Watermart

Frequently Asked Questions

Easy answers to common water treatment questions.

Watermart

FAQs about Water Systems
Why is there very little flow from my reverse osmosis system?

There can be several reasons for this:

  • Your tank valve is off: On the top of a reverse osmosis tank there’s a small valve handle. This handle should be in line with the tube coming out of it. If it is not, turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise so that it is in-line with the pipe. You will likely hear a rush of water. This is a good sign. Keep in mind that it will now it will take an hour or so to fill the tank.
  • Your feed valve is off: Underneath your sink there are two copper or plastic pipes. Attached to the cold water pipe (usually the one on the right side) is your feed valve. This valve may be an “angle stop valve” (similar to the valve on your tank) or be a “piercing valve” (similar to the valve that feeds a furnace humidifier).

If there is an angle stop valve, ensure that the handle is in line (not perpendicular) with the coming out of it. If it is perpendicular, turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise. You will likely hear a rush of water. This is a good sign. Keep in mind that it will now it will take an hour or so to fill the tank.

If there is a piercing valve, turn this valve many times counter clockwise until it becomes difficult to turn. These valves are designed to be in the “on” or “off” position and may squirt some water out as you turn. Don’t worry about this - it should stop squirting water once it is difficult to turn.

  • Your filters are clogged: This may even happen if you have changed your filters recently. There are several reasons that you could be having this problem. The most common is that either down the street, around the corner or even kilometres away there can be a broken water main, the city could flush out a fire hydrant, a length of pipe could be replaced or a homeowner in the neighbourhood replaced the main to their house. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something that happened just down the street. These events can suddenly flush a load of dirt down the pipe and this clogs the pre-filters in your system. You wouldn’t notice this in the rest of the house because it would come out pretty much invisibly through the other faucets very quickly.

If you have tried the possibilities above and still have low pressure or no water from your reverse osmosis system, there are other possibilities such as low pressure in the tank, a clogged membrane check valve, a ruptured tank bladder, a clogged flow restrictor, a torn membrane in the automatic shut off or any number of other reasons. Give Watermart a call and we’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot over the phone or send a service technician to help you out.

How do I adjust the pressure in my reverse osmosis tank?
  1. Have a bicycle pump and a low pressure tire gauge handy. This gauge must start at “0” psi. Ones designed for bicycles start too high - so have a quick look to ensure you have the right tool
  2. Turn off the feed valve to your system - this is the small valve from your cold water pipe to the system. This is either a small “T” valve that is attached to the middle of your cold water pipe or a small white valve with a blue handle.
    1. If it is a small “T” valve: Turn this valve clockwise many times until you can no longer turn it. A small amount of water may “spurt” from the valve while you do this. Don’t let it worry you. It’s pretty normal.
    2. If it is a white valve with a blue handle, turn the blue handle 90 degrees clockwise so that the handle is perpendicular to the pipe coming out of the valve.
  3. Open your small drinking water faucet and leave it open. Water may or may not start flowing. Just let it flow until the water stops. Even when it stops, make sure you leave this faucet open.
  4. Remove the small cap either on the side or at the bottom of the tank - this is not the valve on the top - this cap covers a small air valve like on the tires of your car or bicycle.
  5. With a sharpish implement like a key or a screwdriver, push in the small pin in the middle of this air valve.
  6. If water escapes, this means that your tank bladder has ruptured and the tank needs to be replaced.
  7. If air escapes, then take a pressure reading.
  8. If the pressure reads anywhere between 5 & 10 psi, then the tank is fine.
  9. If it reads more than 10 psi, your problem may be too much air pressure - which means water won’t flow into the tank when the system is producing water.
  10. If it reads less than 10, pump 10 strokes of the pump into the tank.
  11. Re-measure the air pressure. Let some out if it’s more than 10 pounds now.
  12. If less than 5 pounds, repeat the 10 strokes of the pump.
  13. Repeat this process until the tank pressure is adjusted between 5 & 10 psi.
  14. Turn off the drinking water faucet and turn on the water feed valve.
  15. Wait one hour.
  16. If the problem was the tank, this should have fixed the issue. If your flow issue remains, then we will have to send a technician to your home to fix the problem.
  17. Would you like me to email a copy of these instructions to you?
Why does my water smell like dead fish?

