Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a water softener and a No-Salt system?

  • A water softener is an ion exchange process.  Your hardness ions such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, etc. are replaced with non-hardness minerals such as sodium or potassium.  These systems require a regeneration cycle with a salt product to remove the hardness minerals from the resin after they have been collected.
  • A No-Salt system is not a water softening device.  It is SCALE Prevention.  It leaves the mineral in the water in a state that will not allow it to adhere to plumbing or surfaces.  These must be prescribed by a water professional as they require the proper pretreatment to insure the best possible results.   Added benefits to a No-Salt system is that they do not require a regeneration with a salt based product.  This saves water and the added hassle of dumping salt into your softener.   You can further research this product at .
  • 1) How much Sodium is added to my water with a water softener?
  • The amount of sodium a water softener adds to tap water depends on the "hardness" of your water. The best way to decrease your sodium intake is by cutting back on table salt and processed foods. But the water from your tap also may add a significant amount of sodium to your diet. Reducing dietary sodium can lower systolic blood pressure by 2 to 8 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).  Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium — dissolved from the soil by rainwater. A typical water-softening system removes calcium and magnesium ions from hard water and replaces them with sodium ions. The higher the concentration of calcium and magnesium, the more sodium needed to soften the water.  Your local health department can tell you the sodium and other mineral content of your community's water supply. (Water naturally contains some sodium before it's softened.)  This information can help you determine the total amount of sodium your tap water may have before being softened. It can also help you estimate the amount of sodium (milligrams per liter) a softener adds to your water. Here's how:  Ask your local health department for the hardness of your water in grains per gallon. Multiply this number by 8 — or 7.866 to be more precise. This tells you how much sodium is added to your water by softening. Add this figure to the amount of naturally occurring sodium in your water — also from your local health department — to determine the total sodium. One survey found that, as a general rule, an 8-ounce glass of softened tap water contains less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium. According to the Food and Drug Administration nutrient guidelines, this is in the very low-sodium range.
  • 2) What is Reverse Osmosis?
  • Reverse osmosis is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solvent through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side. More formally, it is the process of forcing a solvent from a region of high solute concentration through a membrane to a region of low solute concentration by applying a pressure in excess of the osmotic pressure. This is the reverse of the normal osmosis process, which is the natural movement of solvent from an area of low solute concentration, through a membrane, to an area of high solute concentration when no external pressure is applied. The membrane here is semipermeable, meaning it allows the passage of solvent but not of solute.  The membranes used for reverse osmosis have a dense barrier layer in the polymer matrix where most separation occurs. In most cases the membrane is designed to allow only water to pass through this dense layer while preventing the passage of solutes (such as salt ions). This process requires that a high pressure be exerted on the high concentration side of the membrane, usually 2–17 bar (30–250 psi) for fresh and brackish water, and 40–70 bar (600–1000 psi) for seawater, which has around 24 bar (350 psi) natural osmotic pressure which must be overcome.  This process is best known for its use in desalination (removing the salt from sea water to get fresh water), but has also purified naturally occurring freshwater for medical, industrial process and rinsing applications since the early 1970s.
  • 3) What is a water softener?
  • A water softener reduces the calcium or magnesium ion concentration in hard water. These "hardness ions" cause three major kinds of problems. The metal ions react with soaps and calcium sensitive detergents, hindering their ability to lather properly and forming an unsightly precipitate— the familiar scum or "bathtub ring". Presence of "hardness ions" also inhibits the cleaning effect of detergent formulations. More seriously, calcium and magnesium carbonates tend to adhere to the surfaces of pipes and heat exchanger surfaces. The resulting scale build-up can restrict water flow in pipes. In boilers, the deposits act as thermal insulation that impedes the flow of heat into the water; this not only reduces heating efficiency, but allows the metal to overheat which, in a pressurized system, can lead to failure."
  • 1. What is Activated Carbon?Carbon is an extremely porous material that attracts and holds a wide range of harmful contaminants. Activated carbon is carbon which has a slight electro-positive charge added to it, making it even more attractive to chemicals and impurities. As the water passes over the positively charged carbon surface, the negative ions of the contaminants are drawn to the surface of the carbon granules.
  • 2.  What forms does it come in?
  • Activated carbon filters used for home water treatment typically contain either granular activated carbon (GAC) or powdered block carbon (carbon block).
  • 3. Which is generally better, GAC or carbon block?
  • Although both are effective, carbon block filters generally have a higher contaminant removal ratio and are more resistant to channeling.
  • 4. Are all carbon filters equally effective?
