must use an iron filter. There are many different types of iron filters that can be used, all work with limitation, which you should know about before you chose one. We suggest you call us at 1-800-767-8731 for different types that will fit your special needs.
Will a softener remove tannin?
There is Anion tannin resins you can add to a water softener in the softener tank, which does a nice job in taking out tannins from water.
What kind of resin does your softeners include?
Our softener comes with CATION resin.
What if my hardness is greater than 10 grains per gallon?
If your water is harder than 10 grains per gallon then it will tend to foul the RO filter prematurely and will void any warranty. This is the case with almost all brands of RO systems. If your water is that hard we would recommend a water softener.
My water has an orange tint to it. What can I do?
The first thing we would recommend would be to have it professionally tested. The orange tint is usually the result of a high iron content. If your test confirms this then see below.
My water has a high iron content. How can I reduce this?
We get more questions about iron than any other water problem. The method depends on how much iron is in your system and how fine the particles are. A test you can do yourself would be to fill a clear glass with water and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. If the iron settles to the bottom then a cartridge type filter (5 micron or smaller) should be able to remove the majority of the iron particles. If the particles remain suspended then a filter won't help.
For removal of very fine iron particles you will need either a water softener or an iron removal system. A water softener will remove up to 4ppm of iron, but if used this way the resin will need to be cleaned about once a month. If yours is higher than that then you will need an iron removal system with special media. Different media would be used for different mineral conditions. Sometimes aeration can be used. It's not necessarily better than ion resins, but you wouldn't need to regenerate the system with any chemicals. We highly recommend that you consult with a local expert before ordering any water treatment system.
This must be backwashed with some type of oxidizer. This can be hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, potassium permanganate, etc. (caution, some of these products can be hazardous in concentrated form). Of the above, hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate will not lose their properties as fast as most of them.
To avoid having to backwash, you could use Birm® media. However it requires a pH of 7 or above, and there can be no presence of hydrogen sulfide.
Will a Reverse Osmosis system remove the salt from the softened water?
Yes most brands will remove 95%+ of the salt from the water. We recommend Hydrotech RO's they are outstanding units.
What is reverse osmosis?
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a common treatment technology that produces high quality water. The process works by forcing water under great pressure against a semipermeable membrane, where ion exclusion occurs. With ion exclusion, water molecules form a barrier that allows other water molecules to pass through while excluding most contaminants.
Typical contaminant rejection rates range from 85% to 99%, and a gallon of highly treated water can usually be produced from two to four gallons of raw water, depending on the initial quality of the water. Maintenance involves the replacement of the RO membrane cartridge every two or three years, and the carbon filter cartridges once or twice per year.
RO is effective for the reduction of a broad range of health and aesthetic contaminants, though it is typically not used for the reduction of biological pathogens. RO also incorporates an activated carbon filter, which can provide added treatment for the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) not treated by the membrane itself. It should be remembered that this brief description of water treatment technologies is only intended to provide an overview of how each technology can be applied to solve a water contamination problem.
Will an RO system produce 'pure' water"?
Many use the word "pure" and many books have been written on the subject. Purified water is a term that has little meaning unless additional specifications are supplied such as, salt free, bacteria free, etc. Distilled water is probably as close to "pure" as water can get. It is made by evaporation and removal of all solid particles plus dissolved material. Purified water by the reverse osmosis method probably means that the original water has reduced mineral content. Purified water by ultraviolet light probably means that the water source was passed through an ultraviolet system in hopes of disinfecting the water. It is generally recognized that no single water treatment method is a catchall for all possible contaminants. Each water treatment method has its strengths and weaknesses and all are dependent on the condition of the water source.
I've heard that I shouldn't use copper pipes with RO systems?
Piping after an RO unit should always be nonmetallic. RO units will pass all the CO2 that is in the feedwater. This means the water will be more corrosive.
I have hazardous water. Will an R.O. give me "pure" water?
R.O.'s (no matter what brand) do not produce sterile water. Some microbial growth is common after an r.o. system. If your feed water has microbiological water problems possibly an Ultra Violet water filtration system might be needed.
My R.O. is almost new and is rated to produce 24 gallons per day but it only produces about 6 gallons per day if I'm lucky?
Ratings provided by (honest) manufacturers are based on "ideal" situations. Please note, for example, both the pressure inlet and the temperature of the source water affect the production a lot (as well as the quality of the source water as well as the back pressure from the r.o. bladder tank, etc.). The lower the pressure inlet, and/or the lower the inlet temperature, and/or the worse the quality of the source water = the less the amount of water that is produced by your r.o. system. A "typical" 24 gallon per day rated r.o. could take over 12 hours to fill the 2 gallon storage bladder tank.
