The first home I can remember living when I was around four was a modular in New River, where were we had no city services; we were on a septic and had to haul water from Desert Hills.
I should note that nobody in my family ever died from the water, and as far as I know, none of my friends did, either. We spent most of our days working and living outside, so the house really was just a place to sleep and get away from the lightning when the monsoon hit. My drinking faucet was the garden hose. Water filters? Never heard of them.
Needless to say, water treatment was never a priority for our family. So as an adult, when people I knew started talking about treatments to soften the water and make it taste better, I was big skeptic. I figured these things were gimmicks and a huge waste of money.
So it figures that my first assignment when I started working for Rosie on the House in 2001 was to research the different water treatments.
I've never been one to turn down a challenge, so I took the project on thinking it would take one day to confirm what I already knew: that water treatment is a worthless service. Oh, so little did I know!
I read everything and listened to everyone, from Consumer Reports to clients my dad had worked with when he owned the remodeling company Legacy Custom Building & Remodeling. I spent days on this, and the more I learned, the less sure I was that my old attitude about water treatment was right.
Then came a light at then end of the tunnel--in the form of Robin Pettyjohn of Water Treatment Technologies, who in the middle of the night on instinct sent an e-mail to RosieOnTheHouse.com that changed my life forever.
OK, it didn't change my life. But it definitely changed my mind about water treatment.
Robin so sincerely made the case for water softeners, which negate the effects of Arizona's "hard" water, and reverse-osmosis systems, which make the water taste better, that I had to give them both a try.
So I paid Robin to install both in my home, with the agreement that he would remove them and refund my money if I wasn't pleased.
Well, two houses later I wouldn't even think of owning a home without a water treatment system for a list of reasons that could go on for days!
So I'm sold. But there's a catch. Not all water treatment systems or companies are created equal. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors in the market when it comes to water treatment. I've heard more scare tactics from sales reps and false claims from manufacturers than I care to remember!
The bottom line is simple, though: If science can't prove that a thing works, it doesn't hold water (pun intended!). And on this point, I know I'll never change my mind.
When you shop for your water treatment system--and if you see a scaly mess on the edges of your faucets and around your drains, you need a water softener--you'll run into claims, testimonials and even accusations about good products and bad ones. Don't let them confuse you. For something as simple as water, we have the technology to test for results. If a product claims is will soften your water, find out how. (You can't soften water without salt.) If a product says it will remove the scales that hard water forms in your plumbing fixtures and pipes, that doesn't mean it will soften your water or prevent future scaling. It probably means the product is a descaler, not a softer. You need a softener, which prevents the problems.
If you wish to research this for yourself, start by reading Rosie's answers to his listeners' frequently asked questions, listen to our web audio feature with another one of our great water treatment specialists, EcoWater Systems, listen to this segment from our Saturday morning radio show and most importantly our interview with David Perry of the Arizona Water Quality Association.
But take it from a skeptic. You will come to the same resolve I have.
Rosie on the House
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