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Do you take clean water for granted? As one of the basic necessities of life, you are constantly consuming water. Whether you are drinking it, cleaning with it or using it in your home appliances, the quality of your water affects your life.

However, a recent Kenmore and Sears consumer survey on water treatment highlights the need for additional education on the water we consume, as not all Americans understand the differences and benefits of treated versus untreated water. In fact, the survey reveals that 85 percent of respondents are aware they could be drinking more contaminants in their unfiltered tap water compared to the treated alternative; however, they don’t currently have an in-home water filtration system. Does this mean you are too trusting when it comes to the quality of water in your home?

The survey further reveals that 61 percent of homeowners and renters said they believe the water in their home is clean enough to drink without installing a water treatment system. Although, more than 57 percent admitted that if the water in their home had a strange taste or an odd color, they would consider installing a water system.

There are some common questions that people have about water consumption and water treatment, and some things you should know about how a water treatment system can improve the quality of the water you use.

1. How do impurities get into your water?

Treatment methods vary by region, as does water quality. Public water must adhere to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) minimum standards. However, impurities and other contaminants, such as lead, bacteria and even traces of prescription drugs can enter into your water as it makes its way through city pipes and ultimately into your drinking glass. According to the survey conducted by Kenmore and Sears, a shocking and overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 75 percent, are unaware of the potential dangers that may be lurking in their pipes. Nevertheless, there are, in fact, a number of contaminants and pollutants that can be found in your running water. While local water companies are required by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 to monitor the quality of their water and report annually to customers based on health standards for contaminants established by the EPA, why not take preventative measures by installing an in-home water treatment system?

2. Why is having soft water important?

Hard water can cause many undesired affects in a home. Scale can build up in your pipes, which can reduce water flow and increase the maintenance on your plumbing and faucets. Hardness minerals can also build-up on sinks and bathtubs, as well as leave spots on dishes and glassware. This is why making the switch from hard water to soft water can be important in the home, as a water softener can help with these common household issues. In addition, bathing or showering with soft water is usually gentler on your skin and makes it easier for you to rinse off soap or shampoo. As a result, another benefit of having a water softener is that you can use less of these products, which may help decrease the amount of soaps and detergents that are used.

3. If water is softened, does that mean it’s clean?

While water softeners bring significant benefits to water quality, it might be wise to also install a filtration system to help eliminate additional impurities from drinking water. Filtration systems can be installed under the kitchen sink or installed on the main water line to service the whole home.

4. How is your water softened, if it is softened?

Some city municipalities treat water to soften it, but for those that don’t, an in-home water softener may prove beneficial. If you are unsure whether your water is treated before it enters your home, contact the city or agency providing your water. If you get your water from a well, a home system may be needed for treatment.

5. How does bottled water differ from in-home filtered tap water

Producers of bottled water use many of the same techniques as municipalities or in-home filtration systems. A Kenmore reverse osmosis system will reduce impurities significantly. By drinking water from an in-home water filtration system instead of more expensive spring or distilled bottled water, you can potentially save money over time, as well as help reduce the amount of waste from left over plastic water bottles that you may have otherwise purchased.

As a way to assist with water quality at home, Kenmore offers a line of home water treatment systems to help remove many of the most common contaminants found in water. Water softeners remove the hardness minerals in the water, and drinking water systems, such as Kenmore Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems or the Kenmore Elite (R) Advanced Two-Stage Drinking Water Filter provide treated water for cooking and drinking. With a drinking water system, you can enjoy filtered water at the sink, which improves the quality of drinking water by helping remove contaminants. Additionally, the Kenmore Elite Central Water Whole Home Filtration System provides a central, full-home solution to get rid of chlorine taste and odor in water.