By Rehan Iqbal
I’m sure you’ve heard people talking about water. It affects large parts of the US, particularly in the southwest and Midwest. You might not know much about what makes water hard or soft or what the effects of hard water are.
I’ll be providing you with all the facts regarding hard water and how you can tell if your water is hard. There are several signs that your water may be hard. The most obvious is glassware that appears cloudy after washing and faucets with a whit chalky residue around the outlet. Though the problem runs much deeper than unsightly dishes and faucets.
We should begin this discussion by understanding what makes water hard and how it affects you.
What is Hard Water?
The ground and rocks contain several minerals. As water passes over soil and rocks, these minerals collect in the water. Hard minerals, like calcium and magnesium, can occur in high concentrations in areas where these minerals are abundant.
Although your water may appear crystal clear and taste fine, there are probably millions of invisible mineral particles suspended in the water. As the water evaporates, these minerals remain behind and leave a white powdery substance on any surface that has come into contact with the hard water.
Hard minerals cling to most surfaces, even those you cant see. The inside of pipes and pumps are common places for hard minerals to accumulate.
Is Hard Water Bad For You?
There are no real health risks associated with drinking hard water. In fact, minerals like calcium and magnesium are actually good for you. While the water may sometimes taste a little soapy, it is perfectly safe to drink. The only negative effects that you may observe are dry itchy skin and dull hair if you bathe in hard water.
Higher concentrations of minerals in your water may affect the color. It can have a white or cloudy appearance. Even if your water doesn’t look crystal clear, this does not necessarily mean that it is unhealthy. The most harmful effects of hard water lie elsewhere.
Problems Associated With Hard Water
How Do You Know if You Have Hard Water
There are several signs that will indicate that the water in your home is hard:
Do You Need to Test Your Water?
If you observe any of the signs that you have water, you might want to test your water before deciding what to do about the problem. Home testing kits for hard water are quite common and easy to use.
DIY hard water testing kits won’t give you an accurate scientific analysis of your water – you won’t know exactly what is in your water and in what quantities. However, a basic hard water testing kit will give you a definitive answer as to whether your water is hard or soft.
Laboratory testing will provide a more detailed analysis but can be costly. This can be beneficial if you suspect that there are other contaminants, besides hard minerals, in your water. A comprehensive water test will reveal the exact amount of any water contaminant measured in parts per million (PPM). Even more detailed testing can be done for toxins like lead which require an analysis of parts per billion (PPB).
What Should You Do About Hard Water
Once you’ve established that the water in your home is hard, the next logical step is to rectify the situation. The solution is to install a water softener which will remove or alter the hard minerals, providing you with soft water that won’t damage your appliances and fixtures, or stain your clothing and dishes.
Typically, a water softener for well water or city water is installed on the main water supply to your home. This ensures that all your pipes are protected from limescale damage and ensure that the water you use for washing and drinking is soft.
There are several types of water softeners:
Do You Need a Plumber to Install a Water Softener?
Most people prefer to have their water softeners professionally installed. The installation requires cutting the main water pipe and installing the water softening system on the main water line. Several fittings are needed. If the installation is done properly, you experience water leaks.
If you are confident about plumbing skills, a DIY installation will cost you less. There are many guides available to show you how to install a water softener.
A magnetic water softener may not be the best solution, but you can install them without cutting pipes and installing additional fittings. The descaler clamps onto the pipe and is easily connected to an electric outlet. This is definitely the easiest way to install a water softener, albeit a bit of compromise when it comes to effectively controlling large amounts of hard minerals.