FAQ & Troubleshooting

Softener Troubleshooting
Reverse Osmosis Troubleshooting


Softener Questions

What makes soft water feel slick or slimy on your skin?
I have very hard water and high Iron. Which softener do I need?
How long does softening resin last?
How often do I need to add salt to the Brine Tank?
What is better to use, Potassium Chloride or regular salt?
What's in my water or where can I have it tested?
What kind of unit, and what size do I need?
How does a Water Softener "soften" the water?
How can I tell what my flow rate is?
What kinds of Iron could be in my water?

Reverse Osmosis Questions
How does RO water compare to bottled water?
Is reverse osmosis water acidic?
How effective is reverse osmosis compared to other methods?
How do I choose the right reverse osmosis system?
When do you need to add a UV light to a system?
Can I install my RO system in the basement?
What contaminants does reverse osmosis remove?


What makes soft water feel slick or slimy on your skin?

 The minerals that make water hard usually contain calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium in water interfere with the cleaning action of soap and detergent. They do this by combining with soap or detergent and forming a scum that does not dissolve in water. Because these minerals react with soap and detergent, they remove the soap and detergent, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these cleaning agents. 

You can overcome this by adding more soap or detergent. However, the scum that is formed can adhere to what is being washed, making it appear dingy. An automatic water softener connected to water supply pipes removes magnesium and calcium from water and replaces them with a trace of sodium.

Sodium does not react with soap or detergents. This will reduce the amount of soap you would need to use, and insures it will not remain in or on the item being washed, whether the item is clothes, skin or hair.  top of page

I have very hard water and high Iron. What kind of softener do I need?

To offer a proper and accurate recommendation for any system(s) needed to correct your water problems, we need current and accurate water test results. Public water suppliers have the information available to you by simply calling them and requesting to know the level of Hardness, Iron and pH of your water. If you have a private well, simply obtain a water test kit from a local hardware store, of you can purchase one of our test kits.

Any other questions such as the presence of any oders, sediment, staining of plumbing fixtures and tastes, can be answered by you before placing the order.  top of page

How often do I have to change the softening resin? How long will it last?

Softening resins will normally outlast the softener unit itself! The primary requirement to keep your resin in good condition is that the softener is correctly sized for your water hardness and that it is regenerated often enough to help keep it clean.  top of page

How often do I need to add salt to the Brine Tank?

You can let the salt get down to the point inside the Brine tank where you can see water above the salt. When you see water above the salt, it is time to add more! Generally, we recommend adding salt to your Brine tank every 8 weeks.  top of page

What kind of salt do you recommend using and do your softeners also use Potassium Chloride in place of salt?

We recommend using Solar salt (Available in a Blue bag) which is available at most larger hardware stores. The primary concern when buying salt for your water softener is to make sure it is very clean; around the 99.5% salt content and up.

All of our softeners will use Potassium Chloride in place of salt. Potassium Chloride does tend to melt when it gets wet, sometimes forming large clumps that will "bridge" inside the salt tank, so we recommend filling the Brine tank only halfway or a bit more when using Potassium Chloride, so you can easily monitor it going down inside the tank after the unit regenerates.  top of page

How Can I find out what is in my water...or where can I have My Water Tested?

If you have public water, simply contact the office where you pay your water bill. They should have current water testing records on file.

If you are on a private water system, then contact your county health department to see about having your water tested, or you can buy a Home Water Test kit.

Your water test results should show levels of hardness, Iron (what type of Iron you have), pH, Hydrogen Sulfide (for rotten egg odor), Nitrates and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).  top of page

How can I determine what kind of unit, and what size I will need?

We size our filter systems based on the type and amount of dissolved mineral present in your water.....and your home's flow rate which is based on the number of people present in the home.

Water softener size is based on the total hardness of your water, and the number of people in the home.

For filter systems, this information simply tells us what the fastest rate your water will travel through our units would be, and how much water in gallons per day is being used.

For Softeners, the grains of total hardness and the amount of people in the home will determine the size softener you need.

Most all residential applications have around an average 5 GPM flow rate. Typically, the higher the flow rate of your water going through the unit, the larger the mineral tank will be to handle the larger water flow rate.

With a larger tank, the filtering media or resin will be physically deeper thereby permitting the water flowing down through it to be in contact with the media longer.

This contact time is important as the media/resin inside the tank needs to be in contact with your water for a long enough period of time, ensuring all dissolved impurities are removed before it leaves the tank.  top of page

How does a Water Softener "soften" the water?

Basically, the resin or mineral inside the mineral tank, is specially designed to remove "hard" particles of lime and calcium, by a simple ion exchange process.

The resin beads inside the softener tank have a different or opposite electrical charge than the dissolved particles of the incoming water.

Because of this electrical charge difference, the dissolved particles suspended in your water will cling to the resin beads on contact, thereby ridding the water of these particles, causing the water exiting the unit to be "soft".

The resin has a limit to how much of these hardness particles it can hold, which is why there are many different sizes of softeners.  top of page

How can I tell what my flow rate is?

Example:

You can get a fairly close idea of your water flow rate by simply running water at full open position through either an outside garden hose faucet or with your bathtub faucet.

Remember to turn the faucet on to the full open position... then quickly put the gallon container under the full flow of water.

Immediately start timing how many seconds it takes to fill the container all the way up.

If it fills the container up in 15 seconds, you simply divide 60 seconds (1 minute) ..by 15 seconds (the amount of time it took to fill the container up).

The answer is 4, so your flow rate would be very close to 4 GPM!

We recommend that you order a unit that would handle at least 4 GPM. It would be better to order the next size unit up, to ensure you are getting a unit with plenty of GPM flow capacity. top of page

What kinds of Iron could be in my water?

