Frequently Asked Questions
Phoenix HVAC and Water Services from American Home Water and Air
Looking for Phoenix air conditioning, heating, or water services? Here are some of the most common questions we receive at American Home Water and Air.
Here in the desert, our water is highly saturated with dissolved rock. Consequently, the water is very hard. Conditions in our homes like heat, cold, acidity, and soap alkalinity cause the rock to come out of solution and reform as solids. These solids appear as hard white deposits everywhere you use water – tubs, tiles, toilets, shower doors, sinks, fixtures, clothes, washable fabrics, ice-makers, dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, skin, hair, food and beverages.
Water softeners use an ion exchange-based process that replaces mineral deposits with small amounts of sodium. After your water passes through a softener, it will not cause scale buildup or damage your skin.
You should be able to notice that your water tastes differently after it is softened. You’ll also notice that scale does not build up in sinks or on dishes.
Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that removes up to 95% of everything in water that is not water itself, down to the size of an atom. The process relies on a series of membranes that your water gets forced through, trapping contaminants like heavy metals, salts, and pharmaceuticals that are prevalent in Phoenix water.
HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.”
A water softener costs between $1,450 and $1,750 including installation. If you wish to install the system yourself, expect to pay between $960 and $1,560. This is certainly a lot of money — but a water softener pays for itself very quickly through savings on your water and grocery bill.
A water filter is different from a softener. A filter removes chemicals and harmful compounds from your water. This typically includes:
- Heavy metals
- Other inorganic and organic compounds that may be harmful
A standalone water filter won’t soften your water. Likewise, a standalone water softener won’t filter the above chemicals out.
WILL I NEED TO ADJUST TO SOFT WATER ?
Use very sparingly. It will feel like you are not able to rinse away the soap; but what you are feeling is not soap; it’s your own natural body oil.
Since you are no longer clogging your pores with microscopic amounts of dissolved rock, your body oils flow freely to the surface of your skin where they moisturize your skin better than any expensive lotion. With soft water, you can all but eliminate the use of hand & body lotions.
Use no more shampoo than an amount the size of a dime, or you will spend forever trying to rinse the soap out of your hair. Conditioners & rinses are used to counteract the dissolved rock that builds up in your hair. Since water softeners eliminate dissolved rock, you won’t need as much, if any, conditioner or rinse.
Just a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a sink full of soft water are all you will need to get your dishes, glasses and silverware cleaner than they have ever been. If you can’t get beyond using a healthy squeeze of dish liquid, dilute it by four or five parts of soft water to one part of dish liquid.
Use no more than one teaspoon of liquid or powder in only one of your dishwasher’s soap cups. Also, eliminate the use of a rinsing agent such as Jet Dry. If you continue to use the same amount of product that you have been using, you will be eating and drinking dishwashing chemicals.
If you continue to use detergents, cut whatever measure you are now using by ¼ to ½ or more. If you use any of the soaps specially formulated for conditioned water, use a teaspoon to a tablespoon per load. Determine the amount of laundry product you use by how clean your wash gets, not by the amount of suds the product makes. Letting clothes soak for one or two hour produces the best result.
Eliminating the dissolved rock that turns your whites dingy allows you to use much less, if any, bleach in every wash. Use bleach only to get rid of stubborn stains.
Eliminating dissolved rock residue from your clothes eliminates the need for fabric softeners in the washer and dryer. If you want to eliminate static cling or add scent to your laundry, ¼ of a softener sheet in your dryer is all you need.
Since treated water is significantly more solvent than tap water; you can cut back on the amount of foodstuffs you normally mix with water. For better tasting beverages, use less coffee grounds, tea leaves, beverage mixes as well as synthetic and natural sweeteners. Vegetables, grains and cereals will cook faster. Dried legumes (beans, split peas, lentils, etc.) will cook immediately without you having to soak them overnight. For adult beverage users, be sure to reduce the amount of spirits you mix with treated water. With treated water, alcohol goes a lot farther a lot faster.
Water Softener FAQ’s
Can Water Softeners Save Me Money?
Conditioned water not only makes your life easier; it also saves you money. Figuring very conservatively, conditioned water will save a family of four between $80 to $100, or more, every month. Our whole-house systems will pay for themselves within 12 to 24 months depending on the size of your family and the hardness of your water. This means every year or two you go without conditioned water, you will have paid for a system.
