Water 101

Drinking water systems are everywhere... Does that mean everyone needs them?

Can A Water Softener Really Pay For Itself?






water softeners can save you money

You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’ll pay for itself in no time,” but in the field of whole home water softeners it can be proven with a calculator.  Too good to be true, you say?  Well, let’s take a look at the facts.

For all of these prices we’re going to be using Walmart, simply because the prices are comparable to anywhere else.

Let’s start with laundry detergent.  A family of four with the national average of 10 grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness.  Some areas it’s higher, as in San Antonio, where it ranges from 15 to 20 gpg, according to the San Antonio Water System.  Or how about the water in Scottsdale Arizona coming in this year at 16-25 gpg , depending on which part of town you test.  That’s okay – it just means that you’ll pay off your water softener 25% to 50% faster!  

Averaging out the price of all leading detergents sold at Walmart, the average cost of a bottle is $14.08 and the price per load is $0.37.  The average family of four runs 300-390 loads each year.  Assuming the number of loads per bottle are actually correct, that means you are conservatively spending $129.50 a year of detergent.  This is most assuredly on the low end, as Consumer Reports argues that the number is closer to $275/year, due to higher detergent costs.  We'll split the difference for our example.

Now we come to personal items, such as shampoo, body wash, bar soap, lotions, cream rinse, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, etc.  I could break it all down for you, but the bottom line per the American Cleaning Institute is that the average family of four spends $628.00 each year for these personal items.  The difference, of course, is in the shampoo/rinse brand (and probably lotions, as well).

We can’t forget about cleaning products, stuff like Comet, glass cleaner, antibacterial spray, and the like.  Why do we take cleaners into account?  Hard water means you are dealing with soap scum, calcification on countertops and sinks, and other places.  Again, according to the American Cleaning Institute, the typical family spends $504 every year on cleaning supplies.  This would vary depending on your level of clean, obviously, but let’s go with that number.

Hard water does a number on your towels, clothes, and linens, so it would be remiss if we didn’t factor the cost of these items in.  The US Department of Commerce estimated back in 2014 that the usual family conservatively spends $600 a year in this area.  They didn’t poll my wife, obviously!  That’s seems unusually low, but let’s go with that number for our comparison.

A couple of more things.  Hard water is just that – hard on your appliances and hard on your plumbing.  You have to figure in the cost of repair and replacement costs on your pipes, washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc.  It’s amortized, of course, but the US Bureau of Economic Analysis puts the usual cost of decay in a home’s water system is $10 a month, or $120 a year.

Finally, let’s consider the water heating bill.  Soft water drastically reduces the level at which the water heater must work, so the consumption is less.  If the average gas and electric bill at a house is $163/month, then 16% of that is directly attributed to the heater.  That’s $313 you’re paying each year for the water heater to do what the water heater does.  

Okay, so let’s add it up.  

 

Estimated Annual Cost

% Savings with Soft Water

$ Saved

Cost w/ Softener

 Soap & Cleaning Products

 

 

 

 

Laundry - 400 loads/yr @ 0.37/load

$148.00

75%

$111.00

$37.00

Personal Care (shampoo, rinse, lotions, etc)

$628.00

30%

$188.40

$439.60

Cleaning Products

$504.00

50%

$252.00

$252.00

Gas & Electric Consumption


 

 

 

Water Heating - avg of 16% of household utility bill @ $163/month

$313.00

20%

$62.60

$250.40

Washable Items

 

 

 

 

Clothes, towels & linens

$600.00

30%

$180.00

$420.00

Plumbing & Appliances

 

 

 

 

 Repair & Replacement Costs

$120.00

75%

$90.00

$30.00

TOTAL SAVINGS

$2313.00

 

$884.00

$1429.00


Yes, that’s right.  You save $884 (more or less) each year with a whole home water softener in your house.  Depending on the system you opt for, it pays for itself in either no time at all or in just a little while. 

For a more definitive list of what each cleaning product costs, check out this list.

Is 2017 the year your house gets the clean, filtered water it deserves?  Give us a call at 877-534-5837 or simply email us and make the switch today!



The annual San Antonio Water Report is Out and It's a Doozy


The 2016 Water Quality Report for San Antonio was recently released , and it contains a few interesting observations.  First, the SAWS (San Antonio Water System) admits that “…all drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.”  It then goes on to describe how to “minimize the potential for lead exposure” by running your tap for a couple of minutes before filling your glass or cooking utensil.  

