It’s that spring cleaning time of year again. But frequently the water we are going to clean with isn’t clean in the first place. Only days or weeks after cleaning the rust stains out of your toilets and bath tub, and white calcium scale from your faucets and drains, it’s back again. Spring cleaning becomes a year-round event! How do you confine spring cleaning to spring? You start by cleaning up the water that causes these problems. For nearly twenty years we have been helping people do just that!
Typical impurities you will see or smell include iron, hardness (calcium) and sulfur. When you have high iron content in your well water, you will end up with rust stains on nearly every surface your water touches. Sometimes this can be extremely difficult to remove. It requires special cleaners and a good deal of “elbow grease” to eliminate the unsightly staining. Hardness—which creates that hard, white calcium scale—can also be difficult to remove. Even worse, the hardness in your water requires you to use far more soap and cleansers (up to 75% more) than conditioned water. So not only does the problem water require you to clean more frequently, it requires you to use more cleanser to do it. Hardness also causes significant reductions in energy efficiency related to water heating and shorten the lifespan of your water heater.
Lastly, many judge clean not only by appearance but by odor—does it smell clean. Another problem we frequently encounter is sulfur or “rotten egg” smell. No way would anyone ever mistake that for a clean smell. So even if iron and hardness aren’t problems for you, if your house and water smell like rotten eggs you aren’t going to truly experience clean.
Remember when your mother would tell you as a kid to dust your dresser and you protested that it looked clean—but you had to do it anyway? Well, Mom would have done well in the water business. There are bunch of things—some of them very bad things—that you can’t see, smell or taste that can have a very serious impact on your water quality and your health. Most commonly these include arsenic, radium, radon and low pH (acidic water).
Arsenic is a carcinogen that occurs naturally in certain wells in certain geographic areas. These areas include the Eastern Shore, the Edgewater area and northern St. Mary’s county. Absent a test, there is no way to know you have arsenic in your water. Arsenic is cumulative in your body’s tissues. Thus, the longer your exposure, the greater the levels existing in your body. It does not affect everyone in the same way and, apparently, has no impact on some people. The US EPA recommends that there be no arsenic whatsoever in your water. We can certainly help you get there.
Radium is another known carcinogen that is very prevalent in northern Anne Arundel County and central Maryland. The US EPA recommends that you have no radium in your water and there are various mechanisms to remove it, so exposure is completely unnecessary. Frequently there will be radon in the water where there is radium (radon gas is also frequently detected in the air of closed basements and must be mitigated prior to a home sale). Radon, a radioactive gas, is yet another carcinogen that should be eliminated from your water. It is not routinely tested for though.
Less insidious is low pH. While it is not typically viewed as a health hazard, acidic, low pH water can damage everything it touches. It can shorten the lives of all water using appliances (clothes washers, dishwashers, coffee makers, water heaters) and damage fixtures such as faucets. Eventually, it even eats through copper plumbing causing leaks. Acidic water can cost you a LOT of money. More importantly, acidic water can cause lead to leach from pipe fittings and plumbing fixtures. While acidic water is not EPA regulated, lead in water is (there should be none), and many lenders, recognizing the damage this water can cause to a home, are requiring equipment that will neutralize acidic water before approving a loan.
When it comes to water, even if it looks clean, it may not be. So when you start your home’s spring cleaning this year, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland to clean up your water: 1-888-84WATER. Oh, and those nice clean toilets we’re going to leave you with—no extra charge!