Is this crazy or what? It just doesn't seem right that with a 24 gpd rated r.o. (just an example, it could be a 30 gpd r.o.) that it takes as much as 12-16 hours to fill a two gallon bladder tank. Yes, we agree and that is why we are alerting you. It is extremely rare that any brand of r.o. will deliver near its rated gallonage. If your family needs more than 5 gpd and only has an 45 psi inlet you might consider buying a larger than 30 gpd rated r.o.. If you only have 40 psi we strongly recommend purchasing your r.o. with a booster pump. This statement applies not only to the r.o.'s that we sell but to the design of all brands of residential r.o.'s. MOST families don't use over 2-5 gallons of r.o. drinking water and, most families are perfectly happy with a 30 gpd r.o. system. If your family and/or your water source isn't "typical" then we suggest getting a bigger than 15-30 gpd rated system. Realize that if you have at least 50 psi inlet, fairly clear, 77°F and have the produced water dribbling into a container then the system will probably deliver slightly more than the ratings. Since this is probably not the case, we want to let you know this before you buy an r.o. system. Inlet water is "squeezed" through the r.o. membrane. That is how the principle of any brand r.o. works.
While I am buying an r.o. system from you should I order an extra membrane and carbon filters?
Most people will not mention this (or do not know) but r.o. membranes and carbon filters have a shelf life. We highly recommend that you buy your carbon filters and r.o. membranes right before installing them and not to purchase extras until you need them.
pH (acid) Neutralizers
My water has been leaving Blue/Green stains. How can I fix this?
Green or blue stains are usually a result of a combination of copper pipe and acidic water. This needs to be treated with an acid neutralizer. We always recommend you have your water tested locally and find out what the ph is and at that point you can get a better idea what filter you may need.
How do I know if my water is acidic?
The telltale signs of acidic water (if you have copper pipe) are blue or green stains in the bottom of your sink or tub. If these appear or if you suspect you have acidic water, then a simple pH test will tell you whether your water is acidic or not. You can get a pH test kit at most any pool supply store. If your water has a pH of less then 7 then it is considered acidic and should be treated.
How do these systems increase the pH level?
These systems operate by passing the acidic water through either the calcite or Corosex mediums which are dissolved into the water balancing out the pH level.
Why does the acid neutralizer increase hardness?
A calcite system uses crushed and screened white marble limestone which is dissolved in the water to neutralize acidic water. The dissolved limestone in the water is responsible for the increase in hardness. A Corosex system uses reactive Magnesia oxide which like calcite is dissolved in the water.
I tested my water and it has a pH of less then 5.3. What can I do?
There are other methods that must be considered such as a chemical metering pump to feed a liquid solution of soda ash or pot ash into the water system. These systems are easy to install, but do need attention.
Why should I purchase from Aqua Science and not from some other water treatment dealer?
Aqua Science has been recognized as one of the leading water treatment companies for more than twenty years. We carry only the best equipment on the market today. We back up our equipment with world class service. "Water is our only business" and we are dedicated to our customer's needs and concerns.
Will you assist me with installation of my equipment?
We will be more than happy to assist you or your plumber with installation and service of any and all equipment. It makes no difference if the equipment was purchased from Aqua Science or not.
How do you ship the equipment we buy?
We ship most orders via UPS. Larger pressure tanks and some filtration systems are shipped via truck. We do not mark up shipping and we give you all the discounts on transportation we receive.
How long after the order will you ship?
Usually the same day provided your order is placed before 2pm EST. If your order requires significant packing or needs to be palletized for freight shipment, it will most likely be shipped the next day. Orders placed over the weekend will be shipped the following Monday.
Do you ship C.O.D?
No, we do not ship C.O.D. We do accept all major credit cards, PayPal, Google Checkout, and personal checks. Personal checks need to be received before shipment can occur.
Do you finance systems?
No, we currently do not offer financing.
In order to offer such great prices are you using an refurbished goods or seconds?
We do not, have not, and will not sell any seconds or refurbished merchandise.
How do you sell your systems and equipment so cheap?
We can offer merchandise for less because we buy in large volume, discount our bills, do not employ commission sales people, and take every cost saving measure to offer you, the end user, the best deal on great products, and we have been doing this everyday for years.
What about replacement parts and media (refills) for my filters?
