Culligan Blog

No Place Like Home: Whole House Filtration

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A Whole House Water Filter from Culligan can reduce contaminants and provide better drinking water to your entire home.Recently, we have been examining some common water problems. For a moment, let's talk about solutions.

Just as your house is unique in design and decor, so is its water. No matter where you live or what your water source is, your family depends on clean, safe water for everything from drinking and cooking to washing clothes and dishes and bathing. That water should be the last thing on your mind as you get ready for the day, singing The Doors at the top of your lungs in the shower. If anything, your complete lack of proper pitch should be more concerning.

But the cruel fact remains, not all water is treated or sourced equally. Contaminants are out there. Good thing, so are whole house filters.

Unlike its faucet mounted brethren, a whole house filtration system is installed at the source-where your water line comes into your house, before the water makes its way to your plumbing. Homes with hard water also have the option of integrating a water softener into the mix to keep H2O soft and safe.

One of the biggest benefits of a whole house filtration system is the ability to customize for specific problem water elements, like arsenic, sulfur or iron. Geography, weather and source are both strong factors for changing water properties and all factors should be taken into account when outfitting a home with a whole house filtration system.

For example, if an area has a history of iron contamination, a Culligan Iron-Cleer® filter can offer peace of mind. Arsenic meets its match with a Culligan Arsenic Water Filter. Is sulfur the culprit? There's a filter for that in a Culligan High Efficiency Sulfur-Cleer®.

A sense of history is not enough though. In some cases, private well water quality can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. Municipal water is normally treated to reduce most contaminants, but private well water owners need to be much more vigilant. Wells with less than 25 service connections are not subject to monitoring by any state or federal agency. That means every homeowner reliant on such a well should invest in an annual water test at the minimum.

Nobody likes unwelcome house guests. Need those trespassers evicted? Call the Culligan Man.

The Usual Suspects: Iron

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Types of Iron - Sink 2As we discussed in a previous blog post, iron can be more than a hassle in the home. Its effects range from a metallic taste in drinking water to ruined pipes and appliances.

Anyway you look at it, too much Fe = bad news.

Not all iron is created equal though. Some forms of the element are more damaging than others, or more prevalent in private well water in certain geographic situations. With that said, each and every variation of iron needs a unique filtration solution to help counteract its effects.

Together, the multiple forms of iron make up a formidable crew of waterborne contaminants bent on ruining your day.

Mr. Popular

Dissolved or ferrous iron is the most common form of iron found in private well water supplies. It goes by the aliases of "clear water iron" or "soluble iron" as well. Dissolved iron lives in water with very, very low oxygen levels, but if ever detected, this member of the iron gang sings like a canary. Pour the water into a clear container and leave exposed to the air.

If the water begins to turn cloudy or reddish, you have your culprit rust-handed.

The Twins

Particulate iron is Ferric iron. You know it by the orange-brown stain or scale it likes to leave as a calling card after making an appearance. But this kind of iron comes in two types, filterable or colloidal. Count yourself lucky if the former hits your home as a filter easily removes filterable iron.  His brother, colloidal is a different story.

Colloidal iron is made up of small particles, and need the proper micron rating on the filter to remove them. The Culligan Man can always lend a hand when picking your filter.

The Escape Artist

Organic bound iron is a professional fugitive. It attaches itself to organic compounds in the water, like tannins, and sneaks into private well systems. Filtering organic bound iron is a challenge because it cannot typically be removed by particulate filtration. Again, you may need to bring in backup on this case.

The Muscle

The title of the toughest in the bunch may belong to iron bacteria. Unlike its brethren, iron bacteria is actually considered a microorganism, and not actually a type of iron. Bad tasting and odorous water are hallmarks of iron bacteria, on top of slimy growths and reddish-brown stains.  

Wondering if you have iron bacteria? Check its favorite hangout: toilet flush tanks.

Good thing, your Culligan Man is always a call away to keep this motley crew under control.



Pumping iron?

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Part 1 of 2 of a series on iron contamination

Iron in water is indicated by metallic taste and rust stains.Is your water pumping iron?