This issue usually comes from a system that contains deionization filters. The reason it smells like dead fish that your deionization filters are exhausted - and this is simply how water smells from exhausted deionization filters. This may be unpleasant - but it isn’t harmful. The only solution here is to have the filters changed and the system properly cleaned out.

Why is the water from my reverse osmosis system or filtration system cloudy?

If the system was serviced within the last month or so, this is not an uncommon issue. Water filters are very much like pumice stones. There are literally millions of little air pockets in each filter when it is first installed. Water has to gradually push all of the air out of the filters. And because the little pockets are so small, it comes out looking like a grey mist. This mist can cloud the glass when poured and can swirl and sit on top of the water or cling to the sides of a glass. The solution is to drain more water from the system - but it’s often not a question of a given amount. It is a combination of time and flow while the air pockets generally get “soaked” out of the filters. Sometimes this can last up to a month.

 

It does happen periodically that you get air in the water consistently. This can happen even if you may have had many years of using the same system without this issue. This tends to be worse in the first glass or two than subsequent glasses. This can be due to small changes in municipal water pressure to the home, that a technician changed the diametre of the piping to help the overall performance, that you have changed the frequency that you use the system, that there have been temperature changes in the installation location, different bends in the pipe to and from the system or that you got a filter from a batch with different pore characteristics - not a bad filter - just one that is slightly different.

 

A quick test to see if this is actually your issue is to pour a glass of water and sit it on the counter. Then walk away for 5 minutes or so. What should happen is that this air will float to the surface or cling to the side of the glass. It is important to recognize that this is just air and that it is harmless. The water is perfect for drinking. If any particulate actually sinks to the bottom then we should send a technician by your home to have a look and solve the issue.

Why does it sound like water is constantly going down the drain?

This is normal. A reverse osmosis membrane has one line that feeds into it and two lines that feed out. Of these two lines out, one of the lines is the product water that you drink and the other line is the water that is used to flush the contaminants off the surface of the membrane and down the drain. This drain water is necessary because the pore size of a reverse osmosis membrane is estimated at about 0.1 nanometers. This means that if it didn’t drain water, it would become clogged within a week and need to be changed.

Why do I hear water going to drain even when I’m not using my reverse osmosis system?

When you pour a glass of water from your system, this water is actually pushed out of the holding tank under your sink. When you close the drinking water faucet, the system starts creating water to fill up what was used in the tank. During this process, water is sent to drain. The ratio is usually about 4 or 5 parts to drain to every 1 part of production. So to fill one glass of water, 4 or 5 glasses get sent to drain. This is why it sounds like it’s constantly running.

 

It should stop draining though. Your system comes equipped with what’s called an “automatic shut off valve”. This valve is designed to shut the water off once that tank is full to the top. There is an easy way to test if this is working: At the top of your tank is a valve with a handle. Turn the handle 90 degrees clockwise such that that handle is perpendicular to the tube coming out of it. This turns off water to the tank and simulates a full tank of water. It will take about 5 minutes or so for the water to stop running to drain. If it stops then great - all is working how it should. If it doesn’t, call Watermart and we’ll arrange for someone to come by and have a quick look.

Why did the water going to drain only start after I had my reverse osmosis system serviced?

Believe it or not, this water to drain has always taken place. You can hear this water now for several reasons. Because the filters have been changed, the flow through your system and also to your drain has increased. The increased flow of water to drain is likely to cause more noise. Another factor that should be taken into account is that, over time, there has likely been a buildup of grease and dirt inside your drain that has changed the topography over which the drain water flows. This may cause more noise. We know this sounds like an unlikely solution - most people roll their eyes when they hear this - but what you should do now is clean your drain. A cleaner drain will have a smoother surface onto which this drain water falls and should result in less noise and then hopefully, like before the service call, you won’t notice it at all.

Is the water running to drain from a reverse osmosis system wasteful?

