Does your home have limescale deposits around your pipes, faucets, sinks, and shower fixtures? Are you using you more soap and detergent than usual lately, and there are thick soapy residues on your skin after you shower? Chances are, you have hard water.
Hard water, which is high in minerals like calcium and magnesium, can be softened in several different ways, usually by boiling or treating it with a water softener. Healthwise, hard water is harmless. You can drink it and can even use it around the house for activities like watering your garden, general lawn care, etc. Though studies have not found any health risks posed by hard water, it can be an inconvenience for household use. This is due to the minerals present which leaves behind deposits that can clog drains, stain glass and tile, and leave residue on hair and skin. Hard water can interfere with your cleaning tasks – from laundering and dishwashing to showering and personal grooming. It can also cause damage to your central heating systems and water-using appliances, which often require costly repairs. Luckily, getting rid of hard water problems is a straightforward task that doesn't require much time, effort, or skill.
For those looking for a quick fix, there are numerous DIY solutions you can try such as:
Boil your water
Heres how it works:
Bring the water to a boil for a few minutes.
Let it cool for a couple hours. White minerals should settle to the bottom of the pot.
Siphon or scoop up the top of the water, leaving the minerals behind.
Note: boiling water only removes some types of hardness ("temporary hardness"), so it will not work for all homes. Not many people realize that running hot water through the hot water heater contributes to hard water stains and mineral buildup. This is due to the mineral precipitation process that takes place in the hottest part of the plumbing system. Over time, the hot water heater will accumulate scale. Reducing the temperature of the heater will help delay the accumulation.
Wipe away hard water spots with vinegar
Distilled white vinegar can remove white spots on fabric, drains, or porcelain from mineral buildup.
Apply it or dilute with an equal amount of water
This temporary solution can get tedious if limescale builds up quickly. If your water is only slightly hard it might be a cost-effective approach. Since the majority of hard water is calcium, it is highly reactive with acids like vinegar. This will kill mold, bacteria, germs, and help clean dish-ware through regular wash cycles. A simple rinsing with 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts filtered water will do the trick.
Some models attach to a kitchen faucet, while others come in pitchers for you to store drinking water. The softened water often has a better taste, but the effect depends on the exact minerals in your water.
This "filter" does not actually remove most contaminants unless the device has a secondary filter (such as carbon filter or reverse osmosis).
Most coffee lovers dislike the taste of soft water coffee. Look for a filter model with a switch-off valve, so you can keep your hard water brew.
Ion exchange softeners are by far the most effective home softener. Ion exchange softeners come in two types:
Sodium chloride: the most common and most effective type. This adds a tiny amount of salt (sodium) to your water.
Potassium chloride: less effective, but useful if you can't have sodium. The potassium can harm people with damaged kidneys or on certain medications that prevent potassium absorption.
If you don't want sodium or potassium, pick either type and install reverse osmosis (RO) filter as well to remove them after softening.
How can water hardness be reduced using a water softener?
Basically, a salt-based water softener works to remove high concentrations of calcium and magnesium from water through a process called “ion exchange.” This process “softens” hard water by substituting the hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) with sodium chloride (salt).
Here’s a quick overview of the process:
The hard water enters the water softener.
Tiny beads (containing sodium) in the resin bed attract the hard water minerals, removing them from the water and onto the resin bed.
Soft water enters your home with none of those hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium
When the resin beads are full of hard water minerals, it’s time for the regeneration process.
During regeneration, the brine is pumped through the resin tank.
The brine solution and the hard water minerals are flushed from the tank into a nearby drain or for reuse before the softening process starts again.
Most quality water softeners can be an investment, but they sure offer some significant benefits:
Improves the efficiency of hot water and heating systems
Is better for certain dry and sensitive skin conditions
Reduces the household items and toiletries usage, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry detergents, and other cleaning products
Makes your skin and hair feel softer and easier to manage
Extends the lifespan of and increases the performance of home appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, kettles, etc.
Reduces the scale on pipes, fixtures, and appliances
With soft water, you no longer have to worry about rising energy costs because your appliances are operating inefficiently or expensive repair costs. You will also benefit from longer-lasting clothing, your detergents will work more effectively and your skin will feel smoother and softer after you take a shower or a bath.
Hard water is still a major problem for 85% of households in the country. While it is not a threat to one’s health, it can wreak havoc in your home. Thankfully, a premium water softener can work to solve all the problems related to hard water in your home. Contact Aquatell today to learn more