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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 removes calcium and magnesium in the water supply.
What causes the buildup in my shower?
Calcium and magnesium in the water supply combined with soap form a gray, sticky curd that adheres to bathtubs, tile, and glass. Additionally when water droplets evaporate the calcium carbonate recombines as limestone leaving a very hard, difficult-to-remove deposit. The softening of the water coming into your house will solve this problem.
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.
Why does my water taste bad?
If you have municipal water coming to your home in the Tampa Bay 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 removed from any water to be used for fish tanks or ponds for fish, reptiles, turtles, and amphibians and also must be removed from water used for kidney dialysis. Chloramines are present in the water of customers of Pinellas County Utilities, Hillsborough County, and water customers of the cities of Clearwater, Gulfport, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, South Pasadena, Tampa, and Tarpon Springs.

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 removes undesirable materials from water by using pressure to force the water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane. RO removes ionized salts, colloids, and organic molecules down to a molecular weight of 100.

Water Softener – A mechanical water treatment device that removes 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