Pittsburgh Water Conditioning Company


Buy or rent water softener, iron filter, sulfur filter, reverse osmosis system and well water systems.

Water conditioner frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

ATTENTION! Before buying any type of water conditioner or water conditioning system, you should always do your homework first.

Rather than pressuring you into buying or renting water conditioning equipment, we encourage you to make informed decisions about your water. We care about you here and we always do the right thing no matter what, even when no body is watching. We would NEVER try to pressure you into buying equipment that you do not need. We do not sell you water conditioner systems or water conditioning equipment that require expensive service calls long after the sale. Some companies out there will send sales people into your home to test your water then act shocked after examining the results. This is a BIG warning sign that they might not have your best interest at heart.

In most cases, the people coming into your home to test your "city" water already know what your water quality is before they even test it! And many of the people who test your private "well" water know how frustrated and worried you are, and they prey on that fact. We are not saying anything bad about in-home water conditioning sales people. We just know the tactics that many unscrupulous sales people use. We are very good at telling the good guys from the bad guys in this industry. We can save you thousands of dollars on water conditioner systems and water treatment products without the sales pitch nonsense. Here, we can eliminate virtually all of those expensive service calls. Instead, we are here to help you every step of the way, over the phone with friendly, intelligent, live, highly qualified water technicians, and it's absolutely free for the lifetime of the equipment. If you prefer to have someone come out and service your equipment, if needed, we can do that too at a very reasonable cost. We care about you and your water. We encourage you to do your homework before buying anything from us, or anyone who is trying to sell you water treatment equipment.



Pittsburgh Water Conditioning Company FAQ's

1. What is the proper way to get a flow rate on a well system?

Turn on a faucet after the pressure tank until the well pump comes on. Immediately shut off the faucet and time how long the well pump runs with no water running anywhere. Write that number down. Next, get something you can measure running water with, such as a gallon jug. Fill the jug counting how many gallons it takes for the well pump to come back on. Write that number down. Then give us a call and we can tell you the actual flow rate. Or, if you have an engineering mind, you can figure it out using the following equation:

Divide 60 by the amount of time the pump ran times the gallons you got. This is your flow rate. For example the pump ran for 20 seconds and you got three gallons of water. 60/20=3 3x3=9 9 gallons per minute is your flow rate.

Also remember that in most cases, we can send someone out to check the flow rate and test the water for you.

2. What should I have my water tested for, and what is the best way to get that done?

The more testing the better, but at the very least on well water you should test for pH, iron and hardness. There are many ways to get testing done. Swimming pool supply stores will normally test for free and are usually very accurate. You can also look up laboratories in your local yellow pages and they will test your water for a fee. You can also send us a sample, or bring one to our office, and we will be glad to test your water free of charge. On municipal water (commonly called "city water"), simply call the phone number on your water bill, and in most cases, they can provide you with a water quality report. The hardness is the main thing to ask them for. You can also run the water at your kitchen sink for 5 minutes and then test it with a swimming pool chlorine tester. If it shows swimming pool levels of chlorine, then you obviously would want to address that. You wouldn't drink swimming pool water would you?

3. How do I know if I have iron bacteria?

The best test for iron bacteria is a 30 second visual test. Look in the storage tank on the back of the toilet, if there is any clumping in the corners or slime any where in the tank, you probably have iron bacteria and you must treat this before any filtration. You can call us and a tech can talk to you while you look in the tank if you like. We can send someone out to do this if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself.

4. How do I determine my flow rate on city water?

For a flow rate you want to determine how much water can flow through your main water line if you opened every faucet in your house. That would be a little hard in most cases to catch and time the water coming out of every faucet, but you should use at least three faucets at the same time. Have three people with buckets drawing water at the same time, and time for five minutes how much water all three of you at three different faucets can collect in five minutes. Add all the water together and divide by five. For example; person one collected 12 gallons, person two collected 15 gallons and person three collected 13 gallons. 12+15+13=40 40/5=8. You have 8 gallons per minute.

5. How do I know what size iron filter I need?

Iron filters are sized based on maximum potential flow rate in gallons per minute as described in item number 1. Flow rate is one of the most important factors in determining what filtration system will work best for your specific application, and anyone who gives you a recommendation for filtration without knowing your flow rate does not have you best interest in mind.

6. How do I know what size water softener I need?

Water softeners are sized based on daily water usage or number of people living in the home, and the hardness level. First, determine the hardness of your water and the number of people in the home. Use the softener-sizing chart on the softener page to determine the correct size water softener for you and your family. Upsize one size for hardness over 20gpg and another size for every additional 10gpg of hardness. Also keep in mind that your clothes washer and automatic dishwasher each count as 1/2person.

