Welcome to another edition of Designing Spaces, the show that’s all about you and your space, your home and surroundings.  I’m Debi Marie.  And I’m David Jones.  Digital technology and better water quality for your home.  It's all coming up in minutes.  Plus, we go into the bedroom and give it a little bit more pizzazz.  It’s all right here on Designing Spaces.

Depending on where you live, the water provided to your house may be loaded with contaminants, chlorine, and minerals that contribute to the hardness. 

Right! And what most homeowners don’t realize is how expensive hard water can be, damaging clothes and plumbing, not to mention possible health issues. 

Now, getting her feet wet on the topic of water purity is someone we all know…

DEBI:  …is your oasis.  It reflects your particular taste and lifestyle choices.  But what about choices made for you without your knowledge?  Choices that may conflict with the value of your home, budget and healthy lifestyle.  The water coming into our homes presents a number of challenges to homeowners, with increasing numbers of contaminants, chlorine and hard water.  A family of four, on average, conservatively uses 10,000 gallons of water per month.  In a typical hard water area, you end up with 14 pounds of rock channeling through your home every month.  That’s 168 pounds per year! 

On average, US citizens should conservatively expect their homes to carry 2 pounds of chlorine through their water supply.  Chlorine is an effective way to kill microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa and viruses in drinking water that cause fatal illnesses such as typhoid and cholera.  The US Council of Environmental Quality states that cancer among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.  The EPA has raised skin absorption of chlorine to its top 10 carcinogen watch list.  Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of the chlorine in the water.  Inhalation is more harmful as chlorine gas or chloroform goes directly into our bloodstream.

Just FYI – 30 minutes of online research into the harmful effects of chlorine will overwhelm you.

We have Debbie Silver of Dupure joining Designing Spaces today to help us understand how hard water and chlorine affects you and your home.  Debbie, welcome.

DEBBIE:  Thank you.  The most common complaint as a water filtration appliance supplier we at Dupure do hear about is hard water, which is basically dissolved limestone.  Hard water can potentially cause damage to your home.  The next most common complaint is the smell and taste of chlorine.  Natalie Medders, who is also here from Dupure, is going to help us understand how hard water and chlorine affects us and our home. 

DEBI:  Natalie, good to have you here.

NATALIE:  Thanks so much.  Let me show you why homeowners today are challenged by hard water in our homes.  This is a precipitation test, demonstrating how much limestone is actually in our water.  You know that white stuff that gets all over the inside of our shower doors?  That you’re constantly having to squeegee?

DEBI:  Yes, I have to do that after every shower!

NATALIE:  Well, it’s limestone.  I’m going to place potassium hydroxide to pull out the solids in this water.

DEBI:  I don’t see anything…

NATALIE:  Exactly, so we’re going to put this yellow catalyst in here so we can actually see the solids being pulled away from the water.

DEBI:  OK, great… Wow, look at that.  Instantly, you can see that…

NATALIE:  Yeah, you see how cloudy it’s getting?

DEBI:  Yes!  Is this the stuff I also see on countertops, fixtures, and pots as well?

NATALIE:  It gets on everything your water touches, and the most significant damage occurs in the hot water heater.  What you see here is similar to what takes place inside the water heater.  Of course, before the hard water actually reaches the water heater it passes through plumbing systems that will also deteriorate and corrode due to minerals recalcifying and turning back into rock inside your home.  It’s called scaling.  Water heaters in hard water areas will last anywhere from 6 to 8 years instead of lasting the expected 15 to 20 years.  So the life of your water heater is cut in half while reducing the efficiencies up to 35%, costing you money every month.  The same impact will also happen to your dishwasher, refrigerator, anything with water running through it.

DEBI:  You know, I know it’s expensive to replace a water heater – we recently just went through that experience. 

NATALIE:  Yeah, it’s also in your granite countertops, metal fixtures, coffee pots, refrigerator water dispensers… limestone actually etches everything it comes into contact with.

DEBI:  OK, etches?  I thought it was just a stain.

NATALIE:  It looks like a stain because limestone is carried on the perimeter of each drop of water.  When the water dries, the limestone rock is left on the surface.  When you go to wipe it away, it cuts or etches the surface.  This is why treated or conditioned water is often referred to as “soft water”.

DEBI:  Mmm, that’s interesting.

NATALIE:  Allow me to show you the difference between hard water and soft water.  I’ve got a mini water softener here with resin inside of it.  This is an ion exchange filter that will take out limestone and heavy metals.  Our larger point-of-entry systems also remove chlorine using various types of carbon or other proven filtration media while softening water throughout the home.  Taking the chlorine out is a great additional benefit as the EPA has raised skin absorption of chlorine to its top 10 carcinogen watch list.  You can see the difference in the two samples.  Remember all the rock in the water? 

(together) This is it. 

DEBI:  That can obviously impact home appearance and efficiency, while affecting home value.

