Archive for June, 2021

What are Hard Water Stains?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

No matter how many times you scrub your shower, you notice rings around the drain. Your faucets are caked in white splotches that come back again and again. What gives?

Stains don’t only come from dirt. They can come from water, too—specifically hard water. Hard water contains insoluble mineral deposits such as magnesium and calcium that can leave behind a stain on surfaces. The two main kinds of hard water stains are:

Before you ask “is hard water bad for you,” let’s find out what hard water stains are and what they look like. This article will discuss both kinds of hard water stains as well as methods for eliminating and preventing them.

What Is Hard Water?

Generally, magnesium and calcium account for the minerals in hard water. These deposits are imparted from rocks and soils to rain and groundwater that eventually enter your municipal water supply.

Hard water is called “hard” because it’s difficult to form lather with.1 But not all hard water is the same; hardness varies by the grains per gallon (GPG) of minerals it contains:

Here is how hardness in water is typically measured:

What Do Hard Water Stains Look Like?

Unsightly chalky residue. Disgusting off-white solids. Film. Crust. 

These are some of the ways you’re likely to hear people describe hard water stains.

We’ve already noted there are two kinds of stains. These differ slightly in appearance.

It’s important to know what hard water stains look like. Once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s that much easier to take appropriate action.

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How to Get Rid of Hard Water Stains

When hard water evaporates, a mineral residue is left behind, causing a stain. While these stains can require a considerable amount of elbow grease, they’re not permanent. In fact, there are several methods for removing them. 

Next, we’ll look at a few homemade cleaning solutions that can remove these stains throughout the house.

Target Most Stains with White Vinegar and Water Spray

You don’t need a special cleaning product to start tackling your unwanted mineral deposits. White vinegar is easy to find and inexpensive—chances are you already have some on hand. Likewise, this spray is gentle on surfaces, so you don’t have to worry about making the problem worse. 

While you can use it straight from the bottle, a spray bottle will make the application easier. 

To assemble your cleaning spray:

Not getting the results you want? Repeat the above process, slightly increasing the ratio of vinegar to water. 

You can use this spray on just about anything, from kitchen surfaces to your glass shower door. It’s a useful thing to have around the house for cleaning.

Tackle Hard-to-Reach places with White Vinegar and Paper Towels

What about those tricky, hard-to-reach surfaces, like the nooks and crannies of your bathroom, shower head, and sink knobs?

Once again, vinegar is your best friend, although you’ll need to use a slightly different application method.

Use Baking Soda to Tackle Tough Stains

While vinegar is ideal for visible, high-traffic surfaces, you don’t need to be as precious with your toilet bowl and sink. Baking soda paste can up the ante for hard water spot-cleaning bathtubs, tiling, and sinks. 

Assemble your paste as follows:

With any luck, your surfaces will be restored to their original hue.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains in the First Place

These methods are tried and true, but they’re not ideal—not everyone wants to spend their free time making sprays and pastes. And hard water stains are usually not one-time visitors. If yours persist, you may find you’re permanently adding extra vinegar and baking soda to your grocery list! 

So what’s the alternative?

Prevention is the best way to ensure you aren’t losing too much time to hard water stains. 

Water softeners and conditioners are ideal in that they prevent hard water stains at the source by removing hard water deposits. That way, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals never have a chance to wreak havoc on your sink and shower in the first place. 

Stop Scrubbing, Start Softening With Rayne Water

While it’s possible to remove the stains caused by hard water, the only long-term remedy is removing the mineral culprits from your water supply.

There are several ways to remove mineral and other hard water deposits from water. If water hardness is your only concern, a salt-free water conditioner can be ideal. Want to filter out viruses, bacteria, lead, and other particles, too? Reverse osmosis does it all.

Rayne Water offers a range of solutions to meet all of your home water needs. Call us today. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about hard water and the products we offer to treat it.

Sources: 

  1. Water Quality Association. Scale Deposits. https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits#:~:text=Hard%20water%20(or%20water%20hardness,wasting%20properties%20of%20hard%20water/
  2. Florida State College at Jacksonville. Saponification: The Preparation of Soaphttps://web.fscj.edu/Milczanowski/eleven/Soap.pdf
  3. Compound Interest. The Chemistry of Limescale https://www.compoundchem.com/2016/03/02/limescale/

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

 

Is Hard Water Bad for You?