Are your fixtures and surfaces Feeling the efFects of Fe?

If your home or business is dealing with high levels of iron in its water supply, the byproduct of contamination can be far-reaching and should be dealt with quickly and thoroughly.

What is it?

Fe, better known as iron for those who forgot high school chemistry as quickly as they learned it, is in anything but short supply. As an element, it is actually the fourth most abundant resource on earth and can be found in sediment, soil and water. Iron conjures up two distinct associations for most people: metal and meat. Most people would be mostly correct.

For the metal heads: iron ore can be “smelted” and used to create objects like horseshoes.

For the meatheads: iron is also essential for a healthy diet and is needed to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. When it comes to H2O, “[m]ost tap water in the United States supplies approximately 5 percent of the dietary requirement for iron,” according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Weirdly enough, the iron problems in private well water draw stronger parallels to horseshoes than horseradish.

Why is it a problem?

Iron in water is largely considered an aesthetic contaminant. The Minnesota Department of Public Health points out that the “chemical form of the iron found in water is not readily absorbed by the body.” Yet, high levels of iron can be the source of many headaches in the home, including:

  • The water can taste metallic.
  • The water itself is a rusty red or yellowish color.
  • The water leaves rust stains on porcelain and other surfaces.
  • Left untreated, clogs and blockages can form in plumbing fixtures.

Most of these issues are caused by iron’s love affair with oxygen. When Fe meets O in the soil, iron bacteria may be born, and no one is happy to see pictures of that baby. Don’t look for any storks when it comes to iron bacteria either, instead, keep an eye on the weather.

How did it get in my private well water?

Blame the rain.

Rainwater is the most common way iron finds itself in underground aquifers, which in turn supply groundwater sources, which in turn supply private wells. Since iron is a naturally occurring element, it can also find its way into creeks, rivers and lakes without the help of a thunderstorm or two.

Got questions about your water?

Say “Hey Culligan Man!

The Wonders of Private Well Water

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private well water: understanding your private well water source and why you should get a water testThe EPA estimates that around 15 percent of Americans get their water from a private well source, and the Canadian Well Water Association (CWWA) suggests more than 25 percent of Canadian residents do the same. Wells today are a far cry from the colonial-style stone basins where heroes like Lassie did their best work. Most modern wells are drilled and outfitted with a pump to force groundwater into the plumbing of a home. 

So we have established well water is far from uncommon, which means some homeowners' ever-growing to-do list just grew by one check box: testing the well water. Why you? In the U.S., for example, private wells with less than 25 service connections are not monitored by any city, county, state or federal agency.  

Well water, by and large, is safe to drink and use for laundry, bathing and washing the dishes. But it can be vulnerable if left unchecked. Private wells simply do not enjoy the same regulation as a municipal water supply.  

Homes that suffer from either contaminant, or both, are rarely surprised when told there is a water issue. Iron comes in many forms and can make water taste metallic, while leaving its mark on porcelain, cleaning utensils and plumbing fixtures. Hydrogen sulfide in water creates a pungent bouquet reminiscent of rotten eggs whenever the faucet is turned on.

But not all contaminants so readily give themselves up for easy identification.  

Other contaminants that may infiltrate some private wells include arsenic, nitrates and radon - all of which can be tasteless and odorless. Furthermore, the seasons themselves can work against well owners. In late spring and early summer, heavy rains and flooding can unlock contaminants held at bay during the winter months. Those contaminants may then find themselves in groundwater and affect deeply drilled water wells.

Not all contamination is naturally-occurring either. Nitrates, for example, are capturing headlines throughout Iowa after contamination spikes are being blamed on agricultural run-off.

Water should be one of the biggest considerations when moving because of all the different factors that may change day-to-day or season-to-season. Culligan recently lent its expertise to the Allstate blog outlining a few key ways new homeowners can ensure some peace of mind, including researching common water problems in your area and getting the water tested by a trusted professional.

Have questions about your well water? Just yell "Hey Culligan Man!"