The water in your home is said to be hard if it has a large abundance of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and other heavy metals. Hard water is not hazardous to your health, but it may not taste good and can damage the plumbing system. It could also make it difficult for soap to lather and to keep your hair and skin clean. You will have the feeling like there is a film left behind on your skin. In most cases, hard water usually leaves a white stain on the faucet. All these are indicating that you have hard, not soft water.
Irrespective of where you get your water, either from a well, the municipal water supply, or borehole, you need to do something to treat hard water. Understanding exactly what hard water is and how it affects your plumbing can help you determine what type corrective measures you need to take.
How Does Water Become Hard?
As water travels through the atmosphere and soil, it absorbs and retains minerals along the way. Mostly, hard water is caused by a high concentration of naturally-occurring minerals. These minerals include calcium and magnesium. There may also be traces of iron, zinc, copper, aluminum, manganese, and other dissolved metals in it. This means the higher the mineral content, the harder the water becomes.
Hard Water Problems
Hard water can cause a lot of problems because it creates scum buildup and can reduce the service life of your appliances more quickly than soft water. The minerals that cause water hardness react with soap to form scum, inhibiting suds. That is, you will use more soap when using hard water. Below are some of the problems caused by hard water:
Scale buildup inside water supply pipes, leading to the restriction of water flow
It leaves spots on glasses and dishes
Film and scale buildup on toilet sinks and tiles
Rinsing off soap and shampoo completely becomes difficult
Scale deposits reduce the efficiency and service life of appliances that use water
Washing of clothes becomes difficult due to lack of suds.
Hard Water Damage To Plumbing
Have you for once come across deposits of yellow substances near your sinks and toilet systems? Those are caused by hard water. Constant usage of hard water for our domestic needs leads to calcium deposition in our sinks. It makes your sink, faucets, etc., look dirty, unkempt, and highly unpleasant. What is more? It is difficult to remove and might give you a tough time. Generally, hard water can lead to less efficient plumbing and more repairs over time.
How Do You Test For Hard Water?
You cannot know your water is hard unless you test for hardness. However, there are several ways of going about it. You can take the sample to the laboratory for more comprehensive results, but it will take time. You can also do it at home by yourself to get a rough estimate without wasting your time. It all depends on what you want.
This method is easy to go through and does not require any expertise. All you need is a clean empty bottle, the water you want to test, and a good liquid soap. Start by filling up to one-third of the capacity of the bottle or container. Then add some drops of liquid soap into the bottle and shake for like 5-10 minutes. If you can see bubbles or the water is milky in colour, then the water is soft. If there is no sight of fluffy bubbles, it is hard water.
This method is also easy to carry out and requires little or no expertise. It is just that you need to use a hard water test kit. All you have to do is get a clean bottle, fill it with water from your sink and dip the test kit into it for several seconds. Check the colour chart in your kit as regards colour change to confirm if the water is hard or soft.
Hard Water Solutions
After you have noticed that your water is hard, the next thing is to find the solution. In this case, you can use water-conditioning products to deal with mildly hard water. The most effective means of treating hard water is the use of water softeners. Installing a water softener system helps to eliminate the calcium and magnesium ions from hard water and introduce sodium ions instead. This helps to soften the water and makes it usable.
It can take time for hard water to ruin your pipes, but it is inevitable. It is just a matter of time before things start getting worse. The adverse effects of hard water can cause a lot of problems in the plumbing system if left unattended.
To be on the safer side, it is advisable to check for water hardness and take corrective measures if you notice any problem. So far, the use of water softeners is the most effective means of eliminating water hardness and improve the overall water quality.