When you unload the dishwasher, do you see streaking or cloudy residue on the dishes and glasses? After you wash your hands with soap, do you feel like there is a film on your skin that won’t come off? Do your faucets have a buildup of white, hardened residue? If you answered yes to these questions, you could have hard water.
Hard water is water that has higher than normal mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium ions. Different parts of the country have harder water than other parts of the country, and although hard water used to be found more often in well-water, hard water can also come through city water supplies. The more calcium and magnesium is in water, the harder the water is.
In addition to leaving a “soap scum” on dishes, hands, and the faucet, hard water can make cloth look faded and old before its time. There can also be a buildup of “gunk” on porcelain and on faucets. Some people can have dry skin and flat hair because it is nearly impossible to wash all of the soap off of their body and from their hair—and soap that is left behind dries what it is left on. Pipes end up with a mineral buildup which over time makes the passage in the pipes smaller, and the water pressure is eventually lowered.
There are even situations in which hard water can be detrimental to a person’s health. If there is too much calcium and magnesium, people can have a regularly upset stomach, and may have constant tiredness. In doses that are too large, these minerals can keep the body from properly absorbing vitamin D making them susceptible to more health problems.
Hard water can affect personal economy by making people purchase more dishwashing detergent, more clothes detergent in an effort to feel that clothes and dishes clean. Added minerals in the water that are not being absorbed and leave a film the things we wash.
The wear and tear on the appliances caused by hard water can also speed their lifecycle too. After our washing machines no longer give us clean clothes and dishes, we purchase new appliances because we blame them for things not being clean. Sometimes we purchase these new appliances faster than needed, and sometimes these appliances don’t last as long as they would without hard water running through them. Just like pipes get clogged with mineral buildup, jets and tubes in washers and dishwashers also get clogged with these minerals.
The easiest and most practical solution for hard water is to have a water softener installed. A water softener is an appliance that removes the calcium and magnesium ions which are what make the water “hard”. The water softener collects these “hard” minerals and replaces them soft ions like sodium or potassium.
One of the best things about water softeners, is that while hard water is making your appliances die faster, a water softener can last for many years. The water softener lasts, and it makes your pipes and other appliances last, while making you feel cleaner than before. A water softener is a simple appliance that can have a major impact on how clean you and your things look and feel.