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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

Water Softener Jacksonville FL

Water Softener Jacksonville FL

There is a lot to be said about Jacksonville’s hard water supply and in this segment, we will look at; why use a water softener in Jacksonville FL, what kinds of water softeners in Jacksonville FL exist and how they differ.

North East Florida sits atop a huge mineral deposit made primarily of limestone. Water is the universal solvent and can dissolve almost anything including limestone which consists of calcium and magnesium minerals. These minerals are dissolved into solution and exist in the form of a positively charged ion which upon entering your home bind to everything they can causing limes build up and appliance/ fixture damage. While some moderate levels of hard water could be tolerated by most the excessively high levels of hard water in Jacksonville FL warrant the use of a special appliance referred to as a water softener. A water softener uses a special filtration media called resin to remove the hard water ions before they enter your home thus producing “soft water”. With soft water, it would be impossible to have the symptoms of hard water because there would be no hardness minerals left in the water supply. Many Jacksonville FL residents conclude the benefits of installing a water softener system far out way the costs associated with installing a water softener in Jacksonville FL.

There are primarily two venues to purchase a water softener in Jacksonville FL that we will briefly touch on.

1.      Store bought systems. Do it yourself? Not so fast. Many people see low priced water softeners in Jacksonville FL at the big box retail stores. While considering this option is important to consider the following questions: Who installs the system and how much will that cost? Who fixes it when it breaks or needs service? The natural answer would be, well Home Depot right after all that is where I bought the system. That answer would be wrong the Home Depot will not install the system on maintain it when service issues arise, after all they don’t even stock the parts so that repairs could be carried out by you or others. This is usually more than most home owners are bargaining for when searching for a water softener in Jacksonville FL.

 

2.      Full Service Quality Water Dealer. Quality water dealer…not all dealers who refer to themselves as a quality water dealer produce a service that customers would refer to as quality. In the day of the internet and online reviews everywhere it’s easy to weed out the bad ones. With a little searching, you can easily uncover if the company has a history of less than honest business practices. There are plenty of, what we call, scams from companies promising a $50 gift card in exchange for allowing them to test your water. Unfortunately, these sales “demonstrations” usually take up to 2-3 hours of your time and cost $4K-$7K for a water softener, which is shocking to me and most others. And if you don’t buy? Out come all the cheesy sales tactics, phone calls to managers and you guessed it no $50 gift card. However, with a quick internet search these experiences can easily be avoided. To make it even easier for you these types of companies usually will interrupt you by knocking on your door or calling you on the phone. So, if you learn of a company selling water softeners in Jacksonville FL through solicitation there is a good chance you will not be happy with the sales practices or service after the sale per online reviews.

There are however reputable dealers who sell quality systems at reasonable prices and provide customer support.

 

Not that I want you looking around because we are the best there is in North East Florida but there are some reputable dealers that I would purchase with, if I weren’t in the business.

 

Our estimates are free and easy to schedule. Working around your schedule we can accommodate weekday evenings or weekends takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

 

Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

Water Softener Jacksonville FL Estimates

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Residential Water Softener How To's-Adding Salt

Residential Water Softener How To's-Adding Salt

Most people that purchase a residential water softener in Jacksonville FL are doing so for the very first time. Therefore they know little about how a water softener works or what kind of maintenance that a water softeners need. In this post we will discuss what kind of maintenance water softeners need.

Salt is the only ongoing upkeep your water softener requires. You never have to change the salt; you simply add it as needed. Just like your car uses gas so the water softener uses salt. The amount of salt you use will be according to your amount of water consumption and how hard the water is at your home.  

When Do I Add More Salt?

Salt can be added as much as you like. Some people prefer to add a bag a month just to make sure that their system has salt. Others, like me, fill it all the way to the top to reduce the frequency of servicing the system. But when you look in the salt pot and see only water it’s time to add a bag or two. The goal is to keep the salt above the water level so that the salt looks dry. This assures a maximum concentration of sodium and thus nice soft water.

Three Phases Of Salt Consumption

Salt Pot Full

Salt Pot HalfSalt Pot Empty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase One-Full Salt Pot 

This is a salt pot that is completely full. I fill my salt pot all the way to the top like this one 2 to 3 time per year, that’s it. (note: individual results WILL vary. Water softeners use salt based on usage. So if your home uses more water the water softener will use more salt. If you use less water the water softener will use less salt.) The point made with this picture is that you dont have to add salt all the time or every month if you dont have the time to do so. Water softener salt pots usually hold between 200 and 300 pounds of salt which will give you some wiggle room when servicing.  

Phase Two-Half Full Salt Pot

As the salt is consumed the salt level will become lower and lower. Eventually it will be low enough that the salt level will begin to submerge beneath the water like this. This is a good time to add some salt. 

Phase Three-Empty Salt Pot             

At this phase the salt pot will be mostly empty with nothing but water inside. Salt should be added immediately to assure soft water for your home. If you run out of salt you run out of soft water.                         

Where Do I Buy Water Softener Salt In Jacksonville FL?

Salt is for sale almost everywhere. Publix, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco…etc. It’s called water softener salt or solar salt. You simply need Water Softener Solar Salt. Like anything there is usually a generic type brand and a name brand of salt on the shelf. At Publix you will find.

Publix stores in Jacksonville FL:

40 lbs Sun Gems                                               $4.99-$5.99

40 lbs Morton’s                                                  $5.99-$6.99

Does it matter if I use salt pellets or salt crystals?

No. It has no bearing on the function of the water softener as what form of salt is in the tank. Salt pellets or salt crystals is a preference. Some of the salt brands claim a longer water softener life if you use their brand; however that claim is very difficult to prove.

What about salt with rust remover in it?

Also on the shelf is a bag of salt that costs a little more that has a rust remover additive. This additive is a cleaner that helps the water softener resin stay clean when it is removing iron in addition to hard water. So this type of salt product is not needed on city water in Jacksonville FL. Our city water is very hard but it does not have iron in it so therefore you don’t need the rust remover salt. Rust remover salt is for water softeners installed on private well water. 

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How To Double The Life Of A Residential Soft Water System

Residential Water Softener-How To's

Have you ever purchased an appliance, electronic or other product where the selling company tried to tack on a “replacement warranty” at the conclusion of the purchase? Me to, sometimes I purchase the additional coverage other times I do not. It does however seem to dampen my purchase enthusiasm for the new product, computer, I Pad…Etc., and leaves me asking is this product going to let me down? Residential water softeners are fantastic appliances that protect your homes plumbing system from hard water damage and reduces the amount of detergents needed for the laundry and dishwasher, which saves you money. And if you apply one simple step (pre-filtration) to your homes soft water system you will easily double the life of the water softener, not through additional warranty cost’s but through the application of sound water treatment fundamentals.  

Water Softener Cost’s

Ok, in this segment I will outline the costs associated with purchasing a residential water softener to illustrate how simple it is to protect your investment (not argue if purchasing one or the other is better/worse).

Store bought units: Total Cost $1000-$2000

Because these systems don’t include installation you have to pay separate for the installation and depending on the plumbing analysis from your homes plumbing, sometimes the cost can exceed the cost of the water softener itself.

Whole Sale Units: Total Cost $1200-$1600

Prices usually include installation and quality of these systems are considered standard grade.

Premium Units: Total Cost $1800-$2400

Most not all in this segment are built to last 2 to 3 times that of standard grade units.

So you see no matter which venue you chose for your homes water treatment needs you will have a significant investment. So why not protect it with sound water treatment fundamentals of pre-filtration? You see a whole house filtration system doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and can be applied to any water softener system, new or existing. By installing, what we call, a Big Boy 20” carbon pre-filtration system you accomplish two things.

Pre-Filtration Accomplishes 2 ThingsPentek 150236 Filter

Keeps Chlorine out of the Water Softener

Keeps Fine Sediment out of the Water Softener

Chlorine is detrimental to many of the soft water systems internal parts and will cause resin failure (the heart of the softener) in a relatively short amount of time compared to its expected life. Chlorine is an oxidizer and will work against the critical parts of the soft water system so if you remove the chlorine before the softening process you will easily double the life of the softener. Fine sediment also works against you. Over the year’s fine sediment can block orifices and cause mechanical problems inside the water softeners control valve. The control valve facilitates how often the system will regenerate, counts how much water you are using and regulates the use of salt in the system. Think of fine sediment as debris that can cause your car’s engine performance to suffer. A pre-filter will help.

