Your Questions About Water Efficiency Products

Donald asks…

What is the best detergent for soft water ?

I have a water softener unit .

admin answers:

* Laundry Detergents foam excessively in soft water therefore reducing wash action and affecting soil removal.

* Look for:-

1. Buy any product with the suffix -Matic (e.g. OMO matic). They are developed with low foaming surfactants to improve washing efficiency of the wash (i.e giving you a cleaner finish).

2. Low or Zero “P” (Phosphates) – Normally added to detergent formulations for water softening.

3. For general cleaning you can use any neutral dish washing liquid (e.g Dawn).

Good Luck!!

Mark asks…

How much did it cost you to convert to a tankless water heater?

I know prices will vary by region, model installed and associated labor costs- but I want to know how much YOU paid in total to convert to a tankless water heater…. Was it worth it? Did you get the full tax credit? Thank you!

admin answers:

There are too many variables in your question.

For example within the last year I replaced my water heater I was set on getting a tankless prices vary as to how many people are in the household (meaning how much water will you need at once) I have 4 and did not want to skimp so I look at models that allowed multiple uses at once. Had the model picked out, (which did get the allowable tax credit as almost all tankless models do) and the contractor came out to look at doing the job at first said it would be easy citing around $200 in addition to the $1100 product cost but then realized that the area he planned on using for ventilation (tankless water heaters require additional ventilation) was blocked by the slab of concrete that is my front patio he increased his price by $800 dollars.

So price depends on:
1.How many people are being serviced
2. Exactly how your house is setup (is the existing water heater near an exterior wall for easy venting)
3. And how you use your water (Do you want to be able to use multiple hot water sources at once)

By the way, I then checked into solar and found it to be against codes for my backwater area so I then went with a $690 highest efficiency water heater I could find (that did have a tank and at least 40 gallon cap.). I have crunched the numbers since and the water heater I bought will save me quite a bit over the inexpensive one I could have got but had I not got frustrated and worried over the initial cost, over the guaranteed lifetime of the product the tankless heater would still have saved me the most money.

Sorry I couldn’t give you the answers you wanted but without knowing how the house is setup and how you use hot water you can’t say, as for the tax credit that is based off how efficient the heater is rated I have not seen a tankless model yet that was not efficient enough to get the credit.

William asks…

How do you clean a high efficiency washing machine?

We relocated and after our HE washer was in storage for a few weeks, it has a terrible odor that hasn’t gone away with several washings and bleach. Are there any products or suggestions to getting the odor out?

admin answers:

Hi an88mikewife,

Water remains in the machine even when it’s in storage. The water stagnated while the machine was in storage, and mildew developed.

If your machine has a “clean washer cycle” or a similar “tub clean cycle” use it with one cup of bleach to clean out the machine.

The self-clean cycles add extra water to the tub to rinse it out. If your machine does not have a self-clean cycle, then use the heavy duty cycle on the hottest water setting with the bleach to do the cleaning.

Do not place any clothes in the machine when using the cleaning cycle.

You may have to run the self-clean cycle a second or third time to fully remove the odor.

I hope this answers your question.

Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

Donna asks…

Is it safe to use sodium percarbonate in a High Efficiency washer?

I’m trying to find the most natural stain remover to use in a high efficiency washer, with the least ingredients.

This is the first high efficiency machine I’ve ever had, so I don’t want to mess it up. Thanks!

admin answers:

Sodium percarbonate is an oxidizing agent and ingredient in a number of home and laundry cleaning products, including bleach products such as OxiClean and Tide laundry detergent. It contains no phosphorous or nitrogen. Dissolved in water, it yields a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (which eventually decomposes to water and oxygen) and sodium carbonate (“soda ash”).

Sodium percarbonate is a chemical, an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide (a perhydrate), with formula Na2CO3 · 1.5H2O2. It is a colorless, crystalline, hygroscopic and water-soluble solid.

Sodium percarbonate is produced industrially by reaction of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, followed by crystallization. Alternatively, dry sodium carbonate may be reacted directly with concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution.

Now, please tell me HOW you find this a “natural stain remover” that is any more “natural” than any other stain remover commercially sold.

It will not harm the washer but I fail to see how it is so “natural” in your mind.

Steven asks…

How much water (H2O) is there in 1 litre of cola?