Nice. That sounds wasteful and unsafe. 

san antonio water with barrel and chemicals in it

The report lists  a bunch of contaminants that may be present in source water, including microbial (“such as viruses and bacteria which may come from sewage treatment plants”), inorganic (“such as salts and metals … from oil and gas production”), pesticides, herbicides, organic chemicals (“including synthetic and volatile chemicals … from gas station runoff”), and radioactive contaminants.

This thing reads like a Stephen King best seller.  Sewage treatment plants?  Gas station runoff? Radioactive contaminants? [deep shudder]

Here’s a paragraph that stands out:  “You may be more vulnerable than the general population to certain microbial contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, in your drinking water.”  The CDC has this to say about that little guy:

"Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as 'Crypto.'  There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States." 

So, the SAWS admits that the water is more vulnerable to Cryptosporidium, which is "very tolerant to chlorine disinfection". That’s wonderful. It's a superbug, and San Antonio's water sources are lousy with it.

can in san antonio water supply

Let’s take a peek at the actual report.  The first thing that jumps out is the chlorine level.  Chlorine, of course, is used to try to kill off all the gas station runoff, sewage, and radioactive material, in the city of San Antonio’s water.  So it’s no real surprise to see that the average concentration found is 1.14 ppm.  But look at the minimum (0.11) and especially the maximum (4.5 ppm).  Wow, that’s a lot of chlorine running through the tap!  The EPA allows up to 4 ppm, so the SAWS is within those parameters, but the EPA also admits that drinking water filters and reverse osmosis systems are a better solution.

What else shows up in San Antonio’s water?  Copper, lead, barium, fluoride, nitrate, radium 226 and radium 228 (honestly, that can’t be good, right?), and a cute little chemical named Tetrachloroethylene.  This guy is manufactured for dry cleaning and metal degreasing.    I’m sure it tastes wonderful, also…

One last thing.  The report doesn’t mention this, but the SAWS was fined by the TCEQ last year for 

clean water vs water with sediment in it

too much coliform bacteria in the water.  You probably received a letter about this.  

Of course, San Antonio doesn’t have to take this laying down.  Dupure has been working with quality homebuilders around the area for many years now, and plenty of your neighbors are reading this report with total confidence.  Why not join them and enjoy clean and clear water today?  Dupure offers a single-stage activated carbon filter system, a dual-stage pre- and post-filter system, and a reverse osmosis drinking water purification system. Any one of these filters out Chlorine, Chloramines, heavy metals (such as that lead we mentioned above), pharmaceuticals, chemicals, organics, and many more.  Check out each page for more information.

Dupure and San Antonio, Texas – eliminating sewage and superbugs in your water, one family at a time.

Just What is Reverse Osmosis, Anyway?



Spend any amount of time researching a clean drinking water solution for your home and you'll inevitably run into the term reverse osmosis (or RO for short).  If you're a normal individual and not a scientist or a water engineer, the phrase should give you pause.  Sure, you could google "Reverse Osmosis" and get temporarily lost in jargon, or you could read on and get a fuller understanding of the best system for your home's drinking water.

Reverse osmosis is simply the process by which the water is purified.  Inorganic materials such as ions, molecules, particles, bacteria and other things that you really don't want to consume are flushed out through a semi-permeable membrane, leaving only pure, filtered drinking water.  The membrane is filled with tiny pores that allow the hydrogen and oxygen molecules to pass through, as long as they aren't attached to anything else.  In other words, while H2O is small enough to pass through the pores, C8H14ClN5 (Atrazine, an herbicide commonly found in tap water) isn't coming through because it's too big for the membrane's pore.  C6H4(CH3)2 (Xylene, a solvent also found in your water) isn't making it out either.  And there are many, many more.

The one thing you don't want to forget is this: H7O57 is too big to make it...that's E. coli.

How does the system work?  There are three (and an optional fourth) components involved:  A pre-filter, which takes in the tap water andfilters out heavy metals such as rust and mercury and large sediments like calcium carbonate, up to 5 microns.  
The remaining fluid is shot through the membrane at high pressure.  Constructed of several layers of 
polypropylene mesh, the membrane's tiny pores stop virtually all elements other than H2O, leaving purified water.  The list of contaminants the RO sends to waste is quite long, but here's a sampling:

  • Chlorine
  • Bacteria/Viruses
  • Nitrates
  • Cadmium
  • Radium
  • Lead
  • Pesticides

Then the water passes through the last carbon filter, called a post-filter, which filters out anything the other filters somehow missed.  The purified water then goes into a 2.2 gallon (or an optional 3.2 gallon) tank, where it is stored until the spigot is activated.   

The result is pure, clean, healthy water in your glass or pan.