We stock thousands of parts, and will be happy to ship them to you. Again, this does not have to be equipment that was purchased from Aqua Science.
I have seen the name Aqua Science in my local phone book and their prices are more than double for the same product, are they part of your company?
The name Aqua Science is used by several dealerships around the country, but they have no connection with us. If you want to be sure your dealing with us call 1-800-767-8731.
How hard is a system to install?
We have designed systems that are very user friendly and can be installed by anyone that is handy. If this is a concern let us know up front and we can guide you into a system that even the not so handy can work with. We are here to help you every way we can.
Why don't you offer Culligan or Kinetico Systems?
We do not offer these systems because we feel that many of these systems are over priced. They only give you a system that only one company can work on and the prices of replacement parts to fix them are very high and difficult to get.
Let's face it, who would you buy a car that you can only get gas at one station in your territory? They are franchises and the equipment is made from proprietory parts. Only special parts and tools can be used to repair them, therefore, the customer has no one else to go to. Chances of paying higher prices is guarenteed and poorer service is greater when you only have one person to call.
Frankly, we feel what we have to offer are better products. We can engineer a system that fits your problem. We offer hundreds of systems, priced to fit any budget. Franchised companies have very limited styles to offer.
With franchises, there are a lot of different mouths to feed before the product gets to you and at that point the value is just not there.
Think for a minute!!! Do I want a system that only one person in my territory can work on or do I want to be free to call on many to solve a problem if one should arise?
Do yourself a favor, go to the yellow pages. Look up water treatment dealers, call the independent and ask if they stock parts or will service Culligan or Kinetico systems. Sorry, the answer is NO. Then ask if they will work on Fleck or Autotrol controls. Yes!!! We can help you.
What if I have a problem with my filter, how can you help me?
Aqua Science has a trained staff that can walk you through a series of trouble shooting guides that will help you if a problem exists. In most cases we will give you a solution for your problem. Just call 1-800-767-8731 and ask for tech support.
What countries do you ship to?
We ship all over the world. However, all local taxes and duties will be the responsibility of the purchaser.
How do I go about purchasing a water treatment system?
The first step in correcting a water quality problem is to have you water tested. If you ever have a question about your safety contact a local reputable water treatment dealer who will be able to give you insight in what to test for in your area. However if you are concerned about aesthetic such as taste, color, pH, tds, iron, manganese, hardness, odor and nitrates send Aqua Science a 4oz. Sample of your water. We will test your water free of charge.
Testing the water will help determine the proper treatment necessary. Once you have the results of your water test you need to ask yourself a few basic questions: such as how much filtered water will I need at once.
How can I tell what is in my water?
You can either have it tested locally or you can send it to us
and we will test it for free (10 chemicals ). Such as ph, TDS (total dissolved solids), Hardness, Iron, Iron Bacteria, Manganese, Copper, Nitrates, Sulfate and Tannins
How much water DO I USE AT ONE TIME?
toilet will normally use 1 ½ GPM (ONLY TO FILL)
shower: 1 1/2 - 3 GPM
bathroom or kitchen faucet at full speed: 2-3GPM
dishwasher: 1 ½ -2 ½GPM (ONLY TO FILL)
washing machine 1 ½ -2 ½ GPM (ONLY TO FILL)
Lately I have noticed a sulfur smell in my water?
This usually comes from one of two sources:
If you notice the smell only in your hot water then most likely your water heater is the culprit. In many water heaters the anode rod is made of magnesium. As the anode rod breaks down (which is what it is designed to do), it can create hydrogen sulfide. A magnesium rod can be replaced with an aluminum rod to eliminate this problem. It can also be caused by sulphate-reducing bacteria which thrive in the warm environment present in a water heater. To reduce the bacteria, you may need to add hydrogen peroxide into the tank (approx. 1 pint/40 gallons of water), re-pressurize it, run 2-3 gallons of hot water at each fixture and then let it set for at least one hour, with overnight being better. This will help clean the tank and piping of bacteria. While the mixture is non-toxic at this strength, run a hot water tap the next day until it runs cold then wait an hour and drain the water heater. Last, check the temperature of the hot water as soon as the burner shuts off. If necessary, lower the temperature to 125 degrees. This limits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, limits the formation of scale, is safer for everyone using hot water, and it lowers your operating costs as well.
