Frequently Asked Questions
Use the checklist below to help direct your search for some fairly common - and a few not-so-common - water leaks.
Hardness in drinking water is caused by two nontoxic chemicals (usually called minerals) calcium and magnesium. If calcium and/or magnesium is present in your water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard because making a lather or suds for washing is hard (difficult) to do. Thus, cleaning with hard water is hard / difficult. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is called soft water. (Maybe it should be called easy, the opposite of difficult.)
The spots that may appear on glassware after it is washed and air-dried are caused by nontoxic minerals that remain on the glass when the water evaporates. Commercial products are available that allow the water to drain from the glassware more completely.
Ice cubes freeze from the outside, so the center of the cube is the last to freeze. Ice is pure water, only H2O, so as the ice cube freezes, all of the dissolved minerals, like the hardness minerals are pushed to the center.
Near the end of the freezing, there isn’t much water left in the center of the cube, so these minerals become very concentrated, and they form the white stuff the technical name is precipitate. The hardness minerals that cause the white stuff are not toxic. Some commercial ice cubes are cored after they freeze to remove this material. Having posts in your ice cube tray doesn’t help as the precipitate must actually be removed by coring.
Minerals dissolved in water tend to settle out when water is heated or are left behind when it evaporates. These minerals are white and accumulate in coffeepots and on showerheads and glass shower doors. To remove these minerals, fill the coffeepot with vinegar and let it sit overnight, or soak the showerhead overnight in a plastic bowl filled with vinegar. NOTE: Rinse the coffeepot or showerhead thoroughly after treatment and before use. Pouring the excess hot liquid out of your coffeepot when you are finished with it will help somewhat in preventing this problem. White spots on glass shower doors are difficult to remove with vinegar because the spots dissolve very slowly. A better idea is to prevent the spots from forming by wiping the glass door with a damp sponge or towel after each shower. NOTE: Some commercial establishments use untreated water for irrigation to save on tap water. If this is groundwater, it may be high in minerals and if this water sprays onto your car, it can leave spots. Vinegar will remove them. Rinse with good water after using the vinegar.
If you are bothered by a sticky, gummy soap curd deposit in your bathtub or by the buildup of white deposits (called scale) on your cooking pots and coffee maker, a water softener can help with these problems. The higher the hardness number, the more a water softener will help. AWWA suggests that if it is more than 120 milligrams per liter, abbreviated mg/L sometimes called 120 parts per million or 7 grains per gallon-then you might consider a water softener to reduce the formation of scale in your hot water system and to make washing easier. The water from Silver Creek Water Corporation is about 11 grains per gallon hard. The water softener replaces the nontoxic “hardness” minerals with sodium or potassium. The amounts of these elements are relatively insignificant in comparison to what you get in food and should not be a problem, unless your doctor has put you on a special restricted diet. Whether to put the softener on your main water line or just the hot water line is a complicated issue. Softening only the hot water has some cost and environmental advantages related to regeneration, which is a process by the softening materials (called resins) inside the softener can be used over and over again. Water softeners are regenerated with salt. After the salt is used, it goes down the drain and into the environment-so the less salt used the better. Using less salt also saves you money. If you soften only the hot water, less water goes through the softener, so it needs regeneration less often, meaning less salt is being used. Also, regenerating a softener after a selected amount of water has gone through it rather than on a particular time schedule is better, as this prevents wasting salt by regenerating too soon or using the softener after it has stopped softening. Finally, some people think bathing in completely soft water (both hot and cold water – softened) is unpleasant-it feels like the soap won’t rinse off. You may be surprised to learn however, that rinsing is actually more complete in soft water than in hard water. Although you can’t see it, when you bathe or wash your hair in hard water, some of the same stuff that causes the bathtub ring gets on your body or in your hair. With soft water this material does not form, so rinsing is more complete. Softening only the hot water has two disadvantages. First, if you wash your clothes in cold water, you won’t get the benefit of soft water, however you can buy products to add to your wash to help if this is a problem. Second and more important, if your water is very hard more than twice the numbers mentioned above, when you mix the hot and cold water together the water will still be hard and you won’t see much benefit from the softener. Concern has been expressed by some whether the installation of a water softener may raise the lead and copper content of drinking water in homes that are experiencing problems. Probably not, but the US Environmental Protection Agency is conducting research to investigate these matters.
Divide water usage in gallons by 7.5 to convert usage to 100 Cubic Feet
Customer uses 7200 gallons of water
72 (7200) divided by 7.5 equals 9.6 then round up to whole number 10 for billable cubic feet.
The problem doesn’t always occur on every faucet or appliance, but it could manifest as:
• A black shower head or faucet
• Pink or black stains in toilet bowls
• Black gunk/slime on aerator
Manganese, as well as iron bacteria in water, can stain drinking water fixtures, toilets or even laundry. Most drinking water has traces of dissolved iron and manganese. When these minerals come into contact with oxygen (from water or air), they oxidize. Iron can tint water reddish brown (and things it comes in contact with, such as fixtures) and manganese can tint water black.
Manganese is a naturally occurring metal that can be found in different types of rocks, soils, and sediments; and typically occurs in lakes, rivers, and underground water supplies.
The black slime that accumulates on spouts is bacteria that feed on oxidized iron and manganese in the water. The disinfection process in drinking water can also allow some by-product to build up and just needs cleaned periodically.
Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral.
Neither manganese nor the bacteria are considered dangerous and a risk to your health in levels as they occur in our drinking water.