Virginia Environmental Resources

Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents

Hard water is tough on your appliances, skin, hair, and daily routine. It’s defined by how much calcium and magnesium your water contains. The white residue they leave behind can build up in your pipes, shorten your appliances’ lifespan, add to your weekly cleaning ritual, increase your utility bills and repair costs, and is tough on your skin and hair.

Hard water forms build-up in appliances, which can require as much as 33% more fuel to heat water in a water heater. The reason is that additional energy is required to heat hard water scale before it can heat your water. Since soft water eliminates hard water scale issues, the result will be lower energy costs. 

Though it may not be noticeable to the naked eye, iron may be in your water. Once it is exposed to air, the iron oxidizes, leave rust-colored stains on clothing, showers, sinks, and fixtures. 

Hydrogen Sulfide is often the reason for this unpleasant smell. Hydrogen Sulfide may be created by decaying organic matter, some types of bacteria, and petroleum refining. If the rotten egg smell is only present in hot water, it may be the result of a deteriorated anode on a water heater system. 

  1. Keep your brights, bright, and your whites, white. Your favorite t-shirt and jeans can last up to 33% longer.

    No more countless hours spent scrubbing in the kitchen. Your dishware stays crystal clear so your schedule can stay clear too.

  2. Softer Skin and hair. Your hair and skin will thank you – from the shower to your softer-than-ever sheets. Soft, cleaner water is the instant boost your body never knew it needed, and the best beauty sleep you’ll ever have. 

  3. More delicious than ever. When it comes to drinking and cooking, experience what cleaner water really tastes like without objectionable odors and contaminants.

  4. Enjoy the bold taste of coffee, and cook with the best-tasting water in town. Calcium and magnesium can form tough limescale on your small appliances – like your coffee pot. Keep those small appliances humming along.

The calcium and magnesium in hard water are removed by resin beads as it flows through the system. Hardness ions in the water are replaced with the soft ions of the resin beads in an exchange process to create the soft water.

Once the water softener resin beads become coated with calcium and magnesium ions, their ability to soften hard water decreases. Regeneration is a process during which water is flushed through the water softener with a concentrated amount of regenerant. Resin beads exchange the soft ions from the regenerant for the hard ions. The patented self-cleaning dirt and sediment filter in the WaterMax® whole house water filtration system sends dissolved dirt, rock and sediment down the drain. Following restoration of the resin beads, the water softener goes back to work, providing the entire home with soft, clean water.

Studies done in the 1970’s at the University of Wisconsin concluded that salt-brine discharge from water softeners had no ill effects on the operation of typical anaerobic or newer style aerobic home treatment systems. It was also confirmed that water softener regeneration discharge did not hurt drain field soil percolation and in some cases could improve soil percolation. Septic tank effluents containing water softener effluents include substantial amounts of calcium and magnesium, which balance the effect of sodium, in addition to promoting and sustaining soil permeability. According to the study results, it is preferable to discharge water softener waste to septic systems than to separate dry wells or ditches. Learn more at

table salt with wooden spoon

Some believe that because a water softener uses salt to remove water hardness, the water that comes from a water softener must also taste salty. This is markedly false. Most do not realize how little sodium is in soft water. The average amount of sodium in a quart of water from a water softener is 75 to 100 mg. That’s less sodium than a slice of white bread. Another solution? Add a Reverse Osmosis water filter for completely sodium-free drinking water.

While many salt-free or saltless water systems exist, they are almost always “descalers,” not true water softeners. This means they only prevent the hard minerals from building inside your home. They do not remove the hardness, and you will still be affected by the other symptoms of hard water, such as dry skin and frizzy hair. 

Water softeners come in an array of sizes. While it might seem that bigger is better, this is not necessarily true. The WaterMax® system utilizes smaller beads and a fine mesh resin that provides more filtration surface area to soften water. The vacuum-packed resin provides maximum capacity in a minimal amount of space. The patented Directional Flow Screen system is another feature that makes the most efficient use of the resin beads. With the WaterMax®, the resin bed is protected by screens and the whole-house dirt and sediment filter so space is not wasted on free-board, the empty area in conventional water softeners that allows a churning of resin during regeneration. the WaterMax® is made in America by Hague Quality Water International, the oldest major water treatment manufacturer, under continuous family ownership. The Hague family has been selling its products in the United States with worldwide distribution since 1960.

It is best to have well water tested for hardness, iron and pH. City water should be checked for hardness, pH and chlorine. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-home water test so we can identify your water problems and determine the right water solution for your home. 

The elements found in well water may vary so not all well water is the same. This is true even among wells that are within close proximity of each other. Common well water issues include sediment, dirt, hardness, bacteria and iron. It is necessary to have your well water tested before the proper treatment for your water can be determined. 

Municipal water treatment facilities commonly use chlorine to treat water. It is often detectable in tap water due to taste and smell. While chlorine is effective for removing dangerous bacteria from the water supply, chlorine can objectionably affect drinking water by irritating eyes and skin. Since the chlorine has already served its purpose by the time water reaches your faucet, the WaterMax® MaxPack can safely remove it from your water. 

Hard water leads to build-up in plumbing and water-using appliances, creating a restricted flow of water. In appliances such as washing machines and dish washers, the build-up can ultimately lead to the need to service or replace these items more frequently. In hard water areas, it is not unusual for the flow of running water through household water lines to be reduced to the size of a ball point pen head. 

The only household appliance that can actually reduce costs, a water softener can reduce water-heating bills by up to 29%. Soft water also requires less detergent and soap usage, so water softeners save you money on these items as well. 

soapy hands

Showering in soft water can make your skin feel “slippery” and may give you the sensation that soap and shampoo are never truly rinsed away. This sensation is caused by the fact that there is no dissolved rock in your water. In fact, by removing the hardness from your water, a softener removes the barrier to the moisturizing agents within soap and shampoo. With hard water, soap residue leaves skin dry and hair dull. But with soft water, you experience your skin and hair how they were always meant to be experienced – shiny and full of life. Clean, soft water is the instant boost your body never knew it needed.

Wasting water image

Hague’s technological advances in water softeners began in 1960 and are more energy-efficient than most conventional water softeners on the market. With patented technology, our systems are fast, use minimal salt, and waste little water.


The built-in and self-cleaning whole-house sediment filter in the WaterMax® means filter changes are never required. Sediment and dirt are removed and washed away as the system recharges. 

 The smart design of the WaterMax® allows it to be customized to meet your specific needs. Everyone’s water supply can be different, so we will perform a complete analysis of your water supply to assist you in finding the right WaterMax® for your home. 

Schedule an In-Home Water Test with our Experts now!

We offer complete water testing services and the best professional water tests to identify the most common contaminants and elements that effect your water. We have partnered with a National laboratory to help diagnose more extensive water problems as well.