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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

What's Wrong With My Dishwasher?

What’s wrong with my dishwasher?

About twice a week I meet people who are very frustrated that their expensive new dishwasher is producing such poor results. At $1000 or more for some dishwasher models you would expect to have a pretty fantastic result when washing the dishes. Well I understand your frustration and want you to know that you are not alone. The new high end dishwashers are great appliances with lots of great benefits to using them. However when hard water is running through the dishwasher you end up with the film, spots and build up on everything. Your dishwasher is working properly and is not in need of repair. And it doesn’t need a more expensive soaps or extra rinse aid products. It simply needs soft water.CAM00035

The newer dishwashers heat to higher temperatures than older models. High heat can be a great benefit it’s a non-chemical way to sanitize the dishes. In fact most restaurants are required to wash their dishes at temperatures above 140 degrees to sanitize them. However these high temperatures don’t mix well with hard water.Hard water occurs naturally when water flowing in rivers, streams and even through underground channels, comes in contact with the rock in the Earth's crust. Water then dissolves the hardness minerals into solution. When they come into your home they mix with oxygen or heat this causes the hardness minerals to precipitate to its solid form. Heat greatly accelerates the precipitation rate of hardness minerals and that’s why some dishwashers in our area look like this after just a few months.

The use of more soaps and rinse aids unfortunately won’t solve your problem. The only way to truly achieve spot free dishes and get the most out of your dishwasher is to improve the water that it uses. With soft water you will experience dishes that come out free of hard water film and no white residue in the dishwasher itself. You will be amazed at the difference of your results even by using only a fraction of the soaps/rinse aids you previously used.

A quick word on Dishwasher detergents.

Some, not all, dishwasher detergents will cause etching if you overuse with soft water. Soft water is incredibly more efficient than hard water and will only require roughly 1 tablespoon of detergent per load of dishes. However some detergents, not all, include certain ingredients that if overused will cause etching with soft water. We use the natural soap brands like Seventh Generation or Shaklee and we have fantastic results. You can use whichever soaps you like to use just make sure you are not overusing, by using as directed, and you won’t have a problem.

Let me know if you have any questions about this topic I would be happy to help.


Brad Berdon


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Adding Salt to a Water Softener

Most people that purchase a 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.

Full salt potThis 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. 



 As the salt is consumed the salt level will become lower and lower. Eventually it will be low enough that the salt level willCAM00018 begin to submerge beneath the water like this. This is a good time to add some salt.



 This is what a empty salt pot looks like with very little to no salt 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.                         

empty salt pot





Where Do I Buy Salt?

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.


40 lbs Sun Gems                                               $4.99

40 lbs Morton’s                                               $4.99-$5.99


40 lbs Salt Pellets                                              $4.39 (The best deal I have found)

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. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 


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Soft Water and the Silky Feel

silkDid you know the number one objection to installing a water softener is the silkier feeling that soft water produces while bathing. I meet people all the time that allow hard water to destroy their water heaters, shower doors, dishwashers, granite counters, faucets and more. And the only reason why is because they did not want the slippery feeling associated with soft water. Well friends you’re in luck. At Florida Water Technologies Inc. you can have your cake and eat it too. If you (or your spouse) are one of those who objects to soft water only because of the slippery feeling we can help. We can custom blend our water softeners in such a way that will provide you softened water without the slippery sensation in the shower. But first let’s take a look at the differences of bathing in hard water versus soft water.   

Bathing in Hard Water

Hardness minerals react with the fatty acid component of soap to form what we call soap scum. (Looks like this: 2 C17H35COO-Na+ + Ca2+  (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na+) When bathing in hard water you are actually coating your skin and hair with soap scum. That is why hard water produces an un-slippery feeling. Thus hard water needs large amounts of soap to form a lather, and in hair washing, the soap scum sticks in the hair. The use of synthetic detergents tends to alleviate the abrasive feeling of bathing in hard water. However the last thing we need is more chemicals in our lives. Soap scum on shower tiles and vinyl shower curtains have been reported to constitute a rich microbial biofilm. That is why some customers have less of that orange/pinkish bacteria in the shower after they install a water softener.  

Bathing in Soft Water

Bathing in soft water feels silkier for a couple of reasons. First, soap lathers better in soft water than in hard water, so it's easy to use too much. Second, soft water is literally the opposite of hard water which does not create soap scum film. Without the hard water minerals, soft water rinses the soaps and detergents from our bodies, hair and clothes much more efficiently. This leaves our pores unclogged, allowing moisture to be absorbed, and with softer, healthier skin. And with the pores on your skin unclogged your body oils can do the job they are intended for. That is why people that struggle with dry skin conditions love soft water. Skin that feels itchy, tight, or ashy will improve by switching from hard to soft water.

What we recommend

Try soft water for a month to see how your body adjusts to regular exposure. You may become used to the silkier feeling just like you are used to the abrasive hard water un-slippery feeling. Avoid soaps that use a moisture additive and stick with a good old basic soap. Also, reduce the amount of soaps and shampoo that you use in the shower.

How to achieve soft water without the slippery feeling.

Our secret to achieving softened water without the slippery feeling was first discovered when I read the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just kidding, however we can provide softened water that protects your homes plumbing system without the slippery feeling. From time to time we have a customer request that we adjust the water to alleviate the slippery feeling. We will then tweak the system to achieve a more acceptable balance. As to how do we do that? Give us a call I would be glad to tell you.

In conclusion, some of our customers start out determined that they too will not like the silkier softened water. But after they try it, they find that they actually do like green eggs and ham.

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Soft Water Works Harder

People go through great lengths to have spotless dishes and clean bathrooms. Even with expensive soaps and high end appliances it’s common to still have spots on the dishes and film in the bathroom. The problem is not the soap or the appliances, it’s the water.

One area especially problematic is the shower door. With a large surface area shower doors are a continuous problem area that are nearlyBlevins Duplex Before  6-2011 impossible to keep clean. I have read several online forums where people are trying to achieve and maintain a clean shower door. Other forum members would chime in with suggestions ranging from squeegee after every shower, to scrape off soap scum residue with a flat razor blade (be careful!), and one person even suggested buffing the door with compound called cerium oxide and a high speed buffer. Seriously, a high speed buffer? Sounds like a lot of work.

The secret to achieving clean and spotless kitchens and bathrooms in the greater Jacksonville area is to focus on the water that is running through your plumbing system. You see our water has some of the highest concentrations of calcium hardness minerals in the nation. These hardness minerals keep layering and layering our homes until everything has a foggy film that will not come off no matter how hard you clean. Even if you are able to clean the spots off completely, “guess what?” They will be back tomorrow. The film is a direct result of the hardness minerals that come from our water supply.  

fogged glassThe Ohio State University indicated that the time required for typical cleaning tasks was increased by almost 50 percent using hard water.

Water softeners work by removing these hardness minerals before they enter your home. Once you install a water softener you will achieve spot free kitchens and bathrooms with very little effort. We have lots of testimonials from customers that have had such amazing results by simply switching to soft water.

As long as Hard Water is mixing with the soaps and running through those nice appliances the problem of spots and film will continue.

A water softener is a permanent, low cost solution to your hard water problems. Give us a call today to set up your free, no hassle estimate.


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5 Star Customer Service!

Have a great experience buying a water softener.golden-rating-stars

We pride ourselves on providing great service before, during and after the sale. That’s why it brings us great pleasure to announce that Florida Water Technologies, Inc. has received 5 out of 5 stars over 21 customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau!  

The Better Business Bureau has long been known as a place where consumers could file an official complaint against a business. As of August of 2012 the BBB expanded their services to include customer reviews in addition to complaints. The BBB classifies reviews three ways, positive experience, neutral experience, or negative experience, and they are free to read. And since August of 2012 our customers have posted 21 out of 21 positive experience reviews (which is the most of any water softener company in North East Florida on the BBB) which earns 5 stars from the BBB. Each review the BBB receives goes through a 48 hour process to authenticate the review and compare IP addresses to confirm legitimacy.

We find that most people that purchase water softeners in our area are doing so for the first time and wouldn’t know how to go about checking the system. The other day I met with a gentleman who bought a Sears Kenmore water softener. When you buy from a big box retail store often times they sub-contract installers who didn’t sell you the water softener and aren’t motivated if the system works right or not, they get paid to cut and glue pipe. The system had been in his garage for an entire year and was plugged in. We tested the water inside his home and found it to be not working. Upon reviewing the installation/set up of the water softener I noticed the installer left the system in bypass, which is the off position for water softeners. Including the cost of the unit and the labor to install, he paid over $1000 for the Sears Kenmore that hadn’t worked since installed a year ago.

How we provide a great experience.

It all starts at the point of sale. We arrive on time and provide a no pressure, no hassle sales experience. Next we provide great water softeners, at common sense prices with a punctual and professional installation. Then we follow up every single water softener installation with our complimentary diagnostic and water test to guarantee results. The diagnostic includes:

·         Detailed water history report which shows your day by day consumption back to 63 days

·         Master history error check will show you if any error codes have flashed to the PC board

·         Peak rate of flow through the system-shows the system can handle your family/house size

·         Water test on hot/cold side to confirm consistent results

It’s important to us that our water softeners work effectively every time. And just in case something is not working right we will be there to correct the issue. We log all of your follow up information in our data base and can track your systems performance over the years.

We have all had the experience where the customer service stopped as soon as the check cleared the bank. And if you needed something you would have to call the customer service phone number (for English press #1) only to find people that may or may not be motivated to provide great service. That won’t happen with Florida Water Technologies, Inc.



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