7. Who installs your equipment?

That is entirely up to you. You can do it; or we can do it; your family plumber can do it; or if you have a handy friend we can walk them through it. Obviously it is cheaper if you do it yourself, but we can do it for you for a nominal cost. Our expert technicians will be happy to walk you through it if you like, even on a Sunday or holiday. Once you have the equipment and are ready to install, just give us a call!

8. What is the difference between timer and on demand softeners?

On demand water softeners regenerate or clean themselves based on water usage, whereas a day timer water softener cleans itself based on a preset number of days each week. In most cases, the on demand water softeners are much more efficient and only clean themselves every 8 to 10 days. The fewer amount of times the unit cleans or cycles, the less water and salt you have to use or buy. A timer water softener is generally only recommended when an exact daily water usage is known such as in an industrial or commercial application. Or for limited users, such as a vacation cottage, or just one person living in the home.

9. Why do I need a reverse osmosis drinking water system?

Any time you are using a water softener to soften the water, you are adding sodium to your drinking water. We think everybody in this day and age does not need to be adding more sodium to his or her diet. The harder your water is, the more sodium that will be added. In virtually all situations, if your water is hard enough to the point that you need a water softener, you should not be consuming water from a softener. The only practical way to remove sodium in a residential environment is with reverse osmosis. A reverse osmosis drinking water system provides you with crystal clear, clean, pure great tasting drinking water without the sodium. It also removes many other unwanted foreign substances in the water such as fertilizer, nitrates and harmful chemicals.

10. Is your iron filter "on demand" or "metered"? Or do you use day timers for those?

No, the only thing that should be on demand is a water softener. Iron filtration systems need to be “fluffed up” or backwashed on a regular basis regardless of water usage to keep the media in the filter from clumping up.

11. How long does it take to get my equipment?

On most orders we can custom build your new water treatment system the same day. Delivery times usually vary from one to three days, depending on what you order and when you order it. And yes, we do have local express delivery to your door. We can also ship equipment anywhere in the United States and Canada.

12. What is a bypass valve?

A bypass valve allows you to shut off your unit and still have water coming to the house. If for any reason you would have a maintenance issue, you can put the unit on bypass and take the whole unit completely out without shutting off any water or cutting any pipes. They are just very nice to have if you ever need them. A bypass valve is something that you hope you never need, but are sure glad you have one if you ever do. And if you ever have an issue with your equipment, the bypass valve enables youto still flush toilets and such while getting the situation corrected.

13. Will a softener remove iron?

Virtually any water softener on the market will remove some types of iron for a period of time. Anyone telling you that a water softener will remove large amounts of iron, such as 5 ppm of iron or some other high number, is not doing you any favors. They are simply setting you up for a lifetime of aggravation. Almost all softeners will do this for a while, but it is a very bad idea. It will ruin the softener media, which will cause you to use way more salt and water than you should have to. It causes maintenance issues with the iron plugging up nozzles and screens and wearing out o-rings, and it will only remove certain types of iron. If you have an iron problem, you should be using an iron filter not a water softener. Using a water softener as an iron filters is one of the most common things we see bad water treatment dealers do. It makes them a whole lot of money in service calls and such.

14. Why do some companies say my pH is good, and some say I need to raise it?

Many companies use the EPA drinking water standard for pH. The drinking water standard has nothing to do with water treatment and you should always have a pH above 7.0 for water flirtation. Your water may also be acidic and will damage not only the equipment but also your pipes, faucets and appliances over time. For most filtration purposes it is better to have a pH above 7.5 and some filtration media requires a pH above 8.0. If someone is telling you that the filter they are recommending will work on a pH below 7.0, they either do not understand water filtration or do not care about you. Common sense will tell you that acidic water is going to damage equipment and media.

15. Can I drink the water from a softener if I use potassium chloride instead of sodium?

We would not recommend drinking water from any softener without using a reverse osmosis drinking water system, regardless if you are using sodium chloride or potassium chloride. Potassium is also a salt and should not be consumed in large quantities. Some medications are not to be taken if you have potassium in your water. If you use a water softener, you should also use a reverse osmosis drinking water system. The ONLY true advantage to potassium is that it is a bit better for the environment.

16. What are the benefits of soft water?

You wil see many benefits with soft water. Many of the benefits you will see depend on how hard your water is. Softened water will enableyour soaps and cleaning products to work much better, allowing you to use less of these products. Sometimes you only need about 1/8 of the amount of laundry soap you normally use. And laundry soap is VERY expensive. You can noticeably reduce the amount of virtually all of your soaps, cleaners and shampoos. You will also do away with most of the spotting on your dishes and shower, and prevent scaling of your pipes. If your water is extremely hard, a water softener will pay for itself in no time.

Do you have more water conditioning and water treatment questions?

You can ask us a water question by calling or you can send us an e-mail with this form:

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