Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if I have hard water?
What makes my water hard?
What is water hardness?
What is softened water?
Should I be concerned about sodium in water?
Why do my sinks and fixtures turn yellow?
Why is my dishwasher stained brown?
Why does my water leave blue green stains?
Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
What is nitrate?
Where does nitrate come from?
How does nitrate get into my well water?
What are the health effects of consuming nitrate?
My water doesn't taste good, yet it tested out O.K. What does this mean?
Why does my drinking water sometimes look cloudy?
What is a part per million (ppm) or a part per billion (ppb)?
Why do I feel slippery when bathing in soft water?
What type of salt should I use?
Can I use potassium type salts?
What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?
What about minerals? Do Reverse Osmosis systems remove them, and if so, aren't they needed for health?
Does Reverse Osmosis remove fluoride from the water? Isn't fluoride necessary to reduce cavities?
What factors affect my RO system's performance?
How long do RO membranes last?
What kind of maintenance is required?
What can I use Reverse Osmosis water for?
What is required to install the 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis system?
Can the 3M Water Factory Systems Under-the-Counter systems be connected to icemakers, refrigerator water dispensers and instant hot water dispensers?
Can I run out of water when using my 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis system?
How much water do the 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis systems provide?
What happens to all the organic and inorganic impurities removed by 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis systems?
How much water is used to insure there is no buildup of toxic organic and inorganic impurities on the membrane?

 

 

How can I tell if I have hard water?
Water hardness is demonstrated by scale in water heaters or on plumbing fixtures, by soap deposits on dishes and fabrics, and by soap scum in sinks and bathtubs. back to top

What makes my water hard?
As water passes through the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, dew, or fog, it picks up impurities and gases. And, because water is the universal solvent, it picks up even more impurities as it travels through the earth as ground water. What ever the water comes in contact with it will dissolve a part of it. back to top

What is water hardness?
Water 'hardness' is caused by the minerals calcium and magnesium in ground and surface water. If either or both minerals are present in your drinking water in high concentrations, the water is considered 'hard.' These minerals come from sedimentary rock such as limestone that dissolves into our water. The result of hard water is difficulty making lather or suds for washing and a build-up of minerals on taps and on other fixtures. Water containing low concentrations of calcium or magnesium is called 'soft' water. back to top

What is softened water?
A water softener replaces the 'hardness' minerals with sodium or potassium. The amounts of these elements added to the water are relatively insignificant in comparison to what is ingested from your food and should not pose a health problem.

Most often, water softeners are regenerated with salt and water. Regeneration is a process by which the softening materials inside the softener can be used over and over again. Once the regeneration is completed, the salt and water solution is flushed into the drain. back to top

Should I be concerned about sodium in water?
If sodium is a concern to you, your water quality improvement professional can explain the amount of sodium in softened water. This varies, depending on the hardness of the water supply. Any person on a sodium-restricted diet should follow the advice of his physician. All municipal water supplies contain some naturally occurring sodium. If the sodium-restricted diet is very strict, discuss the use of RO, or some other water quality improvement system to reduce the sodium to meet your requirements.

For the sake of comparison, one slice of white bread contains about 114 mg of sodium, and an eight ounce glass of milk contains 120 mg of sodium. If your water contains 10 grain per gallon (GPG), and if you consumed a total of one quart of softened water a day, your intake of additional sodium would be 75 mg - less than either a slice of bread or a glass of milk. back to top

Why do my sinks and fixtures turn yellow?
One of the most common water treatment problems found in well water is iron. Iron can be found in 3 different forms.
Ferrous iron (dissolved) — Although not visible it is the most common type of iron. Later when oxygen is mixed with ferrous iron it stains sinks, toilets and laundry especially when bleach is added. To reduce levels of ferrous iron, softening and or filtration is performed.
Ferric Iron (suspended) — Ferric iron or brown water iron is oxidized and forms particles. Normally these particles can be seen once settled down, the particles can be seen in a glass of water. Sometimes these particles are to small to be seen and very difficult to remove.
Iron bacteria —Iron bacteria is a general term given to iron that can leave a slimy growth or build up in toilet tanks and sometimes clogs filters, softeners and pipes. These bacteria are not harmful, but are considered a nuisance bacteria because of their difficulty in removing. back to top

Why is my dishwasher stained brown?
Brown or black stains found in the dishwasher are usually from high levels of manganese. Manganese that is dissolved in water can stain when the level is above .05mg/l. The dishwasher is a perfect mechanism to oxidize it because it heats it, agitates it and mixes the water with air. Manganese can also stain clothes in the washing machine, due to the same reasons. If bleach is added staining is worse. back to top

Why does my water leave blue green stains?
This indicates that the water is corrosive and usually acidic. Acidic water can leach metals from pumps, piping and fixtures. If left alone without treatment it can cause leaks in copper pipes and fixtures. Acidity is measured on a scale of 0-14 with 7 being neutral, less than 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic. back to top

Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
Hydrogen sulfide gas is a naturally occurring contaminant, which gives water a disagreeable rotten egg odor or taste. This usually indicates the presence of some form of non-harmful mineral reducing bacteria in the well. Testing is very difficult because it is a gas and it comes out of solution very quickly. There are no known health effects; however hydrogen sulfide can also make the water somewhat corrosive. back to top

What is nitrate?
Nitrate is a naturally occurring compound that is formed in the soil when nitrogen and oxygen combine. Small amounts of nitrate are normal, but excess amounts can pollute supplies of groundwater. back to top

Where does nitrate come from?
Common sources of nitrogen in the soil are fertilizers, livestock waste, and septic systems. Excess nitrate in the soil is most often found in rural and agricultural areas. back to top

How does nitrate get into my well water?
Nitrate travels easily through the soil, carried by rain or irrigation water into groundwater supplies. Wells that tap groundwater may be affected. Shallow wells, wells in sandy soil, or wells that are improperly constructed or maintained are more likely to have nitrate contamination. back to top

What are the health effects of consuming nitrate?
For most people, consuming small amounts of nitrate is not harmful. Nitrate can cause health problems for infants, especially those six months of age and younger. Nitrate interferes with their blood's ability to transport oxygen. This causes an oxygen deficiency, which results in a dangerous condition called methemoglobinemia, or "blue baby syndrome." The most common symptom of nitrate poisoning is bluish skin coloring, especially around the eyes and mouth. Infants six months of age and younger and pregnant and nursing women should avoid consumption of water high in nitrate. Cattle, horses, sheep, and baby pigs, are also susceptible to nitrate poisoning. back to top

My water doesn't taste good, yet it tested out O.K. What does this mean?
There are two types of water problems: Primary problems — the dangerous sort of problem and Aesthetic problems — things that affect the taste, look or smell of the water. Strange as it may seem, you could have an aesthetic problem (such as iron or manganese) that will not pose an actual health risk. back to top

Why does my drinking water sometimes look cloudy?
Once in a while you get a glass of water, and it looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure, and gases (the air), which are dissolved in the pressurized water, will come out as the water flows into your glass, where is under normal atmospheric pressure.back to top

What is a part per million (ppm) or a part per billion (ppb)?
Most of the chemical data that is reported for water is expressed as a concentration:
One-Part-Per-Million can be thought of as one inch in 16 miles or one cent in $10,000.
One-Part-Per-Billion can be thought of as one second of time in 32 years.

It is EXTREMELY MISLEADING to interpret these analogies to minimize the magnitude of the risks. Even miniscule amounts of certain contaminants can poison water. back to top

Why do I feel slippery when bathing in soft water?
The "slickness" felt after a soft water shower is just the "real" you! Hard water does not easily rinse off the residue from cleaning products. When bathing in softened water, the use of less soap is desirable. Use sufficient water to rinse the skin thoroughly and your skin will feel softer and much smoother than it did with hard water bathing. back to top

What type of salt should I use?
Any type of clean salt can be used. Water Right recommends the use of either block or solar salts. These two types of salt seem to be the cleanest and will cause the least problems in the brine tank. back to top

Can I use potassium type salts?
Yes, any water softener will work with potassium chloride salts, however some loss of capacity between regenerations can occur. Please consult with your dealer. If your reasoning for using "potassium salt" is for health concerns remember that potassium chloride is also a salt. Consult with your doctor whenever there is a health concern about your water. back to top

What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?
Reverse Osmosis, or RO for short, is the opposite of the natural process by which moisture is taken up by living cells. Root cells of plants, for example, have special cell walls that allow water to pass through them. In reverse osmosis, water is forced against a synthetic membrane using normal city water pressure. Only molecules of water easily diffuse through this unique membrane material, and are collected as pure water on the other side. Impurities are left behind and are rinsed away to a waste drain. back to top

What about minerals? Do Reverse Osmosis systems remove them, and if so, aren't they needed for health?
Many home water devices claim they leave so called "beneficial" minerals in, considering it an advantageous feature. Distillers, on the other hand, claim they remove all "objectionable" minerals and consider it an advantage. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? The subject of minerals in water is one over which there is much controversy. There is even disagreement among health authorities. To help you decide for yourself, consider the following information:

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Does Reverse Osmosis remove fluoride from the water? Isn't fluoride necessary to reduce cavities?
3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis systems can remove over 90% of the fluoride in the water. Fluoride occurs both naturally in the earth and water and is often artificially added to municipal supplies because there is evidence it helps prevent tooth decay.

The long-term effects of fluoridation of public water supplies, however, is still a subject of great controversy. Here's why:

Chlorine, for instance, has been used routinely since 1913, but only recently have we discovered this helpful chemical has the potential to generate cancer-causing chemicals (tri-halomethanes or THMS) when combined with organic substances naturally found in water. Fluoridation may have little benefit for teeth after childhood, yet the population can consume fluoridated water from their municipal supply as well as pay for it. Consider too, that only 2% of total fluoridated water is used for human consumption.

