Frequently Asked Questions

Well Chlorination

1Q: Why should I shock my well and plumbing?
A: The shocking (disinfection) of a well and plumbing system destroys any possibility of bacterial contamination to be present in the system. This process will only kill bacteria present in the system at the time of disinfection and is not designed for an ongoing contamination problem.
2Q: Do I need to have someone shock my well or can I do it?
A: Ideal Water, as part of the services we perform, can shock your well for you.
3Q: How do I shock my well?
A: Ideal Water provides this information to give you in our Resources section of our website, the consumer, the understanding of the process of chlorinating a well. Although the instructions are universally accepted, variables may exist that may need to be addressed. Because of this, Ideal Water recommends contacting a qualified professional. Ideal Water is always available to perform such services and will gladly set an appointment to do so.

Hot Water Odor

1Q: Why does only my hot water smell of rotten eggs?

A: Domestic hot water heaters are manufactured with a sacrificial anode usually made of magnesium. This anode is designed to prolong the life of the water heater, electrolysis that normally attacks the tank, attacks the anode. Unfortunately the byproduct of this process is the resulting “rotten egg” odor.
This situation can be corrected by replacing the anode, if possible, with one made of aluminum. If desired, the anode can be removed completely.

Regardless of how the odor is remedied, Ideal Water recommends that a cup of standard household bleach be poured into the water heater prior to reinstalling the plug or new anode. This will help rid the water heater of any lingering odor.rum.

2Q: Can Ideal Water remove or replace the anode in my water heater?
A: Yes, Ideal Water performs this service for our customers regularly.

Drain & Purge a Well Tank

1Q: How do I Drain & Purge a Well Tank?
A: Should your system deviate from the described, contact Ideal Water to determine the needs of your particular system. Ideal Water can perform this procedure for you. Call for an appointment.

General Water Questions

1Q: How do I know if I have hard water?
A: The only definitive way to know that you have hard water is to test for it. Other issues with the water may mask themselves as hard water (i.e. elevated total dissolved solids), but are indeed not, nor can they be remedied with a standard water softener. Most likely the main symptom of hard water is a build up of white calcium deposits on fixtures. This is sometimes called “soap curd”. Make an appointment with Ideal Water to determine whether or not the build up that you’re getting is indeed hard water scaling. The test is FREE!
2Q: What is water hardness?
A: A common quality of water which contains dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium and, sometimes, other divalent and trivalent metallic elements. The term hardness was originally applied to waters that were hard to wash in, referring to the soap wasting properties of hard water. Hardness prevents soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble curdy precipitate in the water; hardness typically causes the buildup of hardness scale (such as seen in cooking pans). Dissolved calcium and magnesium salts are primarily responsible for most scaling in pipes and water heaters and cause numerous problems in laundry, kitchen, and bath. Hardness is usually expressed in grains per gallon (or ppm) as calcium carbonate equivalent. The degree of hardness standard as established by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (S-339) and the Water Quality Association (WQA) is:
Soft- <1.0 (<17.1ppm),
Slightly Hard- 1.0 to 3.5 (17.1 to 60ppm),
Moderately Hard- 3.5 to 7.0 (60 to 120ppm),
Hard- 7.0 to 10 (120 to 180ppm),
Very Hard- 10.5 (180ppm+)
3Q: Is hard water the only test Ideal Water will do for free?
A: No. Ideal Water routinely tests for the aesthetic conditions in the water, such as sulfur, iron, manganese, chlorine (when necessary); as well as nitrates, pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), and sodium. Together, these results create your water profile, which allows us to determine the type of equipment to recommend. Again, these tests are FREE.
4Q: Why do I need water treatment, but my neighbor doesn’t?
A: The assumption here is that you are not on a public water supply. This means that at least one of you has a well. It is possible to have a private well or be on municipal water and not need any form of water treatment. The water from a private well comes from an aquifer under the ground. It is possible, given distance between the two wells, and differences in the depth of the wells, that each well could be on two completely separate aquifers.
5Q: Other than hardness, what other problems can my water have?
A: The most probable issues with water are: lead, nitrates, iron, sediments, low/high pH, bacteria, and sulfur (rotten egg smell). Recently, issues are arising with arsenic, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and Radium/Radon.
6Q: Does any one piece of equipment correct all of these issues?
A: No, nor would you want one that does. Water treatment is a complicated process, and to devise one system to correct most, if not all of these issues would be ill advised. Yes, there are systems that can treat a couple of issues within one machine, but even those systems have their proper applications.