DEBBIE:  You’re absolutely right, Debi.  But it can also have a substantial effect on your wallet.  Your viewers can go to our website, www.dupure.com, or the Water Quality Association website www.wqa.org, to learn more about an independent Batell study confirming the limestone does substantial damage to water-using appliances while reducing the energy efficiency.  One of our owners is a former president of the WQA, and he’s on the research council that conducted this study.  As a result of the study, water softeners really can be considered green products due to their extension of appliance life and improved energy savings.  Some tankless water heater manufacturers will actually void your water heater warranty if you have water like this causing scale deposits.  The other item of note is that in addition to the savings associated with protecting your appliances and the many other areas damaged by hard water, we can actually justify the purchase of a system with the savings on your family’s soap purchases alone.

NATALIE:  This is a sample of your tap water right here, and what I’m going to do is I’m going to add some drops of soap.

DEBI:  Okay, how many drops are you going to put in?

NATALIE:  About 10.

DEBI:  Okay.

NATALIE:  And now what’s going to happen, is I’m going to put this here, I’m going to stir it up – give it a nice good shake.

DEBI:  Wow, look at how cloudy that’s getting!

NATALIE:  Yeah, that’s getting really cloudy.  What’s happening here is the soap and the limestone have bonded together to create soap scum that you see.  Reducing the effectiveness of the soap.  When you use conditioned water, soap use will be cut in half and possibly more.  Now I’m going to put about half as many drops in this conditioned water.  We pre-treated this with our water softener. 

DEBI:  Wow, that is incredible how this works. OK.

NATALIE:  You see?  Already you can tell the difference.  I’m going to give this one a good shake, too.

DEBI:  So that’s not going to get cloudy?

NATALIE:  You see the difference? 

DEBI:  Yeah, look at that.  The water’s so clear!

NATALIE:  If you’re a family of three, you can expect to save about $30 a month.

DEBI:  Wow.

NATALIE:  Debi, did you also know that hard water is the primary cause of dryer lint due to the harsh treatment in your clothes during the laundering process?

DEBI:  No!

NATALIE:  I mean, look at these kid’s jeans!  They’ve been washed with hard water!  And outside of water, phosphates and chemical water softeners are the number one ingredients in soap products.  Think of the savings to your environment. 

DEBI:  Absolutely! That’s amazing!

NATALIE:  Yeah, and oh, the way soft water feels is even more amazing.  Most of our customers with previously untreated water said their skin felt the same way those jeans looked … hard and dry.

DEBI:  Not good.

NATALIE:  Yeah.  It’s the limestone at work again.  Alternatively, the soft water has no limestone in it, which creates soap scum.  By eliminating the soap scum limestone produces, dryness is reduced.  Along with your soap and lotion budget.  Hey, and by the way, you’re not supposed to smell like soap when you get out of the shower.

DEBI:  Ha! That’s true! So, you’re saying that the smell is actually perfumed soap scum and soft water eliminates that?  Well, sign me up! 

DEBBIE:  Another concern we hear from homeowners about tap water … “Is it safe for me and my family?”  As William K. Reilly, our former EPA administrator says, “For years people said that America has the cleanest drinking water in the world…that was true twenty years ago.”  But people don’t realize how many new chemicals have emerged and how much more pollution has occurred.  If they did, we would see a very different attitude.  Well, at Dupure, we’re seeing a very different attitude.  All of us have been bombarded with alarming news related to what ends up in our water.  The President’s cancer panel has determined there are only 90 or so EPA-regulated contaminants, while there are more than 180 unregulated contaminants in our water system.  Chlorine, used by the EPA to disinfect water, is also one of the leading carcinogenic contaminants.  Further, the cancer panel states that chemicals like BPA and thylate in plastic bottles make in-home point-of-use filtration better than bottled water.  The best way to protect yourself is point-of-use filtration.

NATALIE:  Actually, you might have enough chlorine in your water to disinfect a pool.  You’re bathing in it, you’re drinking it.  This is a pool chlorine testing kit.  You can see how much chlorine is in your tap water.  Our filtered drinking water systems will take out the chlorine in your drinking water, along with many additional contaminants.  These systems also eliminate the need for bottled water.  I think Mother Nature could use a break from some plastic bottles!

DEBI:  I agree! You know, I’ve heard many stories about the contaminants in our tap water.  It’s fortunate that consumers have access to water filtration appliances.  So what should consumers look for when considering water treatment options like these?

DEBBIE:  A complete product offering and high operating standards.  At Dupure, we subject ourselves to not only to the standards of the Water Quality Association, but also our homebuilders.  We have relationships with over 35 national homebuilders.  We are their vendor and they trust us to deal directly with their homebuyers in design centers and in the customers’ homes.  Customers know that if we can meet the homebuilder’s standard, we can also meet the standards of the home owner.  We also offer three classifications of whole house treatment products, giving the home buyers a smorgasbord of options.

DEBI:  Debbie, Natalie, thank you so much, we really appreciate your insights and eye-opening demonstrations.  Thank you for being here.  To begin protecting your home and family today, speak to your homebuilder’s design consultant.  Not only will you receive the best products in the water treatment business, but also the best service and warranties protecting you into the future.  For  Designing Spaces, I’m Debi Marie.