Hard Water? What to Do About It

Hard Water

What Problems Are Caused By Hard Water

Have you noticed that soap scum tends to show up quickly in your sinks and tubs? Maybe there are mineral deposits around your faucets and fixtures, or perhaps you’ve noticed that your skin feels dry after showering. These are all signs that you have hard water. While many homeowners simply shrug their shoulders and ignore the issue when they find out they have hard water, it really is important to take action when you make this discovery.

Hard Water? What to Do About It

What Problems Are Caused By Hard Water?

Ignoring hard water often ends up costing you in the long run since it eventually causes the following problems.

Mineral Deposits in Pipes

Hard water is, by definition, water that contains a high concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium. These minerals slowly settle out of solution, building up in pipes and around faucets. If you’re starting to see mineral deposits around your faucets, you can bet they’re starting to form in the pipes, too.

Mineral deposits in your pipes can slow the flow of water, leading to reduced water pressure. If they grow large enough, they may block the flow of water entirely. This is an expensive problem to deal with and often requires your plumber to remove and replace the affected pipe.

Dry, Itchy Skin

The calcium and magnesium from hard water also deposit on your skin. This causes your skin to itch and flake. You may get some relief from moisturizers and lotions, but you have to use a lot of them to stay comfortable. Moisturizing washes and soaps are only so effective, and you have to use a lot to get them to lather properly since the minerals interfere with the formation of suds.

Damaged Appliances

Think about all of the appliances in your home that use water. You probably have a coffee pot, washing machine, ice maker, dishwasher, and perhaps a few others. Minerals slowly settle out of hard water, leaving deposits inside of these appliances. This can interfere with the water flow and eventually cause the appliances to break prematurely. A washing machine that would last 15 years in a home with softened water, for example, may only last eight years in your home.

In addition to the issues above, hard water also causes a lot of other small challenges. It leaves foggy-looking deposits on your glassware, makes your hair drier and harder to handle, and leaves your laundry stiff. People with dandruff often find that using hard water makes it worse.

What Can You Do About Hard Water?

If you think you have hard water, give your local water department a call. They can confirm whether the water in your area is, indeed, considered hard. If your water department tells you that hardness varies throughout the district, have a plumber come test your water. A reading of 1.7 ppm or higher is considered hard.

Once it is confirmed that you have hard water, the best thing you can do is have a whole-home water softener installed. This is a device that treats water as it enters your home through the main pipe. Essentially, the water softener removes the dissolved magnesium and calcium from the water before they have a chance to deposit in pipes, in appliances, or on your skin.

While a water softener is a bit of an investment, it costs a lot less than having to replace your appliances and pipes prematurely due to mineral buildup. With proper maintenance, most water softeners last at least 10 to 15 years.

 

If you suspect you have hard water, don’t simply deal with it. Though it is a very common occurrence, it doesn’t mean it’s an issue you shouldn’t care about. Talk to your plumber to learn more about having a water softener installed to prevent future issues like low water pressure and damaged appliances.