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What’s Causing White Chalky Residue On My Stainless Steel Cookware?

Analies Dyjak @ Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 10:20 pm -0500

Dr. Eric Roy  |  Hydroviv's Founder

We get a lot of questions about the white chalky residue that can sometimes pop up on cookware. While the idea of residues on things used to prepare food in can cause anxiety... they are usually completely harmless! To check out water filters that remove contaminants from drinking water, check out this Duke/NC State study.

What Is The White Chalky Residue On Cookware?

What is hard water? In nearly all cases, the white residue is from calcium and magnesium-containing minerals that are found in tap water. The minerals build up on pans when water boils, evaporates, and leaves them behind. If the mineral deposits have "baked on," a normal dishwasher cycle typically won't be enough to remove them. In fact, if you use a natural dish washing detergent, the residue can actually get worse!

How To Get Rid Of White Residues On Stainless Steel Cookware?

Even though hard water mineral build-ups on cookware are harmless, they are unsightly and some people want them gone. Fortunately, this is very easy to do! Mix up a 3:1 solution of water and vinegar (any kind), put the solution in the affected pot or pan (make sure to completely submerge the mineral deposits), and turn heat it up on the stove. Once the water starts to get near boiling, shut off the burner, and let the hot liquid dissolve the mineral buildup. Sometimes it helps to give the solution a few swirls every once in a while. Once the buildup has dissolved, dump out the vinegar solution, rinse the pot with cool water, and wipe the pot dry. Easy peasy!

Hydroviv's Technical Support Team enjoys answering all kinds of water-related questions, including how to remove hard water stains from pots and pans! Reach out through Live Chat, or by dropping us an email (hello@hydroviv.com).

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Things To Know Before Replacing Your Home's Lead Service Pipe

Analies Dyjak @ Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 10:00 pm -0500

**Updated 7/21/2022

6.1 million homes in the United States still use have a functioning Lead Service Line to deliver municipal water into homes. The EPA recently announced that it will allocate $2.9 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to states, Tribes, and territories for lead service line replacement in 2022. While lead pipe replacement programs can be a great long-term solution to eliminate a source of lead contamination, it doesn’t make all problems go away. Here's the lead water service pipe information you need to know if you are considering replacing your home's lead service pipe:

Service Pipe Replacement Is A Shared Responsibility

The Lead Service Line (LSL) connects the public supply to an individuals homes. In most cases, the city owns the section of pipe up to the property line, but the section on the homeowner’s property belongs to the homeowner. The diagram below (from DC Water’s website) shows how a homes' LSL (also called a water service pipe) connects the city's water main to a private home. When it comes to replacing a Lead Service Line, some cities (including Washington DC) have programs in place to coordinate efforts so the private and public sections can be replaced at the same time.

Lead Service Line Diagram

Lead Concentrations Often Go Up For Months After Replacing A Lead Service Pipe

It seems counter-intuitive, but lead levels typically go up for at least a few months (and sometimes over a year) after a lead service line is replaced. This is because the protective coating/buildup inside the lead pipe is disturbed, and the debris/freshly uncovered pipe surface can contaminate the water with lead. While this spike in lead levels is largest when a service line is partially replaced, we also have users who have seen a spike in lead levels after a complete service line replacement.

Your Home Can Still Have Lead In Its Plumbing

If a home is old enough to have a lead water service pipe, there is a good chance that there is lead somewhere else in the home's plumbing as well. While most cities stopped installing lead service pipes in the 1950s-1960s, residential plumbing standards lagged behind for several decades. For example, in plumbing that predates 1986, solder used to join copper pipes commonly contained 50% lead (it’s actually called 50/50 solder). Since then, there have been reductions in the amount of lead that can be used in residential plumbing connections and fixtures, with the most recent phase out taking place in 2014.

Lead Can Be Introduced 'Downstream' Of A Water Filter

This seems obvious, but it’s something that’s often forgotten when people inquire about whole house filters. This is why we recommend that people who are looking to filter lead from their water install a filter at the point of use (connected to the faucet), not at the point where the water enters the home.

Should You Replace Your Home's Lead Service Pipe?

For the reasons listed above, we highly recommend that people treat replacing their home's lead service pipe as part of an overall lead reduction strategy, not as a silver bullet. If a person decides to replace the lead home water service pipe, we also recommend using point of use custom water filters for all faucets used for drinking, and to monitor lead levels in their home's water for 18 months after the pipe is replaced.