Further, there are more prudent alternatives to fluoridating the entire water supply such as the application of fluoride tablets and vitamins that may provide a safe, precise dose to your children. back to top

What factors affect my RO system's performance?
The quantity and quality of water produced by a Reverse Osmosis system are affected by feed water temperature, feed water pressure and total dissolved solids.

Temperature affects the performance of an RO due to the intricate design of an RO membrane. Production is improved as water temperature approaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit (32ºC). Please Note: An RO device should only be installed on the cold water line.

Reverse Osmosis systems are also affected by feed water pressure. As pressures increase so does the rate in which water is produced. Generally speaking, Reverse Osmosis systems should be operated on feed water pressures above 40 psi to provide acceptable performance.

High concentrations of total dissolved solids (poor quality) of the feed water may decrease the life of the RO membranes or require additional maintenance. back to top

How long do RO membranes last?
The longevity of an RO membrane greatly depends on feed water conditions, how well the system is maintained and whether the supply is municipal or well water. On most municipal water supplies, the average useful life of a Reverse Osmosis membrane is 2 to 4 years. In well water applications, RO life may be reduced due to varied water conditions. back to top

What kind of maintenance is required?
The prefilter(s) need to be replaced every 6-12 months. Your local Water Factory Dealer can recommend the optimal change-out period based on his experience. It is also suggested that the storage tank air charge be checked yearly. The system should also be sanitized at this time. Please contact the dealer in your area for proper maintenance of your Drinking Water System. back to top

What can I use Reverse Osmosis water for?
We think you will particularly enjoy the following:

Drinking Water Plants
Cooking Baby Formulas
Juices and Mixes Aquariums
Coffee & Tea Batteries
Ice Cubes Complexion Care
Low Sodium Diets Photography
Weight Loss Diets Steam Irons
Cleaning Solutions Windshield Washer
Humidifiers Radiators

 

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What is required to install the 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis system?
3M Water Factory Systems Countertop Appliance: Only a pair of pliers is required to remove the old aerator from a kitchen faucet and replace it with the special one supplied with each countertop appliance. It takes only a few minutes and instructions are provided.

3M Water Factory Systems Under-the-Counter Appliance: With a little plumbing experience and knowledge of hand tools, you can install the Under-the-Counter system, however, it is recommended that a factory-trained dealer who is familiar with plumbing and drilling sinks or counters install your Under-the-Counter system. back to top

Can the 3M Water Factory Systems Under-the-Counter systems be connected to icemakers, refrigerator water dispensers and instant hot water dispensers?
Most definitely, provided a water line can be run from under the sink to the refrigerator. The tubing used should preferably be plastic. Existing copper tubing is often corroded and scaled from tap water and the purified water may dislodge this buildup and create problems in the icemaker. We recommend copper tubing not be used unless absolutely necessary. We can supply a special icemaker hookup kit that includes all the tubing and fittings required for the typical icemaker and/or refrigerator water dispenser connections. back to top

Can I run out of water when using my 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis system?
Yes, but rarely. The Water Factory Systems Drinking Water Appliances treat tap water slowly and steadily. This small flow builds up in the tank for later use. It is possible to draw water from the reservoir faster than it can fill. While this won't happen often with average use, it is possible when using large amounts of water. Please feel free to contact your local Water Factory Representative if you have questions concerning usage. back to top

How much water do the 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis systems provide?
The amount of water produced depends on factors such as water pressure, water quality and water temperature. Under most conditions typically found in a community water supply, the Water Factory Systems Drinking Water Appliances should supply between three (3) and ten (10) gallons of high quality drinking water each day. back to top

What happens to all the organic and inorganic impurities removed by 3M Water Factory's Reverse Osmosis systems?
They are automatically rinsed from the membrane surface and washed down the drain. Unlike filters that trap impurities, the membrane used in the 3M Water Factory Systems Drinking Water Appliances is self-cleaning. As water flows across the membrane, it becomes divided into two streams. The production stream is the purified water that is forced through the membrane by diffusion. The impurities are left behind. The concentrate stream serves as a rinse that carries those impurities off the membrane surface and into a drain. As a result, accumulation of impurities on the membrane is slow, keeping it clean and effective over time. back to top

How much water is used to insure there is no buildup of toxic organic and inorganic impurities on the membrane?
The 3M Water Factory Systems Drinking Water Appliances are the most efficient systems of those incorporating self-cleaning membranes. Under-the-Counter systems are also equipped with an Automatic Shut Off Valve which stops processing water when the storage tank is full.

Other systems use as much as 15 gallons of tap water to process each gallon of water for drinking. Only 3 to 4 gallons of water are required to process each gallon of 3M Water Factory Systems water. This amounts to a mere trickle that carries impurities to drain. The use of a concentrate stream may increase an average family's water bill by 25 to 75 cents per month. Many concerned families consider this a small fraction of total water usage and a small price to pay for all of the high quality water they will be enjoying. back to top

Phone: 904-708-5943
Email: mchapinh2o@gmail.com

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