When you look at the raw numbers it does sound very wasteful. It is usually a one part product water to three to five parts per drain. But we think it helps to express this in actually quantities used. Let’s say that you’re 4 people in the house and everyone drinks their requisite 8 ounce cups per day - so this is about 2 litres per person. Then multiply this times 4 people and this means that you’re going through 8 litres per day. Add say 3 litres for cooking and this means your going through 11 litres per day for cooking and drinking - which is a very high estimate. The average family likely goes through about ⅔ to maybe ¾ this amount. Multiply the 11 litres by 5 (which is the worst case scenario for waste from your system) and this makes about 55 litres to drain - which is about 6 toilet flushes or a 5 minute shower. Put this in the context of an average North American’s consumption of water per day - about 320 litres.

What are the potential savings of a low waste membrane?

The average North American uses 2 gallons of water per person per day for drinking and cooking. This means that the low waste membrane will send 2 gallons to drain per day - instead of a potential of 10 gallons to drain for a standard system. If one person uses their drinking water system every day of the year, this means that the low waste system will send 730 gallons to drain as opposed to 3650 with a standard membrane - a savings of 2920 gallons per year. The city of Toronto (for example) charges $0.01646815 per gallon. This means that by using the low waste membrane one person can potentially save $48.00 per year. The savings with more people in the home are more significant:

  • 2 people - $98.00 per year
  • 3 people - $144.00 per year
  • 4 people - $192.00 per year
How often should I service my drinking water system?

Service is done according to 3 criteria:

  1. How much water is used
  2. The quality of the incoming water
  3. Time

On a city water supply, the average family will not use enough water to saturate a set of high quality filters in a year. However, they should be changed every year (or after any 30 day period that the system is left inactive) and the system properly sanitized in order to avoid having any bacteria growth in the system.

Just to head this off: One may think that if your water source doesn't contain bacteria to begin with, that it would be impossible for it to grow in a water system that treats this water. This is not the case. Why? Because carbon filters (which all systems contain) cannot be disinfected initially (if you add any kind of a disinfectant into carbon, it will just consume that disinfectant and destroy the filter). This means that there is a tiny amount of harmless bacteria in the system to start with. Depending on system maintenance and filter quality, this bacteria will grow to a greater or lesser degree.

The reason why this bacteria grows is that every water system on the market reduces the city-added chlorine early in the process - and chlorine prevents bacteria growth. So with chlorine gone,that small amount of bacteria is free to grow inside subsequent filters. The growth is called a "heterotrophic plate count" (a very high-brow set of words meaning non-disease causing bacteria). If the system is not properly maintained, it can grow to high levels and there is some research that shows it may cause symptoms such as stomach upset, diarrhea & malaise. To help prevent this, make sure these filters are changed regularly and that the system is properly sanitized every time this is done.

A common and understandable misperception is that there will be a difference in flow or taste that will indicate when the filters have to be changed. The fact is that after a year you are not likely to notice any difference in taste, odour, colour or flow. This is because it is very easy for a system to remove taste, odour and colour for a long period of time after the water has potentially become less healthy. 

To make things easy for you, we will call you to remind you when your filters are due at which point you will have 3 choices:

  1. We can mail you the filters
  2. You can pick up your filters
  3. We can send a technician to your home to change your filters and sanitize your system. (Most people have us do the service). Our Certified Technicians inspect your system for wear and tear, change any fittings and tubing that may looked old or worn, wash out everything thoroughly, sanitize it from inlet to faucet with food-grade hydrogen peroxide and then perform a pressure test.
Could my water be causing skin issues?

We are not dermatologists. However, if a skin issue is due to water quality it is usually due to one or two things:

  1. Chlorine
  2. Hardness

Our first recommendation is to install a shower filter. This only takes a few seconds to install, is inexpensive, very effective and will tell you within a few days whether chlorine is the issue or not. If this works, great! You may decide just to stick with this or potentially explore a system that reduces all of the chlorine in your home.

If a shower filter doesn’t do the trick then the next step is water softening. Unfortunately, because water softeners depend on a resin that saturates very quickly and requires salt to regenerate, it is not possible to soften water through a shower filter. Speak with Watermart about sizing an appropriate softener for your family.

Should I drink the water from my drinking water system after I have been away?

