Get answers to common questions about America’s public and private water systems.
Answers to Common Water Questions
Culligan has the solutions to your water concerns. Have questions about your water?
Find answers here.
1What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?
Two of the most cost effective ways to enjoy great tasting water is with a bottled water cooler or a reverse osmosis (RO) drinking water system.
Reverse osmosis is the process by which water molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure. The membrane in a Culligan® RO System filters out any impurities smaller than one micron. Reverse osmosis systems filter water for a variety of applications, including homes, commercial sites such as restaurants and hotels, breweries, car washes, and even the space shuttle!
Household RO systems typically filter water using the following steps:
- First, raw tap water flows through a sediment filter to remove dirt, rust and other solid objects.
- The water then flows into a carbon filter which removes 98% of the chlorine and organic chemicals.
- The next stop is the reverse osmosis membrane which separates up to 99% of the dissolved contaminants from the water molecules. These removed impurities are rinsed down the drain leaving behind only pure, clean water.
- This water is stored in a reservoir tank, typically located underneath the sink, and is accessed through a faucet on your sink or ice dispenser in your refrigerator.
- The final step involves pushing water through a carbon block polishing filter accessed through a special faucet on your sink or refrigerator dispenser before it reaches your glass.
Reverse osmosis removes more contaminants than other carbon, faucet or pitcher systems. RO systems can remove nitrates, sodium, and other dissolved inorganic and organic compounds that other systems can miss. A Culligan Drinking Water System puts clean, refreshing water right in your kitchen. With a range of compact and attractive designs, our systems fit conveniently in out-of-the-way places.
2Is RO water really as good as bottled?
Yes - Culligan Reverse Osmosis Systems remove about 97% of the total dissolved solids (TDS) from your water, including salt and sodium. Read the labels on bottled water and you will discover reverse osmosis is the same process used by most bottlers, so in effect you're really getting bottled water … without cost and hassle of the bottle!
3Have Culligan products received any endorsements?
Culligan's High Efficiency (HE) Water Softener series was named a Consumers Digest Best Buy by Consumers Digest. The Consumers Digest July/August 2012 issue rated the Best Buys in Water Softeners based on capacity, quality of construction, salt usage and warranty.
4What is Culligan's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee?
When you purchase a Culligan product, you are purchasing the finest water treatment product available in the world today. We are so certain of this fact that if you are dissatisfied with your Culligan product for any reason within 30 days of your purchase, Culligan will refund the purchase price.
5What should I consider before buying a water treatment solution?
Here are some helpful considerations you may want to take into account before purchasing a water treatment system.
How hard is your water?
Having your water tested will help you determine your exact needs, even though you may already know you have one or more water problems. So do you have hard water? Find out with a FREE in-home water analysis.
In determining your water treatment needs, a water expert will look at a number of things. For example, the hardness level of the water and the size of your family will influence the size and type of equipment necessary for proper softening. Additional problems may require additional equipment.
Your water usage and pressure
The amount of water used, as well as your home's water pressure, are factors to consider when outfitting your home with a water treatment system. Household size may influence consumption, but different families all have different needs. Every factor should be considered, including family growth and guest visits.
Why should you avoid a quick fix?
Fixing your existing water problem is your primary goal, but don't settle for the cheapest, quickest solution. A higher-priced unit may serve your needs better by being more efficient, and reducing operating costs and maintenance time. Be sure, however, that you're getting your money's worth. Before you buy, get a detailed estimate of equipment, installation and average operating costs.
Buy from a reputable dealer
A reputable water treatment equipment dealer is an excellent resource in helping you determine your water conditioning needs. Culligan is the most trusted name in water treatment solutions.
Do you offer financing options
Water conditioning equipment may qualify for financing under FHA Title 1 or private lending agreements. Check with your local bank or finance company for information. Your local dealer may also offer special financing options.
6What questions should I ask when I have decided on a solution?
Choosing the water quality improvement system that's right for you and your family does not have to be a chore. Here are some things to take into consideration before purchasing a water treatment system.
- Is installation included in the price?
- Does installation include such things as a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, a faucet for unsoftened water and any other features you may want?
- Does the unit have enough capacity to meet present and future needs?
- If you lease do you want your agreement to include an option-to-buy provision?
- Does the dealer you've selected have an established business in the area?
- Will a representative call at your home to determine the right kind of equipment for you?
- For health-related problems, have you had your water analyzed by a reputable laboratory and/or your local health department?
- Did the salesperson answer all questions regarding design, function and cost of the equipment?
- Did the salesperson explain the method and cost of regenerating the system?
- Does the dealer offer a maintenance contract or other after-sales services?
- Does the equipment carry a specific written warranty?
- Have you read and understood the warranty?
7What are the differences between various kinds of bottled waters?
Water that is classified as "bottled water" or "drinking water" is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to maintain certain standards.
According to the FDA, for a product to be considered "bottled water," it cannot contain sweeteners or chemical additives, and must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts and essences - derived from spice or fruit - can be added to bottled water, but these additions must comprise less than one percent of the final product. Beverages containing more than the one percent of added flavor are classified as soft drinks, not bottled water.
The FDA defines the various water types as follows:
- Artesian Water: Bottled water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand).
- Mineral Water: Contains no less than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids (minerals). No minerals can be added to this product.
- Purified Water: Water labeled as "purified" can be derived from distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis.
