L. Heiden has been in the water treatment business for more than 25 years. Currently, she is a National Account Executive for UL and is an active member of the Water Quality Association.
Before my 25 years working in the water treatment industry, all I knew about water was that it was wet and I liked to swim in it. As a child I lived several different places but the one I called home was my grandparent’s house in a small village in Northeastern Ohio. This was the home that my father and his siblings grew up in and eventually where I spent my teenage years.
As a teenage girl I took lots of showers. I remember we always used a beauty bar soap which was supposed to be made with “¼ moisturizing cream.” Funny, but I also remember my skin feeling tight and dry and because of that, I always felt that this was bogus advertising.
As a young adult with a husband and new baby, I lived in the same house in the small village that I grew up in. I finally got to choose which soaps I wanted to buy and use. I knew one thing; it would not be that bogus soap with the cream in it. Well, it turned out that no matter what soap I bought, I always had that dry tight feeling after showering. To try and combat this, I’d pour on the lotions and goop up my baby girl with baby oil. This was only a temporary fix.
Eventually, my husband and I bought a house in the country, about fifteen miles away from the house in the village where I grew up. The water in the country was very different. Instead of that dry tight feeling, I was left with a sticky, filmy residue after showering. It was at this time in my life when I was first introduced to water treatment. It was like a light clicked on in my head when I started working at Kinetico. I finally learned why there was such a difference in my water when I lived in the small village versus the water in my home in the country. The house in the village was on a city water supply which took water from seven different wells (not always the same ones) every day and chlorinated it to make it safe to drink and use. This chlorine was the source of my dry tight skin when I lived in my family home; the same feeling you get after swimming in a pool! The water in the country was supplied by a private well on our property. This water was not chlorinated so I did not get that dry tight feeling. However, it was loaded with iron and had a lot of hardness made up of calcium, magnesium and other minerals. The hardness in the well water, along with the iron, I learned, was binding with the soaps and creating a soap curd which clung to my skin and created that nasty sticky feeling after showering. A water softener to get rid of the hardness along with a prefilter ahead of it to trap the red iron and sediment was the cure. I was now able to enjoy my showers and guess what, I could even use that moisturizing soap and realized that the advertisement was not what was bogus it was my water quality!
Now as a mature adult, I’ve come full circle and once again live in the old family home in the village which is now considered a “city” as the population has grown to a whopping 5,000 people! When I first moved back there was an issue with the water meter. The city water department sent a technician to check it out. While he was working on the meter I told him how disgusting I found the water in our village to be. He was surprised and a little shocked. He informed me that most people felt the water in our village was great. I am not sure he understood the difference between people thinking the water was great and people not realizing how much better it could be. I’ll admit it …. I am now a water snob after becoming accustomed to dechlorinated - iron free - soft water thanks to my Kinetico equipment. It happens to the best of us. Once you have water without chlorine, minerals, iron and odor, it is difficult to go back to what you previously thought was “great” water.
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