6 Factors That Affect Your Water Quality

6 Factors That Affect Your Water Quality

It’s important to have clean, healthy water in your household or business, but many people are completely unaware of what really factors into water quality. Some of these variables are things you have some control over. Keeping the water you’re using and drinking as pure as possible should be the ultimate goal, and learning about the factors that affect its quality is a great first step towards achieving this end.

1. Pollution in Water Sources

Before your water ever makes its way to your home or business, it typically originates from a natural freshwater source in your area. Your water company pulls it from this source and then sends it your way. However, it’s entirely possible for these water sources to become polluted with substances like oil, grease, pesticides, detergents, trash, and much more. This is usually caused by people dumping these substances down storm drains or by using their toilets to flush things that they shouldn’t.

Water companies do make an effort to treat these water sources and neutralize this pollution, but these actions aren’t always completely effective. If you’re in an area where this type of pollution is more prominent, it’s going to negatively affect your water quality.

2. Your Water Usage

The amount of water used in your home or even your community can have a major effect on water quality. Unless you have a private well on your property, you are likely sharing your water supply with other households in your neighborhood. Typically, your home’s or your area’s sewage and wastewater treatment systems will only be equipped to effectively manage a certain amount of water usage.

When you’re going through more water than these systems are prepared for, it can result in more pollution ending up in your water. If your usage is negatively affecting your water quality, you’ll either want to slow down on that usage or invest in an upgrade for your sewage and/or wastewater treatment systems.

3. Sediment in the Water

Roughly 85% of homeowners in the United States live in areas where calcium and magnesium can be found in the water supply. These minerals are picked up by the water as it flows through the ground, and they can cause a lot of issues for your household and your personal health.

Water that contains these minerals is referred to as hard water, and it can be very damaging to your plumbing and appliances. This is because the magnesium and calcium get left behind in the form of scale buildup, which can cause clogs and damage to your pipes, dishwasher, laundry machine, and water heater.

This hard water is also bad for your hair, skin, and clothing. The minerals in the water remove the natural oil from your hair and skin, which causes it to feel dry, itchy, and irritated. Additionally, washing your clothes with this mineral-rich water will dull their color and, in some cases, even leave stains behind. The good news is that you can combat this issue in your home or business by investing in a water softening system. These systems are able to remove the ions of calcium and magnesium from your water and replace them with less-damaging ions.

4. Your Water Heater

The water heater is one appliance that many homeowners take for granted. However, if it’s not cared for properly, your water heater can cause certain bacteria to end up in your water supply.

For one thing, you should make a habit of draining your water heater at least once each year. This greatly reduces the chance of having a severe buildup of sediment or polluting bacteria. Going long stretches of time without using your water heater can result in microorganisms thriving as well, which can cause unfortunate odors and sometimes affect your water quality.

Water heaters have a component called an anode rod that is responsible for protecting the appliance from corrosion. If this part becomes worn out or defective, corrosion will start to develop. Over time, this corrosion can lead to rusting, which can result in bacteria ending up in your water supply.

One way to fight the development of bacteria in your water heater is to raise the water temperature. If you adjust the temperature to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it should help limit bacterial growth. It’s also a good idea to have a trained professional inspect and clean the appliance every couple of years.

5. Your Plumbing and Fixtures

The condition of your pipes and plumbing fixtures can also affect water quality. For one thing, any malfunction that occurs with your plumbing system can lead to worsened water quality.

If your plumbing is old and outdated, there’s a good chance it contains lead. Over time, and especially as your plumbing starts to deteriorate, unhealthy amounts of this lead can end up seeping into your water. If the water running through your pipes is acidic, that can also speed up the corrosion process and further increase the amount of lead that’s present.

However, it isn’t only lead plumbing fixtures that cause water pollution. In some cases, brass or chrome-plated faucets can cause your water to become contaminated as the metal gradually leaks into it. This contamination is usually negligible except for extreme cases. In general, having your pipes and other plumbing fixtures professionally inspected regularly is the best thing you can do to minimize this type of contamination.

6. Harmful Microorganisms

Although it’s not especially common, it is possible that your area’s water supply could contain certain harmful microorganisms. Although it’s far more likely when water isn’t being treated properly or consistently, certain bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella, and shigella, may be present. These microorganisms can result in very serious illnesses when they exist in your drinking water. I

f you or anyone else in your household is noticing symptoms like nausea or diarrhea, it could mean that these bacteria are present in your local water supply. This is one reason that many people choose to purchase water filtration systems for their homes and businesses. Even if your water supply isn’t treated well enough, a good water filter should be able to keep you from using or ingesting highly polluted water.

At Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air, we have been a reliable provider of plumbing, heating, cooling and indoor air quality services in the Sacramento, CA, area since 1976. We also offer a wide variety of other quality options, such as air purification, UV lights, boilers, ductwork, and more. Our technicians and plumbers go above and beyond to meet the individual needs of our customers. We are dedicated to offering comprehensive comfort services to the residents of our area, and you can trust our team for high-quality results, high-caliber products, and unbeatable customer service.

Call us up at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.

Is a Furnace or Heat Pump Better for Your Home?

Is a Furnace or Heat Pump Better for Your Home?

Are you considering replacing your furnace? If so, you have likely considered the pros and cons of getting a heat pump versus a furnace.

