Water, water everywhere; on my clothes and in my hair. It paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? Especially when you think about “the olden days” when showers were few and far between and the laundry was scrubbed with corrugated metal. But, if you’re not as satisfied with your water as you’d like, hard water could be the problem. Laundry that is gray, dull, and stiff after washing; faucets clogged with white water buildup, dishes are spotted after a run through the dishwasher – all hard water problems. You could be wasting money cleaning and repairing hard water damage when really the better solution is a water filtration system that prevents the damage in the first place. But, we can be a little biased because we love soft water. Therefore, we’ve compiled all the facts we can about hard water so you can decide if a water filtration system in right for your home and wallet.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. While hard water is not a health risk, many consider it a nuisance because of its tendency to cause mineral buildup in water pipes and heating systems, as well as its poor soap and/or detergent performance when compared with soft water.
What Hard Water Does in Your House
Magnesium in the water binds with the soap particles to form an insoluble material that some call “curd”. The curd renders some of your soap as ineffective, which is why stains may stay on clothes. The curd also remains behind after the rinse cycle, leaving colored clothes with a dull appearance and whites with a gray or yellow look.
If you’ve ever noticed holes in your shirts, but are sure you don’t have moths, consider that hard water soap curds can cling to fabric fibers causing them to become fragile. The result is a more brittle fabric that wears out easier, thus shortening the life of your apparel.
This same soap curd appears in your dishwasher as well. Do you have water spots on your dishware after a full cycle – even after adding all of the spot rinse-aids know to man? The culprit: hard water!
What about the shampoo or body wash you use in the shower? Hair feel dry and brittle? Skin feel tight and itchy? Hard water soap curds at work.
How is Hard Water Costing You More Money
- Think about this: a ¼ inch of hard water scale on your water heating element will cause you to use 40% more energy to heat up water. Depending on the density of your hard water and the amount of use, you could see a ¼ inch build up in as little as a year. That’s a lot of money going down the drain!
- Homeowners with hard water tend to take longer showers since soap do not rinse as quickly in hard water.
- Hard water wears out appliances parts more quickly than soft water, which means repairing and or replacing appliances more often.
- Hard water deposits can build up inside water pipes, restricting the flow of water or stopping it altogether.
How a Hard Water Filtration System Works
Water Softeners work by ion exchange; sodium in the water softener replaces the calcium and/or magnesium in the water. The system helps reduce water contaminants and therefore, significantly reduces the scale buildup in appliances and water lines. Soft water also gives you a more stable water structure that cleans, rinses, washes, and tastes a whole lot better than the hard stuff – say goodbye to soap curds. The result is an increased lifespan of appliances, better tasting water, more efficient water use, and a small utility bill since you’re not getting that ¼ inch scale buildup as mentioned above. That’s a lot of benefit for your entire house when you consider you’re only installing a single unit in your house.
A Quick Fix For Hard Water
If you have a clogged shower head, a faucet with buildup around the handles, or any other visible hard water stain, you can try soaking the area in a mixture of half water, half white vinegar. The vinegar will eat at the calcium and magnesium so you can wipe the area clean. This is only a temporary solution, however. As long as you have hard water, the buildup will continue to happen. To rid yourself of the hard water stains once and for all, we recommend a water filtration system.
There are two options: a water softener or an RO system. Water softeners tend to be the cheaper option for most families. Yet you may want an RO systems which filter out more than calcium and magnesium, the two particles tackled by a water softener. Either system will save you from hard water damage.