As always, we encourage everyone to take advantage of Hydroviv’s “Help No Matter What” approach to technical support. If you have any questions about lead home water service pipes, water filtration, or water quality in general, our Technical Support Team is happy to answer your questions, even if you have no desire to buy Hydroviv’s products! Drop us a line (Support@hydroviv.com) or use the live chat functionality.

Other Articles We Think You'll Enjoy:
Why TDS Meters Don't Tell You Anything About The Presence of Lead
Does Boiling Or Freezing My Water Remove Lead?
Does New York City Have A Lead Problem?

Tap Water Disinfection: What's The Difference Between Chlorine and Chloramine?

Christina Liu @ Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 11:17 am -0400

By Brendan Elmore

While most people talk about chlorinated tap water, a growing number of municipalities are implementing an alternative disinfectant - chloramine – in place of chlorine. This article on chloramine vs. chlorine discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both disinfectants, why municipalities are switching to chloramine, and what this means from a water filtration standpoint.

Chlorine: The Original Method For Tap Water Disinfection

Chlorine was the original disinfectant used in US municipalities, with Jersey City being the first city to implement a chlorine-based system in 1908. Still today, chlorine remains the primary disinfectant in the majority of municipalities in the US, because of its effectiveness and low cost. While tap water disinfection using chlorine has a long track record, there are two major downsides to using chlorine as a disinfectant altogether.

  1. Chlorine is volatile and can escape from tap water as it travels through water mains, which can eliminate the “chlorine residual.” Without residual chlorine, water becomes more susceptible to microbial growth.
  2. Chlorine can react with naturally-occurring organic compounds, creating what are known as disinfection by-products (DBPs) which are associated with kidney and liver problems.

Chloramine: A 'New' Alternative to Chlorine

Chloramine is an alternative disinfectant that has gained popularity with a growing number of municipalities (including Washington, DC) because it directly addresses the two major problems with chlorine-based disinfection. 
  1. Chloramine is less volatile than chlorine, so it stays in the water longer than chlorine, which ensures that all areas of the distribution network are properly disinfected.
  2. As the EPA began to learn about the toxicity of DBPs, they began searching for an alternative disinfectant for chlorine. Chloramine is less reactive with naturally-occurring organic matter, so it produces lesser amounts of DBPs. 

Despite these advantages, chloramine isn’t without its own shortcomings. For example, when a municipality switches over to a chloramine-based system to comply with DBP regulations, the level of pipe corrosion inhibitor needs to be increased, because chloramine-treated water is more corrosive than chlorine-treated water. Washington, DC did not properly do this when they switched over to a chloramine-based disinfection system in the early 2000s, and the city underwent a 5-year lead contamination crisis where more than 42,000 children under the age of 2 were exposed to high levels of lead, putting them under great health risk.

Even when pipe corrosion is properly accounted for, chloramine must be removed from the water when it is being used for dialysis, aquariums, baking, and even craft brewing (maybe you didn't burn your mash after all!).
 

What Can I Do to Remove Chlorine & Chloramine From My Tap Water?

Removing chlorine and chloramine from water involve different methods.

Fortunately, chlorine is very easy to remove from tap water to improve the taste. For example, if you fill a water jug and leave it in your fridge uncapped, within a day or two, the chlorine will volatilize and go away.Common filtration pitchers, refrigerator pitchers, and under sink filtration systems are also good for removing chlorine from water and the bad taste associated with it.

Chloramine, on the other hand is much harder to filter, and most “big name” water filters are not designed to remove it. A special type of activated carbon, called catalytic carbon, is the best tool for removing chloramine from water. High-quality custom water filters that use catalytic carbon in their filter formulation also offer broad protection against other contaminants in drinking water.

If you have any questions about chlorine or chloramine, we encourage you to take advantage of Hydroviv’s “Help No Matter What” approach to technical support, even if you have no desire to purchase a Hydroviv system. This free service can be reached by emailing support@hydroviv.com, or by using the live chat window.