Is a Pre-Filter Expensive?

No. Our company can provide a whole house pre-filter to your softening system for around $379 parts and labor. It’s a simple cartridge based system and as long as you use the right cartridge the system is very easy to maintain, simple and cost effective.

Summary

When you compare the cost of replacement warranties with the sound water treatment fundamental of pre-filtration it makes more sense to purchase a pre-filtration system versus the extra warranty. 

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How to Find The Right Water Softener System For Your Needs

How to Find The Right Water Softener System For Your Needs

Best Water Softener = Best Water Softener for YOUR needs

The internet offers a lot of opinions and information about hard water softeners. If you are unfamiliar with water softeners then you may find a lot of conflicting data or analysis regarding what kind/ type of water softener is right for your needs. This is because water chemistry, and plumbing codes differ from area to area, state to state. Using a well established highly reputable LOCAL water company is your best bet for both product application and customer support. 

 

Three Water Softener Options 

1. Store Bought Systems; Lowest Price = Cheapest Quality, No Customer Support

Known as more of a DIY type water system these low priced, store bought units are competitive on price only. If things like quality, efficientcy, and customer support are important to you than this would not be a good option. 

 

Let's say You and I want to start a water sotening company and our business plan is to simply provide the lowest priced system to a acheive a low resistance price. First we would have to manufature a water softener system not using premium quality components, things like water softener resin, tanks, and valves, but by using the lowest cost components available to us. And common sense would say that this type of system would not last as long as a premium build system, that's why the water softeners at Home Depot and Lowes only come with a 1 year parts and labor warranty. Poorly made store bought units offer the least amount of warranty and customer support and are regarded in the industry as a throw away type water softener. For example the Home Depot and Lowes don't have service vans with water softener technicians on staff who can provide you product support for this type of purchase. 

 

2. Wholesale Resellers; One Person Business = Limited Support, not always most competitiveOne Person Business priced. 

A common business model that is practiced with in the water business is the single person style business. Often times these businesses use the simplest means to organize, ficticous name registration, carry no insurance and are unsure how to provide customer support down the road. We will talk about the insurance side of things later but for now let's look at the products these businesses provide. 

 

Flecks, Clacks, and Autotrol's are the wholesale brands of choice for these businesses because these manufacturers don't require any minimums to purchase, you can buy one or two at a time. Instead of buying direct from Clack for example One Person Water Businesses by from a middle man, a plumbing supplier. While the quality of these products should outperform the previous segment, store bought units, they often do not. You see the One Person Business may decide to build their systems with the lowest quality grade water softener tanks and water softener resin media. After all if all their location is a PO BOX and nothing more then chances are they are not going to invest in a more costly water softener since their only chance of making sales is to undercut the market. The water softening resin media is the heart of the water system and most plumbing suppliers only carry cheap resin's manufactured overseas, to save on money. We have seen these cheap water softener resin media in Jacksonville FL fail after a few short years! If you had to change your softeners resin media every 3-4 years that would get expensive really quick but that' the risk you run when buying from a One Person Business. 

 

Insurance Risk let the buyer beware. When a homeowner in the State Of Florida hires a water softener company to install a hard water softener the homeowner assumes all liability for physical or property damage potentially caused by the company. That's right, if the One Person Business installs a water softener and either hurts hisself or a leak causes damage to your home then you will pay the medical bills and home repairs if they don't carry insurance. To protect yourself make sure a company shows you these 3 insurances, Commercial Auto, Workers Compensation, and General Liabililty. Each time a business cuts or refuses to carry one of these it increases the risk that you will assume. 

 

Lastly, One Person Businesses often struggle to provide product and customer support. Common sense would tell us if the installer was the person who sold you the water softener, who is also the service technician, and the office manager; then chances are obtaining service will be slow and unreliable if service is provided at all. A lot of One Person Water Businesses are simply in it for the sale and nothing more. And if you tried to find them for service needs i guess you could stop by their PO BOX. 

 

3. Premium National Brands; Best Value and Best Customer Support

Dealing with a local water dealer who has the backing of a national reputable brand can be a great asset to you. Costing on a bit more than segment #2 One Person Businesses, the quality and customer support will more than out weigh the cost of purchasing from a company like ours. 

 

Insurance. Did you Know? Most national brands audit their dealers annually for customer service reviews and insurances. That's right before a national brand will grace a business to use their products they have checks and balances to help protect themselves as well as provide protection for you the end user. For Example, we carry max limits on general liability, workers comp. and commercial auto as a requirement of doing buisess. 

 

Products. Our Hellenbrand product line exceeds the quality of wholesale brands by a mile. On average Hellenbrand water softeners are 30% more efficient than standard brands, and last 4 times as long. Hellenbrand has over 250 dealers nationwide and each one was personally interviewed before access to the products were allowed. A national brand has more money for research and development and this focus will result in a premium build water softener that last's and last's. I can't think of one national premium brand that will allow their products to be distributed through a One Person Business that has a PO BOX for an address.

 

VIEW OUR RESIDENTIAL WATER SOFTENERS HERE

 

Pricing. A note here on pricing. Jacksonville Fl Water Softeners that are made and distributed in this segment differ in price greatly. Because the water systems are significantly better than segment 2, wholesale brands, a lot of dealers will attempt to price their systems very high and play pushy sales games when selling to the public. Companies like Culligan Water, Rainsoft, WET Avanta pure, all start thousands of dollars higher than what the actual price is and then they walk you down from there. Their idea, not our idea, is to make as much money off of you as possible. I was recently with a cusomter who sought purchase a Culligan system that included a water softener and a reverse osmosis drinking water system, the salesman started at $5800 and after a hour of back and forth he dropped $2000 off that price and the homeowner threw him out. Similar games are played by Rainsoft and WET Avanta pure. If you have had an experience like this we would love a chance to provide a second opinion.

The mission of our company is to provide Great Water Softeners, Common Sense prices.  We don't play games and we don't need two hours to provide a estimate. Our site visits are usually 20-30 minutes in length, polite efficient and curteous is how we roll. 

 

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Increased Water Heating Cost Associated With Hard Water

According to energy.gov your water heater accounts for up to 18% of your utility bill. Today we discuss the effects that extremely hard water has not only the life expectancy of water heaters but the ongoing heating costs. In Jacksonville Fl hard water effects both gas and electric water heaters causing premature failure problems as well as increased amounts of energy needed to keep the water heated.

Hard water in Jacksonville FL is a big problem for water heaters as well as other appliances. Calcium and Magnesium minerals from deep in the Floridian Aquifer are pumped up from underground and distributed into our homes via our local municipalities. These minerals are initially dissolved in solution and invisible, however when your water comes into contact with oxygen and heat these minerals turn into their solid state which is limestone. (In case you were wondering why it is so difficult to clean your kitchens and bathrooms it’s because you have to remove the limestone build up which is like cleaning off concrete from your surfaces.) Hard water build up inside water heaters makes them extremely inefficient because the scale build up insulates the heating elements thus insulating them which requires more energy to heat through the scale. Think of it as placing a ¼” thick piece of concrete over your stove and then trying to cook something. Eventually it will heat your pots and pans to cooking temperatures but it will waste a lot of energy in the process. It’s the same with water heaters.

3 Primary Water Heaters in Jacksonville FL homes are Electric, Tank less, and Gas. Studies show that Electric Water heaters use 50% more energy, Gas Water Heaters use 30% more energy and Tank Less water heaters use 10% more energy to heat hard water versus soft water.

 

Estimated Electric Water Heater CostELECTRIC WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$555 estimated annual heating costs X 50% = $832.50                      Increase of $277.50 per year

 

 

Tankless Water Heater Estimated CostTANK LESS WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$482 estimated annual heating costs X 10% = $530.20                      Increase of $48.20 per year

Note: Tank Less water heaters require an annual maintenance to remove/descale hard water build up. Most Plumbers charge $185 per year for this service.       

