Phoenix, Arizona, is blessed with many natural wonders, but great drinking water is not one of them. When you start to investigate whole-house water purification systems, you will find you have many choices, each with advantages and disadvantages. A single water filtration system does not fit every need, but most Phoenix homeowners realize they need something to help them contend with the naturally hard water in our area. We at ACE Home Services offer many water conditioning solutions, including reverse osmosis water systems.
Why Filter Your Water?
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Water is a life-giving compound, one of the simplest molecules possible — just two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom. With some natural, welcome dissolved solids in it, water for drinking, bathing and cooking is essential for comfortable living in our sunny Southwest. With the wrong dissolved solids, or trace chemicals or other contaminants, your water can taste bad, be rough on clothes and skin, and ruin water heaters and pipes.
Phoenix water has a few quality challenges, as acknowledged by the City of Phoenix water department itself:
Algae odor from blooms in the Valley’s wide-reaching canal system can linger in municipally treated water.
The calcium and magnesium contribute to Phoenix’s reputation for hard water, near the top of most hardness scales.
Hardness is an enormous obstacle for Phoenix homeowners and businesses. Other properties or qualities of the municipal water supply – taste and odor – can be dismissed as harmless, aesthetic aspects that are not tested, but they definitely contribute to your family’s quality of life.
A whole-house water filter will prevent scaling and build-up in pipes. Without such a system, you not only risk ruined pipes but potential health risks to your family. With poor-tasting water, your children may drink less in a climate where frequent hydration is vital.
What About Phoenix Water?
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Phoenix provides an informative page about the municipal water quality and subtly slips in what some may consider the biggest understatement in the county: Phoenix’s water hardness is 12 to 17 grains per gallon (gpg), or 205-291 parts per million (ppm). They provide no comparison chart, but we are happy to set that record straight with data from the Water Quality Association’s (WQA) hardness table:
- Soft: Fewer than 1 gpg or 17 ppm;
- Slightly hard: 1-3.5 gpg or 17.1-60 ppm;
- Moderately hard: 3.5-7 gpg or 60-120 ppm;
- Hard: 7-10.5 gpg or 120-180 ppm;
- Very hard: Greater than 10.5 gpg or greater than 180 ppm.
Just a polite reminder – Phoenix says its water hardness is 12-17 gpg or 205-291 ppm. No category label exists above “very hard,” but perhaps it would be labeled, “Phoenix hard.”
Symptoms of Hard Water
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How do I know if I have hard water in my home?
Since by its own admission Phoenix acknowledges it treats and distributes very, very hard water, you may be wondering how your family feels its effects. Water for civilization serves several basic life needs:
- Sanitation: Showers, toilets, clothes washers, dishwasher;
- Cooking: Rinsing food, boiling, baking, steaming;
- Hydrating: Especially in a dry climate such as Phoenix’s, drinking plenty of water keeps you healthy.
Off the Charts Hard Water
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When your water is so hard it is off the charts, you will notice many symptoms, says the WQA:
- Dingy, stiff and chafing laundry;
- Mineral deposits and water spots on dishes, glassware, and ceramics;
- Frequent purchases of soap and fabric softeners;
- Dry, itchy, peeling skin and a burning scalp;
- Difficult-to-tame hair;
- Soap scum buildup on surfaces such as chrome faucets, shower tile, sinks and tubs;
- High power bills (household pipes are building up scale, decreasing available space for water to flow, requiring you to run spigots longer);
- Shorter appliance life for anything that holds and heats water, including coffee makers, hot water dispensers, and hot water heaters;
- Mineral deposits (scale) on sinks, appliances, inside dishwashers, on tubs and faucets.
Substances Tested for in Municipal Water
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Because Phoenix’s watershed draws water that travels extensively through aquifers rich in calcium and magnesium, these minerals dissolve into the water. Yet they are not the only substances in Phoenix drinking water. The municipal authority routinely tests for more than 100 substances in tap water, including these:
- Coliform bacteria
- E. coli Bacteria
More Substances Tested for in Phoenix’s Municipal Water
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In addition to testing for many substances, the Phoenix water system is also aware of other sources of contamination, such as these:
- Microbes, including viruses and bacteria;
- Salts, metals and other inorganics from stormwater runoff, mining, and farming;
- Pesticides and herbicides;
- Organics, like volatile organic chemicals from petroleum production, industry, and septic systems.
After a trip through a whole-house reverse osmosis system, the contaminated water transforms into reverse osmosis (RO) water: clean, fresh and free of odor and aftertaste.
Methods of Filtration
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Phoenix customers can use faucet-based water filters (known as point-of-use filtration), but these become inconvenient and are of no use in tubs. They also do nothing to protect your pipes. Other means of treating your Phoenix water include:
- Ultraviolet light (UV) microbiological treatment systems
- Water softeners
- Carbon filter systems
- Whole-house chlorine filters
ACE Home Services does offer Olympus water softeners, but softeners are not filters. They condition the water by lowering the amount of dissolved solids, but they do nothing to stop other contaminants. By far the most popular and successful method of complete filtration ACE Home Services provides is an RO system.
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The most widely used whole-house filter system in the Phoenix area is the technologically advanced reverse osmosis method. By filtering all the incoming water, the system prevents build-up in pipes, scale on faucets and deposits inside hot water heaters. Untreated hard water never has a chance to move through your home’s pipes. You need not face the constant switching out of filters at each sink or faucet, and you need not worry about what unpleasantness, exactly, is happening inside your water heater.
The other popular way to achieve whole-house water filtration — besides clean, efficient RO — is by running your household’s water supply through carbon filters. This is often recommended for homes receiving municipal water since the water is already treated for many common contaminants. This means the carbon has less filtering to do, and can effectively remove chemicals like chlorine left over by the municipal water filtration. Carbon filtration does nothing to remedy hardness, the most common concern for Phoenix homeowners.
Going the Whole Hog for Whole-House Filtering
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When selecting a water purifying system for your home, begin by identifying what you want to be removed from your Phoenix home’s water. In most cases, the primary concern is hardness – the calcium and magnesium dissolved solids. Make certain that whatever system you choose addresses your concerns.
Beyond the chief contaminants, a system will remove, make certain the system is rugged enough to withstand years of use. It should be unitized – that is, it should allow parts to be switched out without replacing the entire system if one part breaks down – and the parts should be easy to replace. More rapidly worn parts, such as the filters themselves, should replace quickly and at a reasonable cost to you.
- Other key ingredients to a smoothly operating water purification system:
- Expert installation, maintenance and repair: ACE Home Services has been installing and maintaining water treatment systems for years;
- Widely accepted technology backed by fundamental science – no metaphysics or wishful thinking needed;
- Trusted local dealer: ACE Home Services is a name you can depend upon;
- Known name brands: Ultima, Pentair, and Olympus are names ACE Home Services trusts.
Solve Your Water Problem Today… What are You Waiting For?
ACE Home Services stands ready to work with you to solve your Phoenix-area home’s water problems. The city cannot be expected to provide reverse osmosis (RO) filtration for every customer; it does the best it can to deliver safe, acceptable drinking water. Yet it readily acknowledges the hardness and aesthetic issues, both of which ACE Home Services can solve for you with our RO systems.
When you call us, we can schedule a convenient appointment to visit your home (or business), test your water and offer a tailored solution for whole-house water filtration and purification. No more worries about your family’s health, your appearance, the water you use for cooking, or the strange, gritty deposits on your glassware. We can even lay new water lines if needed. Be sure to ask about specials that may lower your cost for a whole-house water system. Contact ACE Home Services today and be drinking better water tomorrow.
Featured image credit: Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock