Homeowner Resources by Water-Right®
Learn more about your home’s water.
Want to learn more about the challenges of untreated, unconditioned water? Or are you unsure about the best type of salt to use in your Water-Right softener?
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FAQ’sHow can I tell if I have hard water?
Water hardness is demonstrated by scale buildup in water heaters or on plumbing fixtures, by soap deposits on dishes and fabrics, and by soap scum in sinks and bathtubs. To learn about the 8 major signs you might have a hard water issue, read our blog post.
As water passes through the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, dew, or fog, it picks up impurities and gasses. And, because water is the universal solvent, it picks up even more impurities as it travels through the earth as ground water. Whatever the water comes in contact with, it will dissolve a part of it. We can answer some of your hard water questions by visiting our blog post.
Water ‘hardness’ is caused by the minerals calcium and magnesium in ground and surface water. If either or both minerals are present in your drinking water in high concentrations, the water is considered ‘hard.’ These minerals come from sedimentary rock such as limestone that dissolves into our water. The result of hard water is difficulty making lather or suds for washing and a build-up of minerals on taps and on other fixtures. Water containing low concentrations of calcium or magnesium is called ‘soft’ water. To learn about the signs you may have hard water in your home, read our blog post.
A water softener replaces the ‘hardness’ minerals with sodium or potassium. The amounts of these elements added to the water are relatively insignificant in comparison to what is ingested from your food and should not pose a health problem.
Most often, water softeners are regenerated with salt and water. Regeneration is a process in which the softening materials inside the softener can be used over and over again. Once the regeneration is completed, the salt and water solution is flushed into the drain. To learn about how a water softener works, read our blog post.
If sodium is a concern to you, your water quality improvement professional can explain the amount of sodium in softened water. This varies, depending on the hardness of the water supply. Any person on a sodium-restricted diet should follow the advice of his physician. All municipal water supplies contain some naturally occurring sodium. If the sodium-restricted diet is very strict, discuss the use of RO, or some other water quality improvement system to reduce the sodium to meet your requirements.
For the sake of comparison, one slice of white bread contains about 114 mg of sodium, and an eight-ounce glass of milk contains 120 mg of sodium. If your water contains 10 grain per gallon (GPG), and if you consumed a total of one quart of softened water a day, your intake of additional sodium would be 75 mg – less than either a slice of bread or a glass of milk.
One of the most common water treatment problems found in well water is iron. Iron can be found in 3 different forms.
Ferrous iron (dissolved) — Although not visible, it is the most common type of iron. Later when oxygen is mixed with ferrous iron it stains sinks, toilets and laundry especially when bleach is added. To reduce levels of ferrous iron, softening and or filtration is performed.
Ferric Iron (suspended) — Ferric iron or brown water iron is oxidized and forms particles. Once these particles settle down, they can normally be seen in a glass of water. Sometimes these particles are too small to be seen and are very difficult to remove.
Iron bacteria — Iron bacteria is a general term given to iron that can leave a slimy growth or build up in toilet tanks and sometimes clogs filters, softeners and pipes. These bacteria are not harmful, but are considered a nuisance bacteria because of their difficulty in removing.
Brown or black stains found in the dishwasher are usually from high levels of manganese. Manganese that is dissolved in water can stain when the level is above .05mg/l.. The dishwasher is a perfect mechanism to oxidize it because it heats it, agitates it and mixes the water with air. Manganese can also stain clothes in the washing machine, due to the same reasons. If bleach is added, staining is worse.
This indicates that the water is corrosive and usually acidic. Acidic water can leach metals from pumps, piping and fixtures. If left alone without treatment it can cause leaks in copper pipes and fixtures. Acidity is measured on a scale of 0-14 with 7 being neutral, less than 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is a naturally occurring contaminant, which gives water a disagreeable rotten egg odor or taste. This usually indicates the presence of some form of non-harmful mineral reducing bacteria in the well. Testing is very difficult because it is a gas and it comes out of solution very quickly. There are no known health effects; however hydrogen sulfide can also make the water somewhat corrosive.
Nitrate is a naturally occurring compound that is formed in the soil when nitrogen and oxygen combine. Small amounts of nitrate are normal, but excess amounts can pollute supplies of groundwater.
Common sources of nitrogen in the soil are fertilizers, livestock waste, and septic systems. Excess nitrate in the soil is most often found in rural and agricultural areas.
Nitrate travels easily through the soil, carried by rain or irrigation water into groundwater supplies. Wells that tap groundwater may be affected. Shallow wells, wells in sandy soil, or wells that are improperly constructed or maintained are more likely to have nitrate contamination. Read more about how well water contaminants get into your water.