Posted by Rayne Water

People all over the US use hard water every day. It goes into bagel dough and comes out of showerheads—in short, it’s everywhere. 

If you’ve heard your local water supply is “hard,” you might find yourself wondering, is hard water safe to drink? 

Using hard water does not pose a direct health risk, nor is drinking hard water bad for you.1 Even so, hard water causes several inconveniences and hygiene concerns worth considering.

This article will explain the ins and outs of hard water, from its characteristics to its effects to the ways to correct hardness for an upgraded drinking and showering experience.

What is Hard Water?

Water is considered “hard” when it contains high amounts of calcium ions and magnesium ions. As groundwater travels through mineral-rich soil, it picks these ions up along the way. 

Water hardness exists on a scale and can range from moderately hard to very hard. The level of hardness corresponds to the grains per gallon (GPG) of minerals that are present in a given sample. On this scale,

Hard water is common to the US though more prevalent in certain parts of the country than others.2 You can also find it on supermarket shelves in the form of mineral water.3 Consult your county’s water report to find out your hardness level.

Hard Water and Health

Calcium is an important nutrient in the human diet—so, could hard water be a good thing?

Not really.

At the same time, drinking hard water isn’t bad for you in any medical or nutritional sense.

However, it can make life difficult in other ways. The mineral deposits of hard water cause a range of problems, from clogging pipes and wearing out appliances to irritating skin and ruining clothes. Next, we’ll explore these issues.

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What is the Impact of Hard Water?

Despite what its name suggests, hard water is not actually hard. Rather, the “term hardness was originally applied to waters that were hard to wash in.”5 

This difficulty is typically manifested in one of the following forms:

Next, we’ll take a deeper look at each issue.

The Connection Between Soap Scum and Hard Water 

Though clean enough to drink, hard water is less than ideal for cleaning. That’s because hard water and soap do not mix. When a soap’s fatty acids react with the minerals in hard water, unpleasant coagulation occurs.

Here’s what you might expect to experience when combining soap with hard water:

Limescale’s Impact on Appliances and Plumbing 

Hard water isn’t just bad for your skin and surfaces. It can also affect the more functional parts of your house, such as:

These sites are most affected by limescale buildup.

Similar to soap scum, limescale is an unappealing byproduct of mineral deposits. Instead of soap, however, limescale forms when mineral-rich water is heated. These insoluble deposits build up over time, clogging pipes, depreciating appliances, and staining surfaces.

What Hard Water Does to Your Clothes 

Ever spend an afternoon washing your clothes only to find you need to wash them more? Limescale and soap scum may have joined forces to conquer your best efforts.

Here’s why your clothes don’t get clean:

Due to these issues, laundry detergent is likely to stick around even after the wash is over. For people with sensitive skin, this can cause problems. Irritants in detergents are known to cause contact dermatitis, irritation, and rash.7  

Additionally, hard water renders fabrics dull and unusable at a faster rate than soft water does. You may notice a brittle quality to towels and wash rags when using hard water.

Is it Possible to Soften Water?

While synthetic products and plumbing services exist, hard water can be treated at the source. Water softening systems ensure top performance and lifespan for plumbing and appliances.  

There are several methods to consider:

Water Softeners

Water-softening systems use a method called ion exchange. This method trades disagreeable calcium and magnesium ions for more easy-going sodium ions.

In short, negatively charged resin beads are housed in this tank. Hard water passes through the tank before entering the plumbing.

These beads are coated with sodium ions. The magnesium and calcium have positively charged. This attracts them to the resin-like magnets. The stickiness of the resin holds the ions in place when they get there. The presence of magnesium and calcium knocks the sodium ions out into the stream of water.8

Minerals are then disposed of in a “brine.”

Salt-Free Water Systems

Aside from health concerns around sodium intake, some parts of the US have brine laws. These laws prohibit dumping brine, a common function of most water softeners.9 You might also be unable to connect your system to an electrical source or to provide a drain for dumping. 

If any of these situations apply to you, then a salt-free water system is worth considering. 

Salt-free water systems don’t eject unwanted hardness minerals the way that water softeners do. Instead they use a method called template-assisted crystallization (TAC). 