  • No. Activated carbon filters are usually rated by the size of particles they are able to remove, measured in microns, and generally range from 20 microns (least effective) down to 0.5 microns (most effective). The two most important factors affecting the efficiency of activated carbon filtration are the amount of activated carbon in the unit and the amount of time the contaminant spends in contact with it. The more carbon the better. Particle size also affects contaminant removal rates. The most common carbon types used in water filtration are bituminous, wood, centaur carbon and coconut shell carbons.
  • 5. Can I use taste and flow rate to determine when to change the filter?
  • No. These are very poor methods of monitoring your water filter for maintenance. Once the bad tastes have returned, it is already far too late - contaminants have passed through the filter and into your drinking water. A carbon cartridge may be able to control taste and odors long after the carbon has lost its ability to effectively reduce other toxic contaminants. You should always follow the manufacturer's filter replacement schedule to ensure optimal filtration.
  • 6. What is Backwashing and do you recommend it?
  • Backwashing is the process of forcing water through a filter in the wrong direction to unclog the dirt and sediment which has blocked the filter. Backwashing is a common practice for certain whole house and commercial units which are treating large volumes of water for utility purposes but it is not a recognized practice for small point of use drinking water systems.
  • 7.  What Contaminants Does Carbon (GAC) Remove?
  • Activated carbon filters remove/reduce many volatile organic chemicals (VOC), pesticides and herbicides, as well as chlorine, benzene, trihalomethane (THM) compounds, radon, solvents and hundreds of other man-made chemicals found in tap water. Some activated carbon filters are moderately effective at removing some, but not all, heavy metals. In addition, densely compacted carbon block filters mechanically remove particles down to 0.5 micron, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium, turbidity and particulates. Although some iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide will be removed by these higher quality activated carbon filters, a manganese greensand iron reduction filter is generally preferred to remove these contaminants as the effectiveness of carbon filter against iron and manganese is generally short-lived if the contaminant concentration is high. Carbon filters are NOT generally successful at removing dissolved inorganic contaminants or metals such as minerals/salts (hardness or scale-causing contaminants), antimony, arsenic, asbestos, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, mercury, nickel, nitrates/nitrites, selenium, sulfate, thallium, and certain radio nuclides. Removing these contaminants requires either a reverse osmosis water filter system or a distiller (some can also be removed by KDF-55 or manganese greensand). GAC does not remove sediment / particulate material very well, so they are often preceded by a sediment filter. Sediment pre-filters also prolong the activate carbon cartridge life by eliminating gross contaminants that would otherwise clog the activated carbon thereby reducing the surface area available for absorption. Carbon block filters are generally better then GAC filters at removing sediment.

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  •  Rating ★★★★★ 5.0 Date Approved 12/15/2014 Reviewer Kevin S. Reviewer Location Katy, TX How You Know Them They hired you Their Review I looked at several different options before going with R & S Water Services. They took the time to explain available options on the market, how much it would cost to purchase install the system and how much I could expect to spend on maintenance before they even knew if they'd have my business. I called them back a few days later and scheduled them to come out and install a whole house water softener and filtration system. They showed up on time and had the system installed and explained to us within two hours. He even let us video tape him while he explained how to use the system. I will definitely refer Russell to any of our friends who are looking at adding a water treatment system to their house. My wife got exactly what she wanted at half the price of what her friends paid for one of those proprietary systems, so I was happy too.              
  •  Yelp review 10/21/2014  1 check-in  What do people usually look for in a service provider?  Quick response time?  Check Reliable? Check Honest?  Check Fair?  Check Trustworthy? Check Knowledgeable? Check Communicates with customer on needs? Check  Recently acquired a property that I needed a water softener and reverse osmosis system installed. I gave Russ a call and talked it over with me on the phone, answered all my questions, installed and explained both systems to me and also did a excellent (keyword here is excellent, as in not half-rate, presentable, seamless, flawless, professional, I'd brag about this and recommend him to anyone) job installing both and running a line to my refrigerator.  Did I mention that he's knowledgeable about the products he installs and is a testament to good reviews online? Hands down I'm pleased and impressed with the quality and skill R&S delivered.  Kudos to his assistant as well because it was a two man job and they got it done. Definate 5 star rating. More to come on that RO system.     
