What’s in your water – water hardness
The most common water quality problem in the U.S. is hard water. According to a U.S. Geological Survey, hard water can be found in more then 85 percent of the country.
What makes water hard, why is hard water a problem, and what can you do about it?
Hard water causes and effects
More than 60 percent of the earth's available fresh water is groundwater. Groundwater travels through rock and soil, picking up minerals including calcium and magnesium along the way. These two minerals produce what we commonly consider "hardness" in water.
The effects of hard water are easily seen through the appearance of water fixtures and appliances, laundry, or even the dryness of your skin after showering.
Water hardness varies from region to region; testing will tell you just how "hard" your water is and the degree to which it should be treated. Signs that your water may need treatment (or softening) include:
- Clogged pipes and/or appliances from hard water mineral deposits which may cause reduced water flow, shortened appliance life, or increased appliance maintenance and repair.
- Film on bathtubs, shower tiles, or fixtures.
- Dull, limp hair and dry skin.
- Increased water heating costs. Hard water minerals can form scale when heated, making your water heater less efficient.
- Reduced sudsing/cleaning from detergents and soaps. The calcium and magnesium in hard water act on many soaps and detergents to reduce their effectiveness.
If the local water is considered hard or very hard, your water utility may soften the water somewhat, but you may wish to soften the water further.