Sacramento: How Do I Know My Water Softener Is Working?

Do you think about your water softener a lot? The answer is probably only “yes” if you’ve started noticing hard water build up on your dishes, or on fixtures and other areas around the house.  You might also notice a difference in the taste and quality of water coming from your tap, or a gradual change in the water pressure itself — these are all reliable signs that something may be wrong with your water softener.

Here Are Simple Ways to See If Your Home Water Softener Is Working

If you want to be thorough, you can have your water tested to see how hard or soft your water is. If the tests come back with high levels of dissolved minerals even with a water softener in your home, it’s likely time to either service your water softener, or consider replacing it.

Water Softener Maintenance and Upkeep

As a rule, you should have your water softener serviced at least once every year. If you live in an area of the country with especially hard water, you may want to increase your servicing schedule to every six months, as hard minerals wear on softeners and decrease their efficiency over time.

Your service schedule should also vary based on the type of water softener you have. Some softeners require salt as part of the softening process, so replacing the salt in these softeners can (and should) be done on a regular schedule set up according to your household water usage. Your local Culligan can always service your existing softener, or recommend a schedule for you, if you’re the DIY type.

Water Softeners: Service vs. Replacement

Just like all major appliances, water softeners eventually run into the end of their useful lives. If you’ve been asking yourself, ‘how do I know if my water softener is working properly?’ you may already be on the path to considering whether routine maintenance is enough to keep your softener working the way it needs to.

For example, if you’re having it serviced regularly and still noticing build up from hard water, or noticing it fairly quickly after servicing, that’s a sign the issue may run deeper than a standard service appointment. When your water softener is working harder than it needs to, it can also cost you extra money every month in your utility bills. If your softener isn’t working the way it should, not only does the softener itself requires more energy, so do all the rest of your home’s water-using appliances (dishwasher, hot water heater, washing machines, etc.)

Want to find out for sure if your water softener is working? The easiest way is to call your Sacramento Culligan and schedule a complimentary home water test.

Lead In Sacramento Water: What You Need to Know

Situations such as the lead contamination scandal Flint, Michigan have revitalized attention on lead in water, and the harmful effects it can have on our health. Lead is still common in plumbing in the [dealer info=”location”], and lead in drinking water can have serious consequences for adults and especially children.

The History of Lead in Drinking Water

Lead lends itself very easily to building pipes  – like those used for transporting water. It’s malleable, relatively cheap to use and, as a result, its use in plumbing dates back to early Roman cities. Lead piping was also the standard in the United States until the 1920s and 30s, when concerns about lead poisoning became better understood.

Why Lead in Water is Dangerous

In addition to its once widespread use, and continued use in some plumbing fittings and solder, lead is virtually undetectable in water. Since you can’t see, taste, or smell it, prolonged exposure can be all-too-common. Lead in drinking water is especially harmful for young children and pregnant women, but is not safe for anyone to consume, in any concentration.

Effects of Lead in Drinking Water

For children, the effects of consuming lead-contaminated water are especially high. Once consumed, lead remains in our bodies or ‘bioaccumulates’ as we can’t flush the contaminant from our system. Once there, lead can cause serious behavioral and cognitive problems for children, and over time it can lead to:

  • Low IQ
  • Hyperactivity
  • Slowed, delayed, and stunted growth
  • Problems hearing
  • Anemia
  • Seizures, coma, and possibly even death in severe situations

Lead also crosses the placenta, so it’s especially important for pregnant women to avoid drinking water contaminated with lead. In addition to harming the mother, it can cause stunted fetal growth and premature birth.

For the average adult, lead exposure from water can cause heart and cardiovascular issues, reduce kidney function, and contribute to reproductive problems. The degree and severity of these issues depends on how much lead you’ve been exposed too, and how much is stored in your body, though governing health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) caution that no amount of lead is safe.

Home Lead Water Testing

Did you recently purchase a home? That might be a good time to find out what’s in your water.

You can learn about your city or municipality’s water supply through the EPA-required water quality reports that should be available on your water bureau’s website. Water quality reports are required every year, and the results should be published and available to the public.

