Frequently Asked Questions

Browse our frequently asked questions for more information about our company. If you still have more questions, feel free to call us today.

I am buying my water from a Municipal Utility District or a community water supply. If my water is safe, do I have to buy additional water treatment equipment?

No. You do not have to buy anything. If you are on any type of water supply that disinfects your water with chlorine or chloramines, you have "potable" water. Potable water is safe water. All the pathogens (bad microscopic organisms) have been killed.

Once your water supplier delivers safe water to your home, their job is done. Considering the nasty water they start with, they do a good job. They are not responsible for how your water smells, tastes, destroys your plumbing, stains your bathroom tiles and countertops, dries your skin and makes your hair brittle. If it is important for you to have your safe water taste good, be odorless and also eliminate all of the nuisance problems, you have to be proactive and install water purification equipment in your garage. Less than 8% of treated water goes to homes, and less than 1% is used for drinking, cooking, and bathing. The other 92% goes to industry and agriculture. If your supplier brought all water up to the standards you would like to have in your home, your water bill would be larger than your mortgage. You are much better served buying equipment to treat your own family’s water. Amortize the cost over the life of the equipment and you’ll be spending half what you spend on cable T.V.

What is a water softener system?

A system is any type of equipment you install to improve the quality of your water. When dealing with safe water, most people will install whole-house carbon filtration, a water softener and reverse osmosis.

Whole-house carbon filtration: As the raw water enters your home, this is the first vessel it will flow through. One cubic foot of granulated activated carbon has as much surface area as a 2 lane, 100-mile long highway. Carbon will remove chlorine and chloramines, bad taste, odor and a myriad of organic contaminants that might be in your water at less than Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) such as distillates, solvents, etc. The carbon in your tank must be replaced after it is used up. That time period is determined by the quantity of carbon in the tank and how many contaminants and their concentration in the water. The usual time frame is 1 to 5 yrs. The equipment does NOT have to be replaced, only the carbon.

Water softener: A water softener will remove calcium and magnesium carbonate (hardness) from your water. It will not improve the taste or remove odor.

Reverse Osmosis: R.O. systems are typically installed under the kitchen sink with a separate faucet on top to dispense the purest, healthiest water you can drink and cook with. It will remove 98% of the contaminants that the carbon and water softener have not removed. R.O.'s will also remove cyanide, fluoride, lead, selenium, total dissolved solids, zinc, nitrates and much more.

Why is there such a large difference in the cost of water softeners?

The wide range in pricing comes from the margin that is added in by the dealer. On a wholesale level, most equipment is somewhat similarly priced. Some business owners decide they want to make a few thousand dollars on each softener they sell and some salespeople get large commissions. Before you know it, they are asking $5,000 to $7,000 for the same unit we sell for $1574, installed and including tax.

I just spoke with a company that offers stainless steel tanks and solid metal valves on their water softeners. They said they are the only ones that have this feature.

Stainless steel tanks and metal valves are available to all of us in the industry. However, we don’t use stainless steel for softeners because the concentrated chlorides from the brine tank will pit and corrode stainless steel during regeneration.

Metal valves have been around since the 1930s. There are some disadvantages to them. They oxidize heavily, become dirty over time, and are expensive. The new valves are made from 30% inert material from General Electric that doesn’t oxidize and will last as long or longer than a metal valve.

I spoke with a company that offers lifetime warranties on their equipment.

Nothing with moving parts that generate heat and friction will last a lifetime. A lifetime warranty is an unrealistic promise from any dealer.

How does a water softener work?

Basically, the resin or mineral inside the mineral tank is specially designed to remove "hard" particles of lime and calcium by a simple ion exchange process. The resin beads inside the softener tank have a different or opposite electrical charge than the dissolved particles of the incoming water. Because of this electrical charge difference, the dissolved particles suspended in your water will cling to the resin beads on contact, thereby ridding the water of these particles, causing the water exiting the unit to be "soft". The resin has a limit to how much of these hardness particles it can hold, which is why there are many sizes of softeners and also why regeneration or brining is required.

Will a water softener make my water safe to drink?

No. Your water must be safe to drink before you condition the water with a water softener. If you are concerned about the safety of your drinking water, contact your local health department about getting a bacteria test, or full lab analysis on your water.

Why does soft water feel slimy or slick in the shower?

