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What Water Quality Means for Your Home and Family

Mar 28, 2013 10:35AM ● By tina

The quality of water in your home can impact everything from the plumbing to your health

Sponsored by Berkeys Air Conditioning and Plumbing 

Written by Jeff Sims, Plumbing Manager, Berkeys

The quality of your home’s water can have a lasting impact, not only on your plumbing, but also your appliances, dishes, clothes and even your health. Let’s explore some of the common issues related to poor water quality, what causes them and steps you can take to treat them.

What is Water Quality?

Water Quality is measured by taking a sample of the water coming into your house and determining the amount of dissolved and present solids. Dissolved solids can be things like rust, lead and dirt, while un-dissolved solids are usually calcium, which will make your water appear milky or foggy. It is the city’s job to measure water quality and adhere to a set of standards defined by the EPA that dictates allowed amounts of dissolved and un-dissolved solids in your water. However, by the time water reaches your house, a lot can influence that quality. This includes old or corroded piping, leaks in underground water mains and faulty connections between pipe segments.

How Water Quality is managed

If water is high in lead due to an older water distribution system or water tower, some municipalities will add caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) to the water to raise its pH level, or corrosive qualities. Another technique is to add lime to the water to build up a calcium carbonate layer on pipes to act as a barrier between the pipe and water flow. All city water contains a certain level of calcium, but too much of it can cause one of the most common water quality problems: Hard Water.

Hard Water

Hard Water is defined as water that contains mineral salts (such as calcium and magnesium ions) that limit the formation of lather with soap. When you have hard water in your home you may notice it takes longer to wash your hands or your hair since hard water destroys the ability for soap to “sud” or make bubbles. While the World Health Organization has conducted research that does not indicate any immediate health risks to humans from hard drinking water, it can still have an impact on your skin and hair. Hard water is heavy in calcium and magnesium and can cause issues for people with sensitive scalp and skin or auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis or exzema.

Hard water will also leave calcium deposits in your pipes, your shower walls and your dishes. You’ll notice this when you have foggy glassware and spots on your silverware. In some cases we’ve even seen plastic utensils such as black spatulas and whisks turn gray after a dishwasher cycle!

Because hard water reduces the lathering ability of soaps, you may also find yourself using more laundry soap and / or running multiple dishwasher cycles.

How can you treat the water in your home?

If you know you have hard water or the city’s water quality is known to be bad, it’s usually best to have a licensed professional install a water softener or conditioner and whole house filtration system for you.

Water Softener: Uses salts and potassium to “soften” the water in your home. Usually installed either at the water source in your home or in the front yard.

Water Conditioner: Similar to a water softener, but does not use salt or potassium  to soften water. Recommended for people who need to keep their sodium intake in check. At Berkeys we recommend a cutting edge system called Flow-Tech that uses very little space and less energy than a night light.

Whole House Filtration: These can range from a series of filters installed at your home’s water source and faucets, to a complete filtration tank. A Berkeys technician can recommend the most effective and cost-saving solution for your home.

To wrap up…

Check your home using a store bought test, or have one of our technicians come out to test your water for you. Water quality changes by location and is almost never consistent. In rural areas, for example, you may have constantly changing water quality, while in larger cities you could have water odor or other quality issues. The important thing is to know what’s in your water and then find a solution that suits your home, health and of course your wallet.

About Berkeys

Berkeys is an award winning home service company, providing quality plumbing, air conditioning, and heating services to homeowners in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex for over 35 years.

All of our technicians, are background-checked, drug tested and have passed rigorous state examinations and are licensed by the State of Texas; they understand the complexity of state codes all the way down to local requirements.

Berkeys maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has led the field in area newspapers’ readers’ favorite polls.

Visit Berkeys for more information or call 877-BERKEYS.