So you live in Florida and you’ve got hard water. Join the club.
Florida is blessed with a great supply of groundwater from rivers, springs and the Florida aquifer. The only problem is that our state is made of limestone. And that limestone leaves a lot of “hardness” in our water supplies.
It’s not new. A geological survey from 1958 noted significant natural hardness in western Manatee County water. And 60 years later? Our southwest Florida groundwater rates “very hard”—only a slight improvement on the “extremely hard” water of most of the rest of Florida.
For some people, even slightly hard water is instantly noticeable as far as flavor and soap lather. (This will be especially true if you just moved here from somewhere with softer water.) Live with it for a few weeks and even more people will notice the effects of hard water in their clothes and other laundry. Live with hard water for six months or more and the damage starts piling up in your appliances, faucets, and even your plumbing.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water has a high mineral content, specifically calcium and magnesium.
More technically speaking, calcium and magnesium positive ions in hard water draw bicarbonate and carbonate anions to create a balance. Calcium and magnesium ions come primarily from dissolved limestone, and secondarily from groundwater in general.
This is why Florida has hard water.
What Qualifies as Hard Water?
Water hardness is measured in PPM, or Parts Per Million. That figure is measuring the amount of calcium, magnesium and carbonate in the water.
Soft water is 75 PPM and below. When it comes to hard water PPM, the sky’s the limit—well into the triple digits isn’t uncommon, even after the water has been treated by the city. Southwest Florida tends to be around 150-180 PPM.
What Does Hard Water Do?
Most people will ask, “What’s wrong with hard water?” Or “Why is hard water bad?” While we’re here to get rid of hard water, we do think it’s kind of unfair to qualify it as “bad.” After all, it’s a natural occurrence!
In fact, there are ways in which some hard water can be helpful. Calcium and magnesium just happen to be electrolytes, which your body desperate needs.
Still, hard water can be highly unsavory, to say the least. For many people, hard water just plain tastes bad.
Hard water can also be unsightly, and even expensive. That’s because those high concentrations of minerals leave deposits everywhere they go—on your dishes, in your coffeemaker, and inside your faucets, shower heads, and washing machine.
These deposits range from “looking gross” to “causing my stuff not to work.” Got a shower head that sprays off in different directions? That’s mineral buildup. That’s hard water.
Why Does Hard Water Affect Soap?
Perhaps most interesting, hard water affects how soap and detergents perform. In this case, it’s the magnesium to blame.
Rather than creating an airy, bubbly lather, magnesium turns soapy water into a solid. Not only does this deprive you of a satisfying lather, but it leaves soap scum everywhere—on your shower, your skin, and even your newly laundered clothes.
Water Softeners to the Rescue
So hard water sounds pretty annoying, right? Never fear, water softeners are here.
In fact, water softener technology has been around for at least a century. In part because it’s simple, and it works.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
Chemistry is, quite literally, the solution. Water softeners use a saltwater brine to draw out all of those mineral ions and keep them from getting into the rest of your house—and then into your mouth, or your clothes.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN WATER SOFTENERS MAKE YOUR WATER SALTY. THEY DO NOT.
The point of putting salt into water softeners is to trap the calcium and magnesium where it is in the softener tank. Neither the minerals, nor the salt, go any further than that. All you’re getting is water.
If you think you need or want a water softener, Healthy Water is here for you. First, we can test your water to confirm everything you’ve got going on. Second, we can recommend, sell, install and maintain the water treatment system that works for you. Easy as that!