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10 FAQs on Water Treatment Systems

by Pam Silvia

Ah, Arizona. Home to the saguaro cactus, desert shrimp, and some of the harshest water conditions in the contiguous United States.

Word has it that Arizona’s water conditions are so extreme, you’ll see a filtration system nestled in amidst the reservoir and dam if you zoom in really closely on the seal of our Grand Canyon State. (*Not true.)

When it comes to figuring out if you should get a water treatment system in your home, there’s a lot to take in. Fortunately, we’re experts on water treatment and water treatment systems—specifically for Arizona desert conditions. Our water treatment specialists have collected the top 10 frequently asked questions they answer about water treatment. 

Check out our answers to your FAQ about water treatment systems.

Water Treatment Glossary

Before we jump in, here are some key water-treatment terms you might not be familiar with:

Hard water: Hard water is water that has a ton of minerals in it, like magnesium, chlorine, calcium, iron, and more. Hard water can cause scaling in your plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances. It leaves spots on your clean dishes, a frosted appearance on your clear shower doors, and it causes your hair to be limp, dry, and lifeless. (If your budget for clarifying shampoo is out of hand, you can place that blame right on your hard water.) 

Point-of-entry system: A point-of-entry water filtration system treats all your incoming water before it flows to the various points of use (think faucets and appliances).

Point-of-use system: A point-of-use water filtration system is typically installed under a sink. It treats the water at that source, or that point of use.

Reverse osmosis (RO): A reverse osmosis (RO) system is a point-of-use water filtering system that gets down to the molecular level to deliver “bottled water”-like quality.

Total dissolved solids (TDS): Total dissolved solids (TDS) is the unit of measurement of organic or inorganic materials that have dissolved in your drinking water. TDS are generally salts, metals, and minerals that come out of industrial waste, sewage runoff, pharmaceuticals, and natural sources. 

Water softener: Water softeners reduce the hardness of your water by removing minerals via a process called ion exchange.

Whole-home filtration (WHF): Whole-home filtration (WHF) systems, also called conditioners, are water filtration systems that reduce contaminants in the water throughout your entire house. 

Loop: A loop is a dedicated plumbing setup for water softener installation. 

Water Treatment FAQs

Our water treatment specialists answer a fair amount of frequently asked questions about water treatment, so we’ve collected them for you below.

How does a water softener work?

A water softener removes minerals that cause hard water via a process called ion exchange, in which it exchanges calcium and magnesium for chloride, or sodium ions. The softened water is then passed into your home.

The Envirotec water softening systems are meter-demand initiated, which is much more efficient than the old, timed clock units.

How long does a water softener last?

Many of our softeners are backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty on major components! It is not uncommon, however, for an Envirotec water softener to last 10,15, even 20 years without trouble

What are the benefits of owning a water softener?

A water softener has truly life-changing benefits. 

  • You’ll have softer hair, skin and nails. 
  • Clothes and linens come out of the laundry softer, and they last longer because you can wash them in cold soft water. 
  • Your kitchen sink and dishwasher will leave a reduced amount of spotting on your clean dishes.
  • Appliances last longer and run more efficiently without the scaling and mineral buildup of hard water. 
  • You’ll save on soaps and detergents, too, because they dissolve and penetrate better in soft water. Some of our customers have reduced laundry detergent and soap costs up to 75 percent!

With a water softener, you can save on appliance and plumbing repairs, household cleaning products, and specialty personal care items (think all that extra lotion you go through because you feel dry and itchy after a shower or the more-frequent-than-you’d-like hair color touchups because your water dulls your pricey dye job).

What is the difference between a “softener” and “no-salt alternatives”?

Softeners remove hardness minerals. With no-salt alternatives to water softeners, the hardness minerals remain in the water but are “affected” to be less damaging. 

We carry a full line of products so we can meet individual preferences.

Where is the water treatment equipment you sell made?

The water treatment systems and equipment we sell at Spencer’s is made here, in Mesa. Envirotec is made especially for desert water conditions, which are ever-changing and require specific treatment by experienced professionals. 

Arizona has some of the harshest water conditions in the United States! We have been assembling and installing equipment in the Phoenix Valley for over 35 years. What we sell is made in the desert for the desert. 

What is a whole-home filtration (WHF) system?

Whole-home filtration systems, also known as WHF systems or conditioners, are generally carbon-based filtration systems that treat all of the water that flows throughout your home, from sink faucets, to showers, to dishwashers, to your laundry appliances

Carbon reduces a great number of elements in our water, such as chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic compounds, and much more. 

Our recommended setup is to combine a WHF system with a water softener for the ultimate in point-of-entry water treatment for your home.

What is a reverse osmosis (RO) system?

An RO system is a point-of-use water filtering system that filters down to the molecular level to achieve “bottled water”-like quality at your own kitchen sink and usually to the refrigerator and icemaker, as well. 

Americans purchased over 14 billion bottles of water in 2019. With an RO system, you don’t need to buy bottled water! 

Produce clean, refreshing water at your own kitchen sink, and reduce plastics and the fossil fuels required to produce them! (Alkaline RO options are available.) Beyond saving you the need to lug cases of water and five-gallon jugs home every week, installing an RO filter will seriously minimize your carbon footprint and boost your eco-friendliness.

How often do I need to change my RO filters?

A typical RO system requires a filter change every six months. The Envirotec RO system needs annual filter changes.

Our high-quality, high-capacity filters protect the membrane elements within our water treatment system, which not only results in longer-lasting filters for you, but also means that we get to give you a warranty that’s eight times longer than our competitors’ warranties.

If I have a water softener, do I need an RO filter?

You don’t need a reverse osmosis filter in addition to a water softener, but we do recommend pairing the two. A water softener only reduces the hardness in the water whereas an RO system reduces much more. 

An RO system will reduce TDS for drinking water with outstanding quality and taste. Additionally, in many homes, the cold-water side of the kitchen sink is excluded from the softener loop—so that water may not be treated in any way. But an RO system will treat all water at the point of use and remove far more contaminants. 

Why should I buy Envirotec instead of a budget product?

Envirotec water treatment systems are truly the best blend of quality, value, and warranty in the Valley. Envirotec prides itself on providing a professional line of product at a consumer-friendly price. 

This is possible because while Envirotec water treatment equipment is crafted with only the finest materials and workmanship, it’s also our own proprietary tech— so we don’t have to spend our budget on huge, national marketing efforts, high-pressure/high-commission sales presentations, subcontractors or freight. We truly stand behind what we make and sell. 

For you, our valued customers, it really is like having a friend in the business. 

Our Envirotec products are available for factory-employed installation, and you can also opt in for annual service reminders if you would like to. 

Let Us Help You!

If you have any questions we didn’t answer here, please give us a call! You can also stop by the Spencer’s nearest you, or use the chat function on our homepage.