If you notice the smell in both your hot and cold water then it's probably due to well water. Hydrogen Sulfide is formed from decomposing underground deposits of organic matter like decaying plants. It can occur in deep or shallow wells and is the result of bacterial action that reduces sulfates in water to hydrogen sulfide. The simple solution for this is shock chlorination to the entire water system - starting from the well, all the way through the distribution lines. Chlorine should be kept in the system for several hours, preferably overnight. If the problem persists, then you may have to install an ion exchange system. If you have very high levels of hydrogen sulfide (over 5ppm) then you may need to utilize a combination of chlorine feed, aeration, and ion exchange.
Note: high levels of chlorine can cause damage to your pipes and is toxic in concentrated form.
Ultraviolet Systems (UV)
Is there anything I should do before installing an ultraviolet filter system?
Before installing any UV (brand) unit, it's a good idea to start with a clean system (water lines, water heater, etc.). Disinfect the entire downstream system with chlorine or other disinfectant that is safe for piping and humans. Microorganisms will continue to thrive unless you take the time to start with a clean system.
A sediment filter should be installed prior to the system to keep the quartz sleeve and other components from fouling.
Does a UV system require any chemicals or anything else that I have to add?
Most manufacturers recommend that you use a 5 micron (or smaller) sediment filter before a UV unit. This is required because large particles provide a haven for microorganisms that you are trying to destroy. Depending on the turbidity of the water, multiple sediment filters may also be required before the UV system. If color or suspended particles are present, the transmission quality of any UV light is diminished and its disinfecting properties are then limited. Where this is a problem, a quality carbon filter may be needed after the sediment filter and before the UV unit.
I just installed a new filter cartridge and my water is cloudy white?
After you install a new filter (this is the case with any/all brands of filter cartridges) you should run it for a few minutes. Generally cloudy or white water indicates air in the line and this is natural and normal with a replacement of a cartridge. Air will enter in the housing, lines and cartridge. Just run the water for a few minutes and the cloudy conditions will go away (unless you have VERY cold water in which case it is the oxygen in the water that could be making the water look cloudy). It is always a good idea to run the water free flowing for a few minutes after installing any brand or type of new filter cartridge.
How long does the UV bulb itself last?
We recommend replacing the bulb once a year. The bulb may last longer than that, however its capacity for neutralizing microbes diminishes after that length of time.
How do these systems remove nitrate?
These systems use a type of filtering resin called "anion exchange resin". Anions (in this case nitrate and sulfate) are selectively removed in the filtering process. As the nitrate is removed, nontoxic chloride ions are substitued in a process known as "ion exchange".
Why do these systems use salt?
After the filtering resin removes a given amount of nitrate, the resin becomes "exhausted" and cannot remove any more nitrates or sulfates. At this point, the media must be cleaned in a process known as "regeneration". The salt is used as the "regenerate", that restores the resin and allows it to remove nitrate again.
Since this uses salt, does this soften the water?
No. Salt does not soften the water. Salt is also used in water softeners, which are "cation exchangers" where the softening resin removes calcium hardness and substitutes sodium ions. In Nitrate anion exchange systems, the chloride ion is used when the system automatically cleans itself with brine or salt water. No softening takes place.
How will I know if the system is working?
It is very important to regularly test the filtered water for nitrate. Nitrate is especially toxic to infants, pregnant women, and pregnant livestock. If the water contains over 15 PPM of nitrate, we recommend further treatment by Reverse Osmosis, if this water is to be used for infant formula by pregnant mothers.
Can I taste or smell Nitrate?
No. Nitrate is colorless, odorless and does not impart a taste to the water.
Do these nitrate systems purify the water for drinking?
No, these systems only reduce nitrate and sulfate. No purification takes place other than the reduction of these compounds. If the water is high in nitrates as a result of agricultural contamination or run-off, there is HIGHER PROBABILITY of the presence of other toxic compounds such as pesticide and herbicide residuals.
Is it harmful to shower in high-nitrate water?
It is not harmful to shower in the water high in nitrate. We typically see nitrate in area wells in the form of calcium nitrate. Unlike organic compounds such as hexane or benzene, calcium nitrate is not absorbed through skin.
Why not just treat the water at point-of-use for drinking?
This is often the best approach, unless nitrate reduced water is desired throughout the home. (Common in Real Estate transactions.) Most of the nitrate systems we have installed are used to comply with Health Dept. regulations and address concerns for humans and pets.
Can I get help in sizing a nitrate system for my application?
Yes. We have trained staff who will give you the best advice for your needs. If you do not have a water test already done, you can get one done locally or we'll send you a sample bottle
. Or call 1-800-767-8731 and we will send you a free test kit and will be happy to quote a system for your needs.