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How To Identify The Top 5 Worst Water Stains

By Expert Author: Jarred Lott

Unsightly stains can show up on fixtures, appliances, you’re washing as well as your hair. These unsightly stains show up generally as rust color, black colored, dark brown and green stains. An occasional pink stain may appear inside toilets, which can be caused by airborne bacteria and not the subject of this article.

Rust, Reddish or Orange Stains

Rust discolorations: Iron is probably the most common elements within the planet's crust and is found in quite a few ground waters. The maximal contaminant level (MCL) established by USEPA guidelines is 0.3 parts per million, also known as 0.3 milligrams per litre of water. When it comes to concentrations higher than 0.3 ppm, iron in well water can cause staining of fixtures and clothes, and give a bitter, rusty taste to water.

Iron is often found in a dissolved state in well water, and the water may appear crystal clear whenever first used. After exposure to oxygen, or after the addition of oxidants (such as chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide), this ferrous iron will be oxidized ("rusted") to the ferric form to form insoluble particles. The well water then looks orange colored or even yellow, or in the situation with manganese, black or brown. This may happen in toilet flush tanks and inside your clothes washer or even dish washer. An iron analysis shows if this is the cause of the stain and just how much iron is actually in the well water.

Light Brown Stains

Light brown stains: Manganese is a common component in the Earth's crust and is also found in many ground waters. Manganese is not really regarded as poisonous, however some research has shown it causes stomach upset and diarrhea when it comes to levels over 0.05 ppm. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) set by EPA standards is 0.05 parts per million, at times labeled as 0.05 mg per litre (mg/L) or 50 micrograms per liter (ug/L).

In concentrations higher than 0.05 parts per million, manganese in water can cause discoloration of sinks as well as clothing, and give a sour, asphaltic or greasy flavor to water. Manganese is frequently found in a dissolved form in waters, and the water may appear clear when first used. After exposure to air, or following the addition of oxidants (including chlorine bleach or ozone), the clear manganese will be oxidized ("rusted") to produce solid particles of manganese oxide. The well water then can look , dark brown, or black while having an oily surface or appearance. This can happen in toilet flush tanks and in the washing machine or dishwasher.

Black Stains

Black staining: This can be brought on by iron sulfides that are formed through the combining iron and sulfates in water. This is most typical in water that has a strong sulfur smell. This can also be caused by manganese and/or manganese sulfides. Analyze for iron, manganese, sulfates, and hydrogen sulfide to determine the cause of dark-colored staining.

Tea-Color or Light Brown Stains

Tea colored staining: this is often brought on by manganese or low levels of iron. Tannins brought on by organic material from decaying plant life can also leave tea-colored staining and light brownish streaks in your washing. Take a look at tannins as well as iron and manganese for this particular situation.

Blue Stains

Blue stains often show up on fixtures and tubs and are caused by corroding copper pipes. You may notice laundry washing spotted with light blue, and the drinking water may have a bitter taste. Eventually the copper pipe corrodes and then you begin to see pinhole leaks. These problems are caused by your copper pipes corroding.

Copper water pipe deterioration is often caused by water that is lower on the pH scale, which means acid well water. It may also be brought on by water which is high in pH and total dissolved solids. These complications can be easily fixed only if you can correctly determine what the water chemistry is first. To identify this problem, analyze for pH, alkalinity, hardness, total dissolved solids, and copper. Once you understand what these numbers are a Langelier Saturation Index, or LSI calculation can be carried out, which will show if your water is actually corrosive.

Solutions to Water Stains

These stains can be eliminated by correcting the water quality and/or upgrading or replacing pipes and plumbing in the home. There are many water treatment systems available including whole house water purification, salt free water softeners, and standard traditional water softeners and conditioner available to solve all these water quality problems.

Gerry Bulfin is a consultant specializing in water treatment systems. Mr Bulfin is a WQA CWS IV licensed water specialist, a WQA licensed installer, and a licensed Grade II California state water treatment plant operator. Since 1989 his company has provided thousands of customized water treatment systems for complicated well water issues worldwide. He may be contacted via the website "http://www.cleanwaterstore.com" or by calling 831-462-8500 or emailing "mailto:gb@cleanwaterstore.com"

Olene Pilakowski looks into saltless water softener

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