There are basically four types of iron found in water, they are:

  • Oxidized Iron contains red particles easily visible as the water is drawn from the faucet.
  • Soluble or "Clear Water Iron" is very common, and will develop red particles in the water after water is drawn from the faucet, and is exposed to the air for a period of time. The iron particles actually "rust" once they are exposed to air.
  • Colloidal Iron consists of extremely small particles of oxidized iron particles suspended in water. This type iron looks more like cloudy, colored water, instead of being able to actually see small red particles of iron. This type iron will not filter well because of the extremely small particle size. (Chlorination may be required).
  • Bacterial Iron consists of living organisms found in the water and piping of the well and house. You can tell if you have Bacterial Iron by looking in your toilet flush tank, and finding a reddish/green slime buildup. To confirm this, you should take a sample of this slime to your local health department for testing. This kind of iron is the hardest to get rid of. To completely eliminate this form of bacterial iron requires chlorination of the entire water system, starting with the well casing, well pump, pressure tank and the home plumbing system. (Chlorination may be required).
  • Hydrogen Sulfide causes water to have a pungent "rotten egg" odor, and is easily removed using a Manganese Greensand filer.

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How does RO water compare to bottled water?

Just as good or even better. We use the same technology, reverse osmosis (RO), as other major bottling plants use to filter water. Our drinking water has a refreshing taste with a touch of minerals —not like the flat taste of distilled or bottled water. The five-stage system is the most stable and complete RO process. The best part is that our system allows you to proactively monitor and maintain the unit's performance and measure the purity of the water to ensure your family's health yourself. That is something that you cannot do with bottled water.

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Is reverse osmosis water acidic?

Reverse osmosis does naturally slightly lower the pH of water.  The pH of pure water is 7. In general, water with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic, and with a pH greater than 7, basic. The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5 and for groundwater systems 6 to 8.5. When pH level is of concern a calcite or alkaline filter may be used to re-introduce minerals into the product water raising the pH.

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How effective is reverse osmosis compared to other methods?

RO is the most convenient and effective method of water filtration. It filters water by squeezing water through a semi-permeable membrane, which is rated at 0.0001 micron (equals to 0.00000004 inch!). This is the technology used to make bottled water, it is also the only technology capable of desalinating sea water, making it into drinking water.

Non-RO water filters typically use a single activated carbon cartridge to treat water. They are much less effective, and the pore size on these filter media are much bigger, generally 0.5 - 10 micron. They can filter out coarse particles, sediments and elements only up to their micron rating. Anything finer and most dissolved substances cannot be filtered out. As a result, water is far less clean and safe compared to reverse osmosis filtration.

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How do I choose the right reverse osmosis system?

The actual flow rate GPD(Gallons Per Day) of any reverse osmosis system depends on your home water pressure and temperature. While the industry standard is set at 60 psi, we know that not everyone's cold water is at 60 psi and 77 degrees F. Your system may produce less water per day if you have low pressure and/or temperature water.  Standard residential RO systems require a minimum of 40 PSI to operate, if you have less than this you may require a booster pump.

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When do you need to add a UV light to a system?

The primary use for a UV light is to disinfect filtered water at a certain flow rate. Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms are destroyed by the UV interfering with the DNA and RNA in the organisms' reproductive cycles.

If you are on a municipal water system (chlorinated tap water) in the U.S., chances are you will not need a UV light on top of our Ultra RO System. If you are on well water, or if you suspect your water source is unsafe and want to have extra protection, then you can add a UV light to ensure safe drinking water.


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Can I install my RO system in the basement?

Typically our systems are installed in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Our systems are quite slim so they can usually fit inside any cabinet, even if you have a garbage disposal. The storage tank can be laid on its side to save space. You can also install our systems in the basement, garage, or anywhere there is water supply. If you have good water pressure in your home, then you can even run long lines(20-30 ft) from the water supply to the system or from the tank to the faucet. When going up a full story a booster pump is almost always recommended to better ensure adequate delivery pressure.

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What contaminants does reverse osmosis remove?

Giardia cysts

100%

Criptosporidium cysts

100%

E.coli bacteria

>99.9%

Fecal bacteria

>99.9%

Vibrio choleriae

>99.9%

Shigella disinteriae

>99.9%

Sodium Fluoride 

99%

Calcium Cloride

99%

Magnesium Cloride  

99%

Nickel Sulfate NiSO4  

>99%

Glucose 

98%

Sodium Nitrate NaNO3 

97-99%

Sodium

95-99%

Nickel

95-99%

Potassium

92-99%

Zinc

95-99%

Calcium

95-99%

Strontium  

95-99%

Magnesium 

95-99%

Cadmium 

95-99%

Iron 

95-99%

Silver  

95-99%

Aluminum 

95-99%

Mercury

95-99%

Ammonium 

95-99%

Barium

95-99%

DDT

>99.9%

PCB

>99.9%

Lindane

>99.9%

Salmonella typhi

>99.9%

Serratia marcescenes

>99.9%

Toluane

>99.9%

Sodium Chloride NaCl 

99%

Sucrose

99%

Copper Sulfate CuSO4

>99%

Lactic Acid pH5

99%

Chlorinated Pesticides

99.9%

Silica SiO2

98%

Chloride 

99.9%

Radioactivity

95-99%

Bicarbonate  

99%

Sulfate

95-99%

Nitrate 3

90-99%

Ferro cyanide

96-99%

Fluoride

90-95%

Arsenic +3

95-99%

Silicate 

95-99%

Arsenic +5

95-99%

Phosphate 

95-99%

Lead

95-99%

Chromate  

95-99%

Copper 

95-99%

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