Archive for July, 2010

Water Softeners – They Make Good Cents

Posted by Rayne Water

Water softeners are a huge asset to American homeowners. These appliances not only soften water, but they also are shown to conserve energy by making appliances more efficient, decrease the amount of harsh cleaning chemicals being used and flushed down the drain, and reduce the abuse other water-using appliances endure.

The Water Quality Research Foundation in partnership with the Battelle Memorial Institute recently completed a study on the energy efficiency impact of water softeners. This study revealed that softened water helps save energy because it doesn‘t cause buildup of scale the way hard water does. Many people only recognize the problem of hard water when they are scrubbing away water spots and calcium buildup on the bathroom faucet. The unseen effects of hard water, however, are much more damaging than those unsightly water spots.

Consider the water heater, one of the largest energy-using appliances in our homes. This study found that water heaters using hard water generate 1 to 2 lbs of scale each year, while those using soft water generate NO scale. It takes just a few weeks to generate hard water scale build up. This buildup makes appliances less energy efficient and shortens their usable life span. Installing a water softener can actually make household appliances last significantly longer and raise their energy efficiency.

The Water Quality Association issued press release on June 3, 2009 that summarizes a study on hard water and shower heads. This study shows that untreated hard water can rapidly lead to clogged showerheads, in some cases as soon as a year and a half of regular use. In the study, after just one week of constant testing with hard water, more than three-fourths of showerhead nozzles became clogged. After the same length of time, showerheads using softened water performed nearly as well as on the day they were installed. Some might argue that a plugged shower head conserves water, but it isn’t much of a shower.

No matter what angle you take in looking at the facts, having a water softener in your home makes good sense and cents. Ask your Rayne dealer how you can save money, conserve energy, and help your appliances last longer.

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Is Your Drinking Water Affecting Your Kids' IQ?

Posted by Rayne Water

Recently, researchers from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire have been doing some testing on elementary students in central Maine studying the connection between high concentrations of arsenic in groundwater and intelligence levels. These researchers are specifically studying third, fourth and fifth grade students that live in areas having high arsenic content in their water supplies.

Arsenic in ground water is largely the result of minerals dissolving from weathered rocks and soils. In 2001 the EPA lowered the maximum level of arsenic permitted in drinking water from 50 micrograms per liter to 10 micrograms per liter. Federal and state geologists have found that a lot of Maine’s landscape contains types of rock that dissolve arsenic and other elements into the ground water.

One University of New Hampshire researcher, Carol Ladd, stated ‘If your water is high in arsenic, you may not want to drink it, or cook rice or spaghetti or other things that absorb a lot of water.’

Three years ago researchers started evaluating elementary-school children in two school districts serving Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield, and Wayne. Now they want to expand to an additional 500 students whose families use private well water to see how they compare.

The researchers have studied well-water supplies from more than 200 children and their families, finding that the water supplies of 55 of the first 92 participants had arsenic levels that exceeded federal guidelines. The research into the connection between arsenic levels in groundwater and children’s IQ levels is drawing attention to the frequency of arsenic in water.

In addition to these new concerns, arsenic is a carcinogen which causes many cancers including skin, lung and bladder, as well as cardiovascular disease. Even low concentrations of arsenic contamination can raise the risk of several serious diseases. It’s a good idea to know what your drinking water contains to keep you and your family healthy. To read the entire article, click here.

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Study Shows Water Softeners Among 'Very Best' Household Energy Savers

Posted by Rayne Water

In a recent study by independent research facility Battelle Memorial Institute, water softener systems were shown to be the key to efficiency of water heaters, major appliances, and plumbing fixtures. The study tested efficiency ratings of appliances over their expected lifespan using both hard and soft water.

Here are some interesting test results:

Gas water heaters maintained their original factory efficiency ratings over the 15-year lifespan when heating with softened water. The same gas water heater lost as much as 48% efficiency with 30 gpg hard water.

Electric water heaters had minimal buildup over their lifespan when heating softened water. Those electric water heaters using hard water had increased incidence of heating element replacement because of the buildup within the storage tank.

Tankless water heaters maintained their original factory efficiency ratings when heating with softened water. The same tankless heaters completely failed to function after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water usage with hard water. Additionally, the cost of operation was 34% higher with 20 gpg water and 47% higher with 30 gpg water than with softened water.

Showerheads and faucets maintained their ability to work as well as new for their expected life time when used with softened water. When used with hard water, however, showerheads lost 75% of their flow rate within 18 months, and faucets could not maintain their flow rate and were often completely plugged after 19 equivalent days of testing.

Dishwashers and washing machines showed no wear after 240 wash cycles when using softened water. When used with hard water, the appliances required descaling and extensive cleaning.

While it is important to choose energy-efficient appliances, this study shows that using hard water can quickly and drastically compromise their efficiency to the point where they do not actually save energy at all. The best thing you can do? Invest in a water softener to improve the longevity and efficiency of all of your appliances and plumbing fixtures.

Click here to read the entire press release.

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Just Because You Can’t See It, Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t There

Posted by Rayne Water

filter out this toxin for its residents? According to the US Geological Survey’s site, a range of about 0.05 – 0.30 g is considered a deadly amount if ingested daily over a period less than or equal to 14 days in a row. A single ingested amount as small as 0.13 g can be lethal to an adult. Yet, even more alarming are the numbers here in the United States. It has been estimated that more than 34 million Americans have been drinking tap water supplied by systems containing varying levels of arsenic. So what’s the big deal? Arsenic intake can result in many symptoms including chronic health effects, including organ damage, cancer, and even death. How is it getting in our water in the first place? According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, it naturally occurs in water after it has dissolved from minerals in our rocks and soil. Other times, arsenic enters our groundwater from mining, manufacturing, and pollution. While industrialization takes great pains to prevent groundwater contamination nowadays, we can’t wage war on naturally occurring processes – like minerals dissolving in rainwater. What are our options if arsenic cannot be prevented from the main source? We could buy bottled water at the grocery store each week. But, in looking at the whole picture (the cost of the water, transporting the plastic to a recycling center, the costs associated with recycling plastic and not even knowing if the bottled water is assured to be safe) still don’t have me buying in. Particularly here in California, where there are pockets of arsenic are in some places the highest in the nation, it is more appropriate to look into home water conditioning, water filtration, or reverse osmosis to rid many unwanted and unsafe toxins in drinking water. Weigh your “costs”- an affordable water filtration system, or unaffordable health risks.]]>

Study Shows Water Softeners Among 'Very Best' Household Energy Savers

Posted by Rayne Water

hard water. Electric water heaters had minimal buildup over their lifespan when heating softened water. Those electric water heaters using hard water had increased incidence of heating element replacement because of the buildup within the storage tank. Tankless water heaters maintained their original factory efficiency ratings when heating with softened water. The same tankless heaters completely failed to function after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water usage with hard water. Additionally, the cost of operation was 34% higher with 20 gpg water and 47% higher with 30 gpg water than with softened water. Showerheads and faucets maintained their ability to work as well as new for their expected life time when used with softened water. When used with hard water, however, showerheads lost 75% of their flow rate within 18 months, and faucets could not maintain their flow rate and were often completely plugged after 19 equivalent days of testing. Dishwashers and washing machines showed no wear after 240 wash cycles when using softened water. When used with hard water, the appliances required descaling and extensive cleaning. While it is important to choose energy-efficient appliances, this study shows that using hard water can quickly and drastically compromise their efficiency to the point where they do not actually save energy at all. The best thing you can do? Invest in a water softener to improve the longevity and efficiency of all of your appliances and plumbing fixtures. Click here to read the entire press release. ]]>