Water Treatment FAQ's
General Water FAQ's
Q: What is the difference between softening water and filtering water?
A: You don't have to be a hydrologist to understand the basic principles behind water filtration and water softening. Here's an abridged version of what happens when you filter or soften water.
Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like particulates, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from H2O. By passing water through a "filter bed," or "media bed," these granular particles are trapped - and clean water passes through the bed.
Softening water involves something called "ion exchange" to remove dissolved minerals - like calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese - that can't be trapped in a filter bed. Softeners use fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the resin. As water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin. The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities.
Filtering or softening, which do you need?
Whether you use a filter or a softener depends on whether the contaminates in your water are particles or dissolved minerals. Culligan® Water Filters remove the substances from your water that can cause staining, foul odors, and the need for excessive cleanup. Household chores become easier because your water is working with you, not against you.
To find out what's ailing your water, contact your local Culligan® Dealer for a free water analysis, or our free water test kit.
Q: What should I consider before buying a water treatment solution?
A: Here are some helpful considerations you may want to take into account before purchasing a water treatment system.
How hard is your water?
Having your water tested will help you determine your exact needs, even though you may already know you have one or more water problems. So do you have hard water? Find out. Click here to learn how to have your water tested.
In determining your needs, a water expert will look at a number of things. For example, the hardness level of the water and the size of your family will influence the size or type of equipment necessary for water softening. Additional problems may require additional equipment solutions. The same principles hold true for drinking water systems.
Your water usage and pressure.
The amount of water used as well as water pressure are factors to consider when fitting your home with a water quality improvement system. Household size may influence consumption, but different families have different needs. Every factor should be considered, including family growth and guest visits.
Why you should avoid a "quick fix"
Fixing your existing water problem is your primary goal, but don't be eager to settle for the least expensive solution. A higher-priced unit may serve your needs better by being more efficient, and reducing operating costs and maintenance time. Be sure, however, that you're getting your money's worth. Before you buy, get a detailed estimate of equipment, installation, and operating costs.
Buy from a reputable dealer.
A reputable water quality improvement equipment dealer is an excellent resource in helping you determine your water conditioning needs. Culligan® is the most trusted name in water treatment solutions.
Water conditioning equipment may qualify for financing under FHA Title 1 or private lending agreements. Check with your local bank or finance company for information. Your local dealer may also offer special financing options.
Q: What questions should I ask when I have decided on a solution?
A: Choosing the water quality improvement system that's right for you and your family does not have to be a chore. Here are some helpful considerations you may want to take into account before purchasing water treatment systems.
- Is installation included in the price?
- Does installation include such things as a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, a faucet for unsoftened water or any other features you may want?
- Does the unit have enough capacity to meet present and future needs?
- If you lease do you want your agreement to include an option-to-buy provision?
- Does the dealer you've selected have an established business in the area?
- Does the dealer have customer references available?
- Will a representative call at your home to determine the right kind of equipment for you?
- For health related problems have you had your water analyzed by a reputable laboratory and/or your local health department?
- Did the field representative answer all questions regarding design, function and cost of the equipment?
- Did the field representative explain the method and cost of regenerating the system?
- Does the dealer offer a maintenance contract or other after-sales services?
- Does the equipment carry a specific written warranty?
- Have you read and understood the warranty?
Q: What is point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE)?
A: Water filtration is a multi-billion dollar industry, providing millions of consumers with point-of-entry (POE) products – which are typically installed to treat the water used within a single building – and point-of-use (POU) water filtration products – which treat only the water intended for direct consumption.
Just look at the spectrum of POU products and services offered today – countertop drinking water filters; faucet filters; plumbed-in single tap filters; pitcher filter systems; refrigerator/icemaker filters; shower filters; and even a personal bottle water filter! View Culligan®'s plumbed-in single tap filters or our line of faucet filters.
Then there is the whole gamut of bottled water also considered POU – from single-serving bottles to gallon-plus bottles of spring water, distilled water, and pure drinking water.
