The Facts on Hard Water
Hard water is something many of us deal with on a daily basis and it can be a real nuisance. So, what’s the best way to solve your hard water problem? First, it’s important to understand what hard water is and the impact it has on our homes.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is simply water that contains a higher amount of dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Having more than seven grains per gallon (GPG) of dissolved minerals classifies the water as hard. The harder the water, the more minerals it contains. Water becomes hardened when it travels through rivers and aquifers where limestone and other rocks containing these minerals are present.
Do You Have Hard Water?
Now that you know what hard water is, how do you know if you have it, and if it’s affecting your household appliances and fixtures? Hard water affects many areas of our homes including hot water appliances, sinks, and showers. Here are some of the key signs to look for:
If you’ve determined you have hard water that’s causing issues within your home, there are two possible solutions: water softening and scale prevention.
Using a Water Softener to Fix Hard Water Issues
A water softener is an ideal solution if you want completely spotless glassware and dishes. Or if you’d like to remove mineral buildup from faucets and reduce the amount of mineral staining in showers. This can seem like the perfect solution, but it may not be for everyone depending on your level of water hardness.
Something to consider is that water softeners use an ion exchange process that removes the minerals from the water completely, and replaces them with salt. This allows for the water to feel silky and smooth again, leaving your home buildup-free, but keep in mind it does come with the additional cost of replenishing the salt on a monthly basis.
Water softening also has an environmental impact in that the water is being shifted away from freshwater by the introduction of salts. One alternative installation is to fit the salt softener on the hot water side only, rather than on the main water line. This allows salt softened water in your bath, shower, and dishwasher, but not in your cold water and toilets – thus muting the overall impact.
Suppose you have moderately hard water and don’t need to completely remove the minerals. The other hard water solution is through a scale prevention system. Like a water softener, scale prevention systems reduce the number of mineral spots on glassware and dishes, lessen the frequency of scale buildup and provide softer water to many parts of the home.
A scale prevention system is best for filtering and conditioning, which removes sediment, chlorine, and other chemicals. The scale prevention system is ideal for whole-home use, rather than hot water only, allowing for less scaling in toilets and areas of the home where cool water is often used.