                          

gas estimated energyGAS WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$233 estimated annual heating cost X 30% = $302.90                        Increase of $69.90 per year
 

Higher heating costs and increased maintenance charges are all apart of having hard water, a problem that is easily fixed with a water softener. But water heaters are not the only appliances that are affected by hard water, dishwashers, icemakers, coffee makers, washing machines, irons, all show a remarkable decrease in life span and poor performance when used with hard water. Water Softeners in Jacksonville FL is a simple permanent solution to hard water problems and in most cases, depending on who you buy a water softener from, will pay for themselves in a relatively short amount of time.  

*Water heater average annual heating cost’s noted above are from AO Smiths web site.

*Energy usage averages are from a University of New Mexico study on hard water.

*Tank less water heater service noted above is from a local plumbing company

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Homeowner How To's, Before You Call For Service

Before You Call for Service head set girl 

This blog is dedicated to homeowners everywhere who know little to nothing about water softeners. Every day we receive calls about water softeners in Jacksonville FL. Most calls are from homeowners that are unfamiliar with water softeners and how they work. The top two reasons a water softener stops working can be easily corrected by you the homeowner. And we have put together the following info that I think you will find helpful.

Water Softener Not Working #1 Loss of Power

I don’t mean to sound like captain obvious here but we run service calls every month where a water softener has simply become unplugged. Most/all water softeners use electricity to keep the time of day and track your usage data. Just this morning I was called to a home in Nocatee were the water softener was not working. I noticed that the screen was blank. To the customers defense the water softener was buried behind a pile of interesting garage stuff that blocked access to the unit. After a few seconds of looking around I found the plug was half pulled out of the wall outlet. Plugged her back in and now all is right with the world. Or at least all is right with His water softener again.

The second reason for a loss of power to a water softener is a tripped GFCI outlet. A GFCI is basically a special circuit inside a garage designed to automatically turn off power to the garage outlets if there is enough moisture inside the garage. If a GFCI trips then it will likely turn your water softener off. To resolve push the “Reset” button in the middle of the outlet. Presto you’re back in business.

However if you water softener is plugged in and the GFCI circuit is fine and your water softener still won’t turn on then you need a service call. Of the available areas it’s more likely to be a transformer or wire problem and less likely to be the PC board that controls the water softener. In either case your water treatment dealer should be able to fix it from there.  If not call me.

Water Softener Not Working #2 No Salt or a Salt Bridge

Long story short water softeners use salt to displace the hardness minerals that are in our water. All of Jacksonville FL is measurably the hardest water in all of Florida making a water softener a must.  To keep water softeners running you must have salt inside the brine tank/ salt pot. Please refer to our blog “adding salt to a water softener” for more detailed information. If the salt pot runs out of salt you will not have soft water inside your home.

Secondly sometimes the salt can form a salt bridge. A salt bridge forms when the dry salts above the water level melt slightly and fuse together at the top of the tank. In this case the water softener could be regenerating without using the salts thus no soft water for you. When your salt level does not go down for a long period of time say a month or so you may have a salt bridge.

The solution to a salt bridge is to use a shovel or baseball bat to break up the salt bridge. You might want to stretch to avoid injury before you begin because it will take a lot of physical effort. A salt bridge can be like breaking up concrete. Once you break through the salt will fall down to the bottom of the salt pot. Note, if you are having this problem redundantly then try not filling your brine tank up all the way. Keep it half full or less to avoid bridging.

Water Softener Not Working #3 valve seals or brine piston malfunction

If your system is still not working after the first two items then your system may be in need of repair or replacement. Each valve has a set of seals or mechanics whereby it inserts the salt into the water softener tank. If a seal is torn or a mechanical valves gears are stripped then you will need to have these parts replaced before your water softener will work again. Depending which kind of water softener you have in Jacksonville FL will determine how much money it will cost. And when I say the word money I am pronouncing it like Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) from Shark Tank pronounces it. Just kidding. But as a rule of thumb older mechanical Fleck valves are very costly to work on and repair compared to digital valves. Fleck water softener valves have 5 times the internal moving parts than digital valves. A Fleck repair takes up to 4 times longer in time to repair than a digital 3M water softener or a Clack water softener valve. In either case a service call will be needed to replace the internal parts and get your water softener working properly again.

Do You Have a Water Technologies Water Softener? 

Please note that Florida Water Technologies Inc. is not the manufacturer of this water system. We do provide service for these systems however we are limited and only serve North East Florida or the greater Jacksonville area. If you look closely at the logo it does not say Florida Water Technologies Inc. The system is distributed by Coast Pump Water Technologies Inc. thus the little c and the little p on the logo.

If you have any questions please drop me a comment and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience.

Thanks! 

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What is The Difference Between Water Softeners?

shrugged shoulders

People ask me all the time what the difference between water softeners are. There are lots of water systems and lots companies that sell them. In fact, I just Google searched for “water softener Jacksonville FL” and there are 35,400 search results. Holy Cow. So I wanted to provide a road map of simple ways for you to define the differences between water softener companies and make a well informed decision. The main differences that you will encounter are price point, warranties, and company reputation.

Price Point.

Price simply put is how much you will pay a company after all taxes and fees for the installation of a water softener system?

 Water softener companies in Jacksonville FL have different price points. In fact prices will vary greatly depending on which company that you consult. Some smaller mom and pop companies that sell softeners from their homes garage, meaning they have no business location, will range from $1200 to $1500 including installation. While other companies that utilize pushy telemarketing campaigns to solicit you will range from $5000 to $7000 or more! An obvious question you may have is, “so, what’s the difference between these systems since the price is so much different?” The answer is probably not much. In fact they probably both will soften your water, they will both use salt to do it…etc. The difference is business philosophy and ethics. Personally, knowing the cost of the equipment and the cost of running a water business, I believe charging $5000 to $7000 is unethical. But that is my opinion. And I can see how my opinion can be considered bias since I run a water business. So, I want to offer you some hard data on water softener prices. The annual dealer survey for 2014, which surveys most water companies in America, stated that the median cost was $1600 while the average cost was $1850. That’s it. If you receive a price from a company that is two to three times than this amount it would benefit you to get a second opinion.

A recent client of ours had a water softener company pitch them at $6000 initially but just after a few minutes of back and forth the company was down from $6000 to $3000. I think that you would agree that most people would interpret this kind of sales practice as shady and un called for.

Warranties:

What are your responsibilities with the new water softener and what are the responsibilities of the company selling the system to you in both parts and labor?

There are two ways to buy a water softener that will dictate warranties and service. The first way, like the mom and pop shop mentioned earlier, is to purchase a whole sale brand of softener from a reseller (mom and pop). This transaction is interesting because even though the manufacturer has a parts warranty you may not end up benefiting from that warranty. The reason is twofold. First, the brand that you purchase, let’s use Clack for an example, does not have an infrastructure that is designed to communicate with every end user of their products. Clack is a very reputable company and one of the most successful component manufacturers in the world but their infrastructure is modeled to deal directly with the supplier (middle man in between mom and pop and Clack) not the end user. You see most manufacturers will only ship in quantities requiring a single order to completely fill a 53’ eighteen wheeler. Mom and pop can’t place an order that large but a supplier can. Then mom and pop can purchase one to two units at a time as needed. Now, say you purchase from mom and pop and they go out of business or decided they have had enough of the entrepreneur lifestyle, do you still have a warranty? Hmm…Probably not. We call it our principle of 15. We receive on average 15 calls per month from customers seeking service for their water softener that cannot find the mom and pop style company that sold it to them. When we provide service for these individuals they are likely to pay for the service call parts and labor because I have no way of knowing which supplier originally supplied the unit and how much warranty is left.  If you called the manufacturer, and IF someone calls you back, they will instruct you to contact the company that installed it originally. Back to square one we go.

The other way is to purchase a national brand like 3M, Culligan, Kenitico or Rainsoft. National brands should have a customer support infrastructure that allows the end user (you) to reach out to the manufacturer directly. And national brands should have more than one participating dealer within the region in which you live. For example 3M has three east coast dealers within a three hour drive and our customers have access to 3mwater.com were you can register your product and communicate via live chat at any time. Unlike the previous scenario with mom and pop a national brand will have a much stronger network to serve its customers.