Refurbished Water Softeners
American Home Water in an effort to be environmentally aware can provide refurbished or rebuilt water softeners to clients with limited budgets. These units are rebedded with the same high quality resin used in the Patriot and President water softener systems. All moving parts are replaced with new components. The refurbished Patriot has a 5 year parts and labor extended warranty and the refurbished President has a 10 year parts and labor extended warranty.
The refurbished Patriot and President models does are black in color instead of white or chrome as shown in the photos, but they still look very nice. They have been reconditioned to as close to new as possible and will produce the same water as new units and should last almost as long.
Because of the high quality resin and other components used in these units, American Home Water has a great deal of confidence in these systems and we back them up with the same free extended warranty we put on the new units. So if there is a problem, it is our problem and not our customers.
No Salt Option
Customers who do not want to add sodium to their water, but still want the benefits of soft water have the option of using potassium; a salt substitute. At American Home Water, we recommend salt because of the cost advantage and the fact that water softeners only add about 20% more sodium to the water than is already in the water before it goes into the softener.
Also, you get far more sodium from other sources of food and beverages. For example, the sodium in one McDonald’s Big Breakfast meal is the same as drinking eleven gallons of soft water! Also, sodium is only harmful if you are on a strict low sodium diet in which case you should only drink bottled or RO water and even avoid tap water. Check out our page on whether soft water is safe to drink.
No Salt Water Softeners and Magnets
Many companies on the Internet and elsewhere advertise no salt softeners. These companies are misleading their customers into thinking that their systems will remove calcium from the water and produce soft water. Any consumer who is considering one of these units should do research by independent sources. These units are never sold by reputable companies in the water industry.
If you measure the water hardness with a hardness test kit you will find that the hardness level is the same as before the units. These companies cannot provide any independent analysis that will verify that these units provide soft water and they can not get the Water Quality Associations to approve their units. They are similar to the companies that sell magnets that are supposed to give better gas mileage, but have never worked.
We have replaced many of these units with real water softeners after customers have spent thousands of dollars only to find out they do not soften the water. They generally make the water taste better, but do nothing to remove the calcium from the water which is what causes all the problems associated with hard water, especially in Arizona. The only cost effective way to remove calcium from water is the ion exchange method employed by conventional water softeners.
Do It Yourself Kits
American Home Water can provide equipment for our Do It Yourself clients. We provide free delivery and instruction by installers and a courtesy return call to explain and set up the water softener after the installation is complete if necessary. If you are handy and can do basic plumbing you can save hundreds of dollars with our help and have a top quality water softener. The labor warranties on the water softener still apply to the system operation.
Why Are Water Softener Prices So Different?
A lot of customers ask why there is such a difference in the price of water filtration systems. The answer is that although the equipment cost almost the same on the wholesale level, on the retail level many companies do a lot of expensive marketing and pay high sales commissions which is then added to the price of the system driving the prices out of sight. The other reason is that most of these marketing companies sell very few systems and have to make their profits on only a few customers.
American Home Water installs 40 to 70 systems a week and our operating costs are spread over more customers. The price has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the equipment you are purchasing. In fact, most marketing companies seek out equipment that they will have exclusivity so competitors will not be able to match products. This is usually equipment that is not well tested and without a history of reliability. American Home Water and Air only recommends equipment with a long history of reliability that we feel comfortable backing up with a long labor warranty.
Why It Is Important To Have A Site Survey Done By A Installer Rather Than A Salesman?
Many times we have found out that a salesman from a different water softening company has told a homeowner that it is necessary to install the water softener outside, or in an inconvenient location. Then, we check out the layout of the home and find that it is feasible, and in many cases cost less money, to install the system inside or in a more convenient location. Also, a salesman is normally paid by commission and may not always have the customer’s best interest in mind. Commissions must be added to the cost of the water system thus raising the price by hundreds of dollars.
At American Home Water and Air, we do not pay sales commissions and our site surveys are done by the owners Tom Atkinson or Tom Knapp who have literally installed thousands of water softeners, and have the customer’s best interest as the highest priority.
Does a Water Softener Harm the Environment?
We are often asked if a water softener harms the environment. The overall environmental impact is actually very positive. Although water softeners use salt to function, they are beneficial because they help households save energy and substantially reduce the amount of detergent and chemicals required for household cleaning. It’s a bit of a trade off, but cleaning products are much more harmful to the environment than the salt consumed by a water softener. Potassium can be used to even further reduce the environmental impact.