No-salt “water softeners”: Is the QUICK way always the BEST way to fix your water problems?

Water Purification

If you have heard celebrities touting the virtues of “no-salt” water softeners, you might think that this is a miraculous solution to the hard water we have in Rockford and northern Illinois.  The truth about these quick solutions is this:  they don’t work in our area!  In theory, they are designed to make the hardness minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.) stay in suspension so they don’t stick to your pipes, water heater, or appliances.  They DON’T soften the water, so you will have to continue using huge quantities of soap for washing clothes, bathing, etc.

We have such hard water in our area that these “no-salt” devices just cannot accomplish what advanced water softeners can do.  Improved technology allows the Home Environment Center to correctly size water softeners for each home for maximum efficiency with the minimum of salt.  Our water softeners only regenerate on demand, when the softening capacity has been exhausted.  Older models of water softeners used to regenerate every 3 or 4 days, regardless of usage.  Newer technologies allow us to adjust the settings to accommodate all kinds of hardness and iron levels in our water.

Call us at the Home Environment Center at 815-282-9000 if you have problems with your water and would like expert solutions.  We will do a free water quality check in your home at no charge.  And remember, the QUICK solution is probably not the BEST solution to hard water problems.

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Black Friday Fever – 98.6 degrees F – DANGER!!!

Black Friday Fever

Are you infected with Black Friday Fever?  It’s a new human disease which began about 1966.  Body temperature stays about normal but the brain begins to crave bargains.  People cannot think rationally.  They begin to run around at 3 in the morning – before the turkey has even been digested in their stomach.  They race to the nearest store in search of the latest electronic bargains, toys, clothes, etc.  Sometimes, they even buy things they don’t even need!  Eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep, blood pressure skyrockets, and blood sugar readings reach abnormal levels.

If you are affected with any of these conditions, please do NOT call your doctor.  Instead, please relax on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving.  Get up and have a nice glass of pure water or coffee made from reverse osmosis water.  Read the paper and enjoy a leisurely morning while most of the residents of your city are beating themselves up trying to find a parking place.  About noon, things will calm down.  The disease has begun to subside and those affected are now napping at home.

Make your way to the Home Environment Center where you will see a wide array of wonderful environmentally friendly products.  There are allergy products like dust mite and bed bug proof bedding, air purifiers, non-toxic cleaning products, full spectrum lighting and Happy Lights to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder.  You will also find reverse osmosis systems, water softeners, chlorine removing shower heads and water by the gallon.  Enjoy a complimentary glass of chilled purified water and RELAX!!!  It’s 365 days until Black Friday next year and you now know how to avoid catching the dreaded Black Friday Fever!

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Rockford residents – don’t forget to add at least 3 or 4 bags of salt every time you fill your brine tank!

Soft water is so important in areas around Rockford, Illinois.  Our water is so hard that without a water softener, we have to use 3 or 4 times the amount of soap for washing clothes, dishes, etc.  Hot water heaters lime up quickly with a big fat layer of ROCK!  Yes, ROCK!  Glasses become filmy and dull and plates and silverware develop water spots.

Water softeners are a necessity here in Rockford, and the Home Environment Center specializes in efficient models which only regenerate on demand.  It’s important to size the softener to the size of the plumbing in the home, the number of bathrooms, and the number of people.  Efficient “on demand” water softeners use 40% less salt than earlier models which were set to regenerate every 3 or 4 days regardless of the amount of water used.  These “on demand” softeners count the number of gallons of water going through the unit and only regenerate when necessary.  If the brine tank runs out of salt, the softener goes through its regeneration cycle but no softening occurs.  So, do remember to keep your brine tank filled with salt!  If you have a power outage, you also need to reset the time on the softener.  Some models have a internal back-up which will store the settings in memory for up to 48 hours.

If you have any questions about water softeners, please comment in the box below this post or call us at 815-282-9000.

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Get a one hour bonus every 365 days!!! How will you use it? Forget about New Year’s Resolutions…

In the fall of every year, we get a one hour bonus as we transition from daylight savings time to standard time.  This always confuses me.  Does it mean that it’s darker when we get up in the morning, or darker at the end of the day?  Actually, most people just think of this as “one extra hour of sleep!”  ahhh…..lovely!  But it really means that it’s light earlier in the morning and dark when we drive home from work. 