In 2003, Culligan® began offering a POU cooler designed for the commercial/workplace customer – a plumbed drinking water cooler that offers the taste of bottled water and convenience of a cooler, without the bottle.
From residential to commercial, there is a POU solution for virtually every situation.
Q: What is Culligan®’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee?
A: When you purchase a Culligan® product, you are purchasing the finest water treatment product available in the world today. We are so certain of this fact that if you are dissatisfied with your Culligan® product for any reason within 30 days of your purchase, Culligan® will refund the purchase price.
Q: Have Culligan® products received any endorsements?
A: Culligan® water softeners, whole-house filters and drinking water systems have received the powerful Good Housekeeping Seal of approval.
In addition, the Culligan® Gold Series™ water softener has been named as a Consumers Digest “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest magazine (August 2003).
According to the Consumers Digest article, the Culligan® Gold Series™ is “the standard for premium softeners... Its Quadra-Hull™ tank has four layers that resist rust and corrosion, so much so that the tank carries a limited lifetime warranty.
The Gold Series and Platinum Series “Accusoft® Plus” microprocessor offers precise regulation. Varying tank sizes allow customization to the homeowner’s particular needs. The optional “Aqua-Sensor®” monitors the chemistry of the tank so it regenerates only when needed.
Culligan® trains its own service technicians and performs its own installation. Price is set by the individual dealer and depends on tank size and features.”
Q: Is financing available for Culligan® products?
A: There is a Culligan® solution for every budget. In addition, there are various financing options available for Culligan® products and services.
Working Water FAQ's
Q: What is Hard Water?
A: Hard water is probably the most common water problem found in the home. Hard water spots your glasses and dishes, makes laundry dull, and causes soap scum and scale to build-up making cleaning a chore. The most common hardness causing minerals are Calcium and Magnesium that is dissolved in a water supply.
According to the Water Quality Association, hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG (grains per gallon). Relative levels of hardness have been established:
- Soft Water - less than 1 gpg
- Slightly hard - 1 to 3.5 gpg
- Moderately hard - 3.5 to 7 gpg
- Hard - 7 to 10.5 gpg
- Very Hard - 10.5 and higher gpg
Using an ion exchange water softener is the most common form of treatment.
Q: How much soap should I use with softened water?
A: Using too much soap is a hard habit to break. When first using softened water for household cleaning, a good way to adjust to the difference in cleaning efficiency is to use as little soap as possible. Try using a quarter cup rather than the cup or more that may have been necessary prior to the installation of a water softener. If necessary, gradually increase the quantity used to produce the desired results.
Q: How does a water softener work?
A: The most common water softening method is called "ion exchange.” Put simply, this type of softening is a process where calcium and magnesium (the minerals that make water hard) ions are exchanged for sodium ions.
This exchange takes place in a "resin bed" made up of a tiny bead-like material. The beads have a negative charge and attract and hold positively charged ions such as sodium. The beads will exchange the sodium ion for a calcium or magnesium ion since they both have a more powerful positive change.
The differences that separate one softener from another are features such as flow rates, salt capacity and regeneration type.
Regeneration is the process of “recharging” the resin beads when they are “full” of nothing but calcium and magnesium. The type of system a softener uses to regenerate is a very important part of the process and can mean the difference between having enough soft water available or not.
Regeneration “triggered” by a specific time of day is called time clock regeneration. However, one of the most effective regeneration techniques uses Aqua-Sensor® technology, which is based on actual demand. This exclusive option can result in a savings of nearly two tons of salt and 20,000 gallons of water over the lifecycle of your water softener –saving you more than any other brand. Click here for more information about Aqua-Sensor® technology.
Q: What is regeneration?
A: With water softeners, regeneration is the process of “recharging” the resin beads when they are “full” of nothing but calcium and magnesium.
The type of system a softener uses to regenerate is a very important part of the process and can mean the difference between having enough soft water available or not.
