Access to clean water in your home is essential for your family's health as well as bathing, cooking, washing clothes and other household tasks. If the quality of your water supply is compromised, you risk exposure to dangerous pathogens that transmit diseases. Tainted water may also smell bad or look cloudy. The following guide to common residential water problems can help take care of contamination and other water issues.
Smelling Rotten Eggs
Even if water is safe to drink and not contaminated, if it smells bad you will not want to consume it. No one wants to drink a glass of foul smelling water.
A common culprit of smelly water is hydrogen sulfide. By itself, sulfur is odorless. However, compounds of the element such as hydrogen sulfide can make water smell like rotten eggs. Bacteria that metabolize sulfur and builds up in your water heater can also cause the atrocious smell.
A water treatment specialist from a site like http://www.valleypumpnw.com can analyze your water supply to find the source of the sulfur. If the hydrogen sulfide is in your water tank, you may only notice the odor when you use hot water.
The water treatment specialist will flush out the hydrogen sulfide from your water heater and other fixtures. Solutions they may implement include installing aggregate filters and chlorinating your water.
If you notice other types of odors emanating from your water or if your doctor tells you intestinal issues you experience stem from contaminated water, you need to schedule a home water analysis. You can also send samples of water to your local cooperative extension for pesticide testing.
Pesticides, fertilizer and other chemicals from surface water runoff can infiltrate your water supply via damaged pipes and cross connections. You should also call a plumber to repair fixtures that enable contaminants to enter your water supply.
If you purchase a home with a well, get the water quality tested and the well disinfected by a ground water professional before you begin using it. You should have the well inspected at least once a year for the presence of coliform bacteria and other contaminants. If the water is impure, that may be a sign that the well casing is cracked or rusted.
You cannot control the amount of minerals that are in the soil and rock that water passes through before it reaches your home. It is common for high amounts of magnesium and calcium to enter the potable water supply. The excessive amount of minerals creates hard water.
Hard water leads to a litany of issues including:
- Scaly deposits on water fixtures, porcelain dishes and utensils
- Unsightly rings around faucets tips
- Build up of soap scum in sinks, pipes, bathtubs and on glass shower doors
- Gray and yellowed laundry
- Lime scale buildup in solar heating fixtures
Hard water can even affect your skin and hair. When you bathe, you will notice that soap leaves a sticky film that feels hard to remove. Hard water can also make your hair look dull. You can purchase clarifying shampoo and soaps that softens the water and lathers well.
You can install a water-softening unit in your home to soften the water. The unit adds natural softeners such as sodium and potassium chloride to the water supply. However, if you or someone in your family is on a sodium-restricted diet, you should not install a softener that uses sodium. Opt for a potassium chloride softener instead.
Cleanup of Scum and Scale
After you solve your issues with excessive minerals, you still need to clean up the scale and scum left behind. While you can purchase commercial cleaners that contain chemicals, you may prefer to use natural products. Use a baking soda and water mix along with a steel wool scrubber to remove deposits.
You can also use a 50/50 mixture of water and lemon juice or vinegar. Let the solution sit on the stain for about 15 minutes before scrubbing. For tougher stains, create a paste of vinegar, baking soda and water.