Frequently Asked Questions
Over 85% of the United States has hard water, but Idaho has some of the more difficult water you’ll find anywhere. Most of our water comes from the Snake River and by the time the water gets to our homes, it has accumulated high levels of dissolved minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and in some cases, Arsenic. Most of the water in Idaho is between 10 and 25 grains per gallon, which is considered “extremely hard” by the Water Quality Association. Since hardness is really dissolved rock, the average family of four will have more than 15 pounds of rock per year in their water for each grain of hardness.
These mineral deposits in your home from hard water can:
- Ruin water bearing appliances (cutting the life of washing machines, dishwashers, and hot water heaters by up to 50%)
- Increase energy costs for water heaters by 1/3
- Destroy faucets and fixtures (costing hundreds of dollars to replace)
- Build up scale on fixtures and shower doors
- Clog plumbing (re-piping your home costs thousands of dollars)
- Produce cloudy ice cubes
- Make unsightly rings in the toilet and bathtub (soap scum)
- Dry out skin and hair
- Leave spots and stains on dishes and silverware
- Turn white fabrics gray, fade colored laundry, and cause towels to feel hard and stiff
- Require additional cleaning time and the use of environmentally un-friendly cleaning products with phosphates/water softening agents
A water softener does not put salt into the water. It merely exchanges calcium ions in the water for sodium or potassium ions. The amount of sodium or potassium coming through in soft tap water is extremely low. For example, in 10 grain hard water, the amount of sodium in an 8 ounce glass of soft water is typically equivalent to the sodium in one slice of white bread. Soft water, by dietary standards, would be considered a “low sodium” beverage. Consumers may use potassium as a regenerant if you prefer not to clean out the system with sodium. Be sure to check on the efficiency of the water softener before using potassium as it is higher priced and 25% less efficient than sodium as a regenerant.
In order to be Energy-Star rated, products must meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy. According to energystar.gov, qualified products must use “significantly less” energy than other products on the market. Since Kinetico softeners are non-electric, therefore using no energy, they do not qualify to apply for Energy-Star status. However, you can be assured you are purchasing the ultimate energy-efficient product with Kinetico, since you cannot use “less” energy than “none”.
Kinetico water softeners also feature on-demand regeneration (cleaning cycle), which not only saves water, but energy as well because it takes energy to deliver the water we all use everyday.
In addition to using no electricity to operate, a Kinetico system can help save energy in other ways:
- Reduces energy required for hot water heating by making your water heater more efficient. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium which binds to the heating element causing the unit to use up to 30% more electricity to heat the water. Water heating is usually the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 12% of your utility bill.
- Other water using appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, ice makers, and coffee makers use 17-22% less energy operate (hard water build up makes them have to work harder).
- With a Kinetico water system, 50-75% less soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, and dish soap are required, saving money and decreasing the demand for these products (reducing the energy and pollution that goes into making and transporting them).
Water softeners improve the “working water” throughout the home (water used for bathing, cleaning, laundry, etc.). Softeners are not “purifiers” and are not designed to improve drinking water.
We do have a combination system that will soften and remove chlorine, odors, and tastes from the water (whole house filtration). This would give you drinkable water throughout the home that is similar to having a refrigerator filter on the whole house. It does not reduce a wide range of potential contaminants.
The water in our area also contains high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS). Many consumers want to purify their “consumable water” for drinking, cooking and ice cubes. This provides the highest quality water right at the kitchen tap and reduces contaminants and TDS.
Water suppliers must follow government guidelines as to the amount of contaminants allowed in water. Yes, a certain level is “allowable”. Even low levels of Arsenic are allowed to be in your water. Water suppliers periodically test the water and usually publish an annual report (often found on your municipality or utility website). You can also check your water conditions over the past five years with Environmental Working Group’s What’s In Your Water program.
Congratulations on purchasing a home with a Kinetico system. This is a great start to providing healthy water for your family. The good news is Kinetico’s factory warranties are often transferable. Please call our office to find out if you are eligible at 208-733-1027. They will also update our database to reflect the new ownership.
We suggest that you use a good, clean grade of high-purity salt. Pellet salt is 99.6% pure and is the best to use for your softener. Un-pure salts, such as rock salt, may cause your salt to bridge (thick block of salt) in the brine drum or may clog up the system with debris. This will cause your system to work inefficiently or to malfunction causing you to experience hard water.