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When water percolates through deposits of limestone or chalk, largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates, the end result is commonly known as hard water. Referring to its soap wasting properties, hard water gets its name from the saying “Hard To Wash In” water. Measured in grains per gallon with degrees of hardness in 1 – 10, it is not harmful to our health in small quantities. But limescale has in large quantities, been known to cause kidney stones and cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure.
What Problems Does Hard Water Cause?
Apart from having a very unpleasant taste and at times a rotten egg smell, hard water causes problems to most things it comes into contact with.
- The dissolved minerals slowly build up in the plumbing pipes and heating systems. A ¼ inch scale in a water heating element means 40% more energy is needed to heat the water. This will not only affect your wallet but also has environmental consequences. Over time, this build-up in all the pipes results in poor water flow and left unattended, may result in altogether blocked pipes requiring emergency intervention. This is very common in older steel pipes but less common in PVC or copper pipes.
- In electrical appliances, the scale build-up causes poor efficiency and an increase in your utility bill. Dishwashers wear out faster and the ice maker in your fridge will stop working as the valves clog. American Water Works Association state that washing machines in hard water areas wear out 30% faster and a household could spend up to $800 a year on hard water expenses.
- Washing detergent does not properly dissolve or rinse out of fabric in hard water. Clothes start fading, looking dull and develop small holes over time. The iron content in the water stains the clothing making your white garments yellow. Towels become rough and scratchy when the minerals in the water react with the detergent, no matter how hot you make the water in an attempt to rinse them properly.
- Your body soap also does not lather or rise off as it should. The residue soap on your skin blocks your pores and causes your skin to dry out and start flaking. Children as young as elementary school have been diagnosed with eczema as a result. There is no documented evidence of hair loss but hair does become weak, dry and frizzy when exposed to hard water.
- Tubs and sinks become hard to keep clean without using harsh detergents. Hard water prevents the soap from removing scum, leaving you with a permanent bathtub ring. Porcelain baths or sinks may develop a rusty color stain from the rusty pipes.
- Shower heads block, causing a decrease in shower water pressure. Soap scum on shower curtains can over time harbor disease causing bacteria.
- Dishes look streaky and glasses have a cloudy film even when clean. This is not harmful but just makes them appear dirty.
How Can We Combat Hard Water Problems
There are a few home remedies you can use to combat the effects of hard water. Clean and dry your counter tops, tubs and sinks regularly. Add a non-precipitating water conditioner to your laundry as this will trap some of the minerals in the water and treat hard water stains and spots using distilled white vinegar. For a more permanent hard water solution contact your hard water specialists Art Plumbing AC & Electric. We can advise you on the various systems that can be installed and maintained to make your hard water problems a thing of the past. Whether you want a Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System, a No Salt System, A UV Disinfection System or a Twin Tank Water Softener, we can advise, install and maintain your system.
Hard Water 101 states that 85% of American homes have to deal with hard water. Don’t allow your home to be included in that statistic. Install a system of your choice and say goodbye to blocked plumbing pipes, increased utility bills and bad hair days.