The minerals that make hard water usually contain calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium in water interfere with the cleaning action of soap and detergent. They do this by combining with soap or detergent and forming a scum that does not dissolve in water. Because these minerals react with soap and detergent, they remove the soap and detergent, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these cleaning agents. You can overcome this by adding more soap or detergent. However, the scum that is formed can adhere to what is being washed, making it appear dingy. An automatic water softener connected to water supply pipes removes magnesium and calcium from the water and replaces them with a trace amount of sodium. Sodium does not react with soap or detergents. This will reduce the amount of soap you would need to use, and ensures it will not remain in or on the item being washed, whether the item is tiled, glassware, clothes, skin, or hair.

When do the resins in the softener tank need to be changed?

Chlorine disinfection in municipal water supplies will slowly ruin resin over a 6 to 10 year period. With the catalytic carbon pretreatment and maintenance, the average water softener will not need resin replaced for 15 to 20 years, if at all. It is impossible to accurately determine the life of resin since so many factors contribute to the degradation of the resin itself. NOTE: Proper pretreatment can be as simple as a catalytic carbon filter or as complex as a chemical injection combined with a multimedia bed. This is determined by having your water tested.

I see ads for "No Salt Needed" water conditioners. How do they work without using salt?

Many dealers will advertise a salt-free water conditioner. It can mean one of two things.

"No salt needed" can be misleading because if the softener is ion exchange technology, the statement means the unit can be regenerated with potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. The dealer making the claim is inferring that potassium chloride is not a "salt." But both are salt. Any traditional ion exchange water softener that has been marketed since 1933 will use salt. 

The ad might be referring to a unit that uses nanocrystalization technology. This is truly salt-free. But it is not a water softener. A water softener removes calcium and magnesium carbonate (hardness) from the water. A nanocrystalization system converts the hardness into a nanocrystal that remains suspended in the water. The suspended crystals will not clog plumbing or ruin appliances. This technology has been around for years and is used extensively in industry to protect closed-loop systems like industrial boilers and cooling towers from hard water damage. Until about five years ago it was NEVER recommended for use in homes. I've asked the Ph.D. chemists that certify us every three years in Texas and our distributors what the difference is between this nano equipment now and what we've put in over the years. They say nothing is different. So why is it good to drink now but not then? We do not sell this technology to homeowners because we believe it might not be healthy. The hardness becomes a tiny little crystal in the water. What happens if we absorb the tiny crystals into our bodies? Will it have a negative effect on our liver, kidneys or any internal organ over the years? 

How often do I need to add salt to the Brine Tank?

It depends on how often your system needs to regenerate. The more your softener regenerates the more salt you will consume. As for the salt level in the brine tank, you can let the salt get down to where the water level is just above the salt. At that point, it is time to add more salt! Generally, you will add salt to your brine tank about every 8 weeks.

How much salt should my softener use?

  1. An average softener with 1 cu. ft. of resins (32,000 grain, 9"x48" tank) should use about 9-11 lbs. per regeneration to achieve an economical 24,000 grain capacity (hardness in grains divided into grains of capacity results in the gallons of water that can be treated before resins are exhausted.
  2. We only sell metered valves with our softener packages. They tend to use less salt than a non-metered unit (i.e. one set to regenerate every so many days with no regard for actual water used).

What kind of salt do you recommend using and do your softeners also use potassium chloride in place of salt?

Water softeners use solar salt. 20 or 40lbs. bags can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe's, HEB, etc. Although all the bags work, Morton salt seems to be the cleanest. Morton salt packaged in yellow bags have an additive that helps protect the resin from Iron that might be in the water. We recommend that for well water. All softeners can use potassium chloride in place of salt. Potassium chloride tends to melt when it gets wet, sometimes forming a "bridge" inside the salt tank, so we recommend filling the tank a bit more than halfway when using potassium chloride. This is so you can easily monitor its level after the unit regenerates.

I have a working water softener, but I am still getting iron staining. Why is that?

Several things could be causing this:

  1. You are out of salt. It is critical that your system never runs empty of salt.
  2. It is important that the time of day is kept correct and that no one uses water between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. when the system is regenerating. While the system is in regeneration, any water used would be unconditioned (coming straight from the well).
  3. You may have a resin tank that is too small to handle all the iron. A. What size is the tank?  B. What is the level of iron and hardness of the water?
  4. Your softener may not be regenerating often enough, or using enough salt per regeneration.  A. How often does your softener regenerate?  B. How many people are using water?  C. How much salt are you using per month?
  5. The iron content may exceed the recommended maximum (1 cu. ft. of resin can effectively remove up to 3 parts per million of iron without additional treatment).
  6. On rare occasions, the iron may come from the hot water tank.  If it is more than 12 years old, the hot water tank could be rusting out on the inside, thus putting the iron back into the water. This is also true in homes 20 or more years old that used galvanized plumbing.

