What is Hard Water?
“Hard” water is water that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. While hard water does not have any major negative health effects, it can be quite a nuisance and is not most people’s first choice when it comes to potable drinking water. Keep reading to learn more about seven big disadvantages of hard water, courtesy of our experts at All City Plumbing.
The Top 7 Disadvantages of Hard Water
- The Taste/Smell: The calcium and magnesium bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates found in hard water create a metallic taste and sulfurous smell that can be pretty nasty. Again, while these characteristics are not dangerous, they certainly are not pleasant, and may be a major turnoff every time you go to drink a glass of water.
- Lather: With soft water, the use of soap should produce a frothy white mass of bubbles, or “lather,” every time you go to wash your hands. However, with hard water, it can be difficult to work up a lather with all. This makes proper cleaning/hand-washing difficult, which is a major downside for anyone concerned about germs and viruses (as we all should be right now.)
- Dishwashing Ability: The reason it is difficult to produce a decent lather with hard water is because of the reaction that occurs between the heat and the minerals in the water. In your dishwasher, this will cause the minerals to cling to your dishes and glasses, leaving a spotted, filmy discharge that makes it hard for anything to ever be fully cleaned.
- Clothes-Washing Ability: The minerals in hard water are capable of permeating fabrics the same way they cling to your dishes and glassware. Over time, this will not only give your clothes a gray, drab look, but can also cause them to feel rough and scratchy to the touch.
- Staining: We have already established that hard water can leave a residue on your dishes and clothing, but what about throughout the rest of your house? Sadly, the reality of living with hard water is that you may end up experiencing staining almost anywhere in your home where water is present. Look for dull, brownish stains behind your toilet, around your sinks, and in the enamel in your shower and showerhead. These are among the most common traces of hard water, and no matter how hard you try to scrub them out, they are likely to return as long as your water remains hard.
- Limescale Buildup: While the aesthetic effects of hard water are obviously not desirable, the financial effects may be even less so. In hot water appliances like your water heater, the presence of hard water can lead to limescale buildup. The more buildup occurs, the less energy-efficient your water heater is likely to be. This means higher energy bills for you, and more problems for your heating system. Bottom line: if you want to maximize your water heater’s performance, you’ll have to do something about your hard water first.
- Corrosion: Unsurprisingly, the limescale buildup that occurs in your water heater may also occur throughout your plumbing system. This can interfere with the flow of water in your pipes, causing corrosion that wears your piping down faster. That’s why to prevent pipe bursting and repiping, not to mention fixture replacement, it is a good idea to fix your hard water problem.
How Water Softeners Help Control Hard Water
If you have hard water, don't worry—there is a solution. You may wish to consider installing a water softener to improve the quality of your home's water. Water softeners work by removing the calcium and magnesium in your water through a process called ion exchange. The elimination of excess minerals from the water "softens" it, eliminating annoying problems like crusty buildup on your plumbing fixtures and dry skin, hair, and nails from bathing in over-mineralized water.
At All City Plumbing, we are thrilled to offer top-of-the-line water softeners to eliminate hard water from your home for good. Our skilled plumbers proudly install cutting-edge Flow-Tech systems—which, unlike some water softening systems, do not waste water and do not require salt to soften your water supply. Everyone deserves clean, great-tasting drinking water, so if you are tired of dealing with hard water throughout your home, give us a call today.