Frequently Asked Questions About Home Water Treatment

About Your Water

What is hard water?

All water starts as soft water.  But as it falls through the atmosphere and filters through rocks and soil, it picks up invisible minerals.  The presence of these minerals in water makes household cleaning tasks more difficult.  In fact, the phrase “hard water” was coined to describe this water which was hard to use.  It’s that simple. Hard water is found throughout Canada and while hard water looks and tastes the same as soft water, it makes household tasks more difficult to perform and more costly to use.

According to the Water Quality Association, hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG (grains per gallon).  Relative levels of hardness have been established:

» Soft Water – less than 1 gpg
» Slightly hard – 1 to 3.5 gpg
» Moderately hard – 3.5 to 7 gpg
» Hard – 7 to 10.5 gpg
» Very Hard – 10.5 and higher gpg

Using an ion exchange water softener is the most common form of treatment.

Hard water is:

Harder on clothes – Clothes washed in Hard Water tend to wear out 15% faster than those washed in Soft Water.

Harder on washers – The American Water Works Association has shown that washing machines that use Hard Water can wear out up to 30% faster than those that use Soft Water.

Harder on dishes – Hard Water can leave an unsightly film buildup on glasses, dishes and cutlery.

Harder on you – When you bathe with Hard Water, deposits are left behind which may dry out skin and leave your hair looking dull.  Shaving is also more difficult in Hard Water.  And, Hard Water also leaves a filmy soap ring around bathroom fixtures, making bathroom and kitchen cleanup more difficult.

Harder on budgets – Hard Water requires much more soap, shampoo or detergent than Soft Water, so your soap products don’t stretch nearly as far!  When you add Crystal II or Crystal Plus Pellet Salt to your Water Softener, you make your life a little easier.  You’ll notice that your clothes will come out cleaner and brighter, your dishes will come out cleaner and your household cleanup will be easier.  And, you’ll save money on soap products as well!  There are two types of Water Softeners – “Twin” and “Cabinet” models.

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Can salt enter my drinking water?

No.  Salt’s sole purpose in your Water Softener is to regenerate the resin beads that actually take the hardness out of your water.  This exchange does not make your water taste salty or significantly increase your sodium intake.

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What are the benefits of soft water?

There are many benefits of using a water softener, including:

Reduce hydro bill – soft water reduces the amount of scale build-up in your hot water heater, which saves you as much as 22% of your electric bill and 29% of your gas bill.

Reduce water pipe build-up – Soft Water improves your plumbing performance and increases its lifespan because it greatly reduces the amount of build-up you may get over time. Keep in mind, many of your appliances including your washing machine have pipes passing through them. Soft Water will also allow your appliances to last as much as 50% longer.

Clothes last longer – soft water will allow your clothes to last 35% longer and will reduce the amount of laundry detergent required to clean them.

Improves your beauty – There are several things soft water will do to help improve the beauty of your skin, which include:

» Makes your skin smoother and softer
» Keeps pores unblocked
» Helps your skin to resist chapping
» Reduces itching
» Reduces dryness

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Filtering or softening, which do you need?

Whether you use a filter or a Softener depends on whether the contaminants in your water are particles or dissolved minerals. CWC Water Filters remove the substances from your water that can cause staining, foul odours, and the need for excessive cleanup. Household chores become easier because your water is working with you, not against you.

To find out what’s ailing your water, contact Canadian Water Conditioning Inc for a free water analysis.

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water question mark

General Information

How can I get rid of the staining and “rotten-egg” smells in my water?

The only true solution to this problem is an Iron Filtration / Removal System. An Iron Filter will effectively remove all soluble iron, sometimes called ferrous iron or “clear water”, precipitated iron, sometimes called ferric iron or “red water” and bacterial iron. Canadian Water Conditioning Inc. primarily promotes chemical-free Iron Filters as they require little or no attention. They are safe and very economical as they require none of the expensive or messy chemicals that many conventional Iron Filters use.

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Why do we need a water softener and softening salt?

Water moves in a never-ending cycle. It starts in the clouds as rain, sleet or snow, falls to the ground, and then is evaporated back up to the clouds. In this entire process, the stratosphere is the only location that contains naturally pure water. As the water travels through the atmosphere, many impurities such as dust and gases are picked up along the way, causing the water to become slightly acidic. When the water is acidic, mineral matter is dissolved into the water from the soil and rocks as it travels through the ground.

The dissolved mineral matter inside of the water causes it to become “hard” water. “Hard” water is not suitable for many home and industrial uses. However, the minerals causing the water to become hard consist mostly of calcium and magnesium, which are relatively easy to remove.

