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Why are the dishes from my dishwasher spotted?
Spotting and streaking on dishes and flatware after being washed in an automatic dishwasher is generally due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in your water supply. This has become more significant since phosphates have been banned in dishwashing detergents. The solution to this problem is the installation of a water softener, one that reduces calcium and magnesium in the water supply.
What is water hardness?
Hardness is made up of calcium and magnesium – rock that is dissolved in your water. With this in your water, it is difficult to wash because the hardness prevents soap from lathering. Hardness also leads to scaling in pipes and water heaters. Hardness is described in grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm).
How will this save me money?
You can save money by preventing costly scale build-up in your household plumbing and fixtures. It reduces the energy cost for heating water and prolongs the life of water-using appliances. Water softening cuts the cost of cleaning supplies (soap, detergent, and shampoo) by up to 75%. Treated water gives you brighter, fresher, clothes that last longer, sparkling water, spot free dishes, no more bathtub rings, softer, smoother skin, shiny, more manageable hair, no more iron stains, no more scale and iron deposits in pipes.
How do water softeners work?
The water to be treated passes through a bed of the resin. Negatively-charged resins absorb and bind metal ions, which are positively charged. The resins initially contain univalent hydrogen, sodium, or potassium ions, which exchange with divalent calcium and magnesium ions in the water. As the water passes through the resin column, the hardness ions replace the hydrogen, sodium, or potassium ions that are released into the water. The “harder” the water, the more hydrogen, sodium, or potassium ions are released from the resin and into the water. Resins are also available to reduce carbonate, bicarbonate, and sulfate ions which are absorbed, and hydroxyl ions released from the resin. Both types of resin may be provided in a single water softener.
Will my skin feel slimy using soft water?
When you wash your skin with hard water, there is a layer of soap and minerals that is left on your skin. This is what causes the supposed squeaky clean feeling. With soft water, the soap is completely rinsed away leaving just the natural oils your skin produces.
Why does my clean laundry look grey?
When calcium and magnesium in the water are mixed with soap a gray sticky curd is formed that adheres to clothing. This is the source of the gray color. There are numerous chemicals that can be used to control this problem, but they shorten the life of the fabric. By softening your water, not only will you eliminate this problem, you can substantially reduce the use of laundry detergent and increase the life of your clothes.
Will a water softener harm my septic system?
Studies conducted at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and the National Sanitation Foundation confirm that softener regeneration does not harm the bacteria in the septic system.
How can I get my water tested?
You’ll want to test for hardness, iron, and pH if you have well water; hardness, pH and chlorine for those on city water. Click here to set up an appointment to have your water tested in your home or our office. If you are experiencing iron stains with municipally supplied water, you should also test for iron.
Why does my water taste bad?
If you have municipal water coming to your home in the Texas area, the primary cause is the presence of Chloramines. While the municipal waters locally do meet safe drinking water standards, they can regularly taste bad. This can easily be solved with a quality drinking water system installed underneath the kitchen sink or on the main water line going into the house.
The degree of hardness standard as established by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (S-339) and the Water Quality Association is:


Chloramines – A form of disinfectant produced by combining Chlorine and Ammonia. They are used to control the formation of regulated cancer-causing compounds, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and halo acetic acids (HAAs). They must be reduced from any water to be used for fish tanks or ponds for fish, reptiles, turtles, and amphibians and also must be reduced from water used for kidney dialysis. Chloramines are present in the water of customers of San Antonio, Converse, Elmendorf, Seguin, & New Braunfels.

Hard Water – Water containing calcium and magnesium with a minimum concentration of one grain per gallon measured as calcium carbonate equivalent.

Hardness* – A common quality of water that contains dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium. The term hardness was originally applied to waters that were hard to wash in, referring to the soap-wasting properties of hard water. Hardness prevents soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble curdy precipitate in the water; Dissolved calcium and magnesium salts are primarily responsible for most scaling in pipes and water heaters and cause numerous problems in the laundry, kitchen, and bath.

  • Soft = less than 1.0 Less than 17.1
  • Slightly Hard = 1.0 to 3.5 17.1 to 60
  • Moderately Hard = 3.5 to 7.0 60 to 120
  • Hard=7.0 to 10.5 120 to 180
  • Very Hard =10.5 and up180 and up
Ion Exchange* – A reversible process in which ions from an insoluble permanent solid medium (the “ion exchanger” – usually a resin) are exchanged for ions in a solution or fluid mixture surrounding the insoluble medium. Both cation and anion exchange is used in water conditioning. Cation exchange is commonly used for water softening.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)* – A water treatment process that reduces undesirable materials from water by using pressure to force the water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane. RO reduces ionized salts, colloids, and organic molecules down to a molecular weight of 100.

Water Softener – A mechanical water treatment device that reduces calcium and magnesium from a water source, usually through a bed of cation exchange media, producing higher quality water that is more effective and efficient for laundering, bathing, and dishwashing.
* WQA Glossary of Terms, Fourth Edition 2000