Here’s a glimpse at how it works:

Reverse Osmosis

If you are on a salt-restricted diet, a reverse osmosis system could also come in handy. 

RO systems are able to filter a wide range of particles, including:

Reverse osmosis systems filter water to be sodium-free.

Stop Flushing Money Down the Drain Thanks to Rayne Water

When hard water mineral deposits are present, your time and money are likely going down the drain as you struggle to get clothing and surfaces clean. 

The cost of repairs and the time it takes for daily upkeep are unsustainable. The good news is that these workarounds are also unnecessary. 

With Rayne Water, you can avoid hard water altogether. To learn more about tap water conditioners for your home or business, contact Rayne Water today.

Sources: 

  1. USGS. Do you have information about water hardness in the United States? https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/do-you-have-information-about-water-hardness-united-states?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
  2. USGS. Map of water hardness in the United States. https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/map-water-hardness-united-states/
  3. Pocono Record. What’s in Your Water? https://www.poconorecord.com/article/20090730/Features/907300322#:~:text=Both%20Fiji%20and%20DASANI%20measured,of%20calcium%20and%20magnesium%20ions.
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Potential Health Impacts of Hard Water. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775162/
  5. Water Quality Association. Scale Deposits. https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits#:~:text=Hard%20water%20(or%20water%20hardness,wasting%20properties%20of%20hard%20water.
  6. Real Simple. How Bad Is Hard Water for Your Skin? We Asked Dermshttps://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/skincare/hard-water-skin
  7. Healthline. How to Identify and Treat a Laundry Detergent Rash. https://www.healthline.com/health/rashes-from-detergent/
  8. Chemistry Libre Texts. Hard Water. https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Inorganic_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_and_Websites_(Inorganic_Chemistry)/Descriptive_Chemistry/Main_Group_Reactions/Hard_Water
  9. Water Technology Online. The Battle Over Brine. https://www.watertechonline.com/home/article/15548321/the-battle-over-brine/
  10. Continuing Education Center. Template Assisted Crystallization. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization/2/

Reverse Osmosis vs Carbon Filter

Posted by Rayne Water

If you’re dealing with poor tasting, cloudy looking  and funky smells, you’re probably looking for an easy solution to your water problem. When searching for the right water filtration system, you’re almost guaranteed to come across these two popular options: reverse osmosis unit and carbon filters.

The most common types of water filters, reverse osmosis and carbon filtering both offer a way to  treat your drinking water but yield different results.

Does reverse osmosis remove minerals? The short answer is “yes.” And as for carbon filtration? Unfortunately, that’s a “no.”

However, there’s a lot more to understand when it comes to mineral filtration and reverse osmosis. In this guide, we’ll go deep into minerality, the fundamentals of filtration, and the way to determine the best drinking water systems for your situation.

The Fundamentals of Water Filtration

We’ve touched a little on water filters vs reverse osmosis, but it’s important to grasp the fundamentals of water filtration as well.

Before diving into these two methods in more detail, you need to understand some basic facts about water filters: 

These facts apply to both reverse osmosis and carbon filters.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

Reverse Osmosis 101

A reverse osmosis filter is a great option if you want to filter out every possible contaminant in your water.

While reverse osmosis certainly sounds like a topic from biology class, it’s perfectly understandable when broken down into a few steps.

Reverse Osmosis or RO is a physical filtration process involving a semipermeable membrane typically made of cellulose acetate, polysulfone, and polyamide. The reverse osmosis membranes are solvent resistant, meaning they won’t be damaged or made less effective by water. 

RO, in its simplest terms, works like this: 

In short, the reverse osmosis membrane acts like a bouncer at an exclusive club, water is the VIP, and contaminants are not on the guest list.

What Does Reverse Osmosis Remove?

The process of reverse osmosis has been popular for more than 50 years and was invented more than 100 years ago. Over the course of several decades, reverse osmosis technology has been refined to filter smaller and smaller ions—we’re talking filters with a pore size of .0001 microns.

In case you don’t know how small a micron is, the diameter of a single human hair is on average about 70 microns. So, .0001 microns is quite literally microscopic.

That means a reverse osmosis system can filter out minerals, dissolved solids, and much, much more.