Company Reputation:

It still amazes me that some customers will buy a water softener that is priced two to three times more than their actual value from a company that they have never heard of who methodically produces negative customer experiences. But it happens.

Over the years we consumers become more and more empowered by the internet. For companies who consistently produce negative customer experiences this is not good. It’s seems that you can post an online review or opinion almost anywhere. And on certain third party sites like Google and the BBB, there is absolutely nothing that companies can do to remove or un-post a review they are permanent. What you see is generally what you get. You now have a fairly reliable crystal ball. Mostly positive, hit and miss, or consistently negative experiences with water softener companies is now up to you. Can mistakes happen? Absolutely. But companies that maintain a consistent positive reputation do so by taking care of customers when things don’t go to plan.

To sum up.

Most people don’t mind paying a fair price for a water softener. However what they don’t want is to get ripped off or to receive incompetent customer support down the road. I hope this post today helps you with your research on purchasing a water softener. At the end of the day the biggest difference between water softener companies is the price that you will pay, the warranties that you have and the reputation of the servicing dealer that you have to live with. If you have a question or a story that you would like to share please contact us. 

I am adding this thread to my blog because i want your help. Last night i met with a couple who had a water softener company from Home Depot attempt to sell a water system for $7000!!! We saved them tons of money with our straight forward common sense pricing. Have you received an outrageous price for a water system? Share your story with us. 

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Who Can it Be Now

Who Can it Be Now?

You may ask yourself, “Why do they keep knocking on my door to sell me stuff?” If you were raised in or around the 80’s you may recall the popular Men at Work song, “Who Can It Be Know?” A fitting lyric for todays blog from the song states, “All I wish is to be alone, stay away don’t invade my home.”

GreenleafToday we will look at some things to consider when sales people knock on your door in an attempt to sell you a water softener. Door knocking is bothersome practice by a lot of water softener dealers in Jacksonville Fl and surrounding areas. The reason companies partake in this practice is because it is relatively cheap marketing for them. However it is annoying and bothersome to you. Most to all neighborhoods are deed restricted and door to door solicitation is not allowed. Just the other night in Nocatee’s Greenleaf Village I was on a water softener sales call and ran across this sign. Your community like this one in Nocatee more than likely prohibits solicitors entering your community.

3 Problems with Water Softener Solicitors (This is Who it could be Knocking at your door)

 1.   You’ll overpay

When it comes to buying a water softener in Jacksonville FL, purchasing from a solicitor could be a raw deal for you. I talk to people all the time and they tell me how much they paid for a water softener from some guy that knocked on their door. The amounts vary greatly and can be quite staggering. Companies that knock on doors as a primary marketing strategy often times charge 3 to 5 times more for water softeners than what water softeners are actually valued at. Also, water softener companies that charge these unjustified prices usually have poor online public reputations. In addition to overpaying you are also likely to receive poor or no customer service after the sale.

2.   If they go out of business you will not have a warranty or service after the sale

Another problem buying a water softener from a solicitor is they often go out of business. A lot of times in this business an individual will leave a successful national franchise brand and think they can run a business themselves. However the new dealer is faced with a predicament, no one has ever heard of them or the brand they are trying to sell. So off to the neighborhoods they go to knock on your door. Most times these style of businesses are run out of the individual’s home with a PO Box as a business address. A lot of times these style businesses do not have an EIN number, Insurance, or a license.  I have personally met guys that after trying to run their own business they return to their previous employer to get their old job back. Don’t be guanine pig for some guys experiment. In the past 6 months we have had two brand new competitors open water softener businesses and one of them is already out of business.

3.   Stranger

The common sense reason to not buy from a door to door solicitor is you don’t know this individual. Often times they will ask you for your personal information or credit card number. Other than what they say about themselves or their brand you don’t know them from Adam. One reason that neighborhoods do not allow solicitation is for neighborhood safety. In attempt to keep the neighbor’s property safe solicitation is not permitted in any neighborhood that I can think of.

To sum up. I have an analogy for you to think about when buying a water softener system. We call it permission based selling versus non-permission based selling. A lot of water softener companies solicit customers against the customers will, either by knocking your door or robo-calling your home phone. We categorize this style as non-permission based selling. Given the choice you would not want a phone call or an uninvited visitor to your home. Our sales department uses permission based selling. Meaning we work with your timeline and budget. We wait for you to contact us. That’s why our company and others who use this philosophy have a much stronger public local reputation (Better Business Bureau and Google). Our team will not violate the rules in your neighborhood just to “make a sale”. Because at the end of the day we live in the communities that we work in and I wouldn’t want you to knock on my door either.men at work lyrics

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Do Pelican Water Softeners Really Work?

This is a very interesting topic.

2 to 3 times per month people ask me about how a 3M water softener compares to a salt free water softener like Pelican Water and Easy Water. This blog will provide you with reliable information that will help you with your research. We will answer the question what is hard water versus what is soft water. Next we will look at 3rd party certifications from the NSF and WQA. The NSF is the standard for testing water treatment systems that are sold to the public and there are certifications that describe performance for each type of systems. In plain English the NSF will certify a product as a water softener or not so that you will know what kind of results you can expect with different types of products. Finally, we will look at some product manuals from Pelican Water to see how they describe the results you can expect.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals that are present in Jacksonville FL water. According to the WQA (Water Quality Association) “Very Hard” water has measurement in grains per gallon of 7-10.5 GPG, while “Soft Water” has a measurement of hardness minerals measuring 0-1 GPG. Jacksonville FL Hardness measures as little as 7GPG to as high as 28 GPG! So our hardness levels are off the charts.  

One observation that we can make from this classification set by the WQA is that if you buy a water softener you would expect the measurement of hardness minerals to decrease to 0-1 soft water after the installation, correct? Thinking about that question I have another question for you to consider. Why do you want a water softener to begin with, what kind of results are you looking for? Most of our customers want a solution to the white film and scale along with removing the spots that cover everything while protecting the plumbing system from hard water damage. Sound like you? Let’s keep going.

Who is the NSF?  

The NSF is a public health and safety organization that tests, along with other segments, consumer products. The NSF has a vast amount of certifications for water softeners that deal with everything from material safety to accuracy of the system to produce a result. You may have seen the NSF logo listed on other materials or products.

The product testing certification that deals with water softening is NSF/ANSI 44 which states: Water softeners covered by this standard use cation exchange resin, regenerated with sodium chloride or potassium chloride, to reduce hardness (e.g. excess calcium and magnesium) from the water. These minerals are replaced with sodium or potassium ions, depending upon the type of softening pellet used.

However there is a lesser product certification that deals only with the structural integrity and safety of product under the same NSF 44 standard. So if the system has been tested and listed with the NSF as a true water softener they will list it in the owner’s manual with the full description listed above.

How are Pelican Water Softeners listed?

Pelican list two NSF certifications that shed light on what the product does and does not do. (Listed on Page 21 of the owner’s manual CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

Pelican  Natursoft (Natursoft is the media inside the tank)-(product number NS3/NS6)- WQA Gold Seal tested and certified under NSF/ ANSI 61 for material safety and tested according to NSF/ANSI 42 for structural integrity only

Clack V3007-xx Bypass Fittings (only)- WQA Gold Seal Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for material safety and structural integrity only.

The only NSF certifications that Pelican lists are on the media and the bypass fittings. Note the system (PSE 1800/PSE2000) is not NSF certified as a system that removes hardness minerals and thus is not a water softener as they clearly describe on their web site.

In Their Own Words

In fact in the owner’s manual for the PSE 1800/2000 (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) on pages 14 and 15 Pelican goes on to describe the results that you will receive with your Pelican “Water Softener”. In their own words they compare Pelican results with a real water softener stating:

The Water Does Not Feel Soft. They then go one to say it doesn’t feel soft because the hardness minerals are still in your water thus acknowledging the fact that you will still have hard water.  

The Water Spots are more visible. Because Pelican does not produce soft water after you install the system you will still have hard water.

