Cloudy dishes? Stains in your sink? You’ve got water problems! But what exactly is wrong with your water? How do you know you have bad water? And how do you fix your water issues? First Class Mechanical will help! 

There are many options for water treatment. First Class recognizes that no one water problem is the same and we are dedicated to building a custom solution for your water problems. Call 410-876-WATER (9283) to schedule your free estimate to solve your water problems today!

Hard Water

What is Hard Water?

In school, we are taught that water is H20, one atom of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. However, sometimes there are extra things in our water. Some of the contaminants in your water are perfectly safe for you to consume, while others can negatively impact your health.

Hard water is water that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium carbonate, manganese, iron, aluminum and sediment. Of course some of these minerals are not in themselves bad for you. However, hard water sediment can carry dangerous bacteria and can lead to bacterial growth.

Signs You Have Hard Water

– Bad Taste or Smell: If you taste or smell something different in your water, it could be a sign of hard water. If your water tastes metallic, then you may have iron in your water. If your water smells like rotten eggs, you could have hydrogen sulfide gas or other bacteria reacting with magnesium to form sulfates, giving you that foul smell. If your water tastes like dirt, then you could be due to sediment, old pipes, or algae.

-Strange Stains: If you are seeing red-orange stains in your shower, toilet, or sinks, then you have a high level of iron in your water. You can get rid of these stains with some elbow grease; however, they will continue to come back until you address your hard water problem.

Iron stains on bathtub-Excess of Soap Scum: When you have hard water, you will see soap scum spots all over your dishes, shower, and sink. When the water is heated and starts to evaporate, the calcium deposits stick to the surface. As a result, you may be cleaning your kitchen and bathroom more often and going through more cleaning products.

hardwater2-Problems in the Shower: Minerals in hard water do not play nice with soap, causing you to have problems when you are trying to bathe. You will have a hard time getting soap to lather up and then once you do, it will be difficult to rinse off and a residue might be left on your skin. Hard water can also affect your hair and make it hard to manage. In addition to the effects on your skin, hard water can leave deposits in your shower head causing it clog.

-Clogged Pipes: In addition to shower heads, hard water can leave deposits in the pipes in your home. The deposits build up in your pipes and can cause you major issues!

-Dingy Laundry: Hard water can cause problems for your laundry too. Soap is used to clean away dirt and grime, but when it is not rinsed off, it can increase soil build-up in your clothes. Your clothes can look dingy, wear out faster, and stain easier. Not to mention, when you have hard water you use a lot more detergent, costing you money!

-Skin Irritation: The minerals in hard water can cause some people to have dry and itchy skin. It can also irritate sensitive skins or already existing skin conditions, like eczema.

-Appliance Problems: One of the most expensive side effects of hard water has is on your appliances, such as your water heater, dishwasher, washing machine, and more. The minerals in hard water leave a scale in your appliances which cause them to not work as efficiently and break down quicker. Hard water could be costing you a lot of money if you have to replace appliances more often!

Acidic Water

What is Acidic Water?

Acid water is water that has a potential hydrogen (pH) reading less than 7. On the pH scale, water is neutral at 7, acidic at less than 7 and alkaline at more than 7. The lower the pH number is, the more acidic the water is. Although acidic water is not dangerous to drink, it is corrosive and destructive for your home.

Where Does Acid Water Come From?

Acid water comes from acidic rainfall, airborne pollutants, composition of soil and bedrock (which groundwater runs through), coal mine drainage, chemical dumping, plant decomposition, local flooding, and other natural disasters. Acidic water lets metal ions such as iron, manganese, copper, lead and zinc to leach into the water, causing elevated levels of toxic metals in the water.

Signs You Have Acidic Water

-Blue staining: If you have copper pipes and you have acidic water, you will see blue-green stains in your bathtub, shower, sinks, or fixtures. This is the chemical reaction of the acid in the water and the copper in the pipes that create these stains.

acidwater-Rust staining: If you have iron pipes and you have acidic water, you might see rust stains as well. Again, the acid in the water chemically reacts with the iron in the pipes, creating red-brown rust stains in your bathtub, fixtures, sinks, etc.

-Pinhole leaks: Acidic water can corrode your pipes and cause pinhole leaks, which will cost you a lot of money!

-Low water pressure: You could see low water flow or pressure because the acidic water is accelerating the deterioration of your pipes.

-Bad Taste: If you have a metallic or sour taste in your water, then you could have acidic water. Fruit that tastes sour, like lemons, have a lot of acidity in them. Similarly, water with acid in it tastes sour.

Different Types of Water Conditioning

Acid Neutralizers

There are many types of acid neutralizers, but the most common is a calcite acid neutralizer tank. This system releases reactive magnesium oxide (or calcite) into the water, which dissolves and neutralizes the acid. Acid neutralizers need routine maintenance, as the calcite needs to be replaced. Using an acid neutralizer may increase the hardness of you water, so First Class recommends that a water softener be installed along with the acid neutralizer.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are used to correct hard water issues. A water softener comes with a salt brine tank. The process of softening water is a three step regeneration process. First, the salt brine solution is created with the salt that you add to the softener. Second, the solution flows through a resin tank inside the softener tank itself. Lastly, tiny beads in the resin bed attract the hard water minerals, removing them from the water. The amount of sodium that gets released into a gallon of softened water is about as much as you’d find in 2 slices of white bread. Most new, high-efficiency water softeners use less than 10 bags of salt per year.

Sediment Filters

Sediment filters do exactly as their name implies: they filter out sediment in your water. As with any filtration system, routine maintenance is involved. The filters need to be replaced on a regular basis.

AG Filters

An AG filter is an automatic backwashing filter that removes sediment. This filter would take the place of your regular sediment filter. The advantage of this filtration system is that you do not need to change a filter, as it automatically backwashes. It uses aggregate (sand) to filter out the sediment. It doesn’t add anything to your water; it only removes the sediment and other particles from your water.

U/V Systems

A U/V system eliminates harmful organisms in your water. They remove organisms that lead to diseases and viruses such as salmonella, E.coli, polio, cholera, hepatitis, coliform, dysentery, and the flu. Ultraviolet rays penetrate pathogens in the water by targeting their genetic core, thus eliminating them and stopping them from reproducing. It is efficient, effective, and environmentally safe. U/V systems destroy 99.9% of harmful organisms without adding chemicals or changing your water’s taste or odor. The only maintenance involved is to change the U/V light bulb annually.

Chemical Feed Pumps

A chemical feed pump system injects light soda ash, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, vinegar, polyphosphates or another chemical mixture into your water to treat bacteria and odors. The most common point of injection into the water is between the well and the pressure tank. The chemical solution tank contains the chemical to be injected and then the pump draws the liquid solution into the water line. As with most water treatment systems, annual maintenance is necessary to ensure proper operation. A plumber will clean all hoses and ports and check the pH level of your water and make adjustments on your system to tailor it to fit your water needs.

Constant Pressure Systems

A constant pressure system operates with your well pump to give you reliable constant water pressure, regardless of how much water you use. This system retrofits to your existing well system, no matter the manufacturer. It will also work with your existing pressure tank or if you need to replace the pressure tank in the future, you will be able to get smaller one.