Understanding Hard Water

Understanding Hard Water

Some of us can relate to lugging huge bags of salt home from the store for the mystical purpose of making our water “soft”. So, what exactly is “hard” water? It is water that contains raw materials from the Earth. Minerals like calcium and magnesium become absorbed after rainwater falls and flows through the ground.  Though it isn’t bad for your health, hard water may dry out hair and skin and dull clothing. You may also notice that your dishes never look quite clean and your shower has a build up of an impossible-to-remove film. The most costly issue related to hard water is the havoc it wreaks on your plumbing. Any skilled plumber can confirm that, over time, hard water will cause slow flowing water and even pipe clogs. It also stresses your appliances, especially your water heater, dishwasher and washing machine, causing them to work less effectively.

Testing Your Water

Noticing an excess of scale on your dishes and tub and shower tiles is an obvious sign that you have hard water. You can also test it by filling one container with your water and another with filtered water. Add a few drops of soap to each. Shake vigorously. Notice if the one containing your water lathers well compared to the filtered water or not. If it doesn’t, you probably have hard water issues.

A Simple Household Remedy

Vinegar is great for dissolving build up because it is comprised primarily of acid. You can place dishes streaked with scale in a sink full of warm vinegar. In addition, use it in a spray bottle to clean the scale from your tubs, showers and sinks. Some people even add some vinegar to their load of laundry to combat the minerals making contact with their clothing or to their coffee makers and electric kettles to keep scale at bay. It can even be poured directly down drains to combat mild buildup in a pinch.

Water Softeners

Installing a water softener is probably your best bet if you’re finding that hard water is creating noticeable problems around your home. To understand the basic function of a water softener, think about the concept of a water filter. Water softeners use various methods to trap the less desirable particles in your water and leave you with harmless levels salt, potassium or hydrogen in exchange.

Ion-Exchange Softeners-

These softeners use charged salt or potassium to remove heavy minerals. Keep in mind that after the water is treated, it returns to your household water supply with some added salt or potassium. Salt is usually lower cost and more readily available, but it does cause dietary concerns for some individuals and can give your water a slippery feel. Potassium is more environmentally friendly, however it is expensive.

Salt-Free Water Softeners-

Experienced plumbers are most likely to recommend salt-free descaling systems. These softeners use a nanotechnology to modify the chemical structure of the scale-building minerals in your water to make them non-scale building. Then, the new molecules help to de-scale all of your plumbing as they run through. Because there are zero introduced chemicals, the drawbacks of other systems are non existent, but they are comparatively costly.

A licensed plumber from Repairman will be happy to over services and advice on water softeners in order to keep your and your plumbing in top shape!

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