Soap Curd Forms with Certain Soaps. With soft water soap scum can’t form because the hardness minerals have been fully removed. However with Pelican,the minerals are largely still able to react with the fats in the soap to form soap curd or soap scum. (Doesn’t sound like a water softener to me…)

There is some mineral silt in the bathtub. Depending on the water chemistry of your water supply, you may still have some scale deposits in your plumbing system. (Since the Pelican doesn’t remove hardness minerals and doesn’t soften water you will still have hard water scale in your plumbing system.)

If you have a dishwasher: (What? Who doesn’t have a dishwasher? Are they about to tell us you won’t notice any results in your dishwasher with the Pelican system?) Generally, the NS3/NS6 NaturSoft (Pelican Water Softener) system removes mineral hardness from solution and forms micro crystals (there is no test to prove this claim by the way); it does not physically remove the hardness minerals from the water. Harsh chemicals (Or Dishwasher Detergents), specifically acidic (low pH) detergents or rinse agents, can re-dissolve these crystals. This reduces the desired effect.

Then they go on the recommend a rinse aid called Lemi-Shine, which is a hard water rinse aid (if you have a dishwasher). So if you buy a Pelican Water Softener you will have to use a hard water rinse aid in the dishwasher to get clear spot free dishes because you will still have hard water.

Summary

Hardness minerals produce soap scum, scale and spotting/etching to glass, tile and other surfaces, as well as itchy dry skin and hair. Salt free systems do not remove hardness minerals and thus don’t produce results for these issues. If your water tested 20 grains per gallon of hardness minerals and you install a salt free system it will still test 20 grains per gallon because they are not water softeners (that’s why they do not hold any WQA NSF certifications that validate their products as such). The only way to produce a measurable result is with a water softener that removes hardness minerals. The salt free systems appeal to a consumer’s desire to not deal with the salt however they simply cannot produce the same result of a true water softener. 

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Water Softeners and Sodium in Your Drinking Water

Water Softeners and SodiumSodium

Most people who buy water softeners in Jacksonville FL and surrounding areas are doing so for the first time. A common question we get is how much sodium does a water softener add to my drinking water? Although it’s true water softeners do add sodium to your drinking water during the softening process however it’s a very low amount.

In this post we will discuss why sodium gets added, how much gets added, and how does the Food and Drug Administration classify the amounts.

resinHow Does Salt End up in Softened Water?

A water softener uses a cat-ion exchange resin bed that exchanges positively charged ions for positively charge ions.  The incoming hardness minerals (CaC03) are positively charged and so are the sodium ions. Think of resin as a tiny almost sand looking bead. A water softener will hold millions of these beads inside the tank. The amount resin or size of a water softener is referred to as grains. You may have seen water softeners in Jacksonville Florida referred to as a 32,000 grain or a 48,000 grain softening system. This simply refers to how much cat-ion resin is inside the tank. Different sizes exist because not all applications are the same. The surface area of cat-ion resin is negatively charged and thus attracts the positive charged sodium and calcium cat-ions.

 First the resin bed is coated with sodium ions during the process called regeneration. Once regeneration has occurred the resin bed is ready to exchange a sodium for a calcium ion, thus softening the water. The exchange site of the resin prefers the incoming calcium ions over the sodium ions and releases a sodium to capture a calcium ion. This process is called ion-exchange. It’s this process that removes the incoming hardness minerals that make your water hard and consequently it’s this process that adds the sodium to your water.  

How Much Salt Gets Added to Water during the Softening Process?

So how much sodium will be in your softened water? That all depends on how much hard water the system will be removing. Meaning the addition of sodium will be directly dependent to the amount of hardness minerals being removed. So if you have less hard water minerals you will have less sodium, if you have more hard water minerals you will have more sodium.

Less look closer. Jacksonville FL water softener systems have a tough job to do. Our area has some of the highest hard water mineral concentrations in the US. JEA says our water hardness as low 7 grains per gallon of hardness all the way up to 28 grains per gallon of hardness and everything in between. FYI the Water Quality Association classifies "very hard” water as 7-10.5 grains per gallon. CLICK HERE to review the JEA annual water quality report. So no matter where you are in Jacksonville and surrounding areas you have “very hard” water which is damaging to appliances and plumbing systems.

For our purposes of determining how much sodium does a water softener add during the softening process let’s look at three areas on the JEA water report.

Grid 4: Cecil Commerce Grid (Jacksonville West Side)
7 Grains of Hardness will yield a sodium level of 13 milligrams per 8 ounce glass.
Grid 18: Oakridge (Southside, Atlantic/Kernan/Hodges area)
 20 Grains of Hardness will yield a sodium level of 37.25 milligrams per 8 ounce glass
Grid 23: St. Johns Forest (CR 210/ St. Johns County)
28 Grains per gallon of Hardness will yield a sodium level of 52 milligrams per 8 ounce glass.

You see the amount of sodium added to water by a water softener in Jacksonville FL will vary depending on how hard your specific water is. There are 36 grids in JEA’s service area not to mention St. Johns utility and others. To determine how much hardness/sodium will be in your water contact us for a free in home water analysis. If nothing else we can help you with your research.

Does the Salt Have Negative Health Affects?

Florida Water Technologies Inc. is not a doctor’s office and we have no medical license to practice medicine and we cannot make a medical recommendation for you in any way. (A quick disclaimer to make my lawyer happyJ)  

That being said. The Food and Drug Administration has a lot of information on sodium content and daily intake. The FDA classifies how many milligrams of sodium per serving are considered sodium free, very low and low.

According to the FDA.org
Sodium free is considered less than 5 milligrams per serving
Very Low is considered less than 35 milligrams per serving
Low is considered less than 140 milligrams per serving

Based on that most of Jacksonville FL water softener systems will yield a per-serving sodium level that is considered as very low sodium according to the FDA. However a few grids (St. Johns Forest and Monument Road) will have a sodium per serving level that is considered as Low sodium per serving.

In fact to echo these findings Sheldon Shelps M.D. from Mayo Clinic wrote a healthy living article that speaks to this same subject. CLICK HERE to access the article.

Conclusion

Water softener systems in Jacksonville FL and surroundings areas only add a trace amount of sodium to the drinking water through the softening process. Most of your daily sodium intake is from the salt shaker and eating processed foods. However if you are on a sodium restricted diet or you medicate for blood pressure and reverse osmosis drinking filter would be a great addition to a water softener in Jacksonville FL. A reverse osmosis drinking water system removers the sodium that is added by the softener system.

Call or post a comment if you have more questions about this topic.

Thanks for your time.

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How Do Refrigerator filters and Reverse Osmosis Systems Differ?

What’s the difference between the filtered water that comes from the refrigerator and the filtration systems that treatment 8-glasses-of-water bluecompanies offer?

This is a question that we receive all the time. This entry will be a brief comparison amongst available household water filtration systems.

Most people don’t know the main differences between available household drinking water filtration systems. For example did you know that a lot of bottled water products are filtered at the same level as your refrigerator?  And that refrigerator filters hold more NSF certifications than some pitcher/pour style filters that you see at the grocery store. So we will first look at who the NSF is and what their role in water filter certifications and then compare refrigerator filters to household reverse osmosis drinking water systems.

The NSF is a third party non-profit organization dedicated to public health and safety. They certify millions of products through independent testing to assure safety and compliance. NSF has three main drinking water standards whereby drinking water filters are measured 42, 53, and 58 which is reverse osmosis.

NSF 42

NSF 42 NSF/ANSI 42 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of POU/POE filtration systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste, odor and particulates) that may be present in public or private drinking water.

The scope of NSF/ANSI 42 includes material safety, structural integrity and aesthetic, non-health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common technology addressed by this standard is carbon filtration.

Basically the certification of 42 is entry level/basic water filter mainly to remove chlorine, taste, and sediment. This is a good first step to producing high quality drinking water.

NSF 53

NSF/ANSI 53 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of POU/POE filtration systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), that may be present in public or private drinking water.

The scope of NSF/ANSI 53 includes material safety, structural integrity and health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common technology addressed by this standard is carbon filtration.