Turns Out Changing The Water Filter in Your Home Purifier is a Pretty Good Idea



Many, many owners of home water filtration systems, either an under-the-sink drinking water purifier or a whole home water softening system, are stunned to find out that the filters are meant to be changed out on a consistent basis.  At Dupure, our customer service representatives call each of our clients to remind them that the filter is due for a change, and more times than you would think we are met with utter and complete disbelief that a filter needs to be changed.  Why, then, is it a good idea to change a water filter?

clean water replacement vs dirty water filterThe only real job of a filter is to filter out impurities.  A filter does just that - stops bad stuff from continuing through the circuit.  The filter simply stands there in the center of the line, blocking all the hard metals, sediments, harmful bacteria, algae, minerals, and other debris.  Of course, the only way a filter can do this effectively is to trap it inside itself, which eventually will clog it.  Your water, with a dirty filter, will run slower and eventually the clogged particles will deteriorate the filter completely and wind up in your glass anyway.

Not changing the water filter reduces the quality of your water.  As a filter gets clogged up it'sdirty water with pollutants vs drinking water system less efficient at being a filter.  It's like a bouncer at a club on a busy Saturday night - some under-21s are getting in there.  Believe that.  By the same ridiculous analogy, an old, clogged filter can't be held responsible if some microbes, minerals, or other chemicals sneak through.  It's doing the best it can do - it's just old and worn out.

Reduction of water flow isn't fun for anyone.  In an age of Wi-Fi, microwaves, and instant messaging, standing at the sink waiting for a trickle of water to fill your receptacle is pure torture.  It's sad, but it's true.  And not changing your water filter practically ensures you a bloated, clogged system that will reduce your flow more every day.

buying a water system vs buying a ferrariYou deserve to have clean water.  Having a water filtration system without changing the filter is like buying a Ferrari and never changing the air filter.  It's a beautiful investment ... until it breaks down in front of a high school and all the kids snicker at you while you pop the hood and wave the white smoke away.  "You should have changed the filter!" they chant and laugh as you curse under your breath.  In your heart, though, you know they are right.  It's exactly like that with your water filter.

Now, I hope that explains why a water filter replacement is a brilliant idea.  It's only once a year or so, depending on the system.  Call us at 877-534-5837 to order yours today!


Does everyone need a water filtration system for their home?



Drinking water systems are everywhere...Does that mean everyone needs them?




The short answer is no.  Some people are perfectly fine with rolling the dice and drinking or cooking with contaminants like chlorine, chlorimine, and ammonia.  Others love the permeating smell of sulfur.  Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse, right?  Life is an adventure!


However, the vast majority of people would prefer to have the safest water possible.  And let's face it - your local municipal water supplier is just doing the bare minimum it needs to in order  to pass the EPA's water testing.  The EPA, by the way, is perfectly fine with certain levels of Chlorine, Ammonia, Chlorimines, Arsenic, Asbestos, Cyanide, Barium, Lead, radioactive contamination... should I go on?  Here's the complete chart, courtesy of the EPA.  So now the homeowner has a few options.  Let's run them down and analyze them, shall we?


Activated Carbon Water Pitchers (Brita, ZeroWater, Body Glove, etc):  These pitchers work by pouring tap water through a small cartridge (usually about 6" long), which typically helps to remove mercury, copper, cadmium, and the chlorine taste of your water.   Filters need to be changed out every two months, or every 40 gallons.  Inexpensive choice for one or two people, but the length of the cartridge means a lot of water is being filtered through a small area.


Faucet-Mounted Water Filter:  This filter is attached to the spigot of the existing faucet and re-routes the water flow through a cartridge filter, reducing contaminants such as lead, asbestos, as well as cryptosporidium and giardia cysts.  Also removes the chlorine taste of your water.  Downsides would include a small cartridge (typically 7"), slow water flow, and a filter change every three months or every 70 gallons.  Also, if your home has a sprayer as part of your faucet this isn't an option.


Under-Sink Water Filter:  Now we're getting to serious filtration.  These systems include longer filters (often 2 filters working in conjunction with each other), mount underneath the sink, and aid to remove most harmful contaminants in the water.  Filters need to be changed every six months or so. Downsides are higher cost, both for the system and the filters.


Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System:  The best, most effective under-sink system available right now.  The reverse osmosis (or RO) system operates with a membrane between a pre- and a post- filter.  The system pushes high-pressurized tap water through the membrane, which attracts all types of contaminants and "catches" them.  The resulting water is virtually pure, healthy drinking water.  The pre- and post-filters need to be changed out every six months or so (one year for the membrane).  The upshot is the cleanest water available.  The downside is higher cost for the system and the filter changes.


So, the obvious question is...what's in your water?