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Frequently Asked Questions
I am having issues with my water, what type of system is best for my situation?
The type of system that is best for your home is usually determined by a water test. If you are concerned about your water, please contact us and we will provide a free in-home water test (for hardness, iron, manganese, and pH) and consultation, which will identify where your issues are coming from and what solutions we can provide for you. In some circumstances, a more comprehensive lab test may be required to identify contaminants such as bacteria or uranium for a fee.

Please consult our Common Water Issues page to see some of the most common issues that we see in Nova Scotia and how they can be fixed.
I have never had water quality issues in the past but I am noticing some now.
Many factors can contribute to a change in the quality of your water supply. Run-off from heavy rains, change in soil composition, or a disturbance in the underground aquifers can be some of the explanations for a quality change. If you already have a water treatment installed in your home, sometimes just a slight change to the settings will be able to correct the change and bring your water back to its regular quality as many of the systems we install have the capability to remove more than just one contaminant. In other cases, installing a second unit may be the only solution to correct your water. If you do not currently have a water treatment system installed, please contact us for a free in-home water test and consultation so our experts can outline some possible solutions for your situation.
I am experiencing a leak in my system.
If you are noticing water on the floor around your unit, it could be either a leak, or condensation falling from the unit, which is caused by differing temperatures between the water inside and the air temperature around it. If it is just condensation, be sure to check out our Online Store (coming soom) or visit our showroom to pick up a sweat jacket that will eliminate this water from reaching your floor.

If it is a leak, it could be caused by a variety of issues such as loose fittings, worn out pieces in the head, or a more complex issue. The easiest way to fix this is to Contact Us and book a service call with one of our technicians so they can troubleshoot and fix the problem to avoid it happening again.
Why do my taps have no pressure?
Low pressure can often be cause by 3 main things: Broken well pump, waterlogged pressure tank, or just simply not enough water in your well.

Well pumps are manufactured with enough power to turn on and off a certain number of times. When you have a system that is not running efficiently, these pumped need to work harder and pump less water more frequently, greatly decreasing the life of your pump.

Pressure tanks have an ‘air bladder’ inside of them which creates the pressure for the water as it passes through, if this bladder breaks or loses too much pressure it can lead to it becoming waterlogged, also forcing your other equipment to work harder to compensate for the low pressure, decreasing the life of all equipment.
My unit is going through a backwash cycle at irregular times or in the middle of the day.
When a softener unit is backwashing at the wrong time of day it may lead to salt water being pulled into the plumbing of your home, and can lead to an improper cleaning of your unit, causing you to use more media than you need and not do an incomplete job of purifying your water.

How to fix this: Take the cover off of the head of your unit. The time should be of the current hour of day, if not change it (i.e if it is 10:20am, set the time on the machine to 10).

These machines are automatically set to perform their backwash at 2am. If you have more than 1 machine, you need to offset the time by 2 hours for each. (i.e machine 1 - 10, machine 2 - 12, etc.)
Do you know how to turn off basic water treatment?
A question we get asked on a regular basis is how to turn "off" basic water treatment. Turning off equipment is commonly referred to as Bypassing your equipment or putting your equipment on bypass. Times when bypassing equipment may be helpful are:

  • A unit stuck in backwash.
  • A bad leak.
  • Work being done to your well.
  • Troubleshooting the water treatment equipment.
  • Filling a pool.
  • Washing a car.
  • Winterizing gear.

  • So how do we bypass a water softener or conditioner? Each unit that The Water Shed installs comes with a built in bypass. The bypass is located at the back of your unit where the plumbing goes in and out of your unit.

    Etched into the plastic you can see that the two knobs say Bypass and have direction arrows. By turning each knob in the direction of the arrows a quarter turn you are successfully putting your unit in bypass.

    To put your unit back into service, simply take the unit out bypass by turning the knobs back to their original position. And VOILA done!
    How to Get Sulfur Smell Out of Water.
    If you smell sulfur when you turn on a tap, the water is probably contaminated. While its smell may be its most offensive characteristic, this compound can cause nausea and tearing of the eyes at low concentrations, loss of smell at higher concentrations and death at very high concentrations, so it's nothing to take lightly.

    Determine Where the Odors are Coming From

    Sulfur odors may be present throughout the house, or you may notice them only at particular fixtures.

    Whole-House Odours

    The presence of sulfur odors at every fixture in the house - including the toilet tanks --indicates a source of hydrogen sulfide contaminating either the water source or a holding tank that supplies the entire house.

    If you have a well, the water could be passing through a sulfur source, or it could be contaminated by other chemicals that produce hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct - for example, nitrogen from agricultural sources.

    If a test of the well water reveals it to be free of odors, then suspect contamination in the holding tank. It's probably a buildup of non-pathogenic bacteria that are metabolizing the smelly gas.

    If only the hot water smells, the odor-causing bacteria are probably in the hot water tank.

    Localized Odors

    Smells coming from a particular part of the house, or a single fixture, usually indicate bacteria in the pipes. A common cause of these smells is a "dead-leg" run of pipes, which is one that has been capped off and is no longer used, but which nevertheless contains pressurized water.