Although the technology looks the same as standard 42 “carbon filtration” it’s a little bit different. The filter is engineered much tighter than a regular 42 carbon filter. For example 3M has two water filters one is NSF 42 certified filtering down to 5 micron, and one that is both 42/53 certified filtering down to .2 micron. As you can see this greatly enhances the filters ability to remove a broader range of known contaminants. Now we are getting somewhere. Some select refrigerator filters have both 42 and 53 listings.

Most filters available on the market today only have a NSF 42 listing which means it only removes chlorine, taste and odor. That is a good first step but compared to the JEA contaminant list it pales in comparison when compared to higher level filters. Some select filters include the NSF 53 listing in addition to the NSF 42 listing. You will notice that the more listings a filter has the more expensive the cost. However this is a cost that I personally don’t mind paying.

What does a reverse osmosis do that NSF 42 and 53 certified filters don’t do.

A reverse osmosis goes even further than the listings of NSF 42 and 53 by de-salting the water or reducing TDS. During this process the reverse osmosis system will remove dissolved minerals, metals and salts. Here is how it is listed at the NSF.

 NSF/ANSI 58 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis systems designed to reduce contaminants that may be present in public or private drinking water.

The scope of NSF/ANSI 58 includes material safety, structural integrity, total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction and other optional contaminant reduction claims. The most common optional claims addressed by NSF/ANSI 58 include cyst reduction, hexavalent and trivalent chromium reduction, arsenic reduction, nitrate/nitrite reduction, and cadmium and lead reduction.

A reverse osmosis also removes the salt that is produced by softening water. When you install a water softener the ion-exchange process adds a trace amount of sodium to the drinking water. The reverse osmosis will remove the added sodium. My next blog is dedicated to how much salt gets added to softened water by a water softener and why does it matter. But basically, by reducing TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) the reverse osmosis will yield a product water that is considered pure. Things like salts, chromium, and other potentially harmful contaminants will not be removed by filters that are NSF 42 and 53 certified only. The 3M RO 401 holds NSF certifications 42, 53, and 58. (It’s also one of the only RO’s on the market that hold all three certifications.)

When compared to the JEA quality water report the reverse osmosis system will cover a wider range of our current contaminants making it the popular choice among homeowners. Basic carbon filters and even some more capable refrigerators cannot reduce contaminants the way a reverse osmosis can.

What Next for Drinking Water?

The next group of contaminants that are being researched currently are called “Emerging Contaminants”. These deal with prescription drugs, over the counter medications and chemical compounds. Many experts agree that the most effective method to deal with the Emerging Contaminants category is reverse osmosis. There are no MCL’s (Maximum Contaminant Levels) set for Emerging Contaminants at this time.

Conclusion

There are a lot of contaminants that can effect human health. Removing each contaminant is a process that can be tricky and has to be tested to certify the specific contaminant has been removed. When selecting a water filtration system select one with all three of the NSF certifications 42, 53, and 58 just to be sure.

Note: its Florida State law that all reverse osmosis systems be NSF 58 certified. Before you buy a water filter from an independent dealer clarify if it is certified then ask to see the page in the owner’s manual that lists the NSF compliance. There is a flood of cheap imported water filter systems on the market that have not been tested and listed with the NSF and therefore should not be used in Florida.

Sincerely

Brad Berdon

 

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Soft Water and Snow Birds

Soft Water and Snow Birds.florida snow bird

It’s not hard to understand why it is that so many experienced citizens relocate here to North East Florida for their retirement. What’s not to like? Located close to water at every turn along with pleasant weather most of the year make our area an ideal location.  The only ice around here is in your freezer and the hardware stores don’t stock anything related to snow.

snow birdsHowever if you are relocating from the North East then you may never have had the need for a water softener before.  Florida Water Technologies Inc. is a leading provider of water softeners for Del Webb Ponte Vedra, Nocatee and the greater Jacksonville FL area. Our experience with the water softeners and the come and go lifestyle of snow birds have lead me to write this blog. I regularly get asked about the following two topics.

Turning off the water supply when leaving town-Does it hurt the water softener?

Most of our snow bird customers like turning off the water to the entire home when leaving town. This does not hurt the water softener in any way. It will actually save your salt supply in the softener tank by turning off the water. However you do not want to unplug the water softener. It’s critical to leave the system plugged in while you are away. Sometimes people unplug the softener when the turn off the water because they don’t want to hurt the softener. You cannot hurt the softener by turning off the water but you should leave it plugged in.

Noticing a strong rotten egg smell upon your return-is it the water softener?

No. The water softener cannot produce the odor of rotten eggs. The leading cause of rotten egg odor in your home is the water heater. Upon leaving town water naturally stops flowing through the plumbing system causing the water to become stagnant. In the water heater it’s nice and warm which makes a great place for bacteria to grow. When bacteria die and decay it gives off the smell of rotten eggs. The best thing to do to eradicate this problem is to drain down the water heater once you get back in town. You can either use a hose to drain down the water heater from the garage or you can use the bath tub. To use the bathtub simply open the hot side only and let it run for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of the water heater). You may want to open a window as the smell could be very strong depending on how long you have been gone. The water heater will refill with fresh running water and the smell will be gone. There is a way to confirm that the smell is coming from the water heater. First select a faucet inside the home that has independent hot and cold valves (not a blended valve where one lever controls the hot and cold as these fixtures provide a mixture of hot and cold which makes it hard to isolate). Next run water from the cold side only fill a clean cup about half way and put your nose as close the water in the cup and smell. Do the same thing on the hot side. 90% of the time you will find the hot side is the only side with the smell. If the softener could cause a smell like rotten eggs it would be consistent on the hot and cold side of the plumbing system.

I hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Brad 

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How a water softener works

There are different types of water softeners

A water softener in Jacksonville removes the calcium and magnesium which is prevalent in hard water; it does this magic through ion exchange. Hard water makes things much more difficult than they have to be; hard water makes cleaning difficult, it leaves a scum on the fixtures in the bath and kitchen, leaves water spots on the dishes and makes clothing appear dull and grey.

Hard water comes from ground water such as the aquifer. This happens as the water is surrounded by underground rock structures that are rich in minerals, including calcium and magnesium; it is these two minerals that make water “hard”. The measurement for hard water is somewhat strange, it is measured in grains per gallon and each grain of hardness is equivalent to the weight of one grain of wheat. Water which has calcium and magnesium content in excess of 3 GPG is said to be hard, if the GPG reaches 10 it is considered to be very hard.

There are chemicals that can be added to commercial detergents which will soften the water that is used for laundry, but these chemicals are no use when the objective is to soften the water that is used throughout the house; this is done through ion exchange. An ion is a molecule which has an electrical charge, a water softener in Jacksonville contains an exchange medium; this starts out with a coating of sodium ions with a positive charge. The ions of the two offending minerals, calcium and magnesium are also positively charged but their charge is greater than that of the sodium. As the hard water runs through the exchange medium, the ions of calcium and magnesium are captured as they have a stronger attraction. The sodium ions are freed from the medium.

Sooner or later the exchange medium is completely coated with the ions from the calcium and magnesium, when this occurs; the system is backwashed and recharged. The ions of the minerals form a compound with the chlorine which is used in the backwash process and they are washed out, the sodium ions reattach themselves to the exchange medium and the cycle repeats.

Depending on how much attention the homeowner wishes to pay to his water softener in Jacksonville the units are available in manual, semi-automatic and full automatic. Full automatic is by far the choice of most homeowners.

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Water Filtration Systems for Florida

Water Filtration systems for Florida

Homeowners often want to improve the quality of their water using filtration. Water filters come in a variety of sizes for different applications. Some want filtered water just for their kitchen uses others want water filtration to be applied to the whole house. The most popular filtration media is carbon. Carbon is very porous and has an incredible ability to filter chlorine and other contaminants.

Chlorine is added to our water supply by the municipal water treatment companies. The purposechlorine for chlorine is to control pathogenic bacteria in our drinking water. Unfortunately, this chemical may present potential complications to human health as well as complicate the life of a water softener. We will spend the next few minutes talking about options that a homeowner has in reducing the chemical chlorine in their homes.

