Water Softening & Conditioning FAQs

At Mather Pump Service we are committed not only to providing high quality products and outstanding service, but we also aim to inform our customers.  If your question isn’t answered here, please do not hesitate to give us a call or stop by the office.  We do offer a Free Water Test to determine the kind of systems that will be best for you and your family.  Just rinse out a plastic bottle or glass jar, fill it back up then drop it off at our office.  We’ll let you know the Iron, Iron Bacteria, Water Hardness, pH Balance, T.D.S. and any recommendations if necessary.  We are located at:

12307 NE 95th St. Vancouver, WA 98682    8am-5pm  Monday – Friday

What is hard water? How do I know if my water is hard?

FaucetWater hardness is determined by how much magnesium and calcium is in your water. If either mineral in is your water, you will notice build up on your faucets and other fixtures. You may also notice soap deposits or scum on laundry, dishes, and in the sink and bathtub.


What is soft water?

Soft water is the result of using a water softener to counteract hard water. Water softeners will take out the minerals that make up hard water.


What type of salt should I use in my water softener?

We recommend Morton Pure and Natural Water Softener Crystals for use with our systems.  Pure and Natural Crystals are specially formulated and NSF Certified. 

We stock Morton salt for you here by the pallet and are happy to load the bags into your vehicle for you.


Why does bathing in soft water make me feel slick or slippery?

When you are accustomed to bathing in hard water, you are used to your soap and shampoo not dissolving all the way because the minerals in your water make it difficult for them to dissolve. Once a water softener is installed, this no longer happens. The cleaning agents dissolve fully, suds up more and create a slick, ultra smooth feel.


Why does my sink, shower, and other fixtures turn yellow?

Any abnormal discoloring on appliances and fixtures is usually due to a particular element in the water. Yellow coloring is often a sign of iron in the water.


Why are there brown stains in my dishwasher?

If you find brown or black stains in your dishwasher, the cause is most likely a high level of magnesium in your water. Your dishwasher creates the perfect environment for the magnesium to appear because the magnesium is heated, mixed around, and combined with air, allowing it to oxidize and leave behind the discoloration.


Why is my water leaving blue/green stains?

This color of staining usually means that your water is acidic. Your water can become acidic due to the metals from piping and other equipment.


Is it bad to have sodium in the water?

The way that water softeners work they do not pass through enough sodium to pose any general health risks or deterrent. 


What is nitrate and where does it come from?

Nitrate is a compound that’s formed when nitrogen and oxygen are combined. This process happens often in soil. The water going to your well will naturally pick up small amounts of nitrate, which is normal. Too much nitrate can be harmful, so if you suspect this is a problem, we can do a simple water test to see how much nitrate is present.


Should I be concerned about consuming nitrate?

The small amount of nitrate that usually appears in well water does not pose any major health concerns. A larger amount of nitrate can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and some farm animals. A water test can help determine how much nitrate is actually in your water.


Why does my water smell bad?

Sometimes people complain about their water having a strange taste or odor, like the smell of rotten eggs. This smell is likely from hydrogen sulfide gas, which gives off an unpleasant odor. There are currently no known health risks associated with hydrogen sulfide.


Why did my water test out okay but it doesn’t taste good?

A water test can determine if there are harmful or dangerous substances in your water. If it turns out that there are none, there is still the possibility of non-harmful minerals in your water that may be making your water taste unpleasant to you.


Why does my water look cloudy sometimes?

If you have ever gone to get a glass of water and noticed the water looks milky or cloudy, but then clear up after a few seconds, that is completely normal! The water in your pipes sometimes is under pressure, and when the water flows out of the tap, there are a lot of tiny air bubbles. These air bubbles are what creates the cloudy/misty appearance, but as they rise to the surface they release into the air, clearing up the water.

What are the most common water tests done?

Water is often tested for bacteria, arsenic, nitrates, lead and other heavy metals, or a complete inorganic chemical analysis. In Clark County, tests for coliform bacteria, arsenic, and nitrate are required as part of the Water Availability and Verification Evaluation (WAVE).

How long does a water test normally take?

Water test results are usually returned in seven to ten days, though tests for bacteria, arsenic, and nitrate are commonly completed more quickly for an additional fee.

With our our Free water testing option preliminary results can be completed quickly, and if needed we can provide a preliminary quote from them.  The last step of the test looking for Iron Bacteria however can take up to two weeks to complete, and we wouldn’t want to order any equipment before that is completed.

What kind of bottle should I use for my water sample, if I’m having a free drop-off test done?

Don’t use a pop bottle. Use a rinsed out disposable, clear plastic water bottle or a something like a mason jar.  Just fill it up and drop it off to us at:

12307 NE 95th St. Vancouver, WA 98682 8am-5pm Monday – Friday

What is a water flow test, and how is it different from a water quality test?

A flow test measures water availability — the number of gallons per minute that can be pumped from a well.  Flow tests determine the quantity of water that a well is able to sustainably produce.

How long does a flow test take?

Most single family residential well tests measure flow over either a two hour or four hour period. For bank financing purposes, many banks require a two-hour flow test for homes supplied by well water.  However, a four-hour flow test gives a much better indication for your peace of mind.

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