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Monday, April 25, 2011
In this part of our section on iron-related water problems, we will discuss water filters and other ways in which you can get rid of red water in your home or office. In addition to water filter information, we will also share information on how to diagnosis your iron problem.

Symptom: If your tap water comes out colorless but begins to show red or brown sediment that ends up on the bottom of the container, your problem is most likely dissolved ferrous iron.

Using a water filter or aeration will solve this problem for most homeowners. It is important that you get a water filter that is designed for this type of problem. Water filters can be used at the tap or can be installed to treat the whole house.

If you have this type of iron problem with your water you should also consider using an in-line water filter for your ice maker or refrigerator water dispenser. Your dishwasher should also be fitted out to avoid staining dishes.

Symptom: If your tap water comes out with a red, yellow, or rusty tint to it, and particles later fall to the bottom of the container, your problem is most likely insoluble ferric iron.

This type of water can be difficult to treat without the use of whole house water filter system. The reason is the best treatment option is sand filtration, which is only available in larger treatment systems such as whole-house water filters. Other options include catalytic filtration systems.

Symptom: If you find that your toilet, sinks, or other plumbing have slime coatings that may be yellow or brown in nature, your problem is most likely iron bacteria. You may also notice an unpleasant odor coming from these objects.

The best way to treat iron bacteria is with shock chlorination along with increased levels of continuous chlorine feed. If you get your water from a municipal water company, contact them immediately and have them test your water. They may be able to set up booster chlorination devices to deliver the added chlorine you need. This is often the case for homes at the far end of the water distribution system.

If you get your water from another source, you should consult with a professional water filtration expert to see what options you have.

Symptom: If you get your water from a shallow well (or in some cases from surface water sources not treated by city water suppliers) and your water has a brown or yellow tint to it, your problem is most likely organic iron.

Your treatment options include water filters, water softeners, and water filters that utilize activated carbon (to eliminate organic material). Whole house water filtration systems may also be employed, but consult with a professional before you choose one.

If you are unsure about your situation, contact a qualified water filter vendor and discuss your problem. They are often well suited to offer invaluable advice and can also offer water filtration options to help you rid your home or office of iron water.

by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 22, 2011
In many parts of the country, red water and red stains are a common complaint among homeowners. In virtually all cases, this reddish color is caused by iron in the water or iron in the water supply (pipes).

One of the reason iron is so prevalent in water is because it is one of the most common minerals on Earth. Because of its molecular structure, iron easily dissolves into water, especially rain water and underground aquifers.

Red water can be found in homes that are served by surface water sources or by groundwater sources, but it is most often found in groundwater sources and well water.

It does not take much in order for iron to turn water reddish. Amounts of iron, as small as 0.3 mg/l, can affect water, causing it to turn red or reddish brown. When present in water, iron is in one of two forms. It can be soluble ferrous iron or it can be the insoluble ferric iron.

When ferrous iron is present, the water is normally colorless until it is exposed to air. Then it begins to change color. This can happen in water pipes, hot water heaters, and pressure tanks. The solid matter often found at the bottom of a water heater or pressure tank is ferric iron—iron that has oxidized and will not dissolve.

Ingesting iron in small amounts is not dangerous to health. In fact, iron is a necessary mineral for good health. The main issue with iron in water has to do with staining, but many people find the taste to be offensive as well. This becomes even more disagreeable when the water is used for tea or coffee.

If you have red water, your first task should be to find out where it is coming from. This can be a challenge for some homes. The source of iron may be in your in-home plumbing. Corrosion of iron pipes and steel pipes may be the cause. The same may be present inside your water heater or water tank. Even plumbing connectors may be the cause.

One way to narrow down your search is to test the water before it comes into the home and to test it again from an inside tap. The two tests you want to conduct are the pH test and iron concentration test. Water that has a pH below 6.5 may be corrosive. For the iron concentration test, you can get a test kit from many home supply stores or from a certified lab.

If your water comes from a water company, contact them if you have problems with red stains. They may be able to help you and provide important information about the water coming into your home.

There are many water filters you can add to your water system to help you alleviate iron water problems. In Part 2 of this series, we offer information on the various water filter options you have.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Do you live in a city or town that is over 100 years old? A surprising number of American cities and towns were founded in the 1800's; some earlier than that. As these locations begin to age, drinking water safety becomes an issue. Water filters and other filtration systems can help protect your family when the infrastructure below your streets begins to decay.

The adage that "nothing lasts forever" is certainly true when it comes to water and sewage pipes that were laid underground decades and decades ago. Many cities and towns have been able to replace their pipes completely, but other cities, such as New York, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles have not.

The issue of drinking water safety comes into the picture when these old pipes begin to leak, seep, or crack. There was a time when sewage pipes and water pipes were laid virtually on top of each other or side by side. If a sewage pipe should develop a crack or a leak it can, under certain conditions, contaminate the drinking water that may be flowing in another nearby pipe.

The belief that city water cannot become contaminated is simply not true. There have been several outbreaks of illnesses in recent years caused by water distribution systems becoming contaminated. One way to protect your family from this possibility is to install water filters in your home or office.

