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What Can Affect the Performance of a Water Softener?

| dupage-water | Uncategorized

In the St. Charles area, hard water is a serious problem. Because of that, water softeners and purification systems are near necessities.

Unfortunately, however, water softeners do suffer “breakdowns” on occasion. While it would be great if your softener was working optimally at all times, it’s just not realistic.  As with any piece of machinery, time and use take a toll. 

There are a few primary reasons water softening systems begin to function at a less than optimal level.  Here are 5 of them:

Excessive Salt Buildup

As you may know, water softeners make use of salt in order to function. While salt serves its purpose very well for the most part, it can cause a few problems as well.

Over time, as more and more salt passes through the softener, it will start to build up on the sides of the inner mechanisms of the softener. The more and more salt that builds up in the softener, the more your system struggles to operate at an optimal level.   

Typically, excessive salt buildup results in water which is not as soft as it could be. Because the softener is not operating at an efficient level, it leaves some hard water minerals in the water.

Resin Bead Quality

A key component in any water softener which makes use of salt is the resin bead. These beads are contained within the body of the softener and are there to essentially exchange hard water minerals with soft water minerals.

But, like anything, resin beads need to be monitored. After years and years of fulfilling their purpose, they will begin to function less efficiently.  An expert can examine the beads and let you know if it is time to have them replaced.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to repair them.

Motor

Another integral part of a properly functioning water softener is the motor. The motor drives water through the softener, ensuring that it’s thoroughly conditioned at all times.

Just as with any motor, a water softener motor will eventually go bad. This typically won’t happen for years, but when it does happen, it will essentially eliminate your ability to produce soft water. Through regular maintenance and checkups, you can keep the motor running as long as mechanically possible. 

Filter

Something that can adversely affect the performance of your water softener on a fairly consistent basis is a dirty filter.

A water softener filter catches the hard minerals which are funneled through the internal mechanisms of the softener. Because of this, it can get dirty fairly quickly.

The dirtier the filter gets, the harder time the system has removing large, hard water minerals. This will result in the minerals remaining in the water, preventing the softener from producing optimal water.

Salt Bridges

Water softeners make use of a mechanism which essentially changes the ion balance within your water. While softeners typically perform this task routinely, things can go wrong.

Sometimes, the ions can have a chemical reaction, causing a hard, crusty material to form within your water softener tank. If this occurs, it can be difficult for water to flow through it freely.

This crusty material formed by this chemical reaction is called a salt bridge; a fairly common water softener problem. Fortunately, you can break salt bridges apart with fairly easily.

Having Issues With the Performance Of Your Water Softener?

Have you run into issues with the performance of your water softener? Are you at a loss as to what you should do to rectify the issues? If so, it’s time to call in a professional.

If you live in Geneva, Batavia, or Algonquin, Illinois, we here at DuPage Water Conditioning are the professionals to call. We’ve been around since 1958 and have the expertise and staff to address all your water softening needs. 

Contact us today for a free estimate!

4 Signs That Your Water is Inundated With Iron

| dupage-water | Uncategorized

We get so used to having water delivered directly to our faucets that we often overlook exactly where it comes from. Where does it come from? The ground, of course.

So how do you know if your water is inundated with iron? Here are 4 signs.

 

  1. Unpleasant Odor

Does your water possess an unpleasant sulfur smell? If so, it might be because it contains too much iron.

Iron itself does not produce any noticeable smell in your water, but its existence allows for sulfur bacteria to grow and to turn into hydrogen sulfide. It’s hydrogen sulfide specifically which produces the odor you may be smelling.

Other minerals such as manganese will contribute to this situation as well, but if iron is controlled, the smell will be removed with it. The good news is there is a solution to this problem.  A water softener or purification system will remedy the situation.

 

  1. Unsightly Stains

Iron, along with manganese and a variety of other minerals, presents itself in your water through the staining of clothing, shower walls, sinks and other things it comes in contact with.  So, if you are experiencing these problems, you’re likely dealing with an excess of iron in your water.

Each and every mineral produces a different color of stain. Iron, in particular, will produce stains which are an orange, yellow, or light red.

While you can typically scrub these stains off of shower walls and fixtures, you are going to have a hard time getting them out of clothing. The best approach to the situation is to avoid them altogether by investing in a professional water conditioning system.

  1. Low Water Pressure Issues

Do you find yourself getting frustrated over the low water pressure in your home? While there are a number of different reasons why your water pressure could be low, iron buildup may very well be the culprit.

Over time, as iron-inundated water makes its way through pipes, the iron contained within the water starts to accumulate on the sides of the pipes. Eventually, this iron will be built up to the point that water has a difficult time squeezing through.

The result? Low water pressure.

Cleaning out the inside of your pipes is, unfortunately, not always an easy solution. The primary thing you can do to avoid this problem in the first place is to control the amount of iron in your water.

  1. Water Doesn’t Quite Taste Right

Another sign that your water is inundated with iron is if it doesn’t quite taste right.

Typically, water with too much iron in it will take on a sort of metal taste; tangy and biting instead of neutral and smooth. Some people may actually like this taste, but many are left feeling unsatisfied by it.

Again, if you’re going to eradicate this taste, you’re going to have to monitor and control the amount of iron in your water. Fortunately, there are many different types of water conditioning systems which can do that for you.