Other Great Articles That We Think You'll Enjoy:

5 Things You Need To Know About Chromium 6 In Drinking Water
Why TDS Meters Don't Tell You Anything About Lead Contamination
Lead Contamination In Pittsburgh Tap Water

 

Article Sources
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-chlorine-added-t/
http://www.caslab.com/News/testing-for-trihalomethanes-in-your-water-tthm.html
http://www.chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dcs-decade-old-problem-of-lead-in-water-gets-new-attention-during-flint-crisis/2016/03/17/79f8d476-ec64-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html
Technical Memorandum No. MERL-2013-57 Effect of Chlorine vs. Chloramine Treatment Techniques on Materials Degradation in Reclamation Infrastructure


How Do I Fix Rotten Egg Smell In Well Water?

Analies Dyjak @ Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 10:27 pm -0400

Eric Roy, Ph.D.  |  Scientific Founder

If your home draws water from a well, you may have experienced rotten egg smells coming from your water. While not typically harmful, offensive odors are nuisances, and can usually be fixed. In this article, we talk about common causes of tap water odors, how we troubleshoot odor problems, and talk a bit about how the problem can be fixed with a filter.

Update: August 8, 2017: After over a year of R&D, we are happy to announce that we have launched a whole house water purifier that is purpose-built to eliminate the rotten egg smell from all of the water that enters your home!

The Likely Culprit: Hydrogen Sulfide!

Rotten egg smells in water are usually caused by volatile sulfur-based chemicals (e.g. hydrogen sulfide), which are produced by naturally-occurring bacteria as part of their metabolism. (For those who just Googled “Hydrogen Sulfide” and saw hazard warnings… keep in mind that while hydrogen sulfide is harmful at very high concentrations… it’s highly unlikely that your water could generate high enough levels in your home to cause health problems). With that said, no one wants their home to smell like rotten eggs, so it’s a problem worth fixing!

Hydroviv’s “Toilet Tank Test” For Rotten Egg Smell

The first thing we do when a customer comes to us with a smelly water problem, is have them take the lid off their toilet’s tank and take a few pictures that can be sent to us (I’m not kidding!). The toilet tank is a great observation point for us because it’s typically the most accessible place in the home where water is constantly resupplied from the source and is rarely cleaned out (though many start cleaning the tank after taking the lid off for the first time).

We examine the pictures to look for clues for what’s going on in the water. For example, if the tank has slimy, rusty deposits, there’s a good chance that the smell is being generated by iron bacteria. If there are brownish/black deposits visible, the water probably has high levels or iron and/or manganese. Based on what’s in the pictures, we can usually custom-blend filtration media to fix the problem!

Case Study: 

A family came to us last fall because their water “smelled like farts” and they were sick of replacing inexpensive carbon filters ever week or two. While carbon filtration is a great base technology to use in a wide range of applications, inexpensive cartridges use low quality filtration media with very low capacities for hydrogen sulfide. Unfortunately, (or fortunately… depending on how you look at it), it’s obvious when a filter becomes saturated with hydrogen sulfide… because the rotten egg smell comes back…immediately… in full force.

We ended up formulating a custom water filter for this customer with an extra high capacity for hydrogen sulfide, and the difference was dramatic. Instead of switching out cheap carbon filters every 10-14 days, the customer was able to use the same Hydroviv filter for 6 months, which saved them a great deal of money in replacement filter costs, not to mention the added convenience of not having to change out a filter every 10 days! It was great to get the excited monthly email updates from the user, letting us know that the filters were still going strong! Once they were confident that we could solve their problem, the customer also purchased some shower head water filters to fix rotten egg smells in the bathroom!

Update:  August 8, 2017: After over a year of R&D, we are thrilled to announce that we have launched a whole house water filter that is purpose-built to eliminate the rotten egg smell from all of the water that enters your home!

Related Articles

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What You Need To Know About Hard Water

Analies Dyjak @ Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 2:56 pm -0400

Julie Bray | Scientific Contributor   

A lot of people experience issues with hard water in their homes. Mineral buildup can be a nuisance a cause fixtures to not look aesthetically pleasing. In this article, we answer questions about what hard water and offer some practical tips on how to remove buildup without buying an expensive water softener. 

What is Hard Water?

Water is a great solvent for many of the earth’s minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Unfortunately this useful property has a downside. As groundwater moves through the earth it dissolves minerals - resulting in such minerals being delivered to you via your household water supply. When the dissolved minerals in the water reaches a relative high level, which is fairly common, your water is referred to as hard water. Water is considered hard when it exceeds 3 grains per gallon or 17.1 Parts per million. Water hardness varies throughout the United States.

