Public water disinfection is among greatest health breakthroughs of the past century. Since scientists learned that adding the chemical to raw water can neutralize nearly all of the harmful organic mater it contains, getting clean, safe water to the masses has become unbelievably easier.
It’s only in recent decades, however, that scientists have begun to look critically at exactly what chemistry is going on when chlorine is added to water. And what they’ve found isn’t exactly reassuring: there are actually a number of dangers chlorine can pose to our health, and scientists are continuing to learn just how hazardous these risks can be. The list below will go over some of the negative health effects of this ubiquitous chemical.
Although chlorine has proven to be a very effective means of disinfecting contaminated water, it doesn’t remove 100% of pathogens. There have been several documented cases of dangerous bacteria such as e-coli showing up in tap water that has been treated by chlorine. Exposure to bacteria such as this can induce some serious food poisoning symptoms.
Disinfection By-Products (DBPs)
While chlorine itself doesn’t pose any notable health risks, it creates what are known as disinfection by-products, or DPBs, when it comes into contact with organic material such as harmful pathogens.
Recently, these DPBs have been shown to have all kinds of negative health effects, from heart disease to kidney and liver damage to even increased cancer risk. This is very unsettling considering every water treatment plant in the U.S. uses chlorine as the disinfectant.
Inhalation and Skin Absorption
These harmful DPBs are very difficult to avoid, as they are not only absorbed through drinking, but also through skin contact and inhalation. They absorb very quickly into the skin and enter the bloodstream directly from there.
This makes it extremely difficult to avoid the risks of chlorinated water, as its bi-products come in contact with your skin every time you so much as wash your hands.
The harmful effects of chlorine’s DPBs don’t stop at health risks. They’re responsible for the excessive drying of the hair and skin that many people struggle with, and showering in chlorinated water can result in dry, wrinkling skin and brittle hair.
So while chlorine has been a valuable part of making clean water accessible to everyone, perhaps it’s time for us to explore alternative options for disinfecting water. A few cities have begun experimenting with methods such as Ozonation but, for the time being, methods like this are too expensive to be embraced across the nation.
Until chlorine is phased out, you can still protect your own home from its harmful by-products using one of the Toxin Shield© cartridges we sell on our site. They’re built to remove all kinds of potentially harmful chemicals found in tap water, and are very low maintenance. Give us a call if you’re interested.
The mere mention of the word acid can evoke some pretty scary associations: bubbling green goop that melts anything on contact is our first thought when we hear the word. And we’ve all heard news stories about acid rain and the damage it can do to both buildings and crops. But you may also have heard of the problem of acidic water coming out of some peoples’ taps—an idea that can sound pretty scary. What exactly is acid water, and should you even be concerned about it?
To most people, the answer is “no”. Because of the regulations on municipal water supplies, people who get their water from public sources usually don’t have to worry about this. But if you own a large amount of property and derive your water from a private well or other private water supply, read on; you may have to deal with this issue. This post will help you diagnose your own tap for acid water and take you through the steps you need to treat it.
Refresher: What is acid water?
If you remember one thing from high school chemistry, it’s probably that acids are anything with a 7 or less on the pH scale. Don’t be too alarmed if you find out you have acid water in your system, however; it’s usually just caused by natural geological processes as rain makes its way through soil. But while not all acids are as violently corrosive as others, even slightly acidic water can cause problems.
Determining if Your Tap is acidic
The problem with acidic tap water in particular is that it leeches metal from pipes. It will corrode both lead and copper, slowly eating away at your pipes until you develop leaks. You can see this leeched material in the form of blue or green stains in tubs or sinks. You might also smell a harsh, chlorine-like smell in the water, and it may taste something like soda.
If you find any of this evidence, it may be a good idea to test the pH levels of your water. If it registers less than 7, then you can be sure you have acid water! Don’t worry, though, this problem can be easy to fix.
Treating Acid Water
Neutralizing filters are the way to go to treat acidic water and, thankfully, they are readily available. They work by adding a material to the water that, through a chemical reaction, neutralizes its pH level. These filters attach to the water’s point of entry, dissolving neutralizing chemicals into the water before it enters your pipes.
