So you’ve moved into a new home with hard water. Hard water is no big deal, but many people prefer to live in homes with soft water. But what is hard water anyway, and why do people care?
If you’re not sure whether or not you should bother with water softening, we’re here to help you. Keep reading to learn all about hard water, soft water, and how to soften water that’s hard.
What Is Hard Water in Comparison to Soft Water?
Some jokesters will tell you that hard water is ice. In reality, hard water is just water that has higher levels of calcium and magnesium. In contrast, soft water tends to have a higher concentration of sodium.
Both hard water and soft water are safe to consume most of the time. Areas with very hard water may be problematic for homeowners and the water may have a unique taste.
Why Is Hard Water Annoying?
As we mentioned, both hard and soft water are safe. That said, hard water can still be irritating and many people choose to soften it.
Hard water can be problematic when it’s time to wash yourself, your clothes, and even your dishes. On glass surfaces or objects, it can leave calcium spots. While your glass is clean, it will look dirty because of the hard water.
Your clothing may feel like it has a film on it when it gets out of the washer. This isn’t because it isn’t clean; it’s because the soap interacts with the calcium in the hard water to create a filmy covering.
Many people with sensitive skin experience skin dryness after bathing with hard water. They may also experience the same “filmy” feeling that clothing gets after washing.
Anyone who has curly hair knows that hard water can cause curls to fall limp. It’s helpful to use a clarifying shampoo every month to fix this problem.
Furthermore, significant hard water can cause stains in your toilet bowl. These are harmless, but some homeowners and renters find them embarrassing and hard to remove.
How do You Fix Hard Water?
So you have hard water. Now what?
If you want to fix the problem (and you own your home), you can invest in a water softener. Water softeners are devices that you put into your plumbing system. The device filters out minerals to soften your water.
Check out these Kinetico water softener reviews to see if one is right for you.
If you don’t own your home, you likely won’t be able to install a water softener. If this is the case, you’ll need to focus more on mitigating damage.
Do You Have Hard Water?
So what is hard water? It isn’t the end of the world, but it is water with a higher concentration of minerals that may be frustrating for you. If you’re able, consider investing in a water softener. If not, it’s time to change your cleaning practices to compensate.
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What are the signs of hard water?
- White, chalky residue or spots on dishes and in your dishwasher
- Clothes and linens that feel rough and look dull
- Scale buildup on faucets and ugly stains on white porcelain
- Dry skin and flat hair – because soap just doesn’t lather or rinse completely away
- Low water pressure from showers and faucets due to clogged pipes
Find your hard water level.
85% of American homes have hard water – water that contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is measured in GPG (grains per gallon). The map below shows just how water hardness varies across the country. Even if you don’t live in the “very hard” or “extremely hard” water zones, you may start to see the effects of hard water at around 7 grains of hardness.
Your water hardness level can be found by contacting your municipality, if you are on city water, or by picking up a water hardness test kit from your nearest retailer.
It’s a natural result of minerals like calcium and magnesium accumulating during the water cycle, and it can happen with well water and even city water. The more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, the harder the water becomes. This is why certain cities and counties within the same state can have varying degrees of water hardness.
Hard water is safe to drink and wash with, but over time it can lead to inconvenient, embarrassing and costly problems.