reverse osmosis whole house water filter

Reverse Osmosis: Removing Dissolved Minerals

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles from drinking water. It can remove many types of dissolved and suspended species from water. This includes bacteria and is used in industrial cleaning processes and the production of potable water (drinking water). Reverse osmosis is most commonly known for its use in producing drinking water (purification) from seawater. This is done by removing the salt and other effluent materials from the water molecules. RO systems are capable of removing up to 99%+ of the dissolved salts (ions), particles, colloids, organics, bacteria and pyrogens from the feed water (although an RO system should not be relied upon to remove 100% of bacteria and viruses).

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fracking fluid in water

Fracking Fluid In Your Water: What To Do?

Fracking fluid in your water. For those of us living close to where gas drilling takes place, it might be a good idea to test your water for fracking fluids. This is especially true in southwestern PA. This can be done with a testing kit available for purchase from several different companies. One company that we’ve found is National Testing Laboratories, Ltd.

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Water filter new installed on a kitchen wall to purify things like chlorine from drinking water

Chlorine in Water

Chlorine in Water – Why?

Chlorine in water. The addition of chlorine in drinking water has been the standard in water treatment in the United States since 1904.  Chlorine purifies our water and kills off any waterborne pathogens.  It should be noted that the US has one of the safest water supplies in the world.

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toilet fill valve

Toilet Fill Valve: How to Replace it Yourself

Replacing your toilet fill valve

As everyone knows a “runny” toilet can be quite annoying along with using more water than necessary and having to pay for it.  This could be caused by a faulty fill valve that needs to be replaced so that the water quits running.

To replace your toilet fill valve, simply follow the instructions below.

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Hot water radiators

Hot Water Radiators: How to Bleed Them

Hot Water Radiators. “Second winter” is upon us and we are trying to get ready for the home heating season.  In fact, it’s about to get pretty chilly here in the ‘Burgh. So we thought it was a good idea to talk about what to do when you are not getting enough heat to different areas of your hot water heated home.  Here in the Homestead and Squirrel Hill areas, these very efficient hot water boiler systems are very common.

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smart thermostat

Smart Thermostat Systems: Are They Safe and Smart?

Smart Thermostat Systems. There is a lot of noise today in the news about the hacking of the “Internet of things”.  And many people immediately think that smart thermostats have to be connected to the Internet. They can and there are many new tools to keep your home secure. This is so only you can get into it. We will review some ways of keeping your connected home safe at the end of this post.

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toilet repairs

Toilet Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Did you know that plumbers have to stock tools and supplies on their truck? This is so that when they show up at your home, they are entirely ready to work. That is why it costs so much for a plumber to come to your home.  So, anything that you can do yourself to prevent that house call saves you money and allows your plumber to deal with issues that require his or her expertise. Toilet repairs that you can do yourself can save you money and might save you time because you are not waiting at home for the plumber to show up at your house.  Today, we will discuss two small things that you can do that do not take much skill and are safe for most homeowners to do themselves.

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shower head

Removing Your Shower Head: How to Clean It

Shower heads often spray unevenly because their tiny holes have gotten plugged with mineral deposits. In order for water to flow freely, these deposits need to be removed.  To do that, you will want to soak the shower head in vinegar.  And that may mean removing the showerhead from the shower arm.

Newer showerheads screw onto the shower arm, the pipe that comes out of the shower wall.  Older models feature a shower arm with a ball-shaped end that acts as a swivel for the showerhead.

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lead removal Clean reverse osmosis water

Lead Removal: Is There Lead in Your Drinking Water?

Have you determined that there may be “higher” levels of lead in your water? You might want to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters. Off the bat, to minimize lead from your tap water, do not use hot tap water when preparing food or drink.  Make sure to use cold water after flushing the tap. Then you can heat it if needed.

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Is there lead in my drinking water?

How does Lead get in your water?

The pipes that carry water in the street are usually made of iron or steel, and typically do not add lead to your water.  Lead can enter tap water if lead solder had been used on your pipes or brass fixtures in your home.  Homes built before 1989, when lead solder was banned, will likely contain some lead contamination.

How do I find out if there’s lead in my water?

To learn exactly what’s in your water, contact your local water supplier to receive a copy of the latest water quality report.  The EPA requires all community water systems to prepare and deliver an annual water quality report called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for their customers by July 1st of each year.

To find your local Consumer Confidence Report, visit this EPA website:

How to remove lead from water (without installing a lead filter)?

Flush in-building water supply pipes.  Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water in a faucet has gone unused for more than several hours.

Use flushed-out cold-water tap for cooking water.  Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.

Not an Option: Boiling Your Water

Some people wrongly believe that boiling water will somehow help remove lead.  While boiling water kills bacteria and parasites, it will not help with lead removal.   Lead is an element, and boiling will just result in even higher concentrations of lead after the water evaporates.

Additional tips for Reducing Lead Intake

If you are concerned with your water, or are waiting to have it tested, we do have a few tips for you.  Always run your taps for at least 1-2 minutes to flush out stagnant water.  Also only use cold water to drink and cook.  Both of these techniques, while limiting the amount of lead leeching into your water, will not eliminate it however.

When getting water from the tap for cooking pasta, making a cup of tea or mixing formula for a baby bottle, do not pull warm water from the “HOT” water side of the faucet.  Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead since water temperature plays a role in how corrosive the water can be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) website states: “Do not use hot tap water to make cereals, drinks or mix baby formula.  You may draw cold water after flushing the tap and then heat it if needed.

So, always acquire water from the “COLD” side and heat up the water yourself to reduce the potential for lead contamination.

Secondly, if you’ve been out of town or even gone to work all day, it’s a good idea to “flush” your pipes by running water for at least a minute or so.  The longer water has been sitting in pipes, the more lead it may contain.  Flushing for a couple of minutes can waste water, so you may consider taking a shower to flush out your pipes.  Human skin does not absorb lead in water, so shower or clean while flushing the pipes.

What solutions are there for reducing lead intake?

With the detrimental health effects of lead, especially in pregnant women and young children, consider an effective, long term solution; either upgrading pipes or installing a whole home water filter.  You may also wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead.

As always, if you decide to have a lead filter or other filters installed on your home water supply system to be safe, please call Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating & Air to help with the installation or to allow us to make recommendations to you.

Image Credit – Adobe Stock