Water filters can be purchased in a variety of models and for a variety of purposes. Some water filters are able to catch microorganisms that cause illness in humans. Others can be used to remove chlorine taste and odor from water, and others can be used to filter out sediment and mineral content from water.

Many modern water filters can perform more than one job. Residents of older cities and towns may wish to look into these multi-purpose water filters as they offer much more protection against a whole host of contaminants. Water filters can be purchased that attach directly to the tap (point of use water filters), can be installed in-line with the water line, installed under counters and sinks, and even whole house water filtering systems are available.

One caution to keep in mind if you live an older city or town is that many times a leak or seepage problem may not become known for a long time. When this happens, contamination of drinking water becomes a real possibility.

You may also want to look into installing water filters if the building you live in is old. Older buildings often have lead, copper, and sediment issues that can be solved with water filters.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, April 18, 2011
The presence of vinyl chloride in drinking water can be a problem for some people living in certain areas of the country. Vinyl chloride (VC) is colorless, organic gas that has a sweet odor to it. The reason this substance may be a problem for certain areas of the country is in its many uses.

Vinyl chloride is widely used in the manufacturing and processing of numerous products. These products can run from those used in construction to the automotive industry. VC is also used in the manufacturing of piping, electrical wire insulation, cables, industrial equipment, various household devices, rubber, glass, medical supplies, and paper. And this is not a complete list!

Vinyl chloride normally gets into water sources through leaching from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping as well as from discharges from industries and manufacturing factories.

Those who may be consuming VC in their drinking water for long periods of time may be at risk for cancers of various types. It is for this reason that the EPA has set up limits for this chemical in water.

The EPA has established the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for vinyl chloride at 0.002 mg/L or 2 ppb (parts per billion).

Some states, especially those with heavy industry, have set higher standards for this substance and those standards override the EPA level.

For those who get their drinking water from municipal treatment plants, testing for VC is conducted on a periodic basis. In the event the testing reveals levels of VC that are higher than the limit set by the EPA, the water supplier must notify customers within 30 days of discovering the violation, and they must also take immediate steps to correct the problem.

The presence of vinyl chloride can also be a problem for those who get their water from private wells. Private well water does not have to be monitored by the state or anyone else for that matter. However, homeowners who ingest well water should conduct their own testing for VC if they are in an area where leaching or run off may occur. Testing should also be conducted if PVC piping is used to a great extent in the plumbing of the well and its distribution lines.

In-home water filters that provide some form of aeration are the most effective in removing VC from water.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 15, 2011
When people think of in-home water filters, they often think of the removal of bacteria and chlorine. But good quality water filters can also remove other water contaminants such as styrene.

Styrene is an organic liquid, somewhat oily in nature, and it has a floral odor. In the old days, styrene was used mostly in the synthetic rubber industry. Today it is used in plastic making, paints, resins, and other types of coatings.

Ingesting styrene, over time, can have severe health consequences. Those who drink water with styrene levels above the EPA standard can develop problems in their liver, kidneys, or circulatory system.

The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for styrene at 0.1 mg/L or 100 ppb (parts per billion).

As a water contaminant, styrene is most often found in water that is close to certain industries or industrial areas. The main way that styrene gets into drinking water is through discharge from rubber and plastic factories. It can also get into water sources (especially ground water) via leaching from landfills.

If you live in an area where there is heavy industry, you may want to know about the federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). This law requires certain industries to report annually on their releases of toxic or dangerous chemicals. For more information, contact the Community Right-to-Know Hotline: (800) 424-9346.

So, how can you know if there is styrene in your drinking water or not? Municipal water suppliers test for styrene on a routine basis. For those living in areas away from heavy industry, this is fine. But for those who live near landfills or factories that discharge styrene, it may not be so fine. In the event a water plant discovers a violation, it has up to 30 days to notify its customers of the violation. It must also take immediate steps to correct the problem that led to the violation. All of this takes time, of course.

Most treatment plants use granular activated carbon along with aeration to remove styrene from water. This has been shown to be effective in most cases.

Homeowners who may be susceptible to styrene contamination may want to add another level of protection to their drinking water. This can be done by installing a high-quality water filter. Options for home use include either whole house water filters or smaller point of use filters.

You can learn more about whether or not styrene is a problem in your area by contacting your water utility company. The EPA requires all community water systems to prepare an annual water quality report for their customers by July 1 of each year and you may request this report at any time.

If you wish to protect your family's drinking water with water filters, contact a reliable vendor and discuss your needs and budget. Most water filter vendors have several options for homeowners in various price ranges.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Do you have bluish green stains in your shower, bath, or under a faucet? If so, you need to read this short article as this water condition can affect the health of your family.

In simple terms, blue-green stains happen when two conditions are met. The first is water that is corrosive is entering the house or being generated by the plumbing inside the house. The second condition is having copper plumbing inside the home or office.

Copper is often found in plumbing and plumbing fittings. When copper comes into contact with corrosive water it forms copper oxide. This copper oxide is what causes the distinctive blue-green color of the stains. If your stains are brownish or orange, the problem is most likely iron oxide.