Looking to Regulate the Amount of Iron in Your Downers Grove or Lisle Water? 

While some people are not bothered by odd-tasting, bad-smelling water which comes out of faucets slowly and stains everything in its general vicinity, most people are. If you’re one of the many who are, and you’re hoping to control the iron in your water, you would be well-served by installing a water softener or purification system.

Live in the Oswego, Montgomery or Aurora area? If so, DuPage Water Conditioning is the company to supply you with the softener or purification systems you may need.

Contact us today for a free estimate!

What Water-Softening Systems Work Best for Cooking?

| dupage-water | Uncategorized

If you pride yourself on your cooking skills and enjoy searching out new recipes and techniques to try in your home kitchen, you're probably already aware of how important high-quality ingredients are to palatable, presentable, and generally high-quality food.

What Water-Softening Systems Work Best for Cooking

One important ingredient you use frequently is water. Hard water can affect the taste and texture of food, so those who live in areas where the water is hard, or full of extra mineral content, may gravitate toward purified or distilled water for use in baking and cooking in order to avoid the mineral taste that can sometimes overpower the other ingredients.

Some types of minerals present in hard water can even affect things like the speed with which yeast rises or the heat at which you'll need to stir-fry freshly rinsed vegetables to avoid scalding.

Read on to learn more about how various water-softening systems can impact the taste and mineral content of tap water as well as to learn about some of the best water-treatment options for enhancing your home cooking.

Water's Effect on Food Taste and Texture

Water may be seen as the blandest of ingredients, a liquid essentially providing a blank canvas on which to paint the color and taste of various foods. However, the composition of your home's tap water (or even the distilled or purified water you use) can have a dramatic impact on your food.

For example, the chlorine used to purify well water and some municipal water can, in high concentrations, leave your food tasting like bleach. Even in lower concentrations, vegetables boiled or blanched in chlorine-heavy water can appear pale and soggy. 

The minerals in hard water can also affect the way proteins in flour absorb water, causing you to over stir certain baked goods in an effort to create well-mixed dough. In other cases, these minerals may bind to the yeast you use, impeding its ability to rise and creating doughy (rather than fluffy) breads, cakes, and doughnuts. 

Certain minerals in water, particularly iron and copper, can also affect the color of the food you prepare. Iron-heavy water can sometimes create a reddish hue in your foods while water with a high sulfur content can make food appear yellow or smell faintly like rotten eggs.

For these reasons, identifying the minerals most commonly present in your own water supply and finding the right water-softener system to remove these minerals can be the key to creating consistently high-quality baked goods and other food products. 

Reverse-Osmosis Water Softeners

These water softeners operate by forcing water through a permeable membrane. While this membrane is thin enough to allow pure water molecules through, it will block iron, calcium, and sodium molecules that have the potential to affect your water's taste and color.

You'll need to periodically replace this permeable membrane to ensure it remains able to filter out any impurities in your water; however, unlike ion-exchange water softeners, which require regular replacement of the sodium or potassium pellets used to exchange mineral ions, this type of water softener shouldn't need any additional maintenance. 

Reverse-osmosis water softeners are quite popular among those who, for whatever reason, don't want to add any additional sodium or potassium to their water supply.

Even though ion-exchange water softeners deposit only trace amounts of sodium or potassium into the purified water they generate, these small amounts may be enough to alter the final product for those who use very strict recipes with little room for error.

Many who are on low-sodium diets or who don't want to alter the amount of salt or other ingredients used in certain time-tested recipes also gravitate toward reverse-osmosis softeners to remove impurities. 

Ion-Exchange Water Softeners 

Unlike reverse-osmosis water softeners, which rely on a permeable membrane to physically filter out sediment and minerals, ion-exchange water softeners essentially "trade" these mineral ions with sodium or potassium ions instead. This "softens" the water by removing minerals while still keeping the water molecules intact. 

Ion-exchange water softeners are among the most common types of household water softeners and are ideal for busy families. By simply refilling your water softener with rock salt or potassium pellets every few weeks (or months), you'll be able to maintain a constant supply of mineral-free water with little to no extra effort. 

These water softeners can also benefit those who have trouble maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes or who suffer from heart palpitations or other heart-related issues.

Even adding trace amounts of sodium or potassium to one's water source can be enough to improve sodium and potassium levels in the blood, with no discernible difference in the water's taste or texture. 

Regardless of which type of water-softening system you choose, by removing the minerals and other particulates in your home's tap water, you can ensure that you'll never again find yourself bemusedly staring at a fallen quiche or lumpy loaf of bread with no idea where you went wrong.

Telltale Signs You Are Living With Hard Water

| dupage-water | Uncategorized

Hard water is a common issue in households across America, and millions are dealing with the cost and headache of this irritating problem. However, even if you've heard of hard water, you may not know whether your pipes are plagued by minerals or how to tell whether you should invest in a home water-softener system.

Telltale Signs You Are Living With Hard Water

Luckily, there are several telltale signs associated with hard water. If you notice any combination of these signs, your home could be suffering from some of the issues often associated with hard water, including pipe damage, increased energy consumption, and a dishwasher that must work overtime to get your dishes clean.