A modern Reverse Osmosis filter is capable of filtering out:

Most importantly, for this guide, RO filtration is the best way to make sure your water is mineral-free. In a 2009 study, it was shown that “Reverse Osmosis (RO) removed more than 90-99.99% of all the contaminants including minerals from the drinking water supply.”1 

Minerals just can’t make it past the membrane.

What About Carbon Filtering?

As we mentioned earlier, you most likely stumbled across carbon filtering when researching water filtration options. You may even already own a water pitcher with a charcoal filter, or have one attached to your sink. You might be asking, is this capable of removing minerals as well

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

What you’re looking at is a carbon filter, one of the most common types of water purification and filtration systems for residential use, and likely the method you’re most familiar with. After all, carbon POU filters are affordable and can certainly improve taste.

Despite its commonality, carbon filtering is not always ideal, though it’s important to know why.

Carbon filtering involves the use of Granular Activated Carbon or GAC. GAC is made from oxygenating carbon to create a highly porous, black material with a large surface area. Water passes through the carbon particles, which filter out impurities and contaminants.2

Activated carbon filters out:

What Carbon Filters Leave Behind

Because some water may remain in the filter, GAC filters require cleaning and replacement. If left unattended, the stagnant water has the potential to grow bacteria which is not only a little gross but a potential health risk.

It’s also important to be aware of what activated carbon doesn’t filter, including:

GAC is highly effective for some materials, but smaller molecules can pass through it. While carbon filtering is a sensible choice for some filtration needs, it ultimately isn’t the best option if you’re looking to remove minerals from your drinking water. 

Hard Water, Simple Science

The facts are simple: if you want to remove minerals, only an RO water filter will do.

So, is minerality really the source of your water woes? To make a decision, you’ll need to understand water hardness.

Determining the hardness of water might sound like figuring out the wetness of sand, but don’t fret, hard water simply refers to water with a high concentration of minerals in it.

Water hardness is determined by a ratio of milligrams of calcium carbonate to liters of H20.3

If you’re staring at a glass of tap water trying to determine the level of hardness, you might have a hard time figuring it out. The mineral content of your drinking water is typically invisible to the naked eye, though sometimes you can see a slight discoloration. 

There are a few ways to test water hardness, but most often it’s easily detectable by taste, touch, or smell.

The Problem With Minerals

It’s important to note that mineral contaminants in your drinking water do not pose a serious health threat.

That said, they often do:

If these issues sound familiar, an reverse osmosis system is the best option to safeguard your water.

From Hard to Easy

If you’re tired of funny tastes, spotted silverware, and stains on your clothes and fixtures, it’s time to consider a water softener or a reverse osmosis water filtration system. Experts agree you should be drinking 2-4 liters per day, so why settle for less than excellent?4

There are certainly a lot of benefits to reverse osmosis at a personal and a commercial level, and with the right system, you could be pumping gallons of clean, great-tasting water in no time.

Rayne Water: The Bouncers For Your Personal Water Supply

Now that you know a little about Reverse Osmosis process and its mineral filtration abilities, it’s time to put a plan into action, get your feet wet, and dive right in. A reverse osmosis water system provides better water quality, free of harmful contaminants and minerals.

If you’re looking for a smart solution to your water filtration issues look no further than Rayne Water. We’ve been providing water systems to individuals and businesses for over 90 years, and can match you with your perfect system to keep unwanted particles out of your home for good. 

Contact Rayne Water today to schedule a water test. We’re here to help provide the purest water for every situation. Check out our products and services, learn more about RO filtration, and remember to stay hydrated!

Sources: 

  1. International Water Association. Reverse osmosis and the removal of minerals from drinking water. https://www.iwapublishing.com/news/reverse-osmosis-and-removal-minerals-drinking-water
  2. Thought Co. Activated charcoal and how it works. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-does-activated-charcoal-work-604294
  3. USGS. Hardness of water. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
  4. Mayo Clinic. Water: how much should you drink every day. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  5. FDA. Reverse osmosis. https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/inspection-technical-guides/reverse-osmosis
  6. International Water Association. Reverse osmosis and the removal of minerals from drinking 
  7. water. https://www.iwapublishing.com/news/reverse-osmosis-and-removal-minerals-drinking-water
  8. Thought Co. Activated charcoal and how it works. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-does-activated-charcoal-work-604294

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

When it comes to water quality, taste and hardness may immediately come to mind as potential issues. But it’s also important to consider the safety of your home water supply.