The Water Quality Association, which is our trade association, sets out specific guidelines for keeping drinking water systems sanitized. One of these guidelines specifies that a drinking water system should be disassembled, sanitized and the filters changed after any 30 day period of inactivity. This is in order to mitigate any possible bacterial growth in the system

I am going on vacation next week for more than 30 days. What should I do with my drinking water system so I can drink my water when I get back?

In order to preserve your filters such that they can be used when you get back, you will need to have your system disassembled and dried out. The filters must be removed doing your best not to handle them - use surgical gloves or a paper towel. The filters must be placed in a clean, dry and shaded area and the system itself must be left open to the air such that you don’t risk any mould growth - this means leaving all housings open, leaving the faucet open and leaving the tank open. When you get back an oxidant (such as peroxide or chlorine) must be flushed through the system. This is done by putting a tablespoon of chlorine in the first housing, sealing all housings without the filters inside, opening the feed line and wait until water comes out of the drinking water faucet. Once it does, shut it off and keep it off for 3 hours.

Why would bacteria grow in a water system that treats city water?

One may think that if your water source doesn't contain bacteria to begin with, that it would be impossible for it to grow in a water system that treats this water. This is not the case. Why? Because carbon filters (which all systems contain) cannot be disinfected initially (if you add any kind of a disinfectant into carbon, it will just consume that disinfectant and destroy the filter). This means that there is a tiny amount of harmless bacteria in the system to start with. Depending on system maintenance and filter quality, this bacteria will grow to a greater or lesser degree.

 

The reason why this bacteria grows is that every water system on the market reduces the city-added chlorine early in the process - and chlorine prevents bacteria growth. So with chlorine gone,that small amount of bacteria is free to grow inside subsequent filters. The growth is called a "heterotrophic plate count" (a very high-brow set of words meaning non-disease causing bacteria). If the system is not properly maintained, it can grow to high levels and there is some research that shows it may cause symptoms such as stomach upset, diarrhea & malaise. To help prevent this, make sure these filters are changed regularly and that the system is properly sanitized every time this is done.

Should I filter the fluoride out of my water?

Fluoride is a very subjective and polarizing issue. Many people are passionate about either keeping the fluoride intact or about removing fluoride from their drinking water. Some feel thatwithout it in the water, dental hygiene would really suffer. Other people feel (and this is rather extreme quote from many articles out there): "Fluoride is the largest single example of mass poisoning ever perpetrated on humanity" - end quote. Because it is a health question (and we can’t pretend to be health professionals for a second), we can offer you systems that leave the fluoride intact and we can offer systems that reduce it to below detectable levels. If you would like to remove fluoride, this can be done with or without removing other minerals from the water.

How can I remove the fluoride from water?

Just like every other contaminant in water, we only talk about reduction - not elimination. There are 5 common ways to reduce fluoride from drinking water:

  1. Reverse osmosis
  2. Distillation
  3. Electrodialysis
  4. Bone Char
  5. Activated Alumina
How does Activated Alumina work to reduce fluoride in water?

Activated Alumina - not to be confused with Aluminum - is a “basic” material - just like activated carbon. Just like activated carbon it works by “absorbing” contaminants into its pores. It is highly specific to the reduction of fluoride and arsenic.

Will activated alumina leach aluminum into my water

Despite what many websites out there may say, the answer is “no”. Being a “basic” material, this means that it cannot be broken down any further and will not leach anything into the water. Raw, untreated alumina will always give up some aluminum to the tune of maybe 0.1 ppb (the city actually adds more than this in treatment). But the preconditioning that takes place during manufacturing will prevent this from happening when put into actual use. Sometimes there are trace amounts of iron, sodium, silica that can come off alumina initially. But with a good flush of 15 minutes or so (for an under sink system) and a couple of days of use this would be removed. (Initially the effluent levels of these elements are in the low digit ppb levels). If the pH is really low, say 6.3 or so, then there may be some aluminum released to the tune of 50 ppb (Ontario Drinking Water Standard is 0.1 mg/L so this is 1/2 the standard). That said, he said that on any municipal supply this release would not take place.

How do ultraviolet systems work to treat bacteria?

UV systems use UVC light at 254 nanometers. This disrupts their DNA and does one of 4 things to them: Destroys them, renders them harmless, prohibits growth or prohibits reproduction.

