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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

Water Softener Jacksonville FL

Water Softener Jacksonville FL

There is a lot to be said about Jacksonville’s hard water supply and in this segment, we will look at; why use a water softener in Jacksonville FL, what kinds of water softeners in Jacksonville FL exist and how they differ.

North East Florida sits atop a huge mineral deposit made primarily of limestone. Water is the universal solvent and can dissolve almost anything including limestone which consists of calcium and magnesium minerals. These minerals are dissolved into solution and exist in the form of a positively charged ion which upon entering your home bind to everything they can causing limes build up and appliance/ fixture damage. While some moderate levels of hard water could be tolerated by most the excessively high levels of hard water in Jacksonville FL warrant the use of a special appliance referred to as a water softener. A water softener uses a special filtration media called resin to remove the hard water ions before they enter your home thus producing “soft water”. With soft water, it would be impossible to have the symptoms of hard water because there would be no hardness minerals left in the water supply. Many Jacksonville FL residents conclude the benefits of installing a water softener system far out way the costs associated with installing a water softener in Jacksonville FL.

There are primarily two venues to purchase a water softener in Jacksonville FL that we will briefly touch on.

1.      Store bought systems. Do it yourself? Not so fast. Many people see low priced water softeners in Jacksonville FL at the big box retail stores. While considering this option is important to consider the following questions: Who installs the system and how much will that cost? Who fixes it when it breaks or needs service? The natural answer would be, well Home Depot right after all that is where I bought the system. That answer would be wrong the Home Depot will not install the system on maintain it when service issues arise, after all they don’t even stock the parts so that repairs could be carried out by you or others. This is usually more than most home owners are bargaining for when searching for a water softener in Jacksonville FL.

 

2.      Full Service Quality Water Dealer. Quality water dealer…not all dealers who refer to themselves as a quality water dealer produce a service that customers would refer to as quality. In the day of the internet and online reviews everywhere it’s easy to weed out the bad ones. With a little searching, you can easily uncover if the company has a history of less than honest business practices. There are plenty of, what we call, scams from companies promising a $50 gift card in exchange for allowing them to test your water. Unfortunately, these sales “demonstrations” usually take up to 2-3 hours of your time and cost $4K-$7K for a water softener, which is shocking to me and most others. And if you don’t buy? Out come all the cheesy sales tactics, phone calls to managers and you guessed it no $50 gift card. However, with a quick internet search these experiences can easily be avoided. To make it even easier for you these types of companies usually will interrupt you by knocking on your door or calling you on the phone. So, if you learn of a company selling water softeners in Jacksonville FL through solicitation there is a good chance you will not be happy with the sales practices or service after the sale per online reviews.

There are however reputable dealers who sell quality systems at reasonable prices and provide customer support.

 

Not that I want you looking around because we are the best there is in North East Florida but there are some reputable dealers that I would purchase with, if I weren’t in the business.

 

Our estimates are free and easy to schedule. Working around your schedule we can accommodate weekday evenings or weekends takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

 

Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

Water Softener Jacksonville FL Estimates

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Residential Water Softener How To's-Adding Salt

Residential Water Softener How To's-Adding Salt

Most people that purchase a residential water softener in Jacksonville FL are doing so for the very first time. Therefore they know little about how a water softener works or what kind of maintenance that a water softeners need. In this post we will discuss what kind of maintenance water softeners need.

Salt is the only ongoing upkeep your water softener requires. You never have to change the salt; you simply add it as needed. Just like your car uses gas so the water softener uses salt. The amount of salt you use will be according to your amount of water consumption and how hard the water is at your home.  

When Do I Add More Salt?

Salt can be added as much as you like. Some people prefer to add a bag a month just to make sure that their system has salt. Others, like me, fill it all the way to the top to reduce the frequency of servicing the system. But when you look in the salt pot and see only water it’s time to add a bag or two. The goal is to keep the salt above the water level so that the salt looks dry. This assures a maximum concentration of sodium and thus nice soft water.

Three Phases Of Salt Consumption

Salt Pot Full

Salt Pot HalfSalt Pot Empty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase One-Full Salt Pot 

This is a salt pot that is completely full. I fill my salt pot all the way to the top like this one 2 to 3 time per year, that’s it. (note: individual results WILL vary. Water softeners use salt based on usage. So if your home uses more water the water softener will use more salt. If you use less water the water softener will use less salt.) The point made with this picture is that you dont have to add salt all the time or every month if you dont have the time to do so. Water softener salt pots usually hold between 200 and 300 pounds of salt which will give you some wiggle room when servicing.  

Phase Two-Half Full Salt Pot

As the salt is consumed the salt level will become lower and lower. Eventually it will be low enough that the salt level will begin to submerge beneath the water like this. This is a good time to add some salt. 

Phase Three-Empty Salt Pot             

At this phase the salt pot will be mostly empty with nothing but water inside. Salt should be added immediately to assure soft water for your home. If you run out of salt you run out of soft water.                         

Where Do I Buy Water Softener Salt In Jacksonville FL?

Salt is for sale almost everywhere. Publix, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco…etc. It’s called water softener salt or solar salt. You simply need Water Softener Solar Salt. Like anything there is usually a generic type brand and a name brand of salt on the shelf. At Publix you will find.

Publix stores in Jacksonville FL:

40 lbs Sun Gems                                               $4.99-$5.99

40 lbs Morton’s                                                  $5.99-$6.99

Does it matter if I use salt pellets or salt crystals?

No. It has no bearing on the function of the water softener as what form of salt is in the tank. Salt pellets or salt crystals is a preference. Some of the salt brands claim a longer water softener life if you use their brand; however that claim is very difficult to prove.

What about salt with rust remover in it?

Also on the shelf is a bag of salt that costs a little more that has a rust remover additive. This additive is a cleaner that helps the water softener resin stay clean when it is removing iron in addition to hard water. So this type of salt product is not needed on city water in Jacksonville FL. Our city water is very hard but it does not have iron in it so therefore you don’t need the rust remover salt. Rust remover salt is for water softeners installed on private well water. 

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How To Double The Life Of A Residential Soft Water System

Residential Water Softener-How To's

Have you ever purchased an appliance, electronic or other product where the selling company tried to tack on a “replacement warranty” at the conclusion of the purchase? Me to, sometimes I purchase the additional coverage other times I do not. It does however seem to dampen my purchase enthusiasm for the new product, computer, I Pad…Etc., and leaves me asking is this product going to let me down? Residential water softeners are fantastic appliances that protect your homes plumbing system from hard water damage and reduces the amount of detergents needed for the laundry and dishwasher, which saves you money. And if you apply one simple step (pre-filtration) to your homes soft water system you will easily double the life of the water softener, not through additional warranty cost’s but through the application of sound water treatment fundamentals.  

Water Softener Cost’s

Ok, in this segment I will outline the costs associated with purchasing a residential water softener to illustrate how simple it is to protect your investment (not argue if purchasing one or the other is better/worse).

Store bought units: Total Cost $1000-$2000

Because these systems don’t include installation you have to pay separate for the installation and depending on the plumbing analysis from your homes plumbing, sometimes the cost can exceed the cost of the water softener itself.

Whole Sale Units: Total Cost $1200-$1600

Prices usually include installation and quality of these systems are considered standard grade.

Premium Units: Total Cost $1800-$2400

Most not all in this segment are built to last 2 to 3 times that of standard grade units.

So you see no matter which venue you chose for your homes water treatment needs you will have a significant investment. So why not protect it with sound water treatment fundamentals of pre-filtration? You see a whole house filtration system doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and can be applied to any water softener system, new or existing. By installing, what we call, a Big Boy 20” carbon pre-filtration system you accomplish two things.

Pre-Filtration Accomplishes 2 ThingsPentek 150236 Filter

Keeps Chlorine out of the Water Softener

Keeps Fine Sediment out of the Water Softener

Chlorine is detrimental to many of the soft water systems internal parts and will cause resin failure (the heart of the softener) in a relatively short amount of time compared to its expected life. Chlorine is an oxidizer and will work against the critical parts of the soft water system so if you remove the chlorine before the softening process you will easily double the life of the softener. Fine sediment also works against you. Over the year’s fine sediment can block orifices and cause mechanical problems inside the water softeners control valve. The control valve facilitates how often the system will regenerate, counts how much water you are using and regulates the use of salt in the system. Think of fine sediment as debris that can cause your car’s engine performance to suffer. A pre-filter will help.

Is a Pre-Filter Expensive?