I am not a medical doctor so I cannot definitively determine the exact cause and effects of consuming chlorine. However, I can speak to the effects of chlorine causing damage to water softeners.

Water softeners in Jacksonville FL, have a daunting task. Not only does a water softener have to soften some of the hardest water in the nation but it also must function with some of the highest chlorine levels in the nation. Most of the internal parts inside a water softener have extreme sensitivity to chlorine exposure and will yield a lower life expectancy under prolonged exposure. Water softeners typically all work the same. There is a series of cycles where by the system will perform regeneration. Most softeners use a piston driven style, where a movable piston will push and pull itself into different valve positions. These different valve positions are separated by seals and spacers. These parts are the only wearable items inside a water softening system. The rubbery nature of the seals are excellent in making a seal around the piston however they are extremely sensitive to chlorine.

Another area of concern is the softening media called resin. It’s made of styrene which looks and feels like plastic. Prolonged exposure to chlorine will greatly reduce the life expectancy of ion-exchange resins. In some cases, depending on chlorine levels, the water softening resin life span can be reduced by 75%!! When that happens you could lose the water pressure to your homes plumbing system. Most people in that case call the municipal water treatment company. The water treatment company will instruct homeowners who experience a water pressure drop to put the water softener into the bypass position. This will restore water pressure to the home but you will not have treated water any longer. The water softener will need a repair.

The best way to apply carbon filtration to a water treatment system is through pre-filtration. That simply means installing a designed filter ahead of the water softener system. A certified carbon pre filter will not only deliver higher quality water to every tap in the house but it will protect the water softener from the woes of chlorine-greatly prolonging the life expectancy. Surprisingly a lot of companies do not offer a certified carbon pre-filter.

Side note: Florida Law requires that carbon filters must meet certain criteria to be eligible for legal sale in our state. With a large influx of Chinese made filter media and cartridges, you will have to look closely to see if the filter meets Florida’s requirements or not. If the water system that is being proposed does not bear the certifications needed please seek a second opinion before you move forward. If you would like more information on this topic send me a message.

Sincerely,

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Is Your Water Treatment Company Insured?

Today I wanted to invite a friend of mine, Andrew Roberts with We Insure Florida, to provide some information to better protect homeowners. It is very necessary to understand the risk you take when you hire a company to provide services at your home. There are two main types of insurance that a water conditioning company should carry to protect their customers and themselves from undo risk. When installing a water softener system at your home you always have the potential to cause damage to the property along with the potential for a worker to become injured on your property while working.

“Andrew, why should a company carry General Liability Insurance?”

That’s a great question Brad. The risk that a homeowner faces while hiring an uninsured company is tremendous. When a resident hires a company that doesn’t have General Liability Insurance then the homeowner’s insurance policy will be responsible if damages occur. This could be something simple all the way up to something catastrophic. I have seen examples of the worker putting a hole in a wall all the way up to knocking out the entire block’s power. Both of these situations could leave the homeowner paying out major expenses if they were using a crew that did not carry the proper insurance for the job.

“Andrew, what if a worker gets hurt while working at the residence?”iStock 000010666919Small

Good question. Workers Compensation Insurance is especially important in a businesses like water treatment when workers are lifting bags of salt and heavy water softeners. You see, if an uninsured worker gets hurt while performing work at a residence then the liability of the homeowners insurance medical payments would be responsible for the hospital bills incurred by the worker. Now that may not seem fair but in Florida anyone invited into your home to do a job for you is considered an “invited guest” and the homeowner is responsible for anything that happens to the property when dealing with an uninsured crew.

"Andrew, what can our readers do to protect themselves?”

Make sure the company that you are considering is carrying General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance. If you aren’t sure ask the company to see their policies that document their coverage. Most companies will have no problem providing a copy of coverage to the homeowner before work begins.

 

Thanks Andrew.

Florida Water Technologies Inc. is audited every year to make sure that our company has accurate coverage and limits. We would never put our customers at risk by cutting corners on things like liability and workers compensation insurance.

 

we insure fl

Andrew Roberts is owner of We Insure Florida Ponte Vedra location. They specialize in providing homeowners insurance policies as well as auto coverage too. If you are moving to Florida and need some help with your insurance needs. Or if you have any questions for Andrew he can be reached by calling 904-373-9001. Or you can CLICK HERE to visit Andrew online. 

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What's Wrong With My Dishwasher?

What’s wrong with my dishwasher?

About twice a week I meet people who are very frustrated that their expensive new dishwasher is producing such poor results. At $1000 or more for some dishwasher models you would expect to have a pretty fantastic result when washing the dishes. Well I understand your frustration and want you to know that you are not alone. The new high end dishwashers are great appliances with lots of great benefits to using them. However when hard water is running through the dishwasher you end up with the film, spots and build up on everything. Your dishwasher is working properly and is not in need of repair. And it doesn’t need a more expensive soaps or extra rinse aid products. It simply needs soft water.CAM00035

The newer dishwashers heat to higher temperatures than older models. High heat can be a great benefit it’s a non-chemical way to sanitize the dishes. In fact most restaurants are required to wash their dishes at temperatures above 140 degrees to sanitize them. However these high temperatures don’t mix well with hard water.Hard water occurs naturally when water flowing in rivers, streams and even through underground channels, comes in contact with the rock in the Earth's crust. Water then dissolves the hardness minerals into solution. When they come into your home they mix with oxygen or heat this causes the hardness minerals to precipitate to its solid form. Heat greatly accelerates the precipitation rate of hardness minerals and that’s why some dishwashers in our area look like this after just a few months.

The use of more soaps and rinse aids unfortunately won’t solve your problem. The only way to truly achieve spot free dishes and get the most out of your dishwasher is to improve the water that it uses. With soft water you will experience dishes that come out free of hard water film and no white residue in the dishwasher itself. You will be amazed at the difference of your results even by using only a fraction of the soaps/rinse aids you previously used.

A quick word on Dishwasher detergents.

Some, not all, dishwasher detergents will cause etching if you overuse with soft water. Soft water is incredibly more efficient than hard water and will only require roughly 1 tablespoon of detergent per load of dishes. However some detergents, not all, include certain ingredients that if overused will cause etching with soft water. We use the natural soap brands like Seventh Generation or Shaklee and we have fantastic results. You can use whichever soaps you like to use just make sure you are not overusing, by using as directed, and you won’t have a problem.

Let me know if you have any questions about this topic I would be happy to help.

Sincerely

Brad Berdon

 

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Adding Salt to a Water Softener

Most people that purchase a water softener in Jacksonville FL are doing so for the very first time. Therefore they know little about how a water softener works or what kind of maintenance that a water softeners need. In this post we will discuss what kind of maintenance water softeners need.

Salt is the only ongoing upkeep your water softener requires. You never have to change the salt; you simply add it as needed. Just like your car uses gas so the water softener uses salt. The amount of salt you use will be according to your amount of water consumption and how hard the water is at your home.  

When Do I Add More Salt?

Salt can be added as much as you like. Some people prefer to add a bag a month just to make sure that their system has salt. Others, like me, fill it all the way to the top to reduce the frequency of servicing the system. But when you look in the salt pot and see only water it’s time to add a bag or two. The goal is to keep the salt above the water level so that the salt looks dry. This assures a maximum concentration of sodium and thus nice soft water.

Full salt potThis is a salt pot that is completely full. I fill my salt pot all the way to the top like this one 2 to 3 time per year, that’s it. (note: individual results WILL vary. Water softeners use salt based on usage. So if your home uses more water the water softener will use more salt. If you use less water the water softener will use less salt.) The point made with this picture is that you dont have to add salt all the time or every month if you dont have the time to do so. Water softener salt pots usually hold between 200 and 300 pounds of salt which will give you some wiggle room when servicing. 

 

 

 As the salt is consumed the salt level will become lower and lower. Eventually it will be low enough that the salt level willCAM00018 begin to submerge beneath the water like this. This is a good time to add some salt.

                          

 

 This is what a empty salt pot looks like with very little to no salt inside. Salt should be added immediately to assure soft water for your home. If you run out of salt you run out of soft water.                         

empty salt pot

 

 

  

 

Where Do I Buy Salt?

