When your home has clean and clear water, you may take for granted how much you rely on its quality. You use this water to wash behind your little one’s ears, keep yourself hydrated, water your garden, and run your home plumbing systems.
So when this water becomes compromised, it can turn simple, everyday tasks into enormous chores. One of the most common residential water quality problems is hard water.
In this blog, we explain the cause of hard water and list some of the most common negative impacts hard water has on your home and your health.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water occurs when high concentrations of minerals accumulate in liquid. The most common culprits are calcium and magnesium, but hard water may include trace amounts of other contaminants as well.
Water can collect these particles at any point in the water cycle. Because the hardness of your home’s water depends on its source, route, and treatment, your home could have very different water than your next-door neighbors or a household two streets over.
Professionals typically measure hardness in parts per million (ppm). As percentage represents a portion taken out of a total of one hundred, ppm represents a portion taken out of one million. Soft water has 60 or less ppm of calcium, magnesium, and other dissolved particles.
Most hard water exhibits between 60 and 180 ppm. However, extremely hard water can have upward of 180 ppm.
What Effects Does Hard Water Have?
When your home uses hard water, you may notice that it behaves differently than soft water would. The minerals in hard water inhibit soapy lather, leave deposits on the surfaces in your home, and influence the taste of your drinking water.
Hard water can have the following negative effects.
1. Appliance Inefficiency
Over time, hard water minerals build up inside your home’s pipes, faucets, and appliances. This buildup contributes to clogs and reduces overall appliance efficiency. In some cases, you may notice an increase in your water or power bills because your appliances have to work harder to perform the same tasks with hard water than they would with soft water.
You may also notice low water pressure related to hard water buildup, especially in your bathroom faucets.
2. Dull Skin and Hair
Hard water doesn’t just leave residue in your plumbing—it can also leave its mark on your skin, hair, and nails. If you frequently or primarily bathe in hard water, you may initially notice that your soaps and shampoos do not lather well.
Over time, you may also notice a film called soap curd on your hair or skin. This can lead to dull-looking hair and skin irritation, including exacerbation of eczema and other skin conditions.
3. Unclean Surfaces
Soap curd caused by hard water can leave more than your hair feeling dirty. You may also see soap curd collect in your sinks and tub, on your dishes, and on your linens.
If you have hard water in your home, you may experience difficulty whenever you try to clean an item with water.
In rare but serious cases, particularly hard water can contribute to acute health problems like diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, address them with your doctor.
If you struggle with hard water in your home, contact your trusted plumbing expert. Installation of a localized or whole-system water softener can save you time and money you would otherwise waste combating this problem.
Hard water can compromise the people and possessions you care about most. Take steps to ensure that your water stays clean, clear, and reliable.
For more information on your home’s plumbing and HVAC systems, read our other blog posts.