FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions


What is hard water?
Hard water is caused by excessive levels of calcium and/or magnesium dissolved in water. The U S Department of Interior classifies hardness based on the concentration of calcium and/or magnesium as measured in grains per gallon (gpg). To put this in perspective, a typical aspirin weighs about 5 grains (1 grain = 1/7000 pound). If the aspirin were dissolved in a gallon of water it would add 5 grains of aspirin to the water. The government classifies water as follows:
  • Soft - less than 1 gpg of calcium and/or magnesium
  • Slightly Hard - 1-3.5 gpg
  • Moderately Hard - 3.5-7.0 gpg
  • Hard - 7.0-10.5 gpg
  • Very Hard - greater than 10.5 gpg
Why is hard water a problem?
Calcium and magnesium are the primary hard water minerals. Hard water reduces the ability of soaps to clean and produce suds, leaving a dingy gray residue on clothes, and spots on dishes.

Hard water is more abrasive than soft water. The tiny mineral particles combine with soap curd or detergents to become like little pieces of rock pounding away at clothing fibers. Over a period of time, the structural integrity of the product is weakened.

Skin and hair are affected by hard water. A greater amount of shampoo and soap is needed to clean, and hard water doesn't rinse as well as soft water. That means soap residues remain, leaving skin susceptible to blemishes and hair less shiny.

Hard water is also tough on plumbing. It can cause scale to build on water heaters and pipes, limiting the water flow, reducing the life of the product and increasing operating costs and maintenance on water-using appliances.

Studies have shown that soft water saves time and money in the home.
  • Soft water activates detergent or soap to make a smaller amount of soap work more effectively.
  • An Ohio State University study found that softened water cuts the time required for housecleaning from almost 4 hours to less than 2 1/2 hours.
  • A 1981 study conducted by New Mexico State University determined that scale build-up due to hard water can reduce a gas water heater's efficiency by as much as 29%, and an electric water heater's efficiency by as much as 21%.
  • A study conducted by The Office of Saline Water, U S Department of the Interior, found that a water heater's useful life can be reduced by as much as 50% through scale build-up.
  • Sheets washed in soft water last a lot longer than those washed in hard water.
  • Sheets washed in soft water can take 32% more washings.
How is water softened?
Water is softened by the use of a water softener (often referred to as a conditioner). The hard water is passed through a tank containing resin beads coated with sodium ions or potassium ions. The calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for the sodium or potassium ions, thus softening the water. When the beads have trapped all the hardness they can hold, the unit is regenerated with salt brine to replace the hardness ions with sodium or potassium ions. The unit is then ready to soften water again.

How do I know if I have Acidic Water (PH IMBALANCE)?
Acid water in conjunction with copper fittings and fixtures can cause blue/green stains on plumbing fixtures and eat away chrome faucets, fittings and pipes. Acidic neutralizers slowly dissolve the calcium and magnesium media on contact as the water flows through the filter, raising the pH of the water and increasing the alkalinity. This eliminates the effects of corrosive water chemistries and can help to prevent corrosion of piping and fixtures.

How do I know if I have iron in my water?
Rust-colored stains on sinks, clothing and linens indicate the presence of iron in the water. Iron can also form scale in pipes and water-using appliances, and make food, water and water-using beverages look and smell bad.

Iron is measured in parts per million (ppm). The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 provided a recommended Secondary Drinking Water Regulation which suggests limits of 0.3 ppm of iron.

Even in concentrations as low as 0.3 ppm, iron can leave stains on sinks, dishes and cooking utensils, and give the water an unpleasant metallic taste. Iron affects both the color and the flavor of foods, and reacts with the tannins present in coffee, tea and some alcoholic beverages to produce a black sludge which affects both taste and appearance. An early form of ink was made in a similar manner by mixing iron salts with tannins.

How is iron removed from water?
Water readily dissolves iron from the earth's deposits. As the iron-bearing water enters the house it is usually clear and colorless but with a distinct iron taste. After exposure to the air, the iron precipitates and leaves behind the unsightly reddish-brown stains on sinks, showers, tubs, and clothes.

There are several ways to remove iron from water. The two most common types of equipment used are water softeners (ion exchange) and oxidizing filters. Range Water normally recommends the use of a well-designed and properly sized water softener which employs effective counter-current brining and backwash cycles. For applications requiring iron removal, homeowners should consult a water conditioning professional.

How can I find out what is in my water?
The easiest way to find out what is in your water is to call Range Water at 1.800.642.4011 for a free water test, or submit the no obligation Free Water Test Request Form online. A trained Quality Water Consultant will come to your home or business and conduct tests for hardness, iron, pH, tannin, nitrates, and total dissolved solids. They might also conduct tests for other constituents if they have reason to believe they are present. After the tests are completed the consultant will explain the results and make recommendations for treatment if required. The entire procedure takes 30-45 minutes and is completely free.

