Hard water is extremely common across the United States, but many homeowners don’t even realize that it’s flowing through their households. Hard water is essentially water that has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium in it. If you’re in a hard water area, it means that water moves through deposits of limestone, chalk, and gypsum before it reaches your plumbing system. Those materials contain lots of calcium and magnesium, so the mineral ions get picked up as the water passes through.
Although research has shown that hard water may actually be a bit healthier to drink, it can have all sorts of negative effects on your plumbing, appliances, and other areas. If you’re concerned that your home may be using hard water, there are several telltale signs that you can watch for.
Effects on Your Hair, Skin, and Cleanliness
When it comes to the health of your hair and skin, soft water is far preferable to hard water. For one thing, it’s hard to achieve a deep clean when bathing with hard water. Because of the calcium and magnesium minerals, hard water isn’t as soluble with soap as soft water is. As a result, you typically can’t get a great lather going or clean your skin as thoroughly if you’re showering or taking a bath with hard water.
Hard water is also more likely to dry your skin and hair out. Your skin has a much easier time retaining soft water because of its lack of mineral ions. Additionally, calcium and magnesium tend to remove the natural oils from your hair and skin, which can lead to your skin becoming cracked and irritated and your hair becoming brittle and frizzy. In some cases, hard water has even been known to dull hair color, while soft water helps it remain full and vibrant.
If you’re noticing that your skin tends to feel more dry and itchy right after you shower, it could mean that you’re using hard water.
Hard Water and Your Plumbing System
One of the biggest problems with hard water is the effect that it can have on your plumbing system. When water that’s full of calcium and magnesium flows through your pipes, it leaves behind a residue called scale. Over time, if enough of that scale builds up, it can begin to wreak havoc on your plumbing. Most commonly, the scale will accumulate enough to cause obstructions in the plumbing, which worsens the efficiency of your pump and negatively impacts your water pressure. In some cases, excessive scale buildup may even cause irreversible damage to your piping. Before you know it, you could find yourself with a costly and time-consuming repair job.
If you notice that your water pressure is consistently weak or that you’re spending more money on electricity bills, it could mean that hard water is flowing through your pipes and causing problems. With soft water, you seldom need to worry about any of these plumbing issues. Without the high concentration of calcium and magnesium, there’s no harmful scale buildup, and the system tends to run pretty smoothly.
Effects on Your Household Appliances
Your household appliances, such as your water heater, dishwasher, and laundry machine, will also feel the differences between hard and soft water. Just like your pipes, your appliances are susceptible to the perils of scale buildup. Not only do those mineral deposits worsen the performance and energy efficiency of the appliances, but they can also shorten their lifespans. These negative effects can even reach your home’s smaller systems, like your coffee maker and the ice machine in your refrigerator.
On the other hand, if your appliances are using soft water, they’ll have a much better chance of enjoying long, healthy working lives. In addition to saving money on electricity bills and potential repairs, you’ll likely be able to wait much longer before needing to invest in replacement units.
The Condition of Your Clothing
Hard water and soft water will typically have very different effects on the state of your clothing. When you wash your clothes with hard water, the calcium and magnesium ions can cause several frustrating issues. For one, those mineral deposits will frequently get left behind on the fabric of your clothing, resulting in faded colors, dingy whites, and even unsightly stains.
Soft water is better for the cleanliness and overall feel of your clothing as well. Without the presence of harmful minerals, the soft water dissolves into the fabric more effectively. Not only does this leave the clothing feeling soft to the touch, but it also does a much better job of cleaning them. With soft water, it’s far less likely that washing your clothes will leave behind dirt or stains. Since that soft water is also better at dissolving laundry detergent, it can even help you save some money by using less of it per load.
Cleaning Your Home
One of the other major differences that you’ll notice between hard and soft water is the amount of time that you have to spend cleaning. In most cases, the presence of hard water will add many extra hours to your weekly cleaning tasks. In addition to regularly needing to re-wash your dishes and laundry, you’ll frequently encounter chalk and lime buildup. Scrubbing the soap scum and scale from the walls of your shower, bathtub, and sink is both time-consuming and a major pain. Having soft water in your home won’t eliminate the need to clean, but it will certainly save you some time.
Addressing Your Hard Water Issue
As you can see, using hard water in your Greenville, WI household can have quite a few undesirable effects. So, what can you do about it? The best solution is to have a water softening system installed in your home. At Black-Haak, our expert plumbers can install a high-quality system for you in a timely and affordable manner.
Water softener systems typically consist of one or more tanks, which contain several layers of materials that your water must flow through. Usually, there will be a layer of activated carbon to filter out contaminants, a layer of special ion exchange resin to remove the problematic minerals, and a layer of gravel to catch any remaining contaminants. After going through the process, your water will be much cleaner and contain healthy sodium or potassium ions instead of calcium and magnesium. Once you have a water softener installed, you’ll quickly start to notice significant differences concerning your water pressure, skin health, hair color, and many other areas.
We at Black-Haak are proud to be a trusted provider of heating, cooling, electrical, indoor air quality, and plumbing services for residents of Greenville and the rest of the Fox Valley area. Since 1956, we’ve been serving the area through hot, muggy summers and freezing, windy winters. We’re a family-owned company, and your comfort is our top priority year-round. Our skilled technicians are on call 24/7, and you won’t need to pay any extra for weekend or late night work. We understand that you don’t get to decide when your household or business needs prompt, expert attention. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more about what we offer, contact us at Black-Haak today.