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Is There Chance You Might Have Iron in Your Water

Manitoba has some very high levels of iron depending on where you happen to be situated in the province. Along with iron you may have manganese which is a sister element commonly found with iron. If that wasn’t enough, many people will have a rotten egg smell coming out of the well which is hydrogen sulfide gas, also commonly found with iron but not always. Below I listed a couple of signs to look for.


Sign: Water is clear when taken from the sink but red-brown or black particles will show as the water is left to sit. You will also see staining in dishwashers, showers, toilets and your laundry never really gets as white as you think they should.

Reason: Dissolved iron and possibly manganese.


Sign: You notice a slime which appears to be red brownish, black in colour in the toilet tank or sometimes will clog faucets.

Reason: Iron and/or manganese bacteria.


Sign: Sometimes you will leave a glass of water out for 24 hours and you notice that reddish, black colour remains

Reason: This would strongly indicate that you have colloidal iron/manganese in other words organically complexed iron/manganese.

Iron and manganese are two minerals commonly found in the earth’s crust and in the water supply of your home they do not present any health risk. The first problem that people usually have with these minerals in their water is the staining and metallic sometimes bitter taste. What you don’t always see is the buildup of iron and manganese in your hot water tank, pressure tank and the fouled resin in your water softener. Fact is that these two minerals drive up the price of operating your water appliances by up to 30%, decreases their life expectancy by up to 50% and eventually plugs your pipes up to the point that you will lose water pressure.

There are actually two forms of iron you find in your house water:

Ferrous iron – this type creates a clear solution when dissolved in water (often referred to as clear water iron). In the beginning the water appears clear but soon you begin to see black or rust coloured particles that make their way to the bottom when the water is left to sit out. It is because air, chlorine and other oxidants reacts with the ferrous iron that you get the particles and it now becomes ferric iron (the stuff you can now see.

Ferric iron – this is a colloidal iron and is insoluble in water. When the water comes out of the tap with some discoloration initially this is a good sign that you have ferric iron.

The last issue I want to touch on is iron and manganese bacteria found in the toilets and sometimes clogs up your pipes. There is no real health issue with the red-brown/black brown bacteria but it’s a bit slimy and unsightly to say the least. You can remove it fairly easily with a disinfectant of your choice but the real answer is to remove the iron and manganese out of the water.

Affordable water would be more than willing to provide you with a free water test and show you what options are available to you if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Please click HERE to go to our contact page.   

Posted in: Water Purification

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Do you think Water Softeners Are Common?

In Manitoba water softeners are indeed very common because of the level of hardness in our water we experience. Although most rural homes on well water today have a water softener, this was not always the case.

When Did That Change?

Where did we come up with the terms “hard” & “soft” water and why?

Somewhere in around the middle of the 19th century it was discovered that when fertilizer passed through certain soil, a calcium sulphate solution formed. The Agricultural Society of England reported that the soil must have minerals in it to cause this to happen. It was later determined that calcium along with magnesium were the main minerals that made water “hard”.

You don’t hear to much more about softening water until the turn of the century.

20th century

The first water softeners were big and clumsy by today’s standards, and really expensive. They had to be regenerated sometimes two or three times a day, and most people didn’t really understand the technology. As a result they were mostly for commercial use, and only the very rich really bought them.

Finally in the 1920’s things began to change, and the first water softener company opened its doors in 1924 in North America. Water softeners were usually rented, and the media tank had to be replaced monthly, with a new recharged media tank by the company to keep you in soft water.

This went on till about 1936 when it was discovered that water could be softened through ion exchange using synthetic resins. Research into this method of softening water continued into the 1940’s, until it finally came to the point as it is understood today.

 By the time the 1950’s had arrived they were already using electric timers to regenerate the media tank, and the Mom and Pop consumer had access to softened water at a reasonable price.

The next big change in our industry really came about as a result of the Clean Water Act of 1972, which was brought about to make sure all Americans had access to safe clean drinking water. Of course this affected Canada as most of the softener designs and parts came from the States. It was in the 1970’s that they really started to explore Carbon and Aeration, to take out other minerals such as Iron, Manganese and manmade chemicals such as pesticides. The majority of which is taken out before the water was allowed to enter the softener, the idea being to protect it from getting a fouled resin bed.  

Reverse Osmosis was brought into the mainstream in the 1980’s, and block salt was introduced in the 1990’s to help out with regeneration.  

Let’s skip from the 90’s to the present and see what’s happening now in our industry. Water softeners are smaller, and far more efficient than they were even 15 years ago. They still use electric timers for the most part, and are now “on demand”, which means they regenerate only when their media has to be cleaned.

It now takes a Technician just a few moments to test your water, and check you’re plumbing, to know exactly what size system you need, and the best place to install it.

The Water Treatment Industry has tried and proven methods, which have been thoroughly researched and refined over the last century. Today we can say with confidence that with the level of testing, and with the advanced tools we now have to work with, we can give you the best water possible.      

We hope you enjoyed this brief history of the water softener and if you would like to learn more or just set up an appointment to see one of our consultants please click HERE to go to our contact page.

Posted in: History, Water Purification

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Water Softener Salt

What are the different water softener salts available?

They are as follows:

Rock Salt

Solar Salt:  salt produced from the evaporation seawater

In Manitoba rock salt (also known as halite) is slightly cheaper than solar salt but contains more insoluble material. As a result, solar salts keep your water softener cleaner. The type of salt you choose to buy will dictate how often you will have to clean your brine tank and also if you will build up insoluble material causing what is known as a salt bridge. A salt bridge over time will block the water from being drawn out of your brine tank. Your Water Softener will cease to work properly and sometimes this will cause your brine tank to overflow. For these reasons Affordable Water Treatments recommends using solar salt.

Also available is Potassium chloride which is an alternative to Sodium chloride. Potassium chloride is more expensive to buy but works in much the same way as regular water softening salt.

Are you worried about your sodium intake, have related high-blood pressure issues; just want to limit the amount of salt you consume? It is true that there is some calcium and magnesium exchanged for sodium during the regeneration of the softener bed. Of course the amount of exchange will depend on how hard your water is. But truth be told there is very little sodium left in the water after the regeneration process.

If you look at your daily intake of sodium less than 3% comes from cooking or drinking softened water. In comparison you would have to drink 6-8 glasses of softened water to equal the amount of salt you find in one slice of white bread, never mind the potato chips. If this is a real concern you might want to consider a drinking water system.

If you would like to learn more or need a free water test click HERE to go to our contact page.

Posted in: Water Purification

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Why we Need Water Softened

Water softening is an important process, because the hardness of water in households and companies is reduced during this process. When you have hard water it can clog pipes and soap will dissolve in it less easily. A Water Softener can prevent these negative effects.

Lime scale deposits in household water systems

Hard water causes a higher risk of lime scale deposits in household water systems. Due to this lime scale build-up, pipes are blocked and the efficiency of hot water tanks is reduced. This increases the cost of domestic water heating by fifteen to twenty percent.

It can Damage Your house Hold Machine    

   Lime scale deposits build up on household appliances unless removed such as coffee makers, clothes and dish washers and many more. Water softening in other words the removal of Calcium and Magnesium the two minerals associated with water hardness helps to extend the life span of household appliances.

Posted in: Water Purification

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