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Water Quality (12)

Choosing a water treatment system
1. Is the Water Treatment For Drinking and Cooking, or the Whole House?

If a water test has revealed a high level of contaminants in the water, such as bacteria, or you're experiencing iron staining, a whole house water treatment system is a better choice. If the water test shows no significant problems, but you're not happy with the taste of the water from the tap, installing a water filter under the kitchen sink may solve the problem.

2. Does All Your Water Come From a Private Well?
Studies have shown that more than a third of U.S. homes with private wells have E. coli and other potentially harmful bacteria. For homes with wells, we recommend a reverse osmosis or UV whole house water treatment system.

Even for homes with city water, contamination is still a risk. due to contamination and ruptured pipes. Over 600 boil water alerts are issued every day by city water districts in the U.S.

3. How Much Water Does Your Household Use?
How much water will flow through the home during peak usage? Knowing the number of bathrooms in a home is often a quick and simple way to determine the size needed of specific water treatment systems.

4. How many people are in the household?
Generally, knowing the number of people live in your home will help to estimate the total water usage, and therefore what size water filtration system would be best suited for your home.

5. What's in the Water?
If you get your water from the city you can request an annual water quality report.  The EPA requires all community water systems to deliver an annual water quality report, called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). If you have a well, you can order an independent water analysis. Once you know what's in your water, you can make an informed decision about which water treatment option is best for your home.
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 18:03

How a Water Softener Works

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A water softener is designed to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium that cause "hard water". These minerals dissolve into the groundwater from surrounding rock. When you have hard water in the home you will find that the mineral scale shows up on glassware and in your tub and shower. When severe enough, hard water scale can harm you home's plumbing system by clogging pipes and reducing the effectiveness of your water heater. It can also make laundering clothes more difficult by reducing the effectiveness of soaps and detergents.

Water Softener

The Answer to Hard Water is a Water Softener

A water softener is a mechanical appliance that is attached to a home's plumbing system. Using a process called ion exchange the minerals in the water are exchanged for sodium. A mineral tank filled with tiny polystyrene beads that create a negative charge. Because the minerals in the water carry a positive charge, they will cling to the beads as the water flows through the mineral tank.

Water softeners have a separate tank with a brine (liquified salt) solution. When the brine is added to the mineral tank the sodium ions, which also have a positive charge, it saturates the beads and displaces the magnesium and calcium "softening" the water.

The sodium attaches to the beads, replacing the calcium and magnesium, which get rinsed down the drain. Once rinsed of minerals, the tank is flushed of brine and refilled.

Have questions about hard water in your home? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help test your water and recommend solutions for improving water quality.
Having hard water in the home can range from the inconvenience of water spots to more serious problems with reduced performance and shortened lifespan of your plumbing fixtures. Here are some of the plumbing systems that are most affected by hard water.

Laundry Room

Doing laundry with hard water can make clothing look dull and feel rough and scratchy. The minerals in hard water combine with soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to clean. It often takes more detergent to get clothing clean when washing in hard water. Over time, laundering with hard water can damage clothing fibers, causing premature wear.


Bathing in hard water can prevent the removal of dirt and bacteria on the skin, leaving it less clean feeling. Soap scum can also interfere with the skin's natural PH balance, aggrevating conditions like eczema and dermetitis. Soap scum on hair can make it dull and more prone to damage.


Hard water may cause spotting and filming when washing dishes, especially in the dishwasher. This is because the minerals from hard water are released more quickly when heated, increasing the likelihood spotting and filming.

Other Hard Water Problems

Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of many appliances. A scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (limescale deposits) can build up in water heaters, coffee makers and other appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale can increase energy consumption by as much as 25%.
While the plumbing industry and municipal water treatment facilities have worked to reduce lead from water over the past few decades, trace amounts can still be found in drinking water. Here are some of the most common sources of lead in drinking water.

Lead Solder

If your home was built prior to the 1980, lead solder was used to join the copper water pipes. Older plumbing fixtures may also contain lead, although newer plumbing fixtures must pass rigorous tests and be certified to contain levels of lead that are below safety thresholds.

Lead Supply Pipes

There are major utilities in the U.S. that still have lead pipes to supply water to customers. However, because the pipes have been in use for a long time, they have formed a natural oxidation barrier that prevents lead from leeching into the water. Utilities will often add lime or orthophosphates as an additional barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water. 

If you're concerned about lead in your home's drinking water, regular testing can help ensure that levels are safe to drink. In addition, EPA has an online guide called “How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” that can help you choose the right plumbing fixtures for your home. In addition, Gibson's can help test your home's water for lead and other potentially harmful minerals or chemicals.

When your tap water smells like rotten eggs, or sulphur, it's often a sign that there is hydrogen sulfide gas present. Because heat will allow the gas escape into the air more easily, the odor will usually be strongest when running hot water in the shower. In higher concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can corrode metals, causing yellowing or black stains (metallic sulfides) on metal plumbing fixtures. It can also affect the appearance and taste of drinking water and food cooked in water. Fortunately, the levels of hydrogen sulfide found in drinking water are small enough that they are not harmful to humans.

What Causes Hydrogen Sulfide In Water?

There are a couple of reasons your home's water may smell like rotten eggs from hydrogen sulfide, they include:

1. Well water with decaying organic material or soil that causes chemical reactions of sulphur-containing minerals.

2. Water heaters that generate hydrogen sulfide gas through the magnesium anode rod, which supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas.

