What is hard water?

According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, 85 percent of the United States has to cope with hard water, which is water with excessive levels of calcium and magnesium. While hard water is not considered to be unhealthy for people to drink, it can be very unhealthy for household plumbing, cleaning processes, and water-using appliances. The phrase “Hard Water” came about because it was found to be very hard to clean with.

What does hard water scale do?

The minerals in hard water gradually settle out forming a hard scale. Scale build up will eventually clog pipes, and can decrease the life of toilet flushing units by 70 percent and water faucets by 40 percent according to a report published by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Hardness scale can also shorten the life of washing equipment, dishwashers, and clothes washers by as much as 30 percent according to the AWWA report. Download Batelle Study

Scale also tends to form on the heating elements and heat transfer surfaces in these units, which leads to a shortened operational life and reduced efficiency. Reports have shown that a water heater’s useful life can be reduced by as much as 50 percent through scale build-up.

Why does it feel like I can’t get the soap off my skin when I bathe with soft water?

The squeaky clean feeling that many people correlate with cleanliness is actually the complete opposite. That feeling typically happens because there is still soap residue on your body that is there because of the reaction calcium and magnesium has with soap. Your skin should actually feel smooth and slippery, the way skin should naturally feel when wet. You’ll also notice that you require much less shampoo and soap in soft water as opposed to hard water. Your hair will also be free of soap residue allowing it to be more manageable.

Why does my water look clear yet stain my fixtures a rusty orange color?

There are different types of iron found in water that cause different problems. Ferrous iron is clear iron that may have an off taste that will cause rust staining when it has an opportunity to come into contact with oxygen. This type of iron can sometimes be filtered through a water softener. If the iron is above a certain level, a softener will not be able to accommodate excessive levels of iron. This level is determined through a water analysis.

Another type of iron found in this area is ferric iron. This type of iron has an orange appearance and sometimes may also be filtered through a water softener if the iron level is not excessive.

A third type of iron staining can result from an iron reducing bacteria. Although not a health concern, iron bacteria can result in staining and mechanical problems with several appliances. This type of contaminant must be eliminated with chlorine or other bactericidal water conditioning technologies.

When dealing with a higher level of iron, an iron filter is required. This piece of equipment is installed prior to the water softener and works independently of the water softener. Guthrie & Frey Water Conditioning installs an iron filter called the Iron Curtain. It is designed to treat the water for both iron and odor.

Why does my water have a terrible odor, similar to rotten eggs?

There are two forms of sulfurs that can appear in water: hydrogen sulfide gas, and sulfate salt. Hydrogen sulfide can have a rotten egg smell & taste. Hydrogen sulfide can also be responsible for tarnished silverware and yellow or black stains on kitchen or bathroom fixtures. Hydrogen sulfide can also cause pipe corrosion.

Hydrogen sulfide is corrected by an oxidizing method that will remove contaminants from water through a chemical reaction. Aerating is the process of exposing water to pure oxygen. The oxidation process is designed to convert the hydrogen sulfide gas to a solid that can be mechanically removed.

The “Rotten Egg” odor can also be the result of sulfur reducing bacteria. (SRB’s) Although they don’t present a health risk, SRB’s can result in odor, staining, & mechanical problems throughout the plumbing and related appliances. The most common way to treat for SRB’s is with extended exposure to bactericidal levels of chlorine. Particularly different cases may require pH adjustments and contact times in excess of 48 hours.

A Service

Guthrie & Frey Water Conditioning provides complete whole house water filtration systems for our customers in the following communities in the Milwaukee area including Waukesha County, also Brookfield, Elm Grove, Delafield, Eagle, Genesee, Lisbon, Menomonee Falls, Merton, Hartland, Mukwonago, Muskego, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, Ottawa, Pewaukee, Summit, Vernon, Waukesha, Sussex, Wales. Ozaukee County including Belgium, Cedarburg, Fredonia, Saukville, Port Washington, Mequon, Bayside & Thiensville. Washington County including Hartford, West Bend, Addison, Erin, Germantown, Jackson, Kewaskum, Polk, Jackson, Richfield, Slinger. Milwaukee County including Bayshore & River Hills. Racine County, Sturtevant & Walworth County including East Troy & Richmond. We are a core dealer selling all product lines of Hellenbrand Water Softeners, Iron Curtain Systems, and Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems. We also sell Water Right products.