- Sparkling Water: Water that after treatment and possible replacement with carbon dioxide contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. (An important note: soda water, seltzer water and tonic water are not considered bottled waters. They are regulated separately and may contain sugar and calories. These types of waters are considered soft drinks.)
- Spring Water: Bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.
- Distilled Water: Water derived from an approved source and heated to produce steam. The dissolved solids are left behind and the steam is condensed for a pure, mineral free, distilled product.
Your local Culligan Man can deliver spring water, distilled water and pure Culligan drinking water in a variety of sizes. Contact your local Culligan Man to find out what products he carries, and to discuss your water needs.
8How much water should I drink each day?
Water is essential to regulating body organs and temperature, dissolving solids and moving nutrients throughout the body. Because water is naturally low in sodium, has no fat, cholesterol or caffeine and isn't flushed straight through the body like many other beverages, it's the natural solution to help reach your body's daily fluid quota.
How much water should you consume?
Most adults need eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water or fluids daily, but needs vary by activity level, health circumstances (including pregnancy) and even by age. For example, a 60-pound child would need a minimum of at least 30 ounces of water a day, or about three to four glasses. But a 180-pound man would need about 90 ounces of water a day or about 11-12 glasses. And people may need more water as they age, since thirst signals may become dull, activity levels decline and prescription drugs may dehydrate their bodies further.
9What is hard water?
Hard water is probably the most common water problem found in the home. Hard water spots your glasses and dishes, makes laundry dull, and causes soap scum and scale to build-up making cleaning a chore. The most common hardness causing minerals are calcium and magnesium that is dissolved in a water supply.
According to the Water Quality Association, hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above one grain per gallon (GPG) though relative levels of hardness have been established and are as follows:
- Soft Water - less than 1 GPG
- Slightly Hard - 1 to 3.5 GPG
- Moderately Hard - 3.5 to 7 GPG
- Hard - 7 to 10.5 GPG
Very Hard - 10.5 and higher GPG
Using an ion exchange water softener is the most common form of treatment. Learn more about hard water.
10Why is iron a problem in my water?
Iron or rust in water can be found in five different forms. The two most common types are clear water iron and particulate iron. These will cause staining in your tubs and sinks, in your laundry and can even damage your hair. The other three types are iron bacteria, organic iron and colloidal iron. These will result in reddish stains and may cause water to have a sulfur (rotten egg) odor or tea-colored appearance.
11What is the difference between softening water and filtering water?
You don't have to be a water expert to understand the basic principles behind water filtration and water softening. Here's an abridged version of what happens when you filter or soften water.
Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like particulates, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from H2O. By passing water through a "filter bed" or "media bed", these granular particles are trapped and clean water passes through the bed.
Softening water involves something called "ion exchange" to remove dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese that can't be trapped in a filter bed. Softeners contain fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the bead and as water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin. The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities.
12Filtering or softening, which do you need?
Whether you use a filter or a softener depends on whether contaminants in your water are particles or dissolved minerals. To find out what's ailing your water, contact your local Culligan Man for a free water analysis, or our free water test kit.
13Is a water softener hard to maintain/service?
Need to shorten your "to-do? list? If you have a water softener in the house, you can cross off buying salt and filling the tank, thanks to the new two-part Salt 'n Service delivery program from Culligan.
First, your local Culligan Man will deliver salt right to your home and fill up water softener's salt tank. He'll work with you to assess your salt usage so we can deliver the salt you need, when you need it, automatically!
With every salt delivery, our trained water expert will conduct a 10-point inspection of your water softener, from checking the time setting, salt level and water level in the salt tank to looking for leaks. And of course, all remaining salt bags will be stacked neatly and empty bags properly discarded.
Don't cart home another load of salt! Contact your local Culligan dealer today for more information on this terrific time-saver.
14Are there harmful effects of water softener discharges on household septic tanks?
According to the US Water Quality Association (WQA) and Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA), water softener regeneration discharges do not pose a problem to septic systems or to the leach field. Studies have shown that water softener regeneration waste does not interfere with the septic tank system drain field soil percolation and can actually improve soil percolation, particularly in fine-textured soils.
15Will softened water affect my lawn or garden?
For outside use on lawns or gardens, using softened water is wasteful. Where the concentration of hardness minerals is high, the sodium content after softening may be high enough to retard plant growth and harm grass. This is especially true in climates where rainfall is scarce. Areas that receive regular rain are not as sensitive to sodium accumulation because the rain "rinses" the earth.
Ask the dealer who is installing your water softener about a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, and a faucet for unsoftened water.
16What happens if I move?
Moving can be stressful in and of itself, but aside from packing and unpacking, setting up the electric, and changing your address for newspaper delivery, it's important to think about your water. If you're moving close by, we can move your Culligan equipment to your new home.
Of course, as always, Culligan can perform a free water test at your new residence and install third party validated equipment to provide whatever water treatment might be required. Your Culligan Man can test for a variety of contaminants*, including iron, rust, acid, chlorine, and more. The water in your home can be different from the house just down the road, so you should be aware of your unique water situation. Use the dealer locator at the top of this page to find your local Culligan Man, and contact him today.
*Contaminants may not be in your water.
17Do salt-free water treatment systems work like water softeners?
Many companies promote salt free devices as an alternative to traditional water softeners. While the concept is a nice one, laboratory tests by independent third parties suggest that these products simply do not deliver the benefits of soft water. Additionally, third party research has consistently concluded that these products do not work in all water conditions nor in a consistent predictable way.
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