No. Our company can provide a whole house pre-filter to your softening system for around $379 parts and labor. It’s a simple cartridge based system and as long as you use the right cartridge the system is very easy to maintain, simple and cost effective.

Summary

When you compare the cost of replacement warranties with the sound water treatment fundamental of pre-filtration it makes more sense to purchase a pre-filtration system versus the extra warranty. 

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How to Find The Right Water Softener System For Your Needs

How to Find The Right Water Softener System For Your Needs

Best Water Softener = Best Water Softener for YOUR needs

The internet offers a lot of opinions and information about hard water softeners. If you are unfamiliar with water softeners then you may find a lot of conflicting data or analysis regarding what kind/ type of water softener is right for your needs. This is because water chemistry, and plumbing codes differ from area to area, state to state. Using a well established highly reputable LOCAL water company is your best bet for both product application and customer support. 

 

Three Water Softener Options 

1. Store Bought Systems; Lowest Price = Cheapest Quality, No Customer Support

Known as more of a DIY type water system these low priced, store bought units are competitive on price only. If things like quality, efficientcy, and customer support are important to you than this would not be a good option. 

 

Let's say You and I want to start a water sotening company and our business plan is to simply provide the lowest priced system to a acheive a low resistance price. First we would have to manufature a water softener system not using premium quality components, things like water softener resin, tanks, and valves, but by using the lowest cost components available to us. And common sense would say that this type of system would not last as long as a premium build system, that's why the water softeners at Home Depot and Lowes only come with a 1 year parts and labor warranty. Poorly made store bought units offer the least amount of warranty and customer support and are regarded in the industry as a throw away type water softener. For example the Home Depot and Lowes don't have service vans with water softener technicians on staff who can provide you product support for this type of purchase. 

 

2. Wholesale Resellers; One Person Business = Limited Support, not always most competitiveOne Person Business priced. 

A common business model that is practiced with in the water business is the single person style business. Often times these businesses use the simplest means to organize, ficticous name registration, carry no insurance and are unsure how to provide customer support down the road. We will talk about the insurance side of things later but for now let's look at the products these businesses provide. 

 

Flecks, Clacks, and Autotrol's are the wholesale brands of choice for these businesses because these manufacturers don't require any minimums to purchase, you can buy one or two at a time. Instead of buying direct from Clack for example One Person Water Businesses by from a middle man, a plumbing supplier. While the quality of these products should outperform the previous segment, store bought units, they often do not. You see the One Person Business may decide to build their systems with the lowest quality grade water softener tanks and water softener resin media. After all if all their location is a PO BOX and nothing more then chances are they are not going to invest in a more costly water softener since their only chance of making sales is to undercut the market. The water softening resin media is the heart of the water system and most plumbing suppliers only carry cheap resin's manufactured overseas, to save on money. We have seen these cheap water softener resin media in Jacksonville FL fail after a few short years! If you had to change your softeners resin media every 3-4 years that would get expensive really quick but that' the risk you run when buying from a One Person Business. 

 

Insurance Risk let the buyer beware. When a homeowner in the State Of Florida hires a water softener company to install a hard water softener the homeowner assumes all liability for physical or property damage potentially caused by the company. That's right, if the One Person Business installs a water softener and either hurts hisself or a leak causes damage to your home then you will pay the medical bills and home repairs if they don't carry insurance. To protect yourself make sure a company shows you these 3 insurances, Commercial Auto, Workers Compensation, and General Liabililty. Each time a business cuts or refuses to carry one of these it increases the risk that you will assume. 

 

Lastly, One Person Businesses often struggle to provide product and customer support. Common sense would tell us if the installer was the person who sold you the water softener, who is also the service technician, and the office manager; then chances are obtaining service will be slow and unreliable if service is provided at all. A lot of One Person Water Businesses are simply in it for the sale and nothing more. And if you tried to find them for service needs i guess you could stop by their PO BOX. 

 

3. Premium National Brands; Best Value and Best Customer Support

Dealing with a local water dealer who has the backing of a national reputable brand can be a great asset to you. Costing on a bit more than segment #2 One Person Businesses, the quality and customer support will more than out weigh the cost of purchasing from a company like ours. 

 

Insurance. Did you Know? Most national brands audit their dealers annually for customer service reviews and insurances. That's right before a national brand will grace a business to use their products they have checks and balances to help protect themselves as well as provide protection for you the end user. For Example, we carry max limits on general liability, workers comp. and commercial auto as a requirement of doing buisess. 

 

Products. Our Hellenbrand product line exceeds the quality of wholesale brands by a mile. On average Hellenbrand water softeners are 30% more efficient than standard brands, and last 4 times as long. Hellenbrand has over 250 dealers nationwide and each one was personally interviewed before access to the products were allowed. A national brand has more money for research and development and this focus will result in a premium build water softener that last's and last's. I can't think of one national premium brand that will allow their products to be distributed through a One Person Business that has a PO BOX for an address.

 

VIEW OUR RESIDENTIAL WATER SOFTENERS HERE

 

Pricing. A note here on pricing. Jacksonville Fl Water Softeners that are made and distributed in this segment differ in price greatly. Because the water systems are significantly better than segment 2, wholesale brands, a lot of dealers will attempt to price their systems very high and play pushy sales games when selling to the public. Companies like Culligan Water, Rainsoft, WET Avanta pure, all start thousands of dollars higher than what the actual price is and then they walk you down from there. Their idea, not our idea, is to make as much money off of you as possible. I was recently with a cusomter who sought purchase a Culligan system that included a water softener and a reverse osmosis drinking water system, the salesman started at $5800 and after a hour of back and forth he dropped $2000 off that price and the homeowner threw him out. Similar games are played by Rainsoft and WET Avanta pure. If you have had an experience like this we would love a chance to provide a second opinion.

The mission of our company is to provide Great Water Softeners, Common Sense prices.  We don't play games and we don't need two hours to provide a estimate. Our site visits are usually 20-30 minutes in length, polite efficient and curteous is how we roll. 

 

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Increased Water Heating Cost Associated With Hard Water

According to energy.gov your water heater accounts for up to 18% of your utility bill. Today we discuss the effects that extremely hard water has not only the life expectancy of water heaters but the ongoing heating costs. In Jacksonville Fl hard water effects both gas and electric water heaters causing premature failure problems as well as increased amounts of energy needed to keep the water heated.

Hard water in Jacksonville FL is a big problem for water heaters as well as other appliances. Calcium and Magnesium minerals from deep in the Floridian Aquifer are pumped up from underground and distributed into our homes via our local municipalities. These minerals are initially dissolved in solution and invisible, however when your water comes into contact with oxygen and heat these minerals turn into their solid state which is limestone. (In case you were wondering why it is so difficult to clean your kitchens and bathrooms it’s because you have to remove the limestone build up which is like cleaning off concrete from your surfaces.) Hard water build up inside water heaters makes them extremely inefficient because the scale build up insulates the heating elements thus insulating them which requires more energy to heat through the scale. Think of it as placing a ¼” thick piece of concrete over your stove and then trying to cook something. Eventually it will heat your pots and pans to cooking temperatures but it will waste a lot of energy in the process. It’s the same with water heaters.

3 Primary Water Heaters in Jacksonville FL homes are Electric, Tank less, and Gas. Studies show that Electric Water heaters use 50% more energy, Gas Water Heaters use 30% more energy and Tank Less water heaters use 10% more energy to heat hard water versus soft water.

 

Estimated Electric Water Heater CostELECTRIC WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$555 estimated annual heating costs X 50% = $832.50                      Increase of $277.50 per year

 

 

Tankless Water Heater Estimated CostTANK LESS WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$482 estimated annual heating costs X 10% = $530.20                      Increase of $48.20 per year

Note: Tank Less water heaters require an annual maintenance to remove/descale hard water build up. Most Plumbers charge $185 per year for this service.       

                          

gas estimated energyGAS WATER HEATERS ENERGY USAGE

$233 estimated annual heating cost X 30% = $302.90                        Increase of $69.90 per year
 

Higher heating costs and increased maintenance charges are all apart of having hard water, a problem that is easily fixed with a water softener. But water heaters are not the only appliances that are affected by hard water, dishwashers, icemakers, coffee makers, washing machines, irons, all show a remarkable decrease in life span and poor performance when used with hard water. Water Softeners in Jacksonville FL is a simple permanent solution to hard water problems and in most cases, depending on who you buy a water softener from, will pay for themselves in a relatively short amount of time.  

*Water heater average annual heating cost’s noted above are from AO Smiths web site.

*Energy usage averages are from a University of New Mexico study on hard water.

*Tank less water heater service noted above is from a local plumbing company

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