What’s in Your Water?

The importance of getting cleaner, healthier water to you and your home

The water coming to the majority of our homes in the South-Central PA area is distributed by our local municipalities, or commonly referred to as city water. Fortunately for us, most of the time we can count on a constant flow of water for our everyday use. Even though the water is considered clean, it is not without concerns regarding hardness and your health.

What makes water hard?

Since nearly all of our municipal water is surface water, it comes in contact with the huge amounts of calcium and magnesium in the PA soil. These soluble minerals make our water hard and are not removed by the water treatment facilities.

Is hard water bad?

Hard water is damaging to plumbing and water-consuming appliances like water heaters, washing machines, and dish washers. Scale and mineral deposits can build over time, and will make appliances less efficient, use more soap, and have a shorter life-span.

The Water Quality Association (WQA) commissioned a study in 2009 examining the impact of hard water on typical household appliances and fixtures. Here are some of the results:

WQA researchers also found that with soft water, appliances need to use less soap and detergent and can be run at lower temperatures, yet be just as effective. Detergent use dropped by 50% in washing machines with soft water.

Performance in high-efficient appliances also becomes a concern while using hard water through them. It is recommended by many manufacturers to use a softener with their appliance. Some appliance manufacturers will even void warranties if a water softener is not in use with their appliance, tankless water heaters are a good example.

What’s in our city water?

Yes, municipal water is typically within the supposed ‘safe’ limits of drinking water with the exception of a contaminant occasionally above the health guideline. But chemicals like chloramine, chlorine, fluoride, lead, pharmaceuticals, and so much more can be found in ‘acceptable’ levels in our drinking water. And it is not certain how this cocktail of ingredients is going to affect us over a period of time or more importantly how it affects the development of children. Here is a link to find out exactly what is in your municipalities water – https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/ .

How do you filter city water?

Many homeowners turn to bottled water as a clean water source but this is a misnomer since the FDA regulations on bottled water are less stringent than the EPA’s regulations on tap water. Plus, toxins from the plastic bottles can leach into the water. The kicker is that bottled water is expensive and simply wasteful.

Others turn to a carbon filter in their refrigerator or installed directly onto a kitchen faucet. These do provide a minimal improvement on drinking water, but are mostly just for taste and odor.

The best option is to use a whole-house system to take advantage of all the benefits that are provided. Systems can soften and filter the water or provide filtering alone. So, the homes with kids who decide to drink out of every sink don’t have to worry about where their kids filled their water bottles. A point of use system, like a reverse osmosis filtration system is another excellent solution for drinking water.

The needs of every home are different and there is a multitude of ways to provide your family with cleaner, healthier water. Give Zimmerman Plumbing and Heating a call to learn more about water treatment systems or to get a free municipal water test for your home.