Photo By By SutidaS at Shutterstock
Have you heard the expression “hard water” thrown around but aren’t really sure what it means? Hard water is a complaint many plumbers receive service calls for. And, luckily, there are potential solutions to fix hard water in a home. If you suspect you have a hard water problem, keep reading for this complete guide to answering all of your questions about hard water.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that has higher than usual mineral content. More accurately, hard water contains salts of calcium, magnesium, and sometimes ferrous iron. In some regions, hard water can contain aluminum or manganese. Most homeowners realize they have hard water because it has an unusual taste they’re not used to.
Hard water is a common problem throughout the United States. If you source your water from a well, it’s more than likely that you have hard water. But this problem isn’t exclusive to rural communities. A U.S. Geological Survey found that 85% of households in America have hard water.
How Does a Hard Water Issue Occur in a Home?
Groundwater often passes through limestone, gypsum or chalk, where it picks up magnesium and calcium deposits along the way. Additionally, minerals such as iron can get picked up as water passes through lakes, rivers, and soil. Or, iron can be added into the water through corroded plumbing.
Regardless of how it was added into the water, hard water can leave a less than pleasant taste in your mouth.
Is Hard Water Dangerous for Human Consumption?
It’s complicated to answer if hard water is dangerous for human consumption. For example, certain minerals found in hard water, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, are beneficial nutrients for the body. Unfortunately, a lot of hard water doesn’t exclusively contain helpful minerals. Hard water sentiments can carry harmful minerals or even bacteria. One study in 2014 found that hard water scaling was responsible for bacterial growth in residential drinking water.
So, chances are, if you have hard water, it would be best to try to fix it.
Problems Associated with Hard Water
There are some additional problems that occur with hard water:
- Hard water can taste or smell funny: Imagine having a guest over and they make a face of disgust when they drink a glass of water you just handed to them. Or, imagine drinking water every day that you hated. Water that tastes bad or smells funny is one of the first signs of a hard water problem. More specifically:
- A bad smell or a bad taste from water can be a sign of bacterial containment.
- Water that smells like rotten eggs can indicate high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas in the soil. Or, it can be bacteria that is reacting with magnesium in the water to form sulfates.
- Water that has a metallic taste could have high traces of iron in it.
- Water that tastes like dirt likely has sediment or algae in it. Or, it could be carrying in dirt from old pipes.
- Too much iron in your water can leave brown or reddish stains on porcelain toilets and showers. Rusty pipes could be the cause of high levels of iron in your water. Unfortunately, on top of being embarrassing, these stains are also very difficult to remove.
- Too much iron in your water can leave brown or reddish stains on porcelain toilets and showers. Rusty pipes could be the cause of high levels of iron in your water. Unfortunately, on top of being embarrassing, these stains are also tough to remove.
- Hard water also can cause soap scum stains. When the water evaporates, it leaves calcium deposits behind that stain everything. Your dishes may never look clean because there are always spots left behind. Additionally, soap scum left on shower curtains can lead to the development of disease-spreading bacteria.
- Deposits from hard water can also clog up your drains, reducing the water pressure and causing significant plumbing issues. The deposits build up along the sides of the pipes, similar to how arteries get clogged up, and eventually, water can’t get through. If left ignored, this could become an expensive problem to fix.
- As hard water makes it more difficult to clean yourself, it can lead to harder-to-manage hair. So yes, hard water may be the root of all your bad hair days!
- As we’ve mentioned, hard water makes soap less effective. This means that when you do laundry, your clothes aren’t getting as clean as they should be—leaving you to walk around in less-than-fresh clothes.
- Mineral deposits from hard water can be left on the skin and cause all the moisture to be sucked out of the skin. This can lead to a variety of skin problems, most notably skin rashes and irritation.
- Perhaps the most concerning issue is the impact hard water has on appliances. Every appliance that interacts with the hard water, from the dishwasher to the laundry machine, will be less effective due to the hard water. And less effective devices means higher utility bills. Not only that, but hard water is permanently damaging to appliances, reducing their lifespans significantly.
Hard Water Solution: Water Conditioning
Luckily, there is a solution. Most professional plumbers offer services such as water conditioning and water filtration systems. Water softening, also known as water conditioning, is a whole-house filtration system that looks to remove excess minerals from water in the home. These systems are an excellent investment, saving you money in the long run from all the potential negative consequences hard water can have in your life. Consult with a plumber today if water softening is the right choice for your home.
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain in Sugarland, TX
The residents of Sugarland, TX, are no strangers to hard water. Luckily, there is a bluefrog Plumbing + Drain franchise in the Sugarland, TX area, that offers water softening services. The staff and plumbers at bluefrog are professional, friendly, and always get the job done right. Our plumbers are available 24/7 a day and work with both residential and commercial customers.