Monthly Archives: March 2013

Common Household Water Problems and How to Diagnose Them

water faucetWe rely on water for many things: cooking, cleaning, staying warm and – the most important one – sustaining our lives. But do you know where the water in your faucet comes from? About 15% of U.S. households receive water from water wells. Unlike community water systems, private wells are not regulated or subject to EPA standards.

This means, if your water comes from a private well, it might not be suitable for household use. At Chesapeake Plumbing, Inc., we recommend testing your well water on a yearly basis to ensure it’s safe to use and contains a healthy chemical balance that is not damaging to your home’s plumbing system.

Don’t let contaminated water cause health issues or costly repairs; watch out for these common water issues.

Misbalanced pH

PH defines acidity or alkalinity of water. Just by itself, too low or too high water pH is unlikely to cause any health issues. However, highly acidic water can cause pipe corrosion, releasing metals into the water stream.  Such contaminants can accumulate in your body over the years reaching dangerous amounts and leading to various health complications.

It’s also a good idea to monitor pH and overall balance of minerals in the water to get an idea of normal water chemistry for your water supply. So if you notice drastic changes in pH, be sure to investigate the reason, as it might be a sign of bacterial contaminants entering your water supply.

Hard water

You’ve probably heard about hard water before. Depending on where your water comes from, it may contain certain amounts of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals don’t affect water’s drinkability, but can seriously damage your home’s plumbing system and associated appliances.

If anything on this list sounds familiar, you most likely have a hard water problem.

–    Rings in your toilet, bathtub or sink at the water line

–    White film on shower doors and hardened calcium deposits on the showerhead

–    Soapy cleaning agents don’t foam very well causing you to use more

–    Streaks or spots on recently cleaned dishes

–    Skin irritation and unmanageable hair

–    Poorly dissolved detergent leaving residue on the clothes in the washer

–    Reduced water flow and increased water drainage time

As you can see, hard water can be hard both on you and your home’s plumbing. Over time, pipes, especially the ones carrying hot water, become calcified and narrow, thus weakening the water flow. Besides pipes, mineral deposits can damage various water-handling components in water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, as well as showerheads, faucets and toilet bowls.

Replacing entire appliances or even parts could be costly and will only serve as a temporary solution. To stop the problem at the root, you will need to treat your water.

Smelly and bad-tasting water

Another common problem with water is smelly water that usually also tastes bad. If only hot water smells, the likely cause is a high concentration of sulfate in the water source combined with the presence of active hydrogen inside the water heater, which is generated by sacrificial anode. When combined, they form hydrogen sulfate gas well known for its “rotten egg” smell. The anode helps prevent corrosion, so removing it is not a feasible solution and will void your water heater’s warranty.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, Inc., we can help you fix the smelly water issue once and for all by implementing water treatment to reduce the amounts of sulfate, replacing anode with a less active one or by combination of these and other methods.

If cold water is smelly as well, you’ll need to determine whether it picks up odor before it enters your home or after. From there, you’ll get an idea whether your water supply or your home’s plumbing is to blame.

As you can see, monitoring water chemistry plays important role in staying healthy and prolonging the life of your plumbing equipment. Give us a call to schedule a free water test for pH, iron levels and hardness. If we discover a disbalance, we can help you design a custom Maryland water treatment solution, whether it’s a point-of-use filter, a whole-house water softener or another aeration or filtration method.