If I need water treatment, Is it expensive?
Not necessarily. A state-of-the-art water treatment system from Range Water Conditioning will pay for itself. For example, softening water to eliminate hardness can reduce the cost of soap, lower the cost of heating hot water, increase the useful life of water-using appliances, and increase the life of clothes and linens (See FAQ "Why Is Hard Water A Problem?"). It might also eliminate the need to purchase bottled drinking water or the need to take clothes to the Laundromat to avoid the staining caused by iron in your water. The investment in water treatment equipment will, of course, depend on what is in your water, the capacity required for your family or business and the type of equipment your budget allows. There are many Payment Options available, including financing tailored to fit almost any budget. In addition, there are low-cost alternatives available such as rental of automatic equipment. In today's environment water treatment is not a luxury; it is a necessity that ensures the quality of life to which everyone aspires.

The authorities say my water is OK. Why do I need water treatment?
Local health and water department authorities only certify that water is potable. Water is deemed potable, or safe to drink, when and only when it is free of disease-causing organisms as well as toxic chemical contaminants. Water that is deemed potable does not necessarily mean that the water is palatable. To be palatable water must be free of detectable tastes and odors. It must also be free of turbidity as well as strong color. Tastes and odors can be traced to one or more of the following: decaying organic matter; living organisms; iron or manganese; the metallic products of corrosion, industrial waste pollution, and/or chlorination; and high mineral concentrations.

Water quality is determined by its use, and there are three types of water to be considered. The first is called utility water. An example of utility water would be water used to sprinkle the lawn, fight fires, or as wash-down water in a food processing plant. Working water is another type which includes water for bathing and cleaning. Working water quality needs to be better than utility water since it needs to be free of contaminants that leave behind hardness deposits, stains, or cause an odor. The third type is water for drinking. Obviously, drinking water needs to be of the highest quality to eliminate any contaminants that cause taste and odor.

Why is it important to consume enough high quality drinking water daily?
For years health experts have advised that drinking plenty of water is necessary for a healthier life. Since 70% of your body is made up of water and 85% of your brain's gray matter is made up of water, the statement is true that 'You are what you Drink!' Imagine the benefit to you and your family if you drink water that is clear and smells fresh.

Do water conditioners add sodium to my water?
Yes. When water containing hardness minerals is passed through a water softener, the hardness minerals are exchanged for sodium. The amount of sodium added is dependent upon the hardness of the water being softened. As an example, assuming that the water softener is functioning properly, your water softener is adding 7.8 mg per liter of sodium for every one grain per gallon of hardness that is removed. This means that someone with very hard water - perhaps 20 grains per gallon - would have about 156 mg of sodium added. This is far less sodium than is found in many foods. For example skim milk has about 530 mg of sodium per liter. A slice of white bread has about 135 mg of sodium.

If the ion-exchange type of water softener is regenerated using potassium chloride, instead of sodium chloride, then potassium would be added to the water instead of sodium as the water was softened. However, in some patients with renal or cardiac disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, there can also be complications due to increased potassium intake so this should only be performed in consultation with your physician.

Finally, drinking LESS water is NOT a solution to this problem. In order to clear sodium from the body effectively, the kidneys need water. Ideally, you should follow the widely recommended guideline of drinking 8 glasses of water, each of 8 oz, per day.

Using distilled or reverse osmosis water would eliminate both sodium and potassium.

What payment options are available?
    CASH or CHECK
    You may visit our retail store to purchase your equipment or pay your bill. Visiting our operating location also allows you to feel more comfortable with talking to Range Water's qualified Sales Representative before they come to your home to test your water. To make sure someone is available when you arrive, you may call today to set an appointment.

    CREDIT CARD
    We accept VISA & Master Card to make payments on your bill or purchase your equipment.

    IN-HOUSE FINANCING (Not applicable for bottled water coolers)
    Ask your Range Water Sales Representative for details.

    RENT-TO-OWN PROGRAM
    Range Water has a rent-to-own program. If you rent our equipment and then decide you would like to purchase it, you have the option under our 90 day rent-to-own program. Ask Range Water's qualified Sales Representative for more details.
What type of salt should I use?
Range Water recommends Solar Crystal salt as the cleanest and least likely to cause a service problem.

Why does a softener need to regenerate?
It needs to rid itself of hardness particles that it collects as water is processed through it.

How much water does each regeneration use?
About as much water as it takes to wash a load of laundry.

How much electricity does a water softener use?
As much as a digital alarm clock.

How often does my water softener regenerate?
Depends on your water usage and hardness level. In a typical household it will regenerate every 2-7 days.

How long does a softener take to regenerate?
About 2 hours. Generally water softeners come preprogrammed to regenerate at 2:00 a.m., however can be reprogrammed to regenerate at any desired time.

Does the discharge water from the softener harm my septic system?
No. Water softener discharge water should not affect septic system operation or drain field soil percolation.

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