The water supply in the United States is world-class. Since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by congress in 1974 this public health necessity is enshrined in law. The regulation of public water systems makes it some of the safest and most reliable in the world.
Despite this, you may be experiencing soap scum, stains, mineral build-up, even dry skin. This could indicate that you have hard water. Read on to find out all the warning signs of hard water and how to treat it professionally.
Signs of Hard Water
The hardness rating of your water is based on the mineral content of the water. The hardness rating varies from region to region. In Salt Lake Valley, for example, the rating is generally regarded as very hard.
The water hardness is caused by dissolved minerals in the water. Most of the mineral content is calcium carbonate that has been dissolved in the water as it passed through rocks. The problem is that the calcium carbonate does not stay dissolved and forms as a solid deposit within your water system.
You may see evidence of hard water in the form of spots and stains in your bathroom and kitchen. Wherever water is left to evaporate on a surface it leaves behind the dissolved minerals. If there is a high concentration of these minerals they will appear as a spot or stain.
These deposits can appear on your sink, shower, and bathtub. In your kitchen, you may notice spots on glasses, kitchen utensils and on ceramic tiles.
After some time, the mineral deposits that start as spots can build up. Appliances that are constantly exposed to hard water can get a build-up of limescale. The most obvious places are faucets and showerheads. Water can rest here frequently and persistently allowing the mineral deposits to grow.
When hard water and soap mix they bind together creating a scum. This sticky substance is difficult to remove and can become an unattractive residue on faucets. It sticks to other surfaces and dishes causing you to use even more soap to remove it.
The increased soap and scum can form in drains. This can cause blockages and slow the movement of wastewater. The extra soap needed to create an effective lather to clean clothes and dishes is also an added expense.
Dry Skin and Hair
The minerals in hard water can also have an effect on your skin and hair. Soap scum forms on surfaces in your home, the reaction of soap and hard water affects your hair. A film forms on your hair stopping its natural moisturization.
You may be tempted to wash your hair more often. This increases the thickness of the deposit on your hair and causes more damage. The result is dry, frizzy, and damaged hair.
Hair colorants are affected by mineral deposits on the hair. They can make the hair less responsive to coloring. The color is likely to fade more quickly, especially if you are washing it more frequently in an attempt to counteract the hard water.
There is a proven link between hard water and eczema. There is a reaction between hard water, soap, and protein in the skin of eczema sufferers causes damage to their skin. The result is inflamed and dry skin and sometimes secondary infections.
Water Heater Damage
Deposits of limescale in the internal elements of your water heating system reduce its effectiveness. It takes more energy to heat the water when limescale inhibits the water heater. Having to work harder means it’s more likely that the system will break down.
The same is true of any appliance that heats up the water. Dishwashers, washing machines, and coffee pots can all get a build-up of minerals. They then have to work harder to heat water and have a shorter life span and are more prone to break down.
Clogged Pipes and Low Pressure
Deposits of limescale on faucets and bathtubs are visible. The deposits of limescale inside your plumbing system are invisible but no less damaging.
The mineral deposits on the inside of pipes make it harder for water to pass through the pipe. This reduces the water pressure causing you and your family to run water for longer to make up for the drop in pressure.
Lower water pressure leads to higher water consumption. This results in an increase in water bills.
Lower efficiency in water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers means higher energy use. The result is higher energy costs.
What Can You Do?
If you are experiencing problems with hard water the obvious solution is to change to soft water. This could be easier to do than you think.
You should start by contacting a reliable plumbing service that has expertise in water softening systems. Ask for an in-home plumbing and water consultation. Don’t rely on a water sample test alone.
An in-home consultation will include a water test including water hardness, chlorine, and a TDS test. A TDS test assesses the total dissolved solids in your water. This test determines the water quality.
An in-home consultation will also include a test of the water pressure and the condition of the plumbing system. A personalized proposal for a water softening solution will take account of your local and home conditions.
You can retain a hard water supply for cooking and drinking if you wish. Some people like the taste and there is some benefit to health too. It’s a simple matter to divert drinking water past the water softener.
If you have the signs of hard water you may benefit from a water softener. You could soon notice health and financial benefits as well as a more efficient water heating and plumbing system.
Get in touch and arrange an in-home consultation here.