Hard Water: What is it?

water-hardness-graphic

The US Geological Survey estimates that 85% of consumable water in the USA can be described as “hard.” The term “hard water” originally came about to describe water that didn’t work as well with soap; it was “hard” to rinse soap. Hard water also leaves behind a buildup of minerals and scale. Sound familiar? If you live in Florida, you are very familiar with hard water. Along with the white, crusty scale left in your coffee pot, our hard water is also causing you to use more soap to shower, to wash dishes and to wash clothes. When you use more soap, you use more water. It is a viscous circle.

What makes water hard?

As ground water travels though lakes, streams and subterraneous rock, it picks up minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are present in city water as well as well water. Well water may also contain bicarbonates, sulfur and dissolved solids.

How is hard water bad for me?

Hard water makes soap less effective.  The minerals don’t allow soap to lather and clean as it should. Hard water also leaves behind a residue of minerals that can make hair look dull and exacerbate eczema and other dry skin issues.

How is hard water bad for my home?

Hard water leaves mineral deposits on dishes, glassware, coffeepots, sinks and shower nozzles.  Scale builds in plumbing and in large appliances such as ice makers, dishwashers and water heaters causing items to wear out 30% faster.

What do I do about my hard water?

There are all kinds of products, soaps and detergents to add to laundry and dishwashers to correct for mineral deposits. There are even recipes for natural vinegar rinses to use on your hair in order to rid it of scale and to make it shine. As an old neighbor of mine used to say, “Well you COULD do that.”

A more long-term and cost-saving solution to hard water is to add a whole house water softening system.  Depending on your particular water composition, a professional water treatment system can ease the mineral attack on your home and belongings.  By using less detergent and less water, you will save money. Easing the burden of scale will cause you to do less maintenance on pipes and appliances. It is a win-win!

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