Understanding Plumbing Basics
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Understanding Plumbing Basics

As a new homeowner, I can tell you that things aren't always as simple as they appear. I started thinking about it a few years ago, and I realized that there were some serious problems with our plumbing system. We had issues with drains working correctly and toilets flushing like they should, so I started focusing more heavily on understanding the basics of our plumbing system. Within a few short months the entire system was operating more fluidly because of a few changes that I made, so I wanted to create a blog all about my journey. Check out these articles to learn more about the plumbing basics.


Understanding Plumbing Basics

What's the Point of Water Treatment?

Jorge Alexander

If there hasn't been an obvious, announced, and profound statement of water problems, why go through the effort of installing some water filter or adding some other kind of water treatment system? Aside from taste, your general health and productivity could be affected whether you're fully aware of it or not. If your water tastes a bit off, or if you've been strangely fatigued for no obvious reason, consider what normal tap water contributes to your life and how a lack of water treatment could complicate things.

It's hard to single out a particular taste for water, as even though water will taste like "nothing" to many people as a baseline, small notes of specific water quality and mineral differences can be picked up in different cities and from different water sources.

Most city water purification systems use chloramine or chlorine dioxide. You'll likely recognize the smell as something reminiscent of pool water, but if the smell is accompanied by a drying, pool water taste, be careful. Excessive chloramine in tap water can lead to congestion, sneezing, respiratory problems, and stomach irritation over days of consumption.

Drinking water isn't the only problem area for excessive chloramine. Have you ever taken a shower that resulted in constant, consistent sneezing? It's likely that chloramine or another sanitizing agent in excess is causing respiratory system irritation, and if you're a person with nasal issues such as allergies, sinusitis, or recently recovering from a cold, sneezing is a fairly quick indicator of chemical irritation.

This document from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services outlines some of the chloramine use in the workplace, but the concentration is what matters. Unless a major mistake happens at your city water supply, you're not likely to suffer more than brief irritation by a slightly high concentration of the substance--but continued exposure can lead to an uncertain number of side effects.

On the other side of too much treatment is not enough treatment. Consistently treating enough flowing water for entire cities and towns is a precise science and engineering feat that is easy to get wrong, and although water treatment professionals have a lot of controls to keep the quality as balanced as possible, dips and spikes in treatment aren't rare.

If your water smells like a nearby water feature, such as a river or a pond with a stale smell, figure out what your water source is. This problem is a bigger issue for the more swampy parts of the country than areas such as Arizona and New Mexico, but a lack of water treatment can allow those bad smells in.

Most bacteria and algae should be killed by the sanitation process, but any microbial activities such as sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide deposits can make it into water systems. They're not a risk to health according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, but if it isn't the normal smell of your water, it's definitely worth checking out.

You don't have to wait on city water solutions to fix your water supply, and if you're unable to drink your water because of smells, tastes, or suspected causes of fatigue, it's best to go with a private solution. Contact a water treatment company like Water Tec to schedule a water testing and service consultation to get better water in your home as soon as possible.