For most people, consuming small amounts of nitrate is not harmful. Nitrate can cause health problems for infants, especially those six months of age and younger. Nitrate interferes with their blood’s ability to transport oxygen. This causes an oxygen deficiency, which results in a dangerous condition called methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome.” The most common symptom of nitrate poisoning is bluish skin coloring, especially around the eyes and mouth. Infants six months of age and younger along with pregnant and nursing women should avoid consumption of water high in nitrate. Cattle, horses, sheep, and baby pigs, are also susceptible to nitrate poisoning. Read about how nitrates get into your water and what you can do to solve your drinking water problem.
There are two types of water problems: Primary problems — the dangerous sort of problem and Aesthetic problems — things that affect the taste, look or smell of the water. Strange as it may seem, you could have an aesthetic problem (such as iron or manganese) that will not pose an actual health risk.
Once in a while you get a glass of water, and it looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure, and gases (the air), which are dissolved in the pressurized water, will come out as the water flows into your glass, where it is under normal atmospheric pressure.
Most of the chemical data that is reported for water is expressed as a concentration:
One-Part-Per-Million can be thought of as one inch in 16 miles or one cent in $10,000.
One-Part-Per-Billion can be thought of as one second of time in 32 years.
It is EXTREMELY MISLEADING to interpret these analogies to minimize the magnitude of the risks. Even miniscule amounts of certain contaminants can poison water.
The “slickness” felt after a soft water shower is just the “real” you! Hard water does not easily rinse off the residue from cleaning products. When bathing in softened water, the use of less soap is desirable. Use sufficient water to rinse the skin thoroughly and your skin will feel softer and much smoother than it did with hard water bathing. Read more about why you might not be getting as clean in the shower as you think with hard water.
Any type of clean salt can be used. Water-Right recommends the use of either block or solar salts. These two types of salt seem to be the cleanest and will cause the least problems in the brine tank.
Water-Right at no time recommends the use of iron cleaner additives or “iron fitting type salts” with the use of its equipment. These cleaners will be harmful to the Crystal-Right media in the Sanitizer Series of equipment if used. Please consult with your local dealer or contact us for proper salt usage.
Yes, any water softener will work with potassium chloride salts, however some loss of capacity between regenerations can occur. Please consult with your dealer. If your reasoning for using “potassium salt” is for health concerns remember that potassium chloride is also a salt. Consult with your doctor whenever there is a health concern about your water.
What’s In Your WaterCommon Contaminants Found in Residential Well Water
- ARSENIC. This toxic element is found naturally in soil and bedrock, but occurs in particularly high levels in Northeast Wisconsin. Ingestion can lead to serious health problems.
- CHLORIDES. Small amounts of salt are natural. Higher levels are unnatural and may indicate a faulty water softener, road salt, septic waste or fertilizer contamination.
- COLIFORM BACTERIA. A natural part of the microbiology of soils, insects, and warm-blooded animals, coliform bacteria is the primary indicator for the presence of disease-causing organisms in water.
- FLUORIDE. Found naturally in water. While low levels of fluoride are desirable, excessive amounts may stain teeth.
- HARDNESS. Interferes with cleaning tasks from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. These deposits also collect in household plumbing lines, water heaters and appliances, causing them to run less efficiently.
- HYDROGEN SULFIDE. A gas dissolved in water. It is easily detected by its rotten egg odor.
- IRON. Not considered hazardous to health, but when the level of iron in water exceeds the DNR 0.3 mg/l limit, we experience red, brown, or yellow staining of laundry, glassware, dishes and household. The water may also have a metallic taste and an offensive odor. Water system piping and fixtures can also become restricted or clogged.
- LEAD. Houses built before 1985 may contain lead pipes or lead-based solder. Lead can cause serious health problems in young children.
- MANGANESE. A metal found in rock and does not occur naturally in pure form. Manganese will cause black staining and many times is accompanied by iron and hydrogen sulfide. Evidence of manganese staining is most prominently found in the dishwasher.
- NITRATES. Elevated levels can be an indication of contamination by farm chemicals, lawn fertilizers, or septic saturation. Nitrates can pose a serious health risk to infants.
- SULFATES. High levels of sulfates can cause odors, leave spots, taste bitter and have a temporary laxative effect.
Your local, authorized Water-Right dealer has the expertise to find the best treatment method for your water. Talk with them today!
Learn more about your home’s water quality. You can find out ways to save money with WET or improve the health of your home. Our company website has many educational pieces about hard water, soft water, RO water, and fun articles so you can achieve the best cup of coffee.