And you don’t have to look far to find one; we actually offer pH neutralizers here at Clear Water from the brand Acid Shield©. If you’re interested in purchasing one through us, check them out here and give us a call.
After all the recent flooding in Central Texas, you may have been warned about a boil notice that was under effect in many of the areas affected by the flood. For many people, the only public water system (PWS) available was contaminated with dangerous strains of bacteria, an idea that can be pretty scary.
While water softeners like the ones we sell here are great for ordinary circumstances, they aren’t designed to treat water that’s unsafe for consumption, and most water filters won’t do anything to organic matter that may be in water such as bacteria.
So how do you know if the PWS you use is safe after an event like this? And what can you do in the event your water is unsafe? Read on to answer these questions.
If a boil notice is issued, as was the case for many areas affected by the recent flood, then you should not ignore it. This means the entire PWS was found to be contaminated, and you should’t drink any tap water that hasn’t been disinfected by boiling until you’re notified that the boil notice is over.
To properly disinfect water, bring it to a full boil (not just a rolling boil), and let it stay in this state for 2 whole minutes. Check out the video below if you need some visual reference to tell how far you should take the water to reach a full boil (it’s actually pretty intense):
Let it cool, and it will be good to drink. Don’t assume your water filter will take care of infection; boil your water no matter what.
If no notice was issued but any part of your property was flooded above the water line, you may have contaminated water in your own pipes even if the PWS is safe to drink. In an event like this, you should flush your house’s plumbing by running water through your faucets in a systematic way.
The best way to do this is to start with outside faucets farthest from the water meter, and slowly work your way towards the meter, one faucet at a time. Each time, run the faucet until there is a noticeable change in temperature, and be sure to remove aerators from kitchen and bathroom faucets before you do this.
This procedure should be enough to make sure your own property has safe water in its pipes. So enjoy your salt-free water softener when the water’s safe, but be sure to properly disinfect your water after a flood!
Before we get into the benefits of a salt-free water conditioning system, let’s make one thing clear: salt-free water softeners are not true water softening systems, but are instead water conditioning systems. This doesn’t, however, mean they are not a great substitute for salt-based water softeners–they have a number of benefits, and both provide the benefits of softer water.
Salt-Free systems are designed to descale water in a different way than salt-based solutions. In salt-free solutions, the minerals are still in the water, but their form is changed in a way that makes them unable to stick and adhere to surfaces and pipes. The minerals that cause hardness in water are converted to crystals that cannot adhere and cause build up, so you get the same benefit without the maintenance and hassles of a traditional water softener.
Saltless systems require less maintenance because they don’t need salt added to them, they don’t use electricity, and there’s no waste water to worry about. You save money on your electric bill, you don’t need to buy bags of salt, and you don’t have to worry about making sure the electrical valve doesn’t malfunction (as one is not necessary on salt-free solutions). They prevent buildup in showers, sinks, and pipes, and can help keep your appliances running for longer. They also don’t leave your skin feeling as slick as with a salt softening system.
Click here for more information about Salt-Free vs. Salt-Based systems.
If you would like more information about getting a no-salt water softening system for your home, give us a call at Clear Water of San Marcos (512-757-1731), and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation to see if our system is right for you!
It’s no secret that Central Texas is home to some of the hardest water in America. Studies have shown that over 80% of homes in the U.S. have to deal with the destructive effects of hard water.
Over time, hard water exposure can lead to:
- A sticky film residue on everything it touches, including clothes, dishes, hair, skin, and animals
- Blemishes and stains on appliances
- Buildup that can be almost impossible to get rid of
- Drain and pipe corrosion
- Less efficient water heating appliances that become more expensive to run over time
- Internal damage to many of your major appliances, including:
- Hot-water heaters
- Washing machines
- Dish washers
The best way to prevent these harmful effects is to stop hard water as soon as it reaches your home. Contact us at Clear Water of San Marcos today so you can start enjoying all of the benefits of soft, clean, delicious water in your home!