However, the only way to determine if your home’s water has lead in it is to run a chemical test specifically designed to indicate the presence of lead. This is important because even if your city or county’s water is known to be safe, the pipes, fixtures, and fittings surrounding your individual home may not be. Old solder and pipes have been responsible for various levels of lead in water around the country.

Your [dealer info=”dealer”] can test your water for lead, as well as any other contaminants. You can also find home water tests in your local hardware store – just read the labels carefully to make sure they’re intended for lead detection. In most cases, you’ll have to collect a water sample from your tap and mail it off for testing, with results back in a few weeks.

If you find out there is lead in your water, or you suspect there could be, it’s important to stop drinking it immediately. Drink and use only bottled water until you can install a water treatment or filtration system.

Learn more about lead in water, or schedule a home lead water test today with [dealer info=”dealer”] to make sure your drinking water is safe if you have any concerns.

Haloacetic Acids in Your Sacramento Water: The Need-to-Know Facts

What are HAAs and Why Care?

HAAs, or haloacetic acids, refer to a handful of compounds that can occur in tap water as a result of common municipal treatment methods such as chlorination. HAAs can also result in water that is treated with chloramines.  These acids are created when organic and inorganic materials already present in water react with the disinfectants (chlorine, chloramine) used to make water drinkable. The specific HAA created as a result of this exposure depends on the organic or inorganic material itself, as well as the treatment – usually chlorine or chloramine. Since HAAs appear in water after treatment, they’re commonly referred to as ‘treatment byproducts.’

What does this mean for me?

Both chlorine and chloramine are common methods used by cities and municipalities to treat water for homes and businesses. It’s a concern for some populations because certain kinds of HAAs have been found to cause cancers in some lab animals.  Other side effects include skin irritation, skin inflammation, and even birth defects in some cases.

Examples of HAAs in Water

New Jersey recently dealt with water that had been contaminated by elevated levels of HAAs, putting large populations of the state, specifically Newark residents, at increased risk for certain cancers. Massachusetts and West Virginia have also each dealt with recent haloacetic acid issues affecting their respective reservoirs.

The reasons for these contaminations are not uncommon — issues like agricultural runoff, flooding, and sewage contamination are all contributing factors that many regions face when it comes to proper management of watersheds. The best way to prevent HAA contamination, as a result, is by protecting our water sources initially so that treatment like chlorination is needed as little as possible.

How Can I Tell if I have HAA-Contaminated Water?

The first step to identifying potential contaminants or toxins in your drinking water is to contact your local utility or public health department. They should be able to tell you not only what kinds of contaminants are in the water supply, but also what treatment method is being used to eliminate the health risks associated with those contaminants. You can also test water yourself with a home test kit, or arrange for a more advanced chemical test from a water expert like Culligan.

After you determine what’s impacting your tap water, you can make a more informed decision about treating it.

Treating Water With HAAs

If you find out you have HAAs in your water, it will be helpful to know what kind in order to make sure that whatever treatment method you choose will effectively remove the specific haloacetic acid(s) present in your water. Different types of filtration and water treatment systems are generally specialized to address different water issues, so it’s best to talk to a professional like your Sacramento Culligan Man to both find out what’s in your water, and the best method to treat it.

Culligan provides several water filtration and treatment products that effectively remove harmful haloacetic acids and are certified by the Water Quality Association and NSF International to provide the best-quality drinking water available.

Preventing HAA Water Contamination

In order to ensure you have clean, un-contaminated drinking water in your home, it’s recommended that you have your water tested at least once a year.  If you rely on well water for your home, you should be testing your water every six months for optimal safety and drink-ability.

Additionally, if you live near an agricultural area, or if your region has recently experienced flooding, if your well has undergone work or repairs, you’ll want to test your water as soon as possible to ensure no contaminants have been introduced into the supply.

Your Sacramento Culligan Man is always happy to test your water and learn your individual water needs. He or she can also make a recommendation about what kind of water treatment system or haloacetic acid water filter would be right for your home and your water supply.

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