What Are Signs That You Have Hard Water?

Hard water contains high amount of calcium and magnesium. When these two chemicals bond together, they create mineral deposits or scale. In the industrial setting, hard water can create buildups in machinery, such as boilers and cooling towers, leading to either the use of expensive mineral removal systems or expensive maintenance. In the domestic setting, hard water makes household cleaning tasks more difficult and can cause serious problems.

1. Washing

Hard water prevents soap from lathering by causing insoluble participates in the water creating problems around the house. Calcium and magnesium from hard water react with soap to produce soap scum. This forces homeowners to use more water for showering and washing dishes, which could increase monthly water bills. Clothes may appear grey and dingy and feel rougher. Detergent is less effective when used with hard water as soap scum may lodge in the fabric during washing. This may shorten the life of clothes. Dishes and glasses often look murky or foggy due to the presence of soap scum after being washed in hard water. Soap scum can also make the hair feel slick and dull. Washing the body with soap and hard water may leave a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. This can create irritation and possibly hinder cleaning.

2. Bathroom

Hard water can create a film on showers, tubs, sinks, faucets, and other fixtures. Once the scale deposits itself on a surface, getting it off can be very difficult. These deposits can make the kitchen and the bathroom look dirty and dingy after being cleaned.

3. Pipes

Minerals in hard water deposit in pipes over time, which gradually slows the water pressure in a house. Complete blockage of pipes is unlikely. Pipes may become clogged with scale overtime, creating less movement through pipes. This is similar to cholesterol buildup, creating less movement through blood vessels.

4. Appliances

Mineral deposits from hard water can interfere with appliances such as dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines. Loose minerals may cling to appliances and cause them to break.

Is Hard Water Bad For You?

Hard water is not a health hazard. The National Research Council states that hard drinking water contributes a small amount to the calcium and magnesium necessary for the human diet.

Additionally, many experts even believe that drinking hard water can decrease the risk of heart attacks (“The high heart health value of drinking-water magnesium” by Andrea Rosanoff). This speculation is currently under further investigation by World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups.

How to Fix Hard Water

Public water system operators are required to provide annual water quality reports. These tests sometimes include water hardness information. Water hardness tests are also available through your city or state health department upon request for a small fee and many companies that sell softeners offer testing material. If you find that you need to soften your water, there are some expensive hard water solutions such as Ion Exchange (magnesium and calcium bond with sodium in the water) or Reverse Osmosis. Typically these treat the whole house and can be thousands of dollars. Water softener systems can be an okay hard water solution but also expensive. If you don't have the money or motivation to buy/maintain an expensive water softener, here are some practical tips:

How To Remove Scale From Your Showerhead:

1. take an old toothbrush and remove any surface deposits visible on the showerhead.
2. Take a bag of distilled white vinegar and submerge your showerhead in the bag.
3. Use a rubber band or twist tie to tie off the bag and secure the vinegar.
4. After 12 hours remove the bag and turn on the showerhead to flush the deposits.
How To remove hard water scale from shower head
    Because calcium is an alkaline earth metal, it is highly reactive with acids, like vinegar and lemon juice. Also, if you heat up the vinegar, it will help facilitate the reaction as reactions require energy.

    Other Easy Fixes For Hard Water Nuisances:

    • Run white vinegar in dishwasher: Add two cups of white vinegar to the dishwasher can reduce buildup. Running the dishwasher with dishes that have been stained by scale can help remove some of the foggy/ murkiness.
    • Use lemon juice to spray and soak fixtures: Using a spray bottle with lemon juice can help remove some of the buildup and make sinks, faucets, and other fixtures that have mineral deposits shiny and new.
    • Clean glass windows and shower doors: Spray white vinegar on windows and shower doors to remove buildup.
    • Use cleaning products designed to limit hard water impact: hard water treatment shampoo and detergents solve hard water problems safely and effectively. These products are formulated to to remove buildup.
    • Reduce the temperature of your boiler: As the temperature increases, the more mineral deposits will appear in your dishwasher, water tank, and pipes.

    The mineral deposits left behind by hard water are a great nuisance, but these solutions can help. These hard water cleansing solutions can be effective and inexpensive.

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    Are Whole House Water Filters The Best Solution for Water Quality Issues?