Water quality remains a vital issue around the world. Canadians have access to clean, safe water, but there are several plumbing upgrades and home improvement projects that provide your family with good tasting, safe and clean water in a convenient way. Check these out and consider how to enhance your home.
Install a Drinking Water Filter
No matter where your water comes from, municipal supply or a well, adding a filter helps to improve quality and taste. Modern innovations have made residential water filtration systems even better, moving from simple pitcher filters to in-faucet filters and those incorporated directly into your plumbing. Choose the best type for your family, depending on budget and supply needs.
- Faucet Filters - these products screw into your existing faucet and act much like the pitcher systems made widely popular by companies like Brita. With a more convenient design, faucet filters allow you to fill your drinking water glass directly from this faucet, with several key contaminants eliminated from the water. Maintenance includes filter changes and typical costs are affordable.
- Single Stage Filters - a larger, more advanced version of the faucet filter, single stage water filters are installed at your kitchen sink by a licensed plumber and often come with a drinking water tap for easy visual reference. The filter removes dirt, sediment and contaminants such as copper, lead and chlorine. Maintenance includes filter changes and typical costs range from $100 to $300, depending on the brand and installation costs.
- Reverse Osmosis Filters - the ideal home water filtration system, this design uses carbon filters and various membranes to eliminate nearly all of the contaminants present in our drinking water. The unit is mounted within your plumbing system and may have a separate tap, depending on the brand. Several manufacturers offer reverse osmosis systems, including General Electric, Kohler and Culligan. Maintenance includes filter changes and typical costs range from $500 and up, based on the brand and installation fees.
Water filters allow for tastier, healthier drinking water but do not have the capability to purify water, in case of contamination after a storm. Always stay on top of your regular maintenance and keep track of filter performance to ensure your family receives the cleanest water possible.
Replace Rusted Plumbing
Old galvanized plumbing rusts, creating a mess in your appliances and resulting in premature wear and damage. Rust in the dishwasher or washing machine is a common sign of this problem. Although rusting pipes may not affect drinking water, this condition often shows up in your hot water, affecting bathing and showering, as well as the washing machine and dishwasher.
Some plumbers recommend installing a filter on the hot water pipe. This could be a temporary solution, but eventually decay will eat away at your plumbing and a full replacement becomes necessary.
Replace the pipes with copper or high quality PVC. Your plumber can provide a cost estimate for both options. Any connections made with the aged galvanized plumbing require copper piping and dialectic unions to prevent further corrosion.
Are you planning any other home improvement projects in the near future? Bathroom renovations, kitchen remodels, finishing the basement, replacing trim or patching up old drywall provide an opportunity to upgrade the existing plumbing before rust becomes a problem. Avoid rust stains on your clothing and dishes by planning to replace older pipes before corrosion sets in.
Install a Water Softener
Water softeners deal with hard water issues naturally present in many areas of Canada. Supplying hot and cold softened water to your plumbing system and appliances, this equipment allows for a more comfortable lifestyle. Hard water creates staining and often makes it difficult to get completely clean during a bath or shower. Your family will appreciate the function and results of a quality water softener.
Water softeners improve efficiency in your home. Soft water heats faster, cutting down on the energy needs of your water heater, and soft water creates less strain on your appliances. Experts state that using soft water in your hot water system cuts down energy usage by at least 20 percent for both electric and gas-powered hot water heaters.
Minerals and metals found in hard water are deposited in pipes, valves and other components of your plumbing system, resulting in premature wear and back ups. Avoid excessive repairs and clogged pipes by installing a quality water softener. Several manufacturers offer models of various sizes, including General Electric, Kinetico and Pelican.
Although you may be tempted to install a water softener yourself, DIY plumbing presents several challenges. You must have the right tools and a decent amount of plumbing knowledge. Hire a professional for this project to ensure your family realizes all of the benefits this plumbing project presents.
Have Your Well Water Tested
Well water testing is a vital maintenance step for those properties using a private or semi-private well. DIY test kits can be found at your local hardware store, but a thorough, professional test allows for trusted results. Invest in professional testing on a regular basis and become familiar with the rules for drinkable water, as per government resources.
Industry experts provide two types of water well testing, including:
- Bacteriological - testing for the presence of bacteria that commonly exists when a well has been contaminated with fecal matter
- Chemical - testing for the amount of naturally occurring chemicals to ensure a proper, healthy balance in your drinking water
Bacteriological testing should be done 2 to 4 times per year, depending on the well depth. Shallow wells require more frequent testing. Chemical analysis can be done every few years. These processes ensure a safe, potable water supply.
Whether you live in an urban center, the suburbs or a rural area, water quality remains important to your overall health and lifestyle. Consider how these four plumbing projects can help to ensure safer, cleaner water and a more efficient home. From water filters to water softeners, pipe replacement and water well testing, each of these projects provide valuable benefits to your family.Posted by: TrustedPros