What Is Hard Water and Why Is It a Problem?
The term hard water is one you may have heard tossed around in discussions of problems in homes, and yet not understood exactly what it meant. It is, admittedly, an odd term. (Isn’t hard water actually ice?) In this post, we’ll explain exactly what hard water means, why it’s an issue for a home, and what you can do about if your home has it.
Defining hard water
Water that contains a higher level of certain minerals is referred to as hard water. These minerals include magnesium, gypsum, and calcium. If the water contains higher levels of sodium, is it said to be soft water. Hard water usually occurs from minerals entering the municipal pipes on the way to residential homes.
The trouble with hard water
Thankfully, hard water is rarely harmful to drink—although it may not taste very good. The dangers from hard water are for a home’s plumbing. The minerals leave calcite deposits along the inside of the pipes, which will build up to the point where they will restrict water flow and increase the water pressure in the plumbing system. Hard water deposits are also very damaging for water heaters, where they cause limescale accumulation along the inside of the tank.
Less damaging, but still annoying, is that hard water makes it more difficult to develop a good lather of soap. It also leaves behind filmy residue on surfaces and dishes, and white flaky deposits on fixtures.
How to eliminate hard water
To deal with hard water requires a professionally installed device called a water softener. A whole-house water softener places sodium ions into the water that counteract the hard water minerals. It’s important to leave the work of choosing a water softener to experts, since you don’t water too much sodium placed into the water.