Whether you’re already aware of high lead levels or you’re just starting to investigate water filtration options and drinking water systems, you’ve probably heard something about reverse osmosis. 

Reverse osmosis is a water purification method in which water is forced through the semipermeable membrane. Tiny pores in the RO membrane allow water to pass through, separating it from potentially harmful contaminants. 

You might be wondering “does reverse osmosis remove minerals” and “does reverse osmosis remove lead from water?” In short, yes it does. But how does it work? Continue reading to learn about the dangers of lead poisoning and how reverse osmosis can guarantee safe hydration.

The Dangers of Lead Poisoning

Lead is a heavy metal found in the earth’s crust. Although lead’s toxicity is now widely recognized, for some time lead was considered a “miracle metal”.1

That means that lead exposure can be difficult to avoid.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no safe level of lead exposure for children.

In children, lead exposure can cause:

Lead affects adults somewhat differently. In adults, lead exposure can cause cardiovascular effects, hypertension, and reproductive problems.2

With serious effects like these, no one should risk having lead contaminate their drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

When Should I Be Concerned About Lead Exposure?

Regulation around lead exposure has come a long way.

But while your local water supply may be lead-free, that doesn’t mean the water that flows from your taps would test negative as well.

Assessing  Your Home

The most common way for lead to enter drinking water is through the corrosion of lead pipes and fixtures. Although human skin does not absorb lead in water, when lead is consumed, it bioaccumulates over time. 

Lead is more commonly found in older homes. If your home is 30 years old or older, it may be helpful to look into its history and the building materials used throughout its life.

Do you believe your home may have lead pipes? Luckily, there are a few ways to tell whether or not you are at risk.

Fortunately, modern water filtration methods including reverse osmosis are extremely effective at ensuring safe drinking water.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?

Reverse osmosis separates two liquids across a membrane. On one side of the reverse osmosis membrane, you have contaminated water, which is purified as it is pushed through to the other side. 

It may be helpful to think of a coffee filter. When you make coffee with a filter, only the liquid coffee passes through. The ground beans, meanwhile, are left behind.

Because reverse osmosis removes contaminants and impurities from the water so effectively, it’s become an increasingly popular water purification method. 

Beyond lead, reverse osmosis filtration can also remove:

The reverse osmosis systems or RO system usually have a pore size of 0.0001 micron. This means that it is highly effective at removing bacteria and viruses from your drinking water.5

Most in-home reverse osmosis systems have a pre and post water filter. 

Note that a reverse osmosis system, though efficient, will lose a small amount of water each time contaminants are separated and flushed out. This “flushing out” ensures that dangerous contaminants such as lead are not left in the water after it has been processed.

Prevent Lead Contamination with a Rayne Water System

At Rayne Water, our goal is to bring clean water to your home. Whether your concern is lead, minerals, or bacteria, our reverse osmosis systems can guarantee clean, drinkable water.

We have top-of-the-line residential and commercial reverse osmosis systems available. Our Rayne Clear system is a standard reverse osmosis filtration system, the Rayne Pure Plus is a four-stage reverse osmosis system, and the  Rayne Eradicator is the best and most efficient reverse osmosis system we’ve found. Which is right for you? Get in touch today to find out.

If you have any concerns about the drinkability of your water, we would love to be your solution.

Find a location near you!

Sources: 

  1. NPR. Before It Was Dangerous, Lead Was The Miracle Metal That We Lovedhttps://www.npr.org/2016/04/06/473268312/before-it-was-dangerous-lead-was-the-miracle-metal-that-we-loved
  2. EPA. Learn about Lead. https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead
  3. EPA. Protect Your Family from Sources of Leadhttps://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-sources-lead
  4. Accurate Plumbing. What Material Are Your Pipes Made Of? http://www.accurateplumbingfl.com/accurate-plumbing/what-material-are-your-pipes-made-of/
  5. CDC. Technical Information on Home Water Treatmenthttps://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/household_water_treatment.html

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher