Frequently Asked Questions
At American Water, our Austin water softener and filter specialists understand how important water quality is to home and business owners alike. As such, we carry a full line of high-quality Kinetico products from which we can customize a water treatment solution for your home or business. We realize that many Austin-area residents probably have questions about how these products may improve the quality of their water. To help address these questions, we’ve compiled the following list of some of the questions we are asked most frequently, along with their answers.
To learn more about the full line of Kinetico products we carry, or to schedule a free water analysis with one of our Austin water filter specialists, feel free to call us today at (512) 388-0022.
What is the difference between soft and hard water?
Hard water is water that has not been treated. It contains certain minerals like calcium and magnesium. Soft water, on the other hand, is water that does not contain any minerals other than sodium. Soft water may be naturally occurring, such as rainwater, or may result from treating hard water with filtration systems that remove potentially harmful minerals. Hard water is associated with a number of health issues like cardiovascular and reproductive health problems.
How do I know if my water has been contaminated?
Water must be officially tested for specific minerals and contaminants in order to determine if the water has been contaminated. However, certain warning signs that can signal contaminants may be present and can help you determine if your water needs to be tested or treated. These warning signs differ based on which contaminant is present in your water. For example, if your water tastes metallic, it may have certain metals in it, such as iron, copper, or zinc. Other potential warning signs include an earthy taste to your water, having cloudy or murky water, or the presence of rust stains in your bathroom, which may all be indicative of water contaminants. If you would like a free water analysis, please contact American Water at (512) 388-0022 today.
Why do I need a water softener system if my drinking water comes from the city?
Although water providers like the city are required to test their water for certain contaminants, there are often still contaminants present in the water by the time it reaches your home. Cities help to reduce contaminants in water, but they are often unable to ensure that your water is completely contaminant free, which may cause domestic water issues. As a way to combat these contaminants, many homeowners decide to add a water softener system to their homes to ensure their drinking water is safe from contaminants and may be readily used for a variety of household purposes. If you are interested in having a water softener system installed, or if you have any more questions about these systems, please contact American Water at (512) 388-0022.
How can I tell what contaminants are in my water?
If you would like to discover what exactly is in your household’s water supply, one of our Austin water softener and filtration specialists can perform a free water analysis for you. Among the most common contaminants in any Austin-area water supply are chlorine and dissolved minerals (causing hard or cloudy water). Once one of our Austin water softener and filter specialists determine which contaminants, if any, are present in your water, he or she can recommend one of our Kinetico products that is sure to improve the quality of your water.
What does a water softener system do?
Water softener systems can remove nearly all of the dissolved minerals that cause hard water. Once one of our Austin water softener specialists determines the exact hardness of your water, he or she will be able to recommend one of our Kinetico water softener systems that will be able to meet your particular needs. Commonly it is calcium, magnesium, or iron that causes water to be hard and these items may be present whether your water is supplied by a well or local municipality. To learn more about our Kinetico water softener systems, please contact one of our Austin water softener specialists today.
Can I find a water softener and filtration system that fits my budget?
In most cases, one of our Austin water softener and filter specialists will be able to help you customize a home water treatment system that fits both your needs and budget. We carry a number of different water softener and filtration solutions that may be tailored to the exact needs of your Austin-area business or residence. Depending upon the needs of your company or household, a dedicated drinking water filtration system may be preferential to a whole-house water filtration system. If you would like to learn more about your options, contact one of our Austin water softener and filter experts today.
What are the negative effects of hard water?
Hard water is usually rich in dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, or iron, and can have a number of adverse effects. Depending upon how hard your water is—something one of our Austin water softener specialists can determine for you— these adverse effects can be quite substantial. Aside from damaging your hair and skin, hard water can cause considerable damage to household appliances that use water. Additionally, hard water can damage your glass- and silverware, your clothing, and sink and bath basins. One of our Austin water softener specialists can help you determine how a Kinetico water softening system may benefit you and your household.
How long will it take to get a water treatment system installed?
Depending on which Kinetico water treatment system you choose, installation may be more or less time consuming. To better understand exactly how long some of our more involved water treatment systems may take to install, contact one of our Austin water softener and filter specialists. By doing so, we can discuss your particular concerns and needs and help you customize a solution from our line of Kinetico products. Once your water treatment needs have been determined by one of our Austin water softener and filter specialists, installation may include anything from a simple installation of Kinetico’s Bottleless Water Cooler to a far more comprehensive water treatment system.
I just want a water filtration system for my tap water, what are my options?
If you need a water filtration system, we have many options that would fit a variety of needs. We can set up water filtration for a single tap or even install a system that provides your entire house with clean, filtered water. Whatever you want from your home water distribution system, our specialists will help you craft a system that is optimized for you.
Why do municipalities put chlorine in the water?
Since around the mid 19th century, chlorine has been used as a means to improve public health—chlorine kills otherwise dangerous bacteria in both the water and pipes used to transport it. As such, chlorine plays a central and critical role in maintaining public health in most cities. However, once a water supply has reached your house, there isn’t really any need for it to be in your drinking water any more. While it certainly doesn’t hurt you to drink your water without removing the chlorine, it sure does taste a lot better when you do.
Why does my water have a sort of metallic taste to it?
When water has a metallic taste to it, it’s typically because there actually are metallic particles in the water. While iron and manganese are naturally found in groundwater, when minerals like copper and zinc are found in an individual’s water supply, it is typically because of an aging water distribution system. In any case, our water specialists would be happy to come out to your home and perform a free diagnostic test to determine what contaminants may be present in your water. From there, we can offer you several filtration options for clean-tasting water.
What characterizes “hard” water?
For water to be considered “hard,” it must contain unusually high levels of dissolved minerals—typically, minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron. Hard water is not uncommon; it is estimated that nearly 85 percent of the fresh water in the United States is hard water. However, there are a number communities in the Central Texas area with water supplies that are considered to be “extremely hard” by the Water Quality Association. Information on what’s in Austin’s water, for example, is available here. If you’re interested in saying goodbye to hard water, set up an appointment with our water filtration specialists today.
Why does my water have an earthy, musty taste?
Typically, an earthy taste or odor is associated with the presence of a number of algae, or, more accurately, the compound released by any decaying vegetation in your water supply. While the taste and odor of water containing these compounds can be highly undesirable even at very low concentrations, it is completely non-toxic. In any case, this taste and odor may be completely removed from your water so that your water will again—if not for the first time—be just as pure and refreshing as you think it should taste and smell.
Why does my water appear to be cloudy?
If your water appears to be grayish, murky, cloudy, or in any way discolored, it is typically because it contains high levels of dissolved particles—a condition known as turbidity. Very often, turbidity occurs naturally in a water supply or, in some cases, it may otherwise be cause by land disturbances caused by storms, construction, or urban runoff. However, it is worthy to note that even water that appears to be clear may actually contain a high concentration of dissolved particles and, thereby, be just as turbid as cloudy water. With that in mind, it is important that you have your water supply tested in order to determine its turbidity.
Do I need a water filtration system for my well?
Depending upon the region and community you live in, the water you pull from your well may need to be both filtered and softened. If, for instance, your water contains naturally occurring traces of sulfur, it may need to be filtered so that it neither smells nor tastes of sulfur—which smells like a rotten egg. More likely, you will need to have your water softened, as central Texas is known to have some of the hardest water in the country. Whatever your exact needs are, one of our Austin water filtration and softener specialists will be able to help you put together a system that meets each and every one of your needs from our full line of Kinetico well water filtration and softener products.
Why are there rust-orange stains in my sinks and bathtubs?
Rust-orange and black staining in bathtubs and sinks is most likely indicative of dissolved iron and manganese in your household’s water supply. As a natural solvent, water will dissolve just about anything it comes into contact with given the requisite amount of time. When iron and manganese deposits come into contact with a water supply, they will dissolve and leave that rust-orange or black residue on your household appliances, clothes, and anything else it comes into sustained contact with. This can be remedied with a water filtration system that will stop these dissolved minerals from every reaching your appliances or anything else in your house.
What’s a Bottleless Water Cooler?
As indicated, you will never need to lift one of those cumbersome 5-gallon water bottles on top of a water cooler again, since our Bottleless Water Coolers provide clean, fresh-tasting water on an on-demand basis by filtering your household’s or company’s own water supply. This can be a perfect solution for home or business owners who are not willing to invest in a more comprehensive water filtration system, but who still want pure, pristine water. If you’re interested in learning more about our Kinetico Bottleless Water Coolers, one of our Austin water filtration specialists would be happy to help.
Why is there a build up of residue in my sink and shower hardware?
If you have found unsightly white or brown residue on your faucet or shower head, this is the common result of hard water. Hard water contains minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, that collect over time on your faucets, tubs, and tiles. These mineral deposits can leave your showers and sinks looking old and warn. Furthermore, mineral deposits are not harmful, but buildup can result in lasting consequences, especially if it begins to build up within your pipes. In order to combat this hard water issue for good, investing in a water softener system is often a wise choice.
Are Kinetico water systems environmentally friendly?
Yes, the products we offer at American Water not only are energy efficient, but also allow you to enjoy quality drinking water without constantly using plastic bottles. Plastic bottles have been consistently linked to environmental hazards such as waste, pollution, and depletion of natural resources. In fact, bottles used to package water can take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. Our Kinetico systems help you lessen your environmental footprint, and they also use less energy to operate. Rather than using electricity, our newer Kinetico products are engineered with environmentally conscious technologies – they use the energy generated from moving water to create a patented “unplugged” approach.
Why is water testing important?
Water quality is a top-priority in many homes – we drink it and bathe in it everyday. In fact, we place such an importance on water quality at American Water that we offer free water testing, so you can know as much about the water running through your premises as possible. Water testing can advise you of all possible contaminants in your water that you may not have ever known otherwise. While many water issues are easily detectable, there are other issues that can seem completely invisible to a home or business owner in Austin. A free water analysis can determine exactly what is coming through your faucet so you are more informed about what you’re drinking and exposing yourself to.
Is softened water safe to drink?
After water is softened, it still contains naturally-existing elements that we need. Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium contents that cause “hard water” problems, while adding some sodium. It is safe to drink and will improve the negative side effects of hard water. If you are experiencing a hard water problem, an Austin water softener specialist with American Water can provide a free analysis of your water and find the solution that works best for you.
How much sodium is in the water after it is softened?
That first depends on the hardness of your water. When an Austin water specialist from American Water runs a water analysis on your water supply, they will be able to tell how thoroughly your water needs to be cleaned. Salt is then used in the softening process to restore the water to a more pure state, free of minerals that can cause negative side effects on your appliances and drink-ware.
Can one water filtration system treat my whole house?
Yes. When a Kinetico water filtration system is installed by American Water, it eliminates the impurities from your outside water supply to your house. These systems don’t treat individual sinks or showers, rather they are a single or double-tank solution to filter your entire home’s water supply. American Water offers a wide variety of filtration systems to treat various common problems that can be found in your water. An Austin water filtration specialist can help you determine which water system will work best for you and your home or business.
Is there a generic water test that will test my water for everything?
Every unwanted mineral or contaminant in your water must be tested for individually. Although public water sources are regularly screened for commonly occurring contaminants, your particular residential or commercial water source can still contain a variety of contaminants that cause unwanted results in your water, like staining or unpleasant odors and tastes. A water specialist with American Water can provide a free water analysis on your water source to determine what contaminants, if any, are in your water source. From there, we can present you with a range of water treatment options that work best for your budget.
What does the City of Austin test for in water?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. requires that all water providers release a Drinking Water Quality Report annually so citizens are more informed about their tap water and what quality it is at. The City of Austin must meet both state and national quality standards that regulate public water sources. The EPA requires each water plant to test as many as 97 contaminants in the water. However, even when a water source has safe levels of contaminants, there could still be an imbalance in a certain mineral when it finally reaches your faucets.
Can I disinfect my water on my own?
There are a few general methods that can be used to disinfect water, however these would be impractical to use on a regular basis if your entire water supply to your home is affected. Small quantities of water can be treated by boiling or chemical treatments as a quick, short-term solution. In order to sensibly address a water issue within your entire water supply, it would be wise to contact an Austin water specialist.