Does UV light kill cysts like Giardia (related to “Beaver Fever”) and Cryptosporidium?

Yes. Thes can be killed at 10,000 millijoules. Our systems deliver a minimum of 30,000 millijoules.

How much electricity does an ultraviolet light consume?

A typical UV system has the same power requirements as a 40 watt bulb.

What is the relationship of pH to alkalinity and how does this relate to drinking water?

Alkalinity is the capacity of water to neutralize acids - how much acid it can adsorb without changing the pH. It is a measure all alkaline materials in the water such as carbonate, bicarbonate, hydroxide and occasionally borate, silicate and phosphate. More alkalinity means that as acids are added the pH will drop more slowly. Water which is naturally alkaline occurs when water passes over rocks - like in springs - and picks up minerals which increases the alkalinity. The amount of Alkalinity in typical drinking water is 20-200 mg/L for typical drinking water.

pH (power of hydrogen) ranges from 1 to 14. Each point on the pH scale is a multiple of 100. A neutral pH is 7. pH indicates whether a liquid is more acidic (lower pH) or alkaline (higher pH). Pure water has a neutral pH of 7, while tap water has some natural variation depending on its mineral content. Most bottled waters are slightly acidic, and sodas and juices are even more so.

Every body fluid has a different pH. Blood is 7.4, stomach acid is 1 to 3, the large bowel is 5.5 and bile is alkaline to counter stomach acid.

Something that is often confusing is that when people talk about “Alkaline” water, they are usually referring to water with an elevated pH. They are not talking about water with increased alkalinity that will buffer the pH.

What is oxidation reduction potential (ORP)?

In an effort to reach a state of stability, substances that are lacking electrons seek out electrons wherever they can: these substances are referred to as oxidizing agents.  On the contrary, substances which have a surplus of electrons are capable of donating their extra electrons: these substances are referred to as reducing agents, or anti-oxidizing agents. Oxidation-reduction potential, or ORP, is a measurement that indicates the degree to which a substance is capable of oxidizing or reducing another substance.

 

ORP is measured in millivolts (mV) using an ORP meter.  A positive ORP reading indicates that a substance is an oxidizing agent.  The higher the reading, the more oxidizing it is.  As such, a substance with an ORP reading of +400 mV is 4 times more oxidizing than a substance with an ORP reading of +100 mV.  A negative ORP reading indicates that a substance is a reducing agent.  The lower the reading, the more anti-oxidizing it is.  As such, a substance with an ORP reading of -400 mV is 4 times more anti-oxidizing than a substance with an ORP reading of -100 mV.

Should I be concerned about the low pH of reverse osmosis water?

In recent years, many natural health practitioners have taken the pH of treated water into consideration. As water treatment professionals we can talk for days about what different filters remove from water and what they leave in. But because we are not health experts, we can’t tell you whether alkaline water is going to be better for you than more acidic water. If you are concerned about more acidic water, we can add a Biocera filter to any reverse osmosis system that will add some minerals to the water, thereby boosting the pH. Alternatively, we can suggest water filtration systems which do not affect the pH.

Should I remineralize my reverse osmosis water?

This is a very subjective question. We have been installing straight reverse osmosis systems since the early 90’s. This has included installations at a large number of health practitioner's homes. We even installed a large commercial reverse osmosis system without remineralization in the cafeteria at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. That said, the trend over the years has been that many of these naturopaths have chosen to add the minerals back - but certainly not all.

How does the pH through a remineralizer get boosted?

In water, pH is affected by both “gases” and “minerals”. The more mineral vs. gas, the higher the pH. We boost the pH one of two ways:

  1. The first way is by adding a filter that introduces a small amount of calcium bicarbonate to the water. This calcium is the same type that one would find naturally in surface water or in well water. This type of filter will “boost” the pH of reverse osmosis water to an even 7 or neutral.
  2. The second method is by using a filter which adds small amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium. This will bring the water up to a pH of between 7.5 to 8.5.
What are the methods for increasing the pH of water?