Regeneration “triggered” by a specific time of day is called time clock regeneration. Systems set to run after a specific number of gallons have been used are referred to as metered. However, one of the most effective regeneration techniques uses Aqua-Sensor® technology, which is based on actual demand. This exclusive option can result in a savings of nearly two tons of salt and 20,000 gallons of water over the lifecycle of your water softener – saving you more than any other brand.
Q: What is the Aqua-Sensor® technology, and how can it help me save on salt and water?
A: Think that water softeners are a drain on your wallet? Think again, thanks to a patented technology from Culligan® called Aqua-Sensor® that electronically monitors hardness removal to activate regeneration only when necessary. This exclusive option can result in a savings of nearly two tons of salt and 20,000 gallons of water over the lifecycle of your water softener –saving you more than any other brand.
With Aqua-Sensor® technology, consumers can make sure that the year-in and year-out operating costs of a water softener are as low as possible. Aqua-Sensor® technology is available as an option on two of Culligan®’s full-featured water softener lines, the Culligan® Gold SeriesTM and the Culligan® Platinum Series®.
Q: What are the benefits of a Quadra-Hull® tank?
A: Culligan® is proud to set a new standard for structural integrity in water softeners with our new Quadra-Hull® tank technology. The exclusive four-layer construction of the Quadra-Hull® tank provides more protection than industry standard fiberglass and metal tanks. This design makes them impervious to rust and corrosion and they are UV resistant. Culligan®'s Quadra-Hull® tanks offer a limited lifetime warranty on the tank and internal components.
The Quadra-Hull ® tank is exclusively available in the Culligan® Gold SeriesTM and the Culligan® Platinum Series®.
Q: Is a water softener hard to maintain/service?
A: Need to shorten your “to-do” list? If you have a water softener in the house, one item you can cross off your list is buying salt and filling the salt tank, thanks to the new two-part Salt ’n Service delivery program from Culligan®.
First, your local Culligan® Man® will deliver salt right to your home and into your water softener. He’ll work with you to assess your salt usage so we can deliver the salt you need, when you need it, automatically!
Then, with every salt delivery, our trained water expert will conduct a 10-point inspection of your water softener – from checking the time setting, salt level, and water level in the salt tank to looking for leaks. And, all remaining salt bags will be stacked neatly, and empty bags discarded into your trash.
Don’t cart home another load of salt! Contact your local Culligan® Dealer today for more information on this terrific time-saver.
Q: Are there harmful effects of water softener discharges on household septic tanks?
A: According to the Water Quality Association (WQA), water softener regeneration discharges do not pose a problem to septic systems or to the leach field. Studies have shown that water softener regeneration wastes not only do not interfere with the septic tank system drain field soil percolation, but, actually could improve soil percolation, particularly in fine-textured soils.
Q: Will softened water affect my lawn or garden?
A: For outside use on lawns or gardens, using softened water is wasteful. Where the concentration of hardness minerals is high, the sodium content after softening may be high enough to retard plant growth and harm grass. This is especially true in climates where rainfall is scarce. Areas that receive regular rain are not as sensitive to sodium accumulation because the rain "rinses" the earth.
Ask the dealer who is installing your water softener about a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, and a faucet for unsoftened water.
Q: Should I use soft water in my humidifier?
A: Soft water provides for easier maintenance of a humidifier. When hard water evaporates, a hard scale forms that normally requires some drastic removal techniques. When soft water is used, the residue is commonly called “soft” and can usually be removed by flushing the unit with water or going over the surface with a brush.
Remember, softening water does not reduce the total amount of minerals present; ion exchange softening exchanges the calcium and magnesium hardness causing minerals with sodium minerals. The most common humidifier in homes has an open pan, a small tube connected to a water source, and float valve. When water evaporates, the float valve opens to permit make-up water to flow into the pan. Eventually this type of unit fills with minerals deposited by the water.
Using soft water will keep the mineral build-up down and the humidifier functioning properly.
Drinking Water FAQ's
Q: What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?
A: Two of the most cost effective ways to enjoy great tasting water in your home are with a bottled water cooler or with a home reverse osmosis (RO) system.
