Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services Blog & Media

RYCO Plumbing likes to connect with you the customer. We want you to be plumbing knowledgeable so you know what we're talking about. An educated consumer is our best customer.

You've Read The Blog, Now See The Video

A few weeks ago I posted a blog titled "Is Water Softening A Scam?". While many people on social media enjoyed reading the post, we thought a video might further drive home our point. 

Not having a water softener does not clog your pipes. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Is Water Softening A Scam?

The Real Truth About Hard Water

Many water softening sales people sell you based on fear. They want you to believe that over time, a home without proper water conditioning will have restrictive buildup in the pipes that will lead to eventual failure. They want you to believe this because it's easy to sell someone who's afraid. See the calcified pipe below? That is what they want you to believe is happening in your pipes if you  don't have a water softener installed. We're about to bust that myth with hard evidence.

What they want you to believe.

What they want you to believe.

What is hard water? What is soft water? And why the heck does it matter?

These are the most common questions homeowners ask themselves when the topic of water softening gets brought up, and you’d think the answers would be simple enough to find, but they’re not.

Advertisers will tell you one thing about hard water. Plumbers will tell you another. And your neighbor will disagree with them both.

Plenty of misconceptions about hard water have developed, making the truth difficult to come by.

Here are a few common misconceptions of hard water you don’t have to be fooled by anymore.

Hard Water Clogs Pipes

This is the one advertisers really stress. They claim that the minerals in your water like calcium and magnesium can build up over time and clog your pipes. Without softening your water, you’re damaging your entire piping system.

This just isn’t true . . . at least not anymore. Between the 1940s and 1970s most homes used steel (galvanized) pipes. Minerals can stick to steel pipes, causing blockage.

If your home was built after 1975, or if your home has been re-piped, you’re good to go. The copper pipes used today don’t accumulate minerals like steel pipes.

Just the other day, we removed a 40-year-old copper pipe to fix a pinhole leak and found the line completely free of corrosion.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

This 40 year old pipe was removed from a home with a slab leak. The home had no water softening system. Compared to a brand new pipe, you can't see much of a difference.

Minerals Are Contaminants

Many homeowners are being tricked into thinking that the minerals in water are endangering the health of their families.

In reality, minerals aren’t contaminants at all. They’re nutrients. They’re natural, and they’re okay to consume.

Sometimes we forget there was life before in-home water purifiers that get rid of all these minerals. Anyone who has ever drank from a well can back me up in saying how much better it tastes than the even purest tap water—minerals and all.

A study by the World Health Organization shows that consuming hard water nutrients like calcium and magnesium can be good for your health.

Water Softener Filters Water

Similar to the last point, water softeners don’t filter your water.

Dirty, chlorinated tap water goes into your water softener, and it comes out as dirty, chlorinated, salty water. It may taste a little better to you, but it’s still dirty, and there still needs to be a filtration process to make the water safe.

Don’t be convinced that your water softener is a multi-use piece of equipment. It removes the magnesium and calcium ions. That’s it.

High quality water filters are still to thank for removing those nasty chemicals and contaminants in your drinking water.

Hard Water Ruins Clothing

When you wash your clothing, calcium and mineral deposits do stay in the fabric and may cause them to wear a little faster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Hard water is not the only culprit. You’ve got an entire team working against your to fade your clothing.

Chlorine does plenty of damage too, and as we just discussed, water softeners don’t filter chlorine. They don’t filter dirt either, which can also get trapped in the fabric.

Combating these issues can be as easy as choosing detergent-based products for your laundry rather than soap-based products. Detergent-based products work much better in hard water.

If you’re still worried, you can also add water softener to your laundry to get rid of those minerals. Just remember that the minerals aren’t the only problem.

Final Thoughts

Be careful when researching information on water softening and always consider the source. Plenty of businesses have agendas and will twist facts to make you believe that their products are more necessary than they really are.

Knowing the truth about hard water can help you sift through all the misconceptions and make sound decisions about softening your water.

What other misconceptions have you heard about hard water?

Share them with us in the comments!

Why Does Backflow Testing Need To Be Done Every Year

Backflow issues at commercial and residential buildings can be health hazards.

A lethal gas in a building in Mississippi is the latest example of what can happen when there is backflow.

The building owner entered the unoccupied building and noticed a smell. A report was filed with the local fire department and the responding team was able to make the building safe again.

Investigators believe a chemical made its way into the sewer lines creating the toxic gas, which then entered the unoccupied building as a backflow situation through a sink.

Backflow Testing

What Is Backflow?

Toxic gas backing up into a building is one example of potential backflow issues, but backflow can occur in many other ways.

Backflow is generally referred to as the reversal of a liquid or gas in a plumbing system.

Most issues for the public occur with backflow resulting in contaminated drinking water. If you look up backflow issues online you’ll probably find references to “potable” water. That means drinking water.

There have been backflow issues in the past with drinking water. Chemicals, sewage and other contaminants have found their way into drinking water causing health issues for those that count on the fresh water.

What Causes Backflow?

In a residence or commercial building water generally flows one way. This normal flow is usually driven by consistent pressure in the water and waste system.

Anything that changes the normal pressure in the system can lead to backflow.

Fire hydrant use or malfunction can reverse the normal pressure in the system on a city line, but backflow can occur in a number of different ways.

Sometimes backpressure might be caused by someone using a garden hose and submerging the end of the hose in a pool of liquid. If pressure is lost the flow could reverse and contaminants could be released into the drinking water.

Anytime there is a connection between contaminants and the drinking water there is potential for a backflow issue. Sometimes these connections are not immediately obvious like the garden hose connecting to a building’s drinking water supply.

Residential Valve

Backflow Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines and regulations for state and local governments regarding backflow. State and local governments also have their own guidelines and regulations for backflow prevention.

Arizona has its own backflow regulations.

Due to issues with backflow in the past, regulations require backflow preventer devices to be used in nearly all residential and commercial buildings.

A backflow preventer is a device that prevents backflow as cross-connection points where potential backflow issues may occur.

While backflow is not a common occurrence, preventers are in place to make sure there is no contamination should something malfunction or go wrong with a building’s water supply.

Backflow Testing

Arizona and other states require regular backflow testing or backflow preventer testing.

There is a list of steps to follow when checking the system. Because plumbing systems are exposed to normal wear and tear, it’s a good idea to have regular check-ins on your property. Federal, state and local law also requires regular backflow testing.

We work with property managers that like to stay on top of their plumbing systems. They see the potential harm and damage that can happen with backflow issues and they have us come out to test their systems to make sure everything is working.

This testing also ensures the property management company and its properties meet all regulations.

Do you have questions about backflow and backflow testing?

Contact us today and ask about our backflow testing procedure.