There are a few ways that we can change the pH of water:

  1. A calcium carbonate filter: Theoretically this brings the pH to neutral. However, I've found that it takes a full 10"x2" cartridge to achieve this. The smaller "in-line cartridges" are not very effective.
  2. A magnesium carbonate filter (sometimes branded as Corosex): This will bring the pH up to more alkaline levels. However, it is not consistent and results in initial very high pH spikes and then settles to influent pH level very quickly
  3. A Biocera filter which is a combination of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and tourmaline: Of all the methodologies we have found this to offer the most consistent alkaline pH - usually between 8 & 8.5. This filter has the added benefits of lowering the Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). This is thought to give the water antioxidant properties due to the release of molecular hydrogen.The tourmaline is thought to reduce the size of the water molecule clusters and to make it easier for the body to absorb. It also emits far infrared rays which are thought to have healing properties.
What is a Biocera filter and how does it work?

Biocera filters are a blend of the following ceramics:

  1. Alkaline Antioxidant Minerals, which make your water more alkaline and change the oxidation reduction potential of your water. These are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
  2. Pi Minerals, which increases water absorption and natural healing ability.
  3. Tourmaline, which reduces water molecular cluster size, and emits far infrared rays which are thought to have healing properties.

The ceramic materials are manufactured by Biocera: one of the leading companies in the development of bioceramics for healing purposes. The ceramics have NSF approval. Biocera is the first company to have gained this international safety approval standard for ceramic minerals.

What is your opinion regarding “ionizers” or “alkaline water systems?

We should make it clear right away that Watermart is able to offer two different manufacturers Alkaline water systems. Selling these systems is good business. However, our most important benchmark for any water system are water cleanliness and serviceability.

Concerning cleanliness: These alkaline water systems usually contain only a single filter which uses granular activated carbon as it’s main filtration media - this is in contrast to the extruded carbon blocks which are used in Watermart systems. Extruded carbon offers more contact time between the water and the carbon - thereby reducing organic compounds more thoroughly than granular carbon. Also, granular carbon has a shorter life span and is much more susceptible to bacteria growth (this is because there is no defined pore structure and the bacteria has lots of room to grow in the spaces).

Concerning serviceability: Filter changes also should be taken into account. Alkaline water filters filters are proprietary, meaning that if the company discontinues your model, you may not be able to get replacement filters.

How much water does a reverse osmosis tank hold?

Reverse osmosis storage tanks never hold as much as the stated size. Reverse osmosis tanks contain a thick butyl bladder as well as a pocket of air. The actual holding capacity of the tank — the amount of water that you actually have to use when you empty a full tank — depends on many variables. These include:

  • The pressure of your feed water going into the unit. (RO Systems usually stop filling when the tank pressure equals about ⅔ of the incoming line pressure).
  • The pressure of the air charge inside the tank. (The tank holds less if you put too much air in the storage tank or when your household water pressure goes down while your lawn sprinkler is on).

So there really isn't an exact answer to the question. But a general rule of thumb is to assume about half the manufacturer's stated size. If you need two gallons, get a four gallon tank.

Another point to consider is that you usually use less than the amount stored at one time. And that as soon as you use some water from the tank the system starts making up what you used.

Also, if you need more than the standard tank holds, it's usually easier and more economical to add a second small tank rather than replace the original tank with a larger one. Hooking two tanks together is easy.

What is the reverse osmosis tank made of?

The reverse osmosis tank body is made of steel. But there is no actual contact between the water and the steel. The inside of a reverse osmosis tank is lined with a National Sanitation Foundation Certified lining made from polypropylene and butyl. According to the NSF none of this material will leach into the water

Are there any stainless steel reverse osmosis tanks?

Unfortunately no. But even if there were it wouldn’t make a difference. There is actually no contact between the water and the steel. The inside of a reverse osmosis tank is lined with a National Sanitation Foundation Certified lining made from polypropylene and butyl. According to the NSF none of this material will leach into the water

Why is my ultraviolet system beeping?

Depending on the make and model this could be due to a few things. We carry mainly Viqua modes. These instructions will apply to them.

The ballast was not properly reset when you changed the bulb.

