If New Home Has Water Filtration Equipment?

Water Softener with Brine Tank

 

What Should I Do If My Newly Purchased Home Has Water Treatment Equipment That Was Previously Installed?

We often get phone calls from new homeowners that purchased a home with pre-existing water filtration equipment installed.

SYSTEM WAS PREVIOUSLY INSTALLED BY US

In many cases the system had been originally installed by us for the previous homeowner and the contact information was attached to the system with a sticker.  Normal questions from people that have never had a private well or water filtration equipment typically consist of, “What is this system doing?”  “How old is it?”  “How often should it be serviced?”   “When was the last time it was serviced?” “Can I drink the water?” In these situations, it is easy for us to simply look up the address in our data base and know what type of water filtration equipment is installed and when, along with the last service date and next due.  At this point, one of our representatives can answer these questions over the phone.  A number of people prefer to set up a service call at their home even if the system is not quite due for service yet, just to start off fresh.  Once our field service technicians arrive, they will perform the service and explain to the homeowner what is being done and why.  We prefer that our customers have a better understanding of the system that is providing them with clean water.

SYSTEM WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY INSTALLED BY US 

In other situations, we get calls from people that have water filtration equipment in their newly purchased home but there is no contact information, therefore we get a call either because someone referred them to us or they looked up water filtration companies over the internet or some other way.  While our Company has the breadth and depth of experience to service any brand of water filtration equipment out there, we will need to know who the manufacturers are of the equipment (which is usually identified on the systems) in order for us to come with the appropriate materials to properly service the system.  Even if you do not have this information, we can usually determine what materials we need to properly service the equipment.

We get at least a dozen calls per month from people that have these “orphaned” systems.

Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Install

DON’T BE AFRAID!

Having water filtration equipment in your home for the first time need not be a scary or anxiety causing situation.  In fact, if you have the proper water filtration equipment installed (& serviced at proper intervals) to treat your private well water or even city water, you will get the best quality water you’ve probably ever had.  It can make a huge difference in how your laundry comes out, for showering or bathing on your skin and hair, for cooking, better ice cubes, the clean taste of pure water and a host of other benefits.

Typical systems installed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine include water softeners for removing iron and manganese, pH Neutralization systems to neutralize low pH or acidic (corrosive) water, systems to remove Arsenic from well water and Radon from well water along with carbon filtration systems for removing chlorine and related byproducts or other contaminants that might be present.  Reverse osmosis filtration systems are highly effective in removing most contaminants from your drinking water and are often added as a “point of use” system to feed a separate faucet at the kitchen sink and/or connect into your refrigerator’s water dispenser and ice maker.

Determining the appropriate system for you is best approached with an initial water test.  From there, an analysis by a qualified water treatment professional will enable you to make the best decision for your situation, taking into account not only the water chemistry, but also the estimated water volume usage based on home size, number of people in the family, etc.

For more information, an H2o Care representative can be reached at (800) 539-1100 or email to [email protected] *www.h2ocare.com*

RADON IN WATER – SHOULD I BUY THE HOUSE?

Radon in water

Radon in water

We know that radon from the soil contributes a significant share of our total exposure to radon. The focus of this article is how to reduce radon in water for homes on private wells that depend on ground water.

Question: My home inspector found radon in water in the home’s private well, should I not buy this house?

Answer:  Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and it can be found all over the world. It is produced in the ground through the normal decay of uranium and radium. This naturally occurring radioactive gas called radon in water is common in many wells. It doesn’t matter whether the wells are private or public and whether they are shallow or deep. Levels of radon in water can vary dramatically from one well to another, but most ground water contains some radon. The good news is that radon can be safely and effectively removed from well water. So if you love the house, radon is not the reason not to buy it. There are two commonly used methods of removing radon from well water: 1) Aeration and 2) Granular activated carbon (GAC). Although Aeration is the more expensive of the two, it is the preferred method for water containing more than 2,000 Pico curies of radon per liter, which will be explained below. Both aeration and GAC systems can remove more than 90% of the radon in water.

AERATION SYSTEM TO REMOVE RADON IN WATER

An Aeration system would be installed on the main water supply just after the well tank. An Aeration system consists of a fiberglass or plastic tank in which water is depressurized and agitated. The best systems will use a combination of spraying the water and agitation in the tank to achieve higher reduction rates. As the water is sprayed and agitated the radon gas is released from the water in a sealed chamber and then is blown through a vent.  The radon gas will then terminate outside the house where it mixes with outside air and quickly reaches normal background levels. The vent should be extended above the roof if there is any chance of the radon gas reentering the home and potentially exposing the occupants to high levels of radon. Radon is reduced 24/ 7, providing constant water pressure.

radon in water in Massachusetts

Radon removal system installed in basement at water’s point of entry

 

STATE CONTAMINANT GUIDELINE LEVELS FOR RADON MITIGATION (in pCi/L);

Massachusetts = 10,000, New Hampshire = 2,000, Maine = 4,000, Rhode Island = 4,000

The above contaminant guidelines do leave you scratching your head as to why they have different actionable levels.  If your well is experiencing a level of 7,000 pCi/L in Massachusetts for example, you are not legally required to do anything about it, however, you need to make the decision about whether you want your home to be exposed to this level of radon gas.

Health Effects

The EPA has identified radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer, smoking being first. It is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is produced in the ground through the normal decay of uranium and radium and levels can vary dramatically from one well to another, but most ground water contains some radon.

GRANULAR ACTIVATED CARBON METHOD

A GAC system would also be installed on the main water supply just after the well tank. A GAC system consists of a large fiberglass tank, which would contain a bed of granular activated carbon (GAC). The carbon bed consists of many tiny carbon particles, which hold on to impurities in the water. This material can hold onto the radon much like a sponge holds water. Radon does build up in the carbon, but because it is also breaking down the radon will not reach dangerous levels. It is the break down or decay of the radon in the carbon that does cause concerns when using carbon to reduce radon. The radon decay products do emit a gamma ray radiation similar to x rays. Most studies show that a distance of two to four feet is all that is necessary to reduce the radiation to near background levels.   It is generally recommended that the carbon bed be replaced frequently to minimize the build-up of radiation in the carbon bed if going with this method. At higher radon levels, however, using this method of radon reduction is not recommended, in fact, discouraged. At present we are not aware of any EPA regulations specific to the disposal of carbon that has been used for radon reduction but some are being considered. Restrictive requirements on carbon disposal would limit the feasibility of using GAC to remove radon.

AERATION vs. ACTIVATED CARBON

Both carbon and aeration are effective to remove radon from water. We believe Aeration to be the preferred and clearly the safer method of radon reduction because the radon is vented outside the home and no radon is stored inside the system.   Since no radon is stored in the unit there is very little opportunity for radiation to be given off by the unit itself and there are no disposal concerns. Proper installation, design and maintenance are critical to the long-term reliability and effectiveness of these systems.

COST – A properly designed and installed system to remove radon from water will cost approximately $4,500 to $6,000 depending on other contaminants found in the water and the difficulty of installation, including proper venting to the outside of the home.  With regard to on-going annual maintenance of the system, which includes a certified lab water test, you should budget approximately $250 per year for this.

If you would like more information on radon or radon reduction systems contact us at: 800/539-1100 or email us at [email protected].  For more information on Radon, the following EPA website is helpful: EPA Radon Link.

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