  • Rating ★★★★★ 5.0 Date Approved 10/01/2013 Reviewer A Customer Reviewer Location Richmond, TX How You Know Them They hired you Their Review Owner himself and his son came down to install water softener, that shows that they are dedicated, answered all my questions and rate was very reasonable. We are very pleased that we selected R&S water.    Russell,  Thanks again for doing a first-class installation at my house today.  I wish you well in your business, so that when I have to call R&S back in 2022 with a question about my system, you (or your successor (son?)) will be able to look me up and take care of me.  Sincerely,  Herb Hyatt   
  • Dear Russell,   The Next Filtration system with the pre-filter flushing system that you installed works great.   Now our water tastes good and the scaling doesn't accumulate or stick anymore and  is very easy to rinse and clean off.        The water has a much softer feel to it.      We are very happy with the system and would recommend it very highly.  Your understanding of water and water treatment is impressive and  you are on the cutting edge with a much safer system for the environment.   Also got the impression that you stand behind and believe in your product from personal experience,   The installation  was excellent and prices - very reasonable - especially when compared to other similar products that would appear from my research to be not as good or proven as the Next Filtration system.   Thanks again,   Bill and Carol Garodnick    
  • The customer service I received from Rswaterservice was exceptional.  Russell was not only professional, but also patient with answering my questions and allowing me the time to make the decision (no pressure what so ever).  I would definitely recommend Rswaterservice to anyone. Matter of fact, I was so impressed with the service, I have recommended his product and service to two other family members.  Russell did the Next Filtration set up in one day as promised and did a very thorough walk-through with me.  His job is very neat and clean.   I know I have not seen any mineral build up.   Thanks, Varghese Family  
  • Submit a Testimony: I have a pre-own water treatment system lost function and leaking. We call for repairing service. This job was done by Mr. Russell Bailey. I like his working attitude; he cleaned the dirt, and then diagnosed the damaged part. Replace them one at a time. That keeps the cost reasonable low and the system work perfectly good after repairing.  He not only did the repairing but also give his customer good lesson for maintenance and renewal knowledge of the water treatment. He is the man that you can trust; I will use him in future work if i needed.  Allan Kejian Lan *   
  •  These Ratings & Reviews have been provided by previous Service Magic/ Home Advisor customers who have had work performed by R & S Water Services    
  •  Customer Rating: 5 City: Katy, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "We are very satisfied with the overall experience; the work was scheduled to our convenience, admirable punctuality and quality of work and we felt the price was reasonable for the end product. We highly recommend R " Customer: Anupam S. Member Since: June 26,2009  
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: katy , TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "Service was excellent, very professional and at the best price. Took time to explain the system to us, tested our water from the tap and RO system and answered all my questions. Would highly recommend to anyone needing plumbing work completed. " Customer: james h. Member Since: July 22, 2009  
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: Katy, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "Showed up on time. Very professional and courteous. Excellent service." Customer: Carol H. Member Since: April 8, 2009  
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: Houston, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "Great service, very knowledgable and best price"   City: Sugar Land, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "Highly recommended. Installed my already purchased equipment at a great price and didn't try to sell me their own stuff. I'll definitely call them with any other water treatment work." Ken L. Member Since: February 23, 2005   
  • City: Sugar Land, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Install or Replace "Very knowledgeable and friendly. No big sales pitch and very reasonable pricing. Quality install and product. Highly recommend" Dan M. Member Since: September 25, 2008   
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: Sugar Land, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Repair or Service "Superb Service! Russell was the best workman I have had come to my house in a long time. He was professional and friendly. His prices were reasonable. I have had several people come to my house to try and fix that water conditioner and charged me al ot of money but didn't fix it. Russell seems very knowledgeable about the systems and didn' t quit until the job was done. Even though several kinks popped up, he made sure it was all running smoothly before he left. I would highly recommend him to anyone! " Jeanne L. Member Since: September 26, 2008   
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: Houston, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Repair or Service "Exactly what I was looking for. Very knowledgable staff. Good prices."   
  • Customer Rating: 5 City: Richmond, TX Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Repair or Service "After a very frustrating experience with another service company Mr Bailey was a breath of fresh air. He was knowlegable and very professional. I appreciated his quick response to our call and was surprised that he had the parts needed within hours and the work was completed as promised the next morning. The best part was that the repair was 1/3 of another company's quote. I found R & S water services to be honest with fair pricing. Mr Bailey will be doing our annual service call going forward." Jackie J. Member Since: January 15, 2008  
  •  Project: Water Treatment & Purification System - Repair or Service "He stands behind his work. He's a good guy. He does a great job for me." Note: This reference was collected and verified as part of ServiceMagic's 10 step screening process. The project took place prior to the pro's acceptance as a ServiceMagic member. Greg A.

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