Salt is for sale almost everywhere. Publix, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco…etc. It’s called water softener salt or solar salt. You simply need Water Softener Solar Salt. Like anything there is usually a generic type brand and a name brand of salt on the shelf. At Publix you will find.

Publix:

40 lbs Sun Gems                                               $4.99

40 lbs Morton’s                                               $4.99-$5.99

 Costco:

40 lbs Salt Pellets                                              $4.39 (The best deal I have found)

Does it matter if I use salt pellets or salt crystals?

No. It has no bearing on the function of the water softener as what form of salt is in the tank. Salt pellets or salt crystals is a preference. Some of the salt brands claim a longer water softener life if you use their brand; however that claim is very difficult to prove.

What about salt with rust remover in it?

Also on the shelf is a bag of salt that costs a little more that has a rust remover additive. This additive is a cleaner that helps the water softener resin stay clean when it is removing iron in addition to hard water. So this type of salt product is not needed on city water in Jacksonville FL. Our city water is very hard but it does not have iron in it so therefore you don’t need the rust remover salt. Rust remover salt is for water softeners installed on private well water. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Brad 

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Soft Water and the Silky Feel

silkDid you know the number one objection to installing a water softener is the silkier feeling that soft water produces while bathing. I meet people all the time that allow hard water to destroy their water heaters, shower doors, dishwashers, granite counters, faucets and more. And the only reason why is because they did not want the slippery feeling associated with soft water. Well friends you’re in luck. At Florida Water Technologies Inc. you can have your cake and eat it too. If you (or your spouse) are one of those who objects to soft water only because of the slippery feeling we can help. We can custom blend our water softeners in such a way that will provide you softened water without the slippery sensation in the shower. But first let’s take a look at the differences of bathing in hard water versus soft water.   

Bathing in Hard Water

Hardness minerals react with the fatty acid component of soap to form what we call soap scum. (Looks like this: 2 C17H35COO-Na+ + Ca2+  (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na+) When bathing in hard water you are actually coating your skin and hair with soap scum. That is why hard water produces an un-slippery feeling. Thus hard water needs large amounts of soap to form a lather, and in hair washing, the soap scum sticks in the hair. The use of synthetic detergents tends to alleviate the abrasive feeling of bathing in hard water. However the last thing we need is more chemicals in our lives. Soap scum on shower tiles and vinyl shower curtains have been reported to constitute a rich microbial biofilm. That is why some customers have less of that orange/pinkish bacteria in the shower after they install a water softener.  

Bathing in Soft Water

Bathing in soft water feels silkier for a couple of reasons. First, soap lathers better in soft water than in hard water, so it's easy to use too much. Second, soft water is literally the opposite of hard water which does not create soap scum film. Without the hard water minerals, soft water rinses the soaps and detergents from our bodies, hair and clothes much more efficiently. This leaves our pores unclogged, allowing moisture to be absorbed, and with softer, healthier skin. And with the pores on your skin unclogged your body oils can do the job they are intended for. That is why people that struggle with dry skin conditions love soft water. Skin that feels itchy, tight, or ashy will improve by switching from hard to soft water.

What we recommend

Try soft water for a month to see how your body adjusts to regular exposure. You may become used to the silkier feeling just like you are used to the abrasive hard water un-slippery feeling. Avoid soaps that use a moisture additive and stick with a good old basic soap. Also, reduce the amount of soaps and shampoo that you use in the shower.

How to achieve soft water without the slippery feeling.

Our secret to achieving softened water without the slippery feeling was first discovered when I read the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just kidding, however we can provide softened water that protects your homes plumbing system without the slippery feeling. From time to time we have a customer request that we adjust the water to alleviate the slippery feeling. We will then tweak the system to achieve a more acceptable balance. As to how do we do that? Give us a call I would be glad to tell you.

In conclusion, some of our customers start out determined that they too will not like the silkier softened water. But after they try it, they find that they actually do like green eggs and ham.

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Soft Water Works Harder

People go through great lengths to have spotless dishes and clean bathrooms. Even with expensive soaps and high end appliances it’s common to still have spots on the dishes and film in the bathroom. The problem is not the soap or the appliances, it’s the water.

One area especially problematic is the shower door. With a large surface area shower doors are a continuous problem area that are nearlyBlevins Duplex Before  6-2011 impossible to keep clean. I have read several online forums where people are trying to achieve and maintain a clean shower door. Other forum members would chime in with suggestions ranging from squeegee after every shower, to scrape off soap scum residue with a flat razor blade (be careful!), and one person even suggested buffing the door with compound called cerium oxide and a high speed buffer. Seriously, a high speed buffer? Sounds like a lot of work.

The secret to achieving clean and spotless kitchens and bathrooms in the greater Jacksonville area is to focus on the water that is running through your plumbing system. You see our water has some of the highest concentrations of calcium hardness minerals in the nation. These hardness minerals keep layering and layering our homes until everything has a foggy film that will not come off no matter how hard you clean. Even if you are able to clean the spots off completely, “guess what?” They will be back tomorrow. The film is a direct result of the hardness minerals that come from our water supply.  

fogged glassThe Ohio State University indicated that the time required for typical cleaning tasks was increased by almost 50 percent using hard water.

Water softeners work by removing these hardness minerals before they enter your home. Once you install a water softener you will achieve spot free kitchens and bathrooms with very little effort. We have lots of testimonials from customers that have had such amazing results by simply switching to soft water.

As long as Hard Water is mixing with the soaps and running through those nice appliances the problem of spots and film will continue.

A water softener is a permanent, low cost solution to your hard water problems. Give us a call today to set up your free, no hassle estimate.

Brad 

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5 Star Customer Service!

Have a great experience buying a water softener.golden-rating-stars

We pride ourselves on providing great service before, during and after the sale. That’s why it brings us great pleasure to announce that Florida Water Technologies, Inc. has received 5 out of 5 stars over 21 customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau!  

The Better Business Bureau has long been known as a place where consumers could file an official complaint against a business. As of August of 2012 the BBB expanded their services to include customer reviews in addition to complaints. The BBB classifies reviews three ways, positive experience, neutral experience, or negative experience, and they are free to read. And since August of 2012 our customers have posted 21 out of 21 positive experience reviews (which is the most of any water softener company in North East Florida on the BBB) which earns 5 stars from the BBB. Each review the BBB receives goes through a 48 hour process to authenticate the review and compare IP addresses to confirm legitimacy.

We find that most people that purchase water softeners in our area are doing so for the first time and wouldn’t know how to go about checking the system. The other day I met with a gentleman who bought a Sears Kenmore water softener. When you buy from a big box retail store often times they sub-contract installers who didn’t sell you the water softener and aren’t motivated if the system works right or not, they get paid to cut and glue pipe. The system had been in his garage for an entire year and was plugged in. We tested the water inside his home and found it to be not working. Upon reviewing the installation/set up of the water softener I noticed the installer left the system in bypass, which is the off position for water softeners. Including the cost of the unit and the labor to install, he paid over $1000 for the Sears Kenmore that hadn’t worked since installed a year ago.

How we provide a great experience.

It all starts at the point of sale. We arrive on time and provide a no pressure, no hassle sales experience. Next we provide great water softeners, at common sense prices with a punctual and professional installation. Then we follow up every single water softener installation with our complimentary diagnostic and water test to guarantee results. The diagnostic includes:

·         Detailed water history report which shows your day by day consumption back to 63 days

·         Master history error check will show you if any error codes have flashed to the PC board

·         Peak rate of flow through the system-shows the system can handle your family/house size

·         Water test on hot/cold side to confirm consistent results

It’s important to us that our water softeners work effectively every time. And just in case something is not working right we will be there to correct the issue. We log all of your follow up information in our data base and can track your systems performance over the years.

We have all had the experience where the customer service stopped as soon as the check cleared the bank. And if you needed something you would have to call the customer service phone number (for English press #1) only to find people that may or may not be motivated to provide great service. That won’t happen with Florida Water Technologies, Inc.

Sincerely,

Brad 

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