This question has been on my mind lately. People always tell me I drink too much cola (Pepsi Max in particular) and not enough water, but how much water (H2O) is there in 1 litre of your average cola? Any difference in water content between regular cola and diet cola? Cheers.

admin answers:

Hope this helps:


In hot water
Oct 6th 2005
From The Economist print edition

The world’s biggest drinks firm tries to fend off its green critics

“WATER is to Coca-Cola as clean energy is to BP.” So declares Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola’s manager of environmental affairs, when asked about the firm’s new global water strategy. The fizzy-drinks maker unveiled that strategy as part of its annual environmental report, released this week. “We need to manage this issue or it will manage us,” says Mr Seabright.

At first sight, the analogy with oil may seem odd, but it is not so far-fetched. Big Oil has long been the target of activists clamouring for action on global warming. BP stole a march on its oily brethren by accepting that climate change is a real problem, making smallish investments in clean energy, and grandly proclaiming itself “beyond petroleum”.

Coca-Cola has also been targeted by activists, but over the issue of water rather than energy. The firm has been hit hardest in India. First, experts from Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment, a green think-tank, tested various soft drinks and determined that they contained high levels of pesticide. It turned out that Coca-Cola was not the cause of the problem. But its inept handling of the accusations left the firm exposed to a much more damaging allegation: that it is aggravating the growing global problem of fresh-water scarcity. An ongoing controversy in India concerns allegations that some of the firm’s bottling plants use too much water in drought-prone areas, thus leaving poor local villagers with too little. Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Centre, a Californian non-governmental group, has been using the Indian controversies to stoke an international grass-roots campaign against Coca-Cola.

The firm brags that it operates in 200 countries—“more than the UN itself”, says Mr Seabright. But Coca-Cola’s global reach and iconic status make it an easy target. Mr Srivastava points with glee to recent decisions at a handful of university campuses in America and Britain to suspend or challenge its contracts on ethical grounds.

Worse may be in store, if some have their way. Corporate Accountability International (CAI), an activist group best known for organising a noisy boycott of Nestlé (for selling infant milk powder in countries without reliable access to clean water), now has its sights set on the world’s largest producer of non-alcoholic drinks. CAI turned up at Coca-Cola’s last shareholder meeting to grill the firm’s management over the water issue. Kathryn Mulvey, CAI’s boss, is concerned not only about its fizzy-drinks divisions but also its newish and booming bottled-water business. Echoing the sentiments of other campaigners, she insists that the “misleading marketing campaign” for the bottled water needlessly undermines confidence in tap water, and amounts to the “commodification of something that should not be bought and sold.”

Company officials argue that they started measuring and improving their use of water long before its troubles in India. The firm improved its water efficiency by 6% between 2003 and 2004. In 2002, it took 3.12 litres of water to produce one litre of final product (as much water is used to clean the assembly lines, flush out glass bottles, and so on). In 2004, that global average came down to 2.72 litres. Mr Srivastava is not impressed: he grouses that it is “ridiculous that a firm that calls itself a ‘hydration company’ should waste so much water; most of it does not even end up in the product.”

To improve that situation, Coca-Cola has just completed a detailed assessment of the “water risks” to its businesses and their local communities. Going plant by plant, the firm’s boffins have calculated local water-scarcity ratios, depletion levels for local aquifers, water needs for the local plant, and so on. With this new information, the firm is now setting local targets for improving each plant’s efficiency of water and energy use. Mr Seabright explains that before this new study, the firm tried to impose “one-size-fits-all” global targets which local bottlers (who are often not owned by Coca-Cola) refused to accept.

Coca-Cola is also working with non-governmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and CARE, as well as UN agencies, in an effort to burnish its image. In India, it is now promising to capture enough water via “rainwater harvesting” (an age-old technique for capturing monsoon run-off) to offset all of its water use by 2006. Even the deeply sceptical Mr Srivastava concedes that “if this company were really not to put any strain on local resources then it would be a different matter. Let us see if this is just greenwash.”

The accusation of “greenwash”—environmental window-dressing as a front for business-as-usual—has also been hurled at BP. But there the similarities between Coca-Cola and BP end, for the question of water is far more important to Coca-Cola than the issue of climate change is to BP. That is because if oil and gas run out, or are deemed too dirty to use one day, BP could still peddle ethanol or hydrogen fuel; it is, in the end, an energy company. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, simply would not exist without water. So while BP may yet see life beyond petroleum, Coca-Cola will never get Beyond Water.

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