Solving Hydrogen Sulfide Problems in the Water Supply

When the problem is occurring with the water supply itself, such as a well, installing a whole-house water treatment system is usually the most effective long-term solution. If the odor is a result of the hot water system, modifying the hot water heater may reduce the odor. The process involves replacing the water heater’s magnesium anode rod with one made of aluminum or other metal may improve the situation.

Have questions about your home's water? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can test your water and recommend solutions for improving it's smell, taste and mineral content.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that most municipal water suppliers provide consumers with an annual water quality report. Also known as Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), the report provides detailed information about the quality of the drinking water supply during the past year.

Most Indiana, Ohio and Michigan homeowners will receive a copy of the report annually. If you don't receive a copy in the mail you can access this information on your community's website or by calling your local water department.

Here are some terms you should know when reviewing your CCR:, The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) <a href="" target="_blank">provides information to help consumers make sense of the reports. 

Because the CCR reports contain a lot of scientific data and are a little technical, The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) provides information to help consumers make sense of water quality. Units of measurement for concentrations of contaminants, and detailed information on interpreting the results can help homeowners make informed decisions about whether additional home water treatment is needed.

CCRs help you identify any contaminants that are present in your water supply and how these contaminants may affect your health. If a contaminant is present at a level that is of concern or if your water has an undesirable taste, odor or color, you can take any number of actions. For many people, the first step might be to purchase a water filter or water treatment system. However, no single system can protect against all impurities, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a water treatment system.

The first step in choosing a water treatment system for your home is to understand what's in the water by having your home's water tested. You may be experiencing high mineral content (hard water), strange odors or have other concerns. A water test will identify any contaminants and help you select the right water treatment solution for your needs.

Because not all water filters are going to be effective for the same group of contaminants, once you have identified the specific contaminants in your water check the NSF's water filter certification page. The NSF certifies different water treatment systems by the types of contaminants they remove from the water.  

There are two basic types of home water filtration systems. Whole house/point-of-entry (POE) systems typically treat all or most of the water entering a residence. They are usually installed after the water meter (municipal) or pressurized storage tank (well water). A water softener is an example of a POE system.

Point-of-use (POU) systems typically treat water at the point of consumption, such as at the kitchen sink, refrigerator or shower head. Some may install inline while others will dispense filtered water through a separate faucet. 

Need help choosing a water filtration system? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can test your home's water and help you choose the right water filtration system for your needs.

Because our drinking water comes from sources like lakes, rivers, reservoirs and ground water aquifers, it's natural that there will be biological organisms such as giardia, cryptosporidium, and viruses. Left in the water supply, these pathogens can cause illness that lead to diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and other health risks.

To prevent these disease causing organisms from entering the water supply, municipal water treatment plants often use chloramines to disinfect the water and kill the organisms. Chloramines are created when ammonia is added to chlorine.

The EPA requires that water treatment plants keep chloramines at a minimum level that is well below the threshold that would be harmful to humans. As the water travels through the pipes to your home, the chloramine levels gradually diminish. Water that is exposed to the air will gradually evaporate remaining chloramines.

Water Treatment to Remove Chloramines from Drinking Water

The problems caused by chloramines in the home include a chlorine odor, corrosion to some types of plumbing fixtures, and at higher levels, causing harm to aquarium fish. For this reason some homeowners use a water filtration system to remove the chemicals from the water supply.

To learn more about the drinking water in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, visit the EPA's Consumer Confidence Report EPA's website to view detailed information about your communities water supply. 

For an in-home water analysis, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We have effective water filtration solutions that can remove chloramines and other contaminants from your home's water supply.

Reverse osmosis is an effective water purification process that can remove dissolved inorganic material from water, such as salt, magnesium and calcium carbonate and other particles.

When attached inline to a home's plumbing system, a reverse osmosis system uses water pressure to force the water through a thin, semi-permeable membrane. The membrane allows the water to pass through, but will trap impurities and flush them down the drain.

Why Use a Reverse Osmosis System?

There are many advantages of a reverse osmosis water filtration system, they include:
  • Better tasting and smelling water
  • Highly effective removal of particles and dissolved solids
  • No energy consumption
  • Flushes contaminants away, reducing the need to clean or replace the filter as often
  • Very low cost per gallon filtration
Have questions about reverse osmosis water treatment? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help with all your home water purification needs.

Thursday, 24 September 2015 19:16

When Should You Have Your Water Tested?

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Water TestingFor many homeowners knowing the safety and quality of drinking water important. Whether you get your water from a municipal water system or a private well, there are many reasons you may want to have your water tested, including:
  • Your home is older and has lead pipes or lead soldered joints
  • The water in your home has a strange taste or smell
  • You have soap soap scum on bathroom fixtures and water spots on your dishes
  • You're buying a home that has a water treatment system and you want to make sure it is functioning properly
  • You're installing a new water treatment system and you want to measure it's effectiveness before and after starting treatment
  • There are frequent gastrointestinal problems with people drinking water in the home
  • There is a pregnant woman or a child under six months old living in the home
  • You have a well that is near a septic tank
  • There is agricultural land near by that uses pesticides
  • There are abandoned industrial buildings or gas stations nearby
If problems are found with your home's drinking water, there are a number of water treatment solutions available to treat hard water and contamination from organic and inorganic substances. Some of the contaminants that can cause problems in the home include:
  • Calcium and Manganese (hard water)
  • Hydrogen Sulfide (corrosive)
  • High Iron (rust stains)
  • High Sodium
  • Tannins
If you're concerned about the water quality in your home Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we're here to help.

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