Heat pumps and furnaces are different heating systems for your home. A heat pump does not generate heat. Instead, it collects heat from outside and then distributes it inside. A furnace uses combustion to produce heat. You need to consider several factors, including the local climate and the size of your home, when determining if a heat pump or a furnace is right for you.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump is unique in that it is a dual-purpose system. During the winter, it will warm your home. However, you can use it to cool your home during the summer. Some units will use the existing air to exchange heat for cold in your home. Others operate using a geothermal system. They collect and redistribute heat from the earth into your home.

An air-source heat pump will have an outdoor and indoor unit. There is a refrigerant line that runs between the two units. The reverse valve lets the system change between being a heater and air conditioning unit.

During the hottest months of the year, your heat pump is like an air conditioner. When the temperature drops, the reversing valve allows it to pull heat energy from outdoor air and transform that into heat. This is possible because of pressurized refrigerant. A heat pump uses a cycle of condensation and evaporation. This happens inside the coils of the outdoor and indoor unit. Your heat pump effectively absorbs and transfers heat from one location to another.

How Does a Furnace Work?

A gas furnace uses burners, heat exchangers, a blower fan, and a flute to create heat for your home. When you increase the temperature on the thermostat, the gas furnace gets a signal telling it to send fuel to the burners in the combustion chamber.

The pilot light ignites the gas in the burners, creating heat that warms up the air in the heat exchanger. The blower will push the air from the heat exchanger into the air ducts, allowing it to travel throughout your home.

An electrical furnace works using a similar principle. However, instead of a pilot light igniting the fuel, an electrical ignition lights electrical coils. It is similar to what happens when you push down the lever on your toaster. When activated, the electrical coils heat up. This increases the air temperature in the heat exchanger. A blower sends the air into your HVAC vents, so the warm air is distributed throughout your home.

The question that many homeowners have is what system will work better for them. The truth is there are many pros and cons to installing a furnace or a heat pump.

Comfort

At the end of the day, when you turn on your furnace, you want your home to be as comfortable as possible. The heat produced by a furnace is going to be hotter and drier. Both gas and electric furnaces will maintain a consistent temperature regardless of the outdoor temperature. A furnace can produce an increasing level of heat, whereas a heat pump can only circulate natural warm air. This means that the air produced by a heat pump might not feel as hot as the air distributed using a furnace.

Outdoor temperatures do not limit furnaces. Even if the temperature outside drops to 50 or 60 below zero Fahrenheit, your furnace is going to be able to heat your home continually.

A heat pump has some limitations. If the temperature drops well below zero, a heat pump may not be able to gather enough heat from the outdoor air to transfer into your home. This is why heat pumps are typically recommended in areas that have mild to moderate winters.

Heat pumps are versatile. They will heat your home during the winter and will also cool your home during the summer. A heat pump will work great if you have a home with older ductwork. You can also opt for a ductless mini-split solution. The technicians at Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air can help you evaluate the condition of your home, the climate where you live, and other factors to determine if a heat pump or a furnace is right for you.

Air Quality

You have every right to be concerned about air quality when deciding between a heat pump or a furnace. You will need to maintain your furnace correctly if you want good air quality. This means cleaning your furnace every year. It is better if you can have your furnace cleaned every year by professionals. You will need to frequently change your air filter. This should be done once every three months.

Unlike a furnace, a heat pump does not create carbon monoxide. You don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide leaking into your home. A heat pump uses moisture to create heat. The humidity level in your home will be higher when you use a heat pump. The air produced by a furnace is going to be dry. While this has some benefits, it also means that you will probably have dry hair and dry skin.

Energy Efficiency

You know that energy prices are going to rise every single year. Understandably, you want to know what heating system will provide the most efficient heating for your home.

Heat pumps are electric. However, they use little energy. They heat efficiently. In fact, they are much more efficient than a furnace. A heat pump can transfer 300% more energy than it consumes when working at full capacity. Conversely, the best energy-efficient gas furnaces out there are around 95% efficient.

For this reason, air-source heat pumps have been designated energy efficient. It is good to note that if you don’t maintain your heat pump, your heat pump’s effectiveness will drop drastically if dust and debris are allowed to accumulate. That’s why Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air recommends that you have your entire system, including your ductwork, cleaned regularly. Your system will work better, you will feel more comfortable, and you will enjoy substantial energy savings.

Installation and Life Expectancy

Installing a heat pump is typically more expensive than replacing a furnace. The caveat is that if your home does not have access to natural gas, then providing this access will drastically increase the installation process. Of course, a heat pump typically costs less to operate than a furnace, so you will quickly recoup any upfront cost.

Heat pumps are used all year round, so their life expectancy is a lot shorter than a furnace. A furnace, if properly maintained, can last between 15 and 20 years. Even with the best maintenance, a heat pump will only last between 10 and 15 years.

Get the Best in Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling

At Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air, we have been proudly serving the Greater Sacramento area since 1976. In addition to the three services in our name, we also offer reliable work in the areas of UV lights, indoor air quality, duct repair and replacement, thermostats, zone control systems, and more. Among those other things, we offer water softening and filtration services. We have received the Best of the Best award in Sacramento for nine years running, and we’ve also received the Business Excellence Award from the Rocklin Chamber of Commerce. We want our customers to enjoy the high-quality service they deserve, and our number one goal is to keep them comfortable throughout the entire year.

Call us up today at Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly experts.