If your home has hard water — water with a high mineral content — as many homes do, you are no doubt familiar with its downsides. Does this sound familiar - spotty glasses, soap that doesn’t lather, dry skin, dull hair, stains on porcelain and gunky-looking buildup around faucets and pipes. Hard water occurs when there are magnesium and calcium ions present in your plumbing system—hard water may cause a number of issues that while not necessarily unhealthy, can have a negative impact on your quality of life, as well as the health of your plumbing system. Don't worry - there's a simple solution to the havoc hard water causes: install a water softener.
Can drinking hard water cause health problems?
Drinking hard water is generally safe. In fact, it may actually have beneficial health effects. The benefits of hard water include fulfilling your dietary needs of essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Several studies have reported that calcium and magnesium in drinking water have a dose-dependent protective effect when it comes to cardiovascular disease. There is also some evidence that calcium and magnesium in drinking water may help protect against gastric, colon, rectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, and that magnesium may help protect against esophageal and ovarian cancer. Hard water may also serve a protective role against atherosclerosis in children and teens.
Basically, while hard water can be hard on appliances and pipes, it is not hard on the body, and can actually give the daily intake of calcium and magnesium a nice little boost.
However, although there may be a few benefits to drinking hard water, you might actually be better off switching to soft water. It has far more benefits, not just when it comes to consumption, but also for the pipes it runs through, your hair, and even your skin.
What are the disadvantages of hard water?
1. Your Water Tastes or Smells Funny
A strange odor or taste to drinking water is often one of the first clues you have a water conditioning problem. It means there is hard water or some sort of bacterial contaminant.
For instance, if your water has an unpleasant metallic taste. That’s probably too much iron. If your water smells like rotten eggs, that could be naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide gas or certain bacteria reacting with magnesium to form sulfates. Or does your water taste like dirt? That could be sediment (actual dirt), old pipes or algae. Algal blooms can also give tap water a moldy aftertaste. Water with a strange taste or odor is just the beginning of your problems.
2. You’re Getting Strange Stains
Ugly brown or reddish stains on the home appliances are a nuisance to any homeowner.
You can blame hard water for that too – specifically iron. It’s no coincidence those stains look a lot like rust spots. The iron in your water could be coming from rusty pipes.
You’ll have to use a lot of manual scrubbing to get rid of those stains. Some people suggest using vinegar to help clean and remove them. Unfortunately, the stains will keep reappearing until you fix your hard water problem.
3. You’re Constantly Cleaning Up Soap Scum
Another annoyance is the appearance of those white, hard water spots.
That’s what you get when water evaporates and leaves calcium deposits behind. When you have hard water, you’ll notice soap scum seems to accumulate all over the place. That’s because soap and the minerals in hard water just don’t play nicely together.
If your dishes are always spotty, it may not be your dishwasher, it’s probably your water. What’s worse – soap scum left on shower curtains can lead to the development of a microbial biofilm that might contain disease-spreading bacteria. With hard water, you may find yourself cleaning the bathroom and kitchen more often and using more cleaning products to get the job done.
4. Your Showering Experience Suffers
When you have hard water, shower time can be ruined. As we’ve mentioned, minerals cause hard water to react ineffectively with soap.
This makes it harder to get a good wash when you bathe. It also makes it more difficult to rinse all the soap off your body, leaving a film of soapy residue on your skin. Deposits from hard water can clog up your shower head too. That means weaker water pressure. With hard water, you may not be getting as clean and you may notice your hair is hard to manage.
5. Your Pipes Keep Getting Clogged
Showerheads aren’t the only things that can get clogged up thanks to hard water. It can cause major plumbing issues as well.
Limescale deposits build up inside your pipes, like plaque inside an artery, constricting the flow of water, eventually leading to backups and the need to call a plumber for help.
6. Your Clothes Aren’t Getting Clean
Hard water can have a negative impact on laundry – and once again – it’s all due to the relationship minerals like calcium and magnesium have with soap and detergent.
Soap is used to wash away dirt and grime, but when soap doesn’t get rinsed off, it can actually increase soil build up on your clothes. Clothes washed in hard water often appear dingy and wear out faster. It can even make your towels scratchy and rough.
When you have hard water, you may have to buy detergent formulated to soften the water for you. However, you’ll likely have to use more laundry detergent (and hotter water) to get your clothes clean. It’s even said that people with hard water use four times as much detergent.
Plus, just as iron stains your bathroom fixtures, it can stain your clothes. Premature yellowing of your whites could be caused by iron content in the water. When combined with bleach, iron oxidizes, and iron oxide is just another name for rust.
7. Your Family Has Skin Irritation Issues
Because washing in hard water will leave soap behind, it causes people’s skin to get dried out and itchy.
One of the most obvious effects of hard water is skin irritation and eczema is an example of it. Using hard water not only makes your skin dry but also leads to bumpy patches on the skin. These skin problems are caused by the presence of excessive minerals in the water. So, the best option is to check the hardness of water and the presence of calcium and magnesium in it.
If you find the concentration of these minerals is higher, using a bathroom water softener can be one of the best solutions to hard water problems. The water softener helps in removing calcium, magnesium, etc. from the water thereby making the water soft.
8. Your Appliances Are Wearing Out Quickly
This might be the most expensive hard water problem of all. Those scale deposits can wreak havoc on many appliances in your home, from the dishwasher to the hot water heater.
A build-up of scale in your water heater will make it less efficient. The same goes for other appliances. Poor efficiency means bigger utility bills.
Now that we've reviewed the most common complaints attributed to hard water: dry skin, damage to hair and nails, white stains on new surfaces and etc, there is a solution! If this is what you are also facing, it’s time to install a home water softener,which can replace the hard salts like magnesium and calcium in water with sodium ions, enhancing the quality of water
You've seen the effects of why water hardness is so detrimental, and now you can decide what kind of water you want more of in your life. Aquatell can help you find the appropriate balance by testing your water and providing a fitting solution. Let a whole-home water softening system correct the negative effects of hard water.