    If you have a water softener, and the water from outdoor spigots is odor-free, the water softener is probably contaminated.

    If you have a whole-house problem, you may need to install a filtration system between the well or the water tank and the house - it's usually best to install it as close to the house as possible.

    One of the most common and effective filtration systems consists of a chlorine feeder and an active-carbon filter. Chlorine oxidizes hydrogen sulfide gas to produce small, insoluble particles, and the filter removes these from the water.

    If you have traced the smells to a water softener, replace the filter.

    If the smells are coming from the water heater, shock chlorinating the tank should solve the problem. This entails draining the tank of sediment and, as the name suggests, disinfecting the heater with bleach OR better yet give us a call and we will come see what the issue is!
    How to chlorinate a well?
    The most common reasons for chlorinating your well are a bacteria problem or after any sort of well or pump work. Another reason why someone may chlorinate their well is to temporarily diminish an odor that may occur from time to time.

    How the Chlorination Process Works?
    1. Open well cover.

    2. Carefully pour bleach or chlorine tablets into well. We sell chlorine tablets in our Dartmouth Show Room.

    3. If you have water treatment equipment, put unit in bypass mode for now.

    4. Connect a garden hose from the bottom of the pressure tank or outside faucet and run hose into the top of well and open the spigot fully.

    5. Allow circulation process to continue until chlorine is detected from hose. Once chlorine level is strong, wash down the inner walls of the well with the hose and shut off. Now replace cover on well. Let the water sit in the lines for about 12 hours, preferably overnight. Do not leave chlorine for more than 24 hours as it may affect some equipment components. NOTE: A shallow well generally circulates within 1/2 hour, a deeper, drilled well can sometimes take a couple of hours. Once the hose is flowing chlorinated water, be careful, it may stain or damage clothing (cotton) and/or cause skin/eye irritation.

    6. If you have an electric water heater, it will take 10-15 minutes of running a couple of hot water faucets inside your house to remove the stored, un-chlorinated water with chlorinated water. All faucets, tubs, shower heads, toilets, laundry machines (set at low level warm water, no clothes), dishwashers, sprayers at kitchen sinks, outside faucets, and all plumbing in the house should be run one at a time until the chlorinated water is present and then shut down. The entire well, pumping and storage system, and all house plumbing are now treated. Advise all occupants as to the waters condition, and advise the only thing you can do is to flush toilets and maybe some general cleaning using gloves.

    Discharging the chlorine:

    24 hours after chlorinating start running a garden hose outside to some safe area. If you have a low production well, generally an hour on, two hours off, is a safe practice. As long as you are pumping water, you will not hurt your pump. Monitor the chlorine level and after some time, you should see the level decrease gradually as fresh water enters the well and dilutes the treated water in well. Continue discharging until no chlorine is detected. Chlorine removal is a slow process and may take a long time to remove. It is not uncommon to have chlorinated water for two or three days. Repeat step #6 of chlorinating process to replace the treated water with fresh water in the house plumbing after running water outside and chlorine residue is lowered. If applicable, install a new cartridge into the filter housing and/or switch softener from bypass to service mode. You may now safely return to normal household use of water. We recommend testing the water for bacteria (if this was the initial problem) before using the water for consumption. Also, follow-up testing is recommended to assure that a problem has not redeveloped.

    Loss of pressure:

    If low pressure results after treatment of well has been done, the following should be checked:
    • Sediment filter in basement may be clogged.

    • Screens on faucets may be clogged with sediment.

    • If the water pressure on the gauge reads below 20 psi, shut off hose and let it sit for 30 minutes. If pressure does not come up, please call our office. If it reads above 25 psi and you have low pressure, check the first two options again, then call our office.

    Before beginning this process please check out the guidelines set out by The Department of Environment:
    I have no water. Why does the pressure gauge on my pump or pressure tank say zero?
    There are a number of possible reasons for your situation. Here are just a few steps you can take to save yourself time and perhaps some money too
  • If you have experienced a recent power outage, your "low level cut-off switch" may have shut your pump off. Look at the pressure switch (usually a grey or black box located near the pressure gauge) and follow the instructions on the side of the box closest the reset lever. No luck?

  • Make sure the breaker or fuses used to operate your pump are not blown and that you have power to your pump. To find the breaker or fuses, follow the wiring from the pressure switch. Turn off the pumps power supply and check the breaker or fuses. Got power, but still no water?

  • Check to see if you have water in your well. This could mean having to remove the crock lid on a dug well and taking a look or it could mean removing the well cap from a drilled well and either taking a look or using a "dip string" with a weight on the end. Deep drilled wells are often difficult to sight because the static water level may be 50 feet or more below ground level. Got water, but still no luck?

  • You may have a pump problem. If you have a jet pump installed somewhere near your pressure tank, check to see if it is overheating, humming but not turning, leaking, or has a burning electrical smell. If you have a deep submersible pump it is advisable to call a professional.
  • How familiar are you with your salt tank?
    How familiar are you with YOUR salt tank? Most people aren't very familiar so Let's Talk Salt Tanks!

