Many people contend with hard water. “Hard water” is the term used to describe water that has a relatively higher concentration of minerals. These minerals don’t affect the quality of the water in terms of health and safety, but they can have a negative impact in other ways. They can lead to scale buildup, which can clog pipes and affect your appliances, bathroom fixtures, and kitchen sink. They may also cause issues with some people’s skin and hair. Fortunately, there are steps you can take if your home has hard water.
Hard Versus Soft Water
Before getting into the details regarding what to do about hard water, we first want to discuss why hard water is a problem for some residents. As we mentioned, hard water has excess minerals. Calcium and magnesium are typically the minerals that are of great concern. The water picks up these materials because we get our water from the ground. As the water travels through the soil and makes contact with rocks, it can easily absorb those minerals.
Water hardness is measured by using grains per gallon. (One grain is equivalent to 0.002 ounces of calcium carbonate that’s been dissolved in one gallon of water.) Soft water can have zero grains per gallon, but it can also have up to three grains per gallon. This classification recognizes that some minerals are usually present in water. Any water with a hardness rating of over 7.5 grains per gallon will be considered hard water. In the middle, there are hardness levels that are considered moderate. You might not have to treat your water if your water falls in that range.
In our homes, the minerals can leave a residue on various surfaces. For example, hard water can leave spots on dishes, shower curtains, tubs, and sinks. These issues might seem minor since they’re cosmetic, but they can certainly be annoying to deal with. A greater concern will be when minerals affect appliances that use water, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines. Minerals can leave more than a residue; instead, there can be a buildup that can clog small openings.
Hard water can also make it harder to get things clean. When you’re washing your hands, shampooing your hair, or washing clothes, you may find that you go through more soap with hard water than you do with soft water. That’s because the minerals in hard water can make it harder to develop a lather. A related point is that hard water can leave your skin and hair feeling drier.
If you’re constantly scrubbing away residues on anything that touches water, such as tea kettles, pots, showers, and sinks, there’s a good chance that you have hard water. However, if you’re not sure whether you have hard or soft water, you can have your water tested.
Invest in a Water Softener
One of the most common things to do to address hard water is to get a water softener. At Black-Haak, we can install a water softener for you if you live in the Fox Valley area. These systems have become common, and they treat the water you have before it travels around your home. The treatment process removes minerals from the water.
So that you can have a better understanding of why a water softener may be beneficial, we’ll give you an overview of how the system works. A water softener is a system that uses the concept of ion exchange to remove minerals from the water. The system consists of a few tanks. In one of the tanks, water encounters resin beads that coat the inside of the tank. Sodium ions are attached to those resin beads. The minerals in the water that flow through the tank are attracted to the resin beads because they have opposite charges. The minerals are exchanged for a small amount of sodium ions, and then, the soft water gets pumped throughout your system.
After a certain period, the resin in the tank gets saturated with mineral ions. In this case, the system needs to get flushed. During this process, water flows through another tank that houses salt, where it picks up sodium ions. It then goes into the resin-lined tank. In the resin-lined tank, the sodium ions take the place of the minerals attached to the resin beads, and the water filled with minerals is flushed and drained away. At this point, the water softener is ready to remove minerals from water yet again.
Consider a Water Conditioner
Instead of a water softener, you can also consider getting a water conditioner. Water conditioners don’t remove minerals from the water, but some of them can change the way the minerals are configured. One of the primary purposes of a water conditioner is to remove chlorine, organic gases, and other particulates that may be in your water. In doing so, this system may be able to enhance the taste or smell of the water.
If a water conditioner is also able to address minerals, it will do so using crystallization. Mineral ions are attracted to nucleation sites in a water conditioning system, and at those sites, they come together to form small crystals. These crystals can, in turn, attract other mineral ions. In this crystal form, minerals aren’t as likely to adhere to appliances, pipes, and other things. Instead, they just stick together and get flushed down your drains and out of your plumbing system. They’re much less likely to clog your pipes, interfere with your cleaning, or leave unsightly residues on your plumbing fixtures.
A water conditioner may be more ideal in situations where you’d like to remove possible contaminants from your water. It can also work if you cannot or do not want to use the salt that water softeners require.
A water softener or water conditioner can be hooked up directly to your home’s water supply. If you are not sure about which system will be best, we will be happy to help you decide which one will best fit your circumstances.
Count on Us
Black-Haak has a long history of service in the area. Our family-owned and -operated business was founded in 1956. We’ve enjoyed working closely with many people in our community, and we’re proud to have numerous long-time customers. We continually work hard to provide a high level of service to people who need assistance with heaters, air conditioners, electrical systems, and Appleton plumbing service. Our experience is extensive, as we also regularly help people with geothermal heat pumps, thermostats, ductless mini splits, and indoor air quality systems. We have a flat-rate pricing system to make things simple and straightforward. You can turn to us whenever you need information or answers to your questions, and you won’t feel pressured to make any type of decision right away. For your convenience, we’re available seven days a week. Our staff members are highly trained and will be ready to do what it takes to complete your project. Call us to schedule an appointment.