Not all areas of the country have naturally occurring corrosive water. However, some areas, such in the Northeast, do. For instance, much of the water found in New Hampshire is corrosive.

Corrosive water will also hurt pipes by eating small holes in them which result in leaks.

The best way to treat this type of water is to increase the pH of the water before it enters the home or office or just after it enters. Increasing the pH will lower the corrosive nature of the water. A higher pH will also help to alleviate any iron corrosion problems you may have.

In addition to hurt pipes and staining fixtures, low-pH water can also affect the health of those who drink it or consume it through cooking. Water that is corrosive in nature can also cause lead, copper, rust, cadmium and zinc to leech into your drinking water at higher than safe levels.

You can buy an easy to use pH test kit and test your tap water. If the pH is below 6.0 it is definitely corrosive and should be treated as soon as possible. A pH reading of between 6.0 and 7.0 indicates your water is somewhat corrosive and should be treated as well.

Whole house water filtration units are available to help prevent corrosive water. If you water comes from a municipal water company, you should contact them and have them assist you in getting a higher pH at your home or office. For those who get their water from private wells or other private sources, consulting with a qualified water filter vendor is in order. These professionals can help you understand the problem and offer viable solutions that will take care of this unsightly and dangerous problem.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 7, 2011
Drinking water can become contaminated in a variety of ways. Mines and run-off from mines and stockpiles are problematic in some areas. water filters can help eliminate many of the contaminants found in water, but you should have a basic understanding of how mines contaminate water in order to choose the best water filter for your needs.
Generally speaking, the contaminants that can pose a hazard to your water are metals, acids, and salts. Most treatment plants located in potentially hazardous areas are able to treat for most of these materials. Still, some may get through. This is where high-quality water filters come into play.
Various types of mines, especially coal mines, have been known to discharge acids and metals into water sources. When certain sulfides are exposed to oxygen and water they can form sulfuric acid. This same acid can seep down into underground water sources such as aquifers and underground streams.
Protecting your drinking water with water filters becomes even more important if you live in a rural area that is also located near any type of mine or strip mine operation. If you get your water from a private well, it is very good advice to have it check by a certified laboratory on a regular basis.
If you learn of a problem with your well water, you can get professional assistance from water filter vendors. They can help you select the best filtration system for your home or farm.
If you get your water from a city water company, your water is monitored by the treatment plant. This monitoring is required by law. In the event any listed contaminant exceeds its MCL (Maximum Contaminate Level) the water authority must notify you and tell you what they did to correct the problem.
Homeowners who live near stockpiles of mineral compounds should also be aware of the water safety. Stockpiles can be comprised of virtually any type of material. Large piles of salt, for instance, are often kept in areas where it snows a lot. You can find stockpiles of coal, gypsum, and phosphates to name only a very few.
The issue with stockpiles is they can cause run-off. This happens when rain water hits them and dissolves some of the material. This same water can then seep into the ground and enter underground water sources.
All of the above mines and run-off hazards can also contaminate surface water if the conditions are right.
If you have any concerns about your drinking water, whether it comes from a private well or treatment plant, you should have your water tested. Before submitting your sample to the lab, try to have as much information about the possible contaminates in your area. For instance, if you live near a coal mine, you would want to tell the lab about that.

You can also install water filters in your home to help protect your family. Water filters are an affordable way to protect your family from unseen and potentially contaminants.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The United States provides its citizens with some of the safest drinking water on the planet. Still, water safety issues can come up from time to time. Most people know that the U.S. has water safety rules, but may not be aware of what those rules really mean. This article takes a brief look at what a water standard is and why they are important.

Every water treatment plant in the U.S. is bound by certain rules and regulations. Some of these are state-level and some are Federal level. In order to prove they are in compliance, treatment plants must constantly monitor the water and take various tests along the processing path.

Some of the monitoring and testing water filtration plants are required to do include such things as: monitoring and testing chlorine levels both at the plant and in the distribution system, testing for levels of iron and manganese and other minerals, testing of pH levels, and testing of VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds). These are a just a few of the many areas that treatment plants must keep an eye on.

It is through this constant testing that water filtration plants and treatment plants are able to detect a problem when it occurs. A problem, in this sense, is when any level of tested material is above or below the State or Federal standards.

This would constitute a violation.

If a violation takes place, the water company is required to notify its customers. For minor violations, notification is usually through the mail and included with the water bill. For violations that are immediately hazardous to anyone drinking the water, notification is made via radio and television.

Notifications must tell customers what the problem is and what they need to do, if anything. Major violations must also contain information on how the water can be treated by the consumer (such as boiling) or if the water should not be ingested at all. Some systems may actually turn the water supply off during an emergency.

In addition to the above, every year water companies must send to their customers a consumer confidence report that details the violations that happened during the previous year. These reports also contain important information that consumers should read and understand.

To learn more about water violations you can visit the EPA site at:

One of the best ways to protect your family from unsafe water is to install quality water filters in the home. Quality water filters are now more affordable than ever and can be installed either at the tap or as a whole-house unit.

In-home water filters are an excellent way to catch various water-borne materials before they leave the tap. This added protection can help to keep your family safe and healthy for years to come.

by: Chris Tracey

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