Various methods are used to remove the minerals causing the water to become hard. The most common technique involves passing the water through a water softener, which is a machine filled with a sodium compound (water softener salt). The water softener creates a process referred to as “ion exchange,” which simply trades the calcium and magnesium in the water for the sodium compound (salt). This simple process makes the water “soft,” which is the suitable form of water for many home and industrial uses.

“Twin” and “Cabinet” Water Softeners

Twin Water Softener

The most recognized type of Softener is known as the “Twin” model. You’ll notice that “Twin” units have a brine tank (salt container) which is separate from the main regeneration cylinder (media tank). Since the brine tank can be disconnected from the resin tank, clean-out (when required) is a cinch!

Cabinet Water Softener

If your Softener looks like this, you’ve got a “Cabinet” Water Softener. It’s called that because the inner working and salt tank of this type of Softener are confined to a single Unit. Since this type tends to be bulky, you don’t want to have to move it around to clean it very often. That’s why manufacturers recommend using Crystal II or Crystal Plus Pellet Salt which are both lower in water soluble matter. If you use a low-purity softener salt (rock salt) which is high in insoluble matter, your Softener may need to be cleaned frequently. Brine tank clean-out can be a very difficult and messy chore. Use the highest purity Water Softener Pellets to keep your “Cabinet” softener working properly and save you a messy clean-out job.

The result is soft water.

After several days, the beads become full of calcium and magnesium ions and can no longer soften water. But, when your softener regenerates again, the beads are replenished with more sodium ions, leaving you with softer water.

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Do “No Salt” Water Conditioners work?

The answer is in the results. If hard water conditioned by one of these products “acted soft”, it would form suds when mixed with soap. It doesn’t. The water coming out of these products acts no differently and, when analyzed, has the same chemical composition as the water going in. The “no salt” conditioners do not soften water nor do they make it “act soft”. These claims are false.

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What is "mushing" and why should I avoid It?

Occasionally, if you use rock salt which is too loosely compacted and full of insoluble matter, you may find that the salt reverts to tiny crystals of evaporated salt – similar to table salt.  These crystals may bond, creating a thick mass in your brine tank.  This “mushing” may interrupt brine production – the key element for refreshing the resin beads in your Softener.  Without brine, your Softener can’t produce soft water.

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What is bridging?

Bridging is a condition that sometimes occurs in the brine tank when salt sticks together forming a “bridge” that prohibits it from coming into contact with the water in the tank.  You can eliminate bridging by using a 100% water soluble Pellet salt in your brine tank.

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How often should I add salt to my softener?

The more often your Softener regenerates, the more often you’ll need to add salt.  A good general rule of thumb is to check your Softener once a month.  To maintain consistently soft water, keep your salt level at a maximum of half-full at all times.

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Which salt should I put in my softener?

Crystal II or Crystal Plus – premium quality Pellet Salt.  Avoid rock salt as it is too loosely compacted and full of insoluble matter

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What is the difference between softening water and filtering water?

You don’t have to be a hydrologist to understand the basic principles behind water filtration and water softening.  Here’s an condensed version of what happens when you filter or soften water.  Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like particulates, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from H2O.  By passing water through a “filter bed,” or “media bed,” these granular particles are trapped – and clean water passes through the bed.  Softening water involves something called “ion exchange” to remove dissolved minerals – like calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese – that can’t be trapped in a filter bed. Softeners use fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the resin.  As water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin.  The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities.

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I have an old Water Softener - how can I reduce my water consumption?

In some cases, your pre-existing Water Softening System settings can be adjusted to accommodate for lower water consumption. However, this is not a solution – merely a temporary “band-aid”. The best solution for lowered water and salt consumption bills is replacement with a brand new, high efficiency Water Softening System. Canadian Water Conditioning Inc.-brand Water Softening Systems consume, on average, 2-3 times LESS salt and water than older, antiquated units!

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What questions should I ask when I have decided on a solution?

Choosing the water quality improvement system that’s right for you and your family does not have to be a chore.  Here are some helpful considerations you may want to take into account before purchasing water treatment systems.

» Is installation included in the price?

» Does installation include such things as a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, a faucet for unsoftened water or any other features you may want?

» Does the unit have enough capacity to meet present and future needs?

» Does the dealer you’ve selected have an established business in the area?

» Does the dealer have customer references available?

» For health related problems, have you had your water analyzed by a reputable laboratory and/or your local health department?

» Did the salesperson answer all questions regarding design, function and cost of the equipment?

» Did the salesperson explain the method and cost of regenerating the system?

» Does the dealer offer a maintenance contract or other after-sales services?

» Does the equipment carry a specific written warranty?

» Have you read and understood the warranty?

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