In simple terms, reverse osmosis is the process by which water molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure. Reverse osmosis systems provide filtered water everywhere, from homes and commercial applications like restaurants and hotels, to breweries and car washes, and even the space shuttle!
Household RO systems typically filter water using the following steps:
- Raw tap water first flows through a sediment filter to remove dirt, rust and other solid objects.
- The water then flows into a carbon filter that takes out 98% of the chlorine and organic chemicals.
- The next stage is the reverse osmosis membrane which separates 70-99% of the dissolved contaminants from the water molecules. These removed impurities are rinsed down the drain producing the final product, “pure water”.
- This water is stored in a reservoir tank typically located underneath the kitchen sink and is accessed with a separate faucet.
- When you open the valve the water is filtered one last time with a carbon block “polishing filter” right before it reaches your glass.
Using a quality RO membrane as a strainer is typically much better than a faucet mounted filter alone. Under magnification the pores of a RO membrane are undetectable, while the pores of a pleated filter are easily seen. Reverse osmosis treatment generally removes a more diverse list of contaminants than other systems. RO can remove nitrates, sodium, and other dissolved inorganic and organic compounds.
A Culligan® Drinking Water System puts clean, refreshing water right in your kitchen. With a range of compact and attractive designs, our systems fit conveniently in out-of-the-way places.
Q: What’s the difference between various kinds of bottled waters?
A: Have you purchased bottled water lately? Did you notice all the different and often confusing varieties that are now available? Water that is classified as "bottled water" or "drinking water" is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to maintain certain standards.
According to the FDA, for a product to be considered “bottled water,” it cannot contain sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences) and must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts and essences -- derived from spice or fruit -- can be added to bottled water, but these additions must comprise less than one percent by weight of the final product. Beverages containing more than the one-percent-by-weight flavor limit are classified as soft drinks, not bottled water.
The FDA defines the various water types as follows:
- Artesian Water: Bottled water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand).
- Mineral Water: Contains no less than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids (minerals). No minerals can be added to this product.
- Purified Water: Water labeled as “purified” can be derived from either distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis.
- Sparkling Water: Water that after treatment and possible replacement with carbon dioxide contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. (An important note: soda water, seltzer water and tonic water are not considered bottled waters. They are regulated separately and may contain sugar and calories. These types of waters are considered soft drinks.)
- Spring Water: Bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.
Your local Culligan® Dealer delivers crystal clear bottled water in a variety of sizes in Spring Water (1, 2.5, 3 and 5 Gallon); Distilled Water (1 Gallon); Pure Drinking Water (20oz, 24oz, 1/2 liter, 1 liter and 1 1/2 liter, 1 gallon, 2.5 gallon, 3 gallon, 5 gallon). Contact your local Culligan® Dealer to find out what products he carries, and to discuss your water needs.
Q: How much water should I drink each day?
A: Water is critical in regulating all body organs and temperature, and dissolving solids and moving nutrients throughout the body. Because water is naturally low in sodium, has no fat, cholesterol or caffeine and isn't flushed straight through the body like many other beverages, it's the natural solution to help reach your body’s daily fluid quota.
How much water should you consume? Most adults need eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water or fluids daily, but needs vary by activity level, health circumstances (including pregnancy) and even by age. For example, a 60-pound child would need a minimum of at least 30 ounces of water a day, or about three to four glasses. But a 180-pound man would need about 90 ounces of water a day or about 11-12 glasses. And people may need more water as they age, since thirst signals may become dull, activity levels decline and prescription drugs may dehydrate their bodies further.
Q: How can I encourage better hydration in my family?
A: Here are some tips to help you get serious about water while keeping your hydration habits fresh and tasty at the same time:
- Pour the water into an attractive glass or easy-to-use water bottle.
- Add ice, and a slice of lemon or lime.
- Chill your water.
- Drink moderate-size portions spread over the course of a day, rather than trying to drink it all at one time.
- Make drinking water a habit — drinking water at the same time each day will make it much easier to remember.
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