  1. Unplug the ballast at the ballast itself - not at the wall
  2. Hold the small button on the ballast - depending on your system this may be on the front or on one of the ends
  3. While still holding the button, plug in the ballast and keep holding the button
  4. Wait about 5 seconds
  5. You should hear a long tone. If you have a ballast with a digital readout it will say “Reset”.
  6. When you hear the tone, release the button.
  7. If you have a digital readout, it should say “365” on it.
  • If this does not reset the ballast then please check the connection between the socket and the bulb. Make sure the bulb is plugged firmly into this socket
  • Make sure the small green ground wire is properly fastened with the small nut.
  • Failing all of this, this means there is a problem with either the ballast or the bulb
  • Unfortunately there’s no way to tell which is the issue without changing one - then the other
  • My suggestion is to change the bulb first - this is the least expensive of the the two.
  • If this doesn’t solve the issue, then the bright side is that you have a spare bulb for the next change. The next step is to replace the ballast
Why is my faucet dripping after I had my water filter serviced?

This is unfortunate and (understandably), most customers want to fault the technician when this takes place. During service, however, the cartridge that determines whether a faucet is definitively on or off is not touched. What can happen is that air rushing out of a new set of filters through the faucet can damage the seal(s) inside the faucet and cause a drip. The solution to this is to replace the cartridge inside the faucet. Contact Watermart for details.

Why is my reverse osmosis system making a groaning sound?

This is actually pretty common and doesn’t necessarily indicate a mechanical problem. This noise is usually coming from the “automatic shutoff valve” in your reverse osmosis system. This valve opens when the system starts making water - like when you’re filling a glass - and it closes when the tank fills to the top again. When automatic shut off valves get a little older, they tend to “groan” when opening and closing. If you use a small amount of water it will “groan” within a shorter timespan. And if you use a larger amount it will take longer for the tank to fill and so it will take longer until it makes this sound again. Also, as filters load up with dirt it takes a longer time to get water through the filters and so it takes longer to get the tank to shut off. This can often result in the system groaning for a longer period of time. Again, this does not mean your system is malfunctioning. But if  the noise bothers you we can come and replace this valve.

Do you carry no-salt water softeners?

Over the past couple of years, many companies have been advertising “No-salt water softening systems”. This is, in fact, very misleading. We sell units like this too – but almost entirely for the commercial market where the water is in closed loops and not exposed to air. We thought it needs to be clear what these systems offer.

These units can be more accurately called; “scale prevention units” – not softeners. These salt-free scale prevention systems will not do the following:

  • Reduce mineral build up on dry surfaces such as glass from the dishwasher and shower doors.
  • Make water easier on skin and hair
  • Reduce the amount of soap used in washing machines, dish-washers and the shower.

What these systems will do is prevent scale buildup inside hot water tanks and household plumbing.

When these units first came on the market we were very excited. Water softening has essentially (despite increases in efficiency) been exactly the same for about 100 years. So we installed many in peoples homes. Unfortunately we were very disappointed with the results (as were my customers) and we had to remove the units and replace them with conventional softeners.

The problem: These systems use a technology called "Template Assisted Crystallization" which, in a nutshell, means that hardness molecules cling to one another and grow larger. The net effect is that the hardness does not precipitate to form scale inside piping and hot water tanks -  this makes these units ideal for closed water loops (such as radiators). However, once the water comes out of the pipes and it’s exposed to air, the hardness all precipitates at once - essentially forming a "sludge" - which then shows up on shower doors, fixtures, dishes, etc. Definitely not a good thing.

All this is to say that despite that we carry these units we do not recommend them at all for residential use. And (in our opinion) nor should anyone in my industry.

What makes some ice cubes cloudy?

Ice cubes freeze on the outside first. This freezing makes its way gradually through to the centre. The water which is free of minerals and impurities freezes first. The entrapped air and minerals are slowly moved out of the freezing ice toward the unfrozen center. Eventually the trapped air and minerals becomes frozen water with air bubbles which looks like cloudy ice.

How can I make my ice cubes less cloudy?
  1. Distilled or reverse osmosis water has very few minerals. Therefore these waters will make ice which is less cloudy. (Please remember that this just means better looking ice. Not necessarily ice which is better for you).

  2. Make smaller ice cubes and add water more water slowly. The water freezes bit by bit and the entrapped air is forced out the top. This is how most of the ice you buy in stores is made.
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