This time change each fall signals the approach of winter.  While winter days can be clear and bright even with fewer hours of daylight,  a large percentage of days can be dull, gloomy, and grey with rain, snow, sleet, and slush.  Many people in northern climates suffer from S.A.D., which is an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder

S.A.D. is a condition which is nearly non-existent in southern states like Florida but which increases dramatically in the states located in the northern half of the USA.  People feel depressed, lethargic, and often want to sleep.  This comes from our winter “hibernation” instinct.

S.A.D. is a legitimate medical diagnosis and can be treated in a variety of ways.  Sometimes medications are appropriate, but most people can improve by getting more natural daylight or by using a “Happy Light”.  At the Home Environment Center, we sell two models of intense light therapy Happy Lights.

Stop by and check out this product and many other healthy living products.

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Bed bugs: 365 day starvation diet-doesn’t work!

Jane came into the Home Environment Center yesterday fearful that she had an infestation of bed bugs!  “What makes you think that?” I asked.  “Because I heard your commercials on the radio and you mentioned that bed bugs create pepper-like specks around the bed and on the bedding.  I noticed that I have bites on my legs!  I am terrified.  I am so glad that you do those commercials, because I wouldn’t have known what was going on otherwise.”

I checked with my local pest control expert to get some more information to help Jane.  “Did you know that a starvation diet for a bed bug is MORE than 365 days?” he asked.  “They can live without feeding on mammals for over a year.  They find their food source by smelling carbon dioxide and following it.  So, if Jane has moved out of her bedroom to escape the bed bugs, they will follow her to her living room couch and will then infest that!”

Jane has recently purchased a very expensive mattress and box springs.  I explained that there is a way to protect that investment.  “You have to encase everything, including your pillows, with encasings.”  Encasings are breatheable fabric covers which resemble a pillowcase with a zipper on one end.  They create a barrier which does not allow dust mites OR bed bugs to penetrate.  Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices in walls, baseboards, headboards, furniture, etc.  “They come out when it’s dark and feed on your blood,” I explained to Jane.  It is very important that you treat your home for bed bugs as SOON as you spot the problem.  A pest control expert that is experienced in this problem should be called in immediately.  All mattresses, pillows, and box springs should be covered to keep the bed bugs from infesting them.

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The blessings of social media

My husband and I lived in Duesseldorf, Germany many years ago.  I spent all of my time learning German and I made a great friend named Gail in class.  She was a Japanese American born and raised in Chicago and it was wonderful to learn about the Japanese culture as we shared our German experiences.  Gail was married to a Japanese man and they knew that they would eventually be sent back to Japan.

The years went by and my husband and I returned to Rockford and Gail moved back to Japan.  We both had children in the 80s and our lives became hectic but we corresponded by “snail mail” for several years.  One year I sent a Christmas letter to her and it was returned marked “does not live here.”  I hoped I would hear from Gail with a new address but nothing ever came.  I tried finding her on Facebook, but she wasn’t there – at least I couldn’t identify her.  I send inquiries to several people with her name but had no replies.

As my husband and I were now “empty nesters”, I began to box up our daughters’ childhood memorabilia and to clear out years of personal correspondence which included old Christmas cards.  I reread every old letter from Gail, with no clues about where they had gone.  Suddenly, in one of her letters, she mentioned the name of a mutual friend we had from those days in Duesseldorf.  I remembered Coni, but I hadn’t thought about her in years.  I thought that perhaps I could find Coni on Facebook and maybe she had Gail’s contact information.  Sure enough, I did find Coni and she immediately gave me Gail’s email address.  This was two months before the disastrous Tsunami.  Since then, we have had many emails and it was very heartwarming to hear how she and her family endured the after effects of that terrible experience.

Gail and I will be meeting in Chicago this week as she comes home for a short visit.  I am so grateful for Facebook!

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Remove allergens from your indoor environment!

One of the best solutions for removing indoor allergens is an air purifier.  A HEPA filter in a bedroom will allow an allergic person to have an excellent night sleep.  Good sleep helps you rebuild your immune system, you feel better and you are more productive.  A healthy immune system prevents many illnesses from taking hold in your body.



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