    Salt or brine solution is an essential part of the ion exchange process in a water softener. Salt is what regenerates the ion resins of a softener. We thought it would be helpful to tackle a few of the commonly asked questions associated with maintaining a brine tank (the plastic tank that sits next to a water softener). Here we go:

    #1. How often should I have to add salt?

    Water softeners and conditioners work effectively with either sodium chloride (commonly referred to as salt) or potassium chloride (actually a type of salt also but much much more expensive). How often you'll have to add more salt to the brine tank will depend on factors such as:
  • The size of your brine tank.
  • How hard the water is in your area?
  • How many people live in your house?
  • And how much water your household consumes.
  • For example, a larger family will most likely consume more water which will cause your softener to regenerate more frequently, and so more salt will need to be added more often. The valve control panel on our water softeners and conditioners will do all of the calculations for you regarding when to regenerate.

    #2. How much salt should I have in my brine tank?

    We recommend keeping your brine tank at least one quarter full of water softener salt at all times, and no more than four to six inches below the top of the tank for optimum efficiency. Make sure that the salt level always remains a few inches above the water level. Before you add new salt pellets to the brine tank, be sure to loosen up any encrusted salt that may be sticking to the edges of the tank and make sure to break up any large pieces of salt. If the salt has formed one solid chunk (known as bridging), manually break up the salt block by pouring hot water over it - making it easier to break up and remove.

    #3. How much salt should my water softener use?

    How salt is used depends on water usage and system size. If a softener is sized correctly, a residential system will use approximately ten to twelve pounds of salt per week, or 40-50 pounds of salt per month. Be sure to check your salt and water levels at least once each month.

    #4. There is always water in my brine tank, should there be? If so, how much?

    There will usually be several gallons of water in the bottom of the brine tank, but usually is never more than twelve inches high. We recommend that you check the salt level in your brine tank at least monthly. The more often your system regenerates, the more you'll need to check and add salt to the tank.
    Is it time for a new pressure tank?
    Do you know when you need a new one?

    Your well pump forces water to the surface. Without a pressure tank, the well pump would need to turn on every time you opened a faucet in order to maintain water pressure. Your well tank acts as a water storage container giving your well pump a much needed rest in between cycles. When air pressure inside the well tank decreases due to water usage, a pressure switch automatically activates telling the well pump to fill the tank. This assures an ample supply of well water will be on hand the next time you need it.

    If it appears that a bladder tank is not operating correctly, check the tank's air charge:

  • Disconnect electrical power to the pump.
  • Drain the tank by opening the closest faucet.
  • Check the tank's pressure by placing an air pressure gauge on the air charging valve on the top of the tank.
  • Add air if the pressure is more than 2 psi below the pump cut-in pressure. Use caution when using an air compressor or air pump.
  • Release air if the pressure is 2 psi above the pump cut-in pressure (lowest pressure in the operating range).
  • Check for leaks in the air charging system by dripping a soap solution on the air charging valve.
  • Re-start the pump and run through a normal cycle to verify the setting. If tank pressure drops abnormally, the bladder inside the tank may have a tear or hole in it.

  • Is it waterlogged?

    You should also check a bladder tank to determine if it's waterlogged. A tank is waterlogged if it is completely filled with water or has too much water to function correctly. Waterlogged bladder pressure tanks contribute to the following problems:

  • The pump motor cycles too often. Frequent cycling can shorten the lifespan of a pump.
  • Because waterlogged tanks can contain stagnant water, there can be unsatisfactory coliform samples or taste and odor complaints.
  • Premature tank failure: The inside walls of a waterlogged tank can corrode and weaken from the exposure to water.

  • It may often be most cost-efficient for the customer to simply replace a waterlogged tank.

    Bladder tanks can become waterlogged for many reasons. Some of the more common reasons are:

  • Sediment, such as iron and manganese, can coat the surface of the bladder, causing it to harden and become less flexible.
  • Sediments can plug the fill or draw line, preventing the tank from filling and emptying normally.
  • Excessive levels of chorine can damage the bladder, causing it to become brittle and less flexible.
  • Tanks sitting directly on the ground or on another surface that is continually moist can rust and lose structural integrity.
  • Chlorinators can give off corrosive vapors that cause the tank to rust.

  • When working with bladder pressure tanks, always be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's safety warnings.
    Why is my water salty in the morning?
    The most common cause for salty water early in the day is from water being used during your softeners backwash cycle. These units are designed to backwash, pulling salt water through the machine to clean the media inside, between 2am and 4am once or multiple times per week. If water is used during this cycle, it draws this salt water into the pipes throughout your home, giving you salty water.

    If you are experiencing this, simply running your taps for 5 minutes should easily clear any remaining salt water out of the pipes.

    If this is an ongoing issue or you are experiencing this at a different time of the day, it is likely that your backwash cycle on your unit may be set to begin at the wrong time of day.