What kinds of iron could be in my water?

There are four kinds of iron found in water:

  1. Oxidized Iron contains red particles easily visible as the water is drawn from the faucet.
  2. Soluble or "Clear Water Iron is very common and will develop red particles in the water after it's drawn from the faucet and is exposed to air for a period of time. The iron particles actually "rust" once they are exposed to air.
  3. Colloidal Iron consists of extremely small particles of oxidized iron suspended in water. This type of iron looks more like cloudy colored water. You can't see the iron particles suspended in the water. This iron will not filter well because of the extremely small particle size. Chlorination may be required.
  4. Bacterial Iron consists of living organisms found in the water and piping of the well and house. You can tell if you have Bacterial Iron by flushing your toilet and seeing a red-green slime buildup in your tank. To confirm this, you should take a sample of this slime to your local health department for testing. This kind of iron is the hardest to get rid of. To completely eliminate this form of iron, it will require chlorination of the entire water system, starting with the well casing, well pump, pressure tank, and the home plumbing system.
  5. Hydrogen Sulfide causes water to have a pungent "rotten egg" odor and is easily removed using a Manganese Greensand filter.

I have a water softener, but I still have an odor in my water. Why is that?

Water softeners do not remove most taste and odor problems (although they can remove the metallic taste of iron in water).

  1. Odors are typically caused by hydrogen sulfide ("rotten egg smell") in wells or "bleach" smell in chlorine-treated water.  Both of these causes can be resolved by using an activated carbon filter in conjunction with a water softener.
  2. The self-sacrificing rod installed in your hot water heater can sometimes be the cause of odor in hot water. Having a qualified plumber replace this rod could solve this problem.

How can I find out what is in my water...or where can I have my water tested?

If you have public water, simply contact the office where you pay your water bill. They should have current water testing records on file. If you are on a private water system, contact our county health department to see about having your water tested. You can also buy a Home Water Test kit available from us at this link! Your water test results should show levels of hardness, iron (what type of iron you have), pH level, hydrogen sulfide (for rotten egg odor), Nitrates and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).

Often we will draw customer's well water samples and have the analysis done by Aqua-Tech Laboratories, inc, 7500 West 71, #105, Austin, Tx. 512-301-9559 or Environmental Laboratory Services, 3505 Montopolis Dr., Austin, Tx 512-730-6022. These are nationally accredited labs that are very good and reasonably priced.

How can I tell what my flow rate is?

Most new homes have a 1" water line coming from the meter to the home. Normal city pressures will flow from 10 to 20 GPM.

Can a water softener cause pressure loss? If so, what do I look for and how can I fix it?

Yes, a softener will cause some pressure loss due to the resistance from the resin bed, but excessive pressure loss can be caused by one or a combination of the following:

  1. On well water, this is usually due to fine sand coming from the well.
  2. On softeners installed in the open sunlight (mostly in Florida), a layer of algae can grow and thick pieces of this growth clog the lower distributor tube screen when they start peeling off the inside of the resin tank.
  3. On chlorinated water supplies, sand can get into the tank from new construction or work on water lines in the area. All of these situations are rare.
  4. The most common cause of pressure loss occurs in chlorinated water supplies. The resin can be damaged by high chlorine levels and turn to mush. This has the same effect as having fine sand at the bottom of the resin tank.
  5. The solution is to replace the resin and add carbon filtration before the softener.

Does a water softener add salt to the water? 

Yes, it does. When the water softener removes the hardness from the water, it replaces the hardness with salt. The amount of salt added to the water can be calculated by this formula: Hardness(gpg) X 1.89 = mg/liter of salt. So...if the hardness is 18 grains per gallon hard X 1.89 = 34mg/l of salt is added to the water. One mg of salt is equal to about 3 crystals.  34mg of salt X 3 = 102 crystals of salt per liter. That's almost a quart. If this is a problem, you should drink your water from Reverse Osmosis at the kitchen sink

Our pipes are banging when we turn the water on or off.

That sound is usually referred to as a "water hammer." It is a result of high water pressure or unbalanced water pressure in your pipes. It is not caused by a water softener. The solution is to replace the pressure regulating valve located on the house side of your water meter. After 5 years, they regularly malfunction due to calcium build-up. If you have a water hammer and don't have a pressure reducing valve out by the meter, have a plumber install one.

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Service Area
Williamson, Travis, Hays and Bell County. Texas

Hours of Operation
Monday–Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: By Appointment Only
Sunday: Closed for Observation

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