Amanda’s Story – The Perfect Storm
The following is a true story, and sadly, we see this in varying degrees almost every day.
In Amanda’s home, a series of well-intentioned events throughout the years changed the water chemistry. In 1955 a reliable, licensed builder, constructed the home utilizing the plumbing materials common for the time - galvanized pipe. Conversely, he had grounded the electrical system of the home by attaching wires to the galvanized pipe water system, which was the standard practice.
Years passed, additions and repairs were done on the plumbing. As in any home, the occasional project required certified plumbers, water professionals and contractors - even some do-it-your-self projects. Leaks were repaired using copper and later, PEX. At one point a water softener was added to protect the various appliances and address the hardness.This softener in turn, did what it was designed to do: removed the calcium hardness from the water. Each of these changes altered the home’s water chemistry in subtle ways. Eventually, the plumbing from the water meter to the home had to be replaced - using a high quality PEX line (again, the newest, best practice was incorporated). However, this change altered the home’s grounding system which in turn accelerated the corrosion of the piping systems within the house. All of these “small” changes combined to create a “perfect storm”that resulted in transforming the safe, balanced water supplied to the home into an intolerable, unbalanced and unsafe condition.
The water as supplied by the municipality to Amanda’s house meets the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act levels and has natural hardness. However, the water supplied through the home's piping to the kitchen faucet can only be described as “putrid.” It’s an extreme example of what can happen when the piping, treatment or filter systems in the home are not properly configured.
Amanda and her family reached out to us to help them correct and improve their water quality. We removed and replaced all of the old water supply piping, secured and installed a new Crusader Enhanced water conditioner, a Crusader whole house Active Armor scale and corrosion control system, and a five-stage reverse osmosis system with remineralization for their ice maker and drinking water. The improvements were noticed immediately, and they now have fantastic water. We continue to watch the water closely through routine testing and maintenance in the home.
We have tested water in many homes. In every case the issues with taste and odor have been isolated to either faulty equipment, piping, or a poor combination of improperly configured water treatment/softener appliances, plumbing materials and/or improper maintenance.
Hazards of Stagnant Water
Stagnant water is not simply water that’s been sitting so it tastes musty and stale. Stagnant water is a term used for water that has become putrid, contaminated, and unsafe. When water sits in your plumbing for long periods of time without being used, it becomes an incubator for bacteria and parasites. Why bring up this unpleasant topic? It’s important to know the health risks of having stagnant water. The problem of stagnant water can affect large homes and small homes alike. Sections of any home may sit unused for days or weeks at a time. Bathrooms, second kitchens, on-site guesthouses, and sometimes whole floors sit unused. The water waiting in the plumbing is just crawling with bugs. Literally.
The disinfectant (chlorine, etc.) in your water supply has a shelf life. As it does its job of controlling bacteria, it gets used up in as little as 3 hours. After that, there’s nothing keeping bacteria growth in check. Most bacteria double every 20 minutes! These bacteria can cause a wide variety of issues. Biofilm and aggressive corrosion of plumbing and appliances is a common occurrence. Problems also range from severe skin irritation to nasty pathogens that can cause serious illness.
Bugs in your Water
If this is the first you’ve heard of these problems, you’re not alone. In industrial settings, this kind of problem is well known and action plans to avoid water stagnation are in place. Some kind of attention and planning is critical. The special training and certification required in industrial settings is rare among residential plumbers and softener suppliers.
The good news is that there are ways to deal with these problems. It involves more than simply flushing the toilets every couple of days or running the water for a few minutes to replace the old water, but it’s not difficult to implement. Water flow and use is different in every home. The data collected in our testing and evaluation is used to custom tailor a plan for each home. Water chemistry changes from location to location, but they all share common attributes. No matter how good your water source is, if it sits for long periods of time it will stagnate.
Click here to have Retego test your water. You can know what’s happening in your pipes and accurately identify your home’s unique water environment. Even better, if there’s a problem we know how to fix it.