Bacteria Treatment

1Q: What treatments does Ideal Water offer for removing bacteria from my water?
A: Ideal Water offers two forms of water sterilization, chlorination, and ultraviolet (UV). First, I’d like to clarify a misconception about the sterilization of water from bacterial contamination. The two processes mentioned here, chlorination and UV, DO NOT remove the bacteria from the water. What they do is render the bacteria harmless, by killing it; as with chlorination, or by destroying its DNA so it cannot replicate; as with UV.
2Q: Do I have a choice as to which type of system I use in my house?
A: Yes, in most cases you may have an option in treatment. However, chlorination must be used in certain circumstances (Iron Bacteria or Sulfur-Reducing Bacteria). Otherwise, the choice would be yours.
Chlorination has some drawbacks: The system needs continuous monitoring for residual chlorine; Chlorine is a chemical that needs to be removed, thus an additional cost for a carbon filter for dechlorination; and the injection pump needs periodic maintenance. UV, for the residential consumer, is more cost effective and user friendly.
3Q: What is ultraviolet (UV) light?
A: Ultraviolet light exists at the invisible, violet end of the light spectrum. Although we can’t see UV light, we are exposed to a small amount every time we walk out into the sun. The water treatment industry uses special lamps that emit UV light of a particular wavelength in order to disinfect water.
4Q: Is pre-treatment of my water required for a UV system to work?
A: The UV system should always be installed after any other water treatment equipment. Ultimately, the quality of your water will determine if additional pre-treatment is required. Chemicals such as iron and calcium carbonate can form deposits on the UV lamp’s protective sleeve, reducing the light that can penetrate the water. Water softeners and iron removal systems are sometimes required. Chemicals such as iron, tannins and humic acid are able to absorb UV light and thus reduce the amount available for disinfection. After performing testing your water, Ideal Water will recommend the specific treatment devices which suit your water supply.
5Q: Does a UV system consume a lot of energy?
A: No, a UV system able to treat the water for a typical house will consume about the same amount of energy as a 60-watt light bulb. UV is a cost-effective, natural way to increase water quality.

Testing Questions

1Q: I am on municipal or public water, do I need to test my water regularly?
A: No, not necessarily. Public water supply companies are regulated by Federal and state standards, to test the water being delivered on an ongoing basis. Should a family member or house guest have recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness, or your plumbing is showing signs of corrosion, or perhaps there are water stains on fixtures or in the laundry, you should have your water tested.
2Q: When should I test my private well?
A: As a rule, Ideal Water suggests you test your water for biological contamination or other contaminants whenever there is doubt to the safety and quality of the water. Testing once a year for bacteria and prior to bringing an infant into the home is widely recommended. Ideal Water believes that a test for nitrates should be conducted before bringing an infant into the home.
3Q: My well tested negative for coliform bacteria. Does this mean I will never have a bacteria problem?
A: No. The sample that tested negative was just that; a sample, for that time and place when it was drawn. The environment is always changing, and with the ever increasing development of land, wells that were free from contamination for years suddenly have problems. For this reason Ideal Water suggests the installation of a UV system as a preventative measure should the homeowner be concerned.
4Q: Will Ideal Water test my water for me?
A: Ideal Water will, for a fee, draw any number of samples following the proper protocols upon request. The samples could either be delivered to a New York State Approved Laboratory by the homeowner or Ideal Water.
Contact your local Health Department for your nearest laboratory or click here for the New York Association of Approved Environmental Laboratories

Living with Softened Water

1Q: Is the sodium in softened water harmful to people on restrictive salt diets?
A: The amounts of sodium (Na) in softened water are miniscule compared to other normal dietary sources of sodium. In fact, ion exchange softening with water 75 grains per gallon of total hardness would add less sodium to the drinking water than allowed in beverages meeting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations for “low sodium” labeling. In establishing a salt-free diet for patients, physicians should not overlook the fact that even hard water may contain appreciable amounts of sodium. To determine the amount, a complete analysis of the water is necessary.
2Q: How much sodium is put in water when it is softened?

A: The amount of salt added to water when it is softened is directly related to the amount of hardness that is being removed. The following table gives some examples:
Sodium added to water from softening
Examples are per 8 ounces of water

6 grains = 11.3 mg/L
15 grains = 28.0 mg/L
25 grains = 46.6mg/L

* A slice of bread contains 114 mg/L of sodium
* A 3oz. slice of ham contains 1,114 mg/L of sodium

3Q: Does soft water cause clothing colors to fade?
A: No. However, detergents and other washing aids become much more active in softened water. It is important, therefore, to cut down on the amounts of cleaning and bleaching compounds when using soft water.
4Q: What causes etching of my glassware in the dishwasher?
A: It is caused by the strong phosphate sequestering agents (e.g., trisodium phosphate) in dishwashing detergent. It may also be triggered by the combination of extremely hot water, soft water, and too much detergent. The high water temperature can cause the detergent phosphate compounds to break down into an even more aggressive form. If hardness is available, it will consume the most aggressive of these sequestering chemicals. Otherwise, however, the detergent agents can actually extract elements directly from the glassware composition. The solution to etching is to use less detergent and water temperatures less than 140oF when you have soft water. Water softening is such an enhancement that the dishes will get cleaned just as well with less detergent and 120o-140oF water in softened water.
5Q: Is soft water safe for my septic system?
A: Yes it is. Click here for a report summary on the affects of softened water on septic systems.
6Q: Will my new Ideal Water softener help me conserve energy?
A: Yes it will. Click here for a report summary on the water softeners and energy conservation.
7Q: Will my water taste different after it is softened?
A: Possibly. Sometimes the customer does not detect any change in the water, and if they do they usually like it. For those customers that want an improved taste to their water we can add a point-of-use activated carbon filter under the kitchen sink to improve the taste of the water.
8Q: What benefits should I expect from having soft water?
A: Softened water has many benefits: Appliances last longer and have better performance, soapy film on tubs and shower tiles may be reduced, shampoos and soaps may rinse better, water heaters may operate more efficiently, and scale build in pipes is reduced. Purdue University conducted an 18 month study on softened water and laundry entitled “Benefits of Using Soft vs. Hard Water in Laundering Operations”, and concluded that the life of clothing can be prolonged by as much as 15% when using soft water.