Do you know whether or not your home is located in a hard water area? Nearly 85% of the United States can be described as one, but many homeowners aren’t aware that their households are utilizing hard water. In fact, most are unaware of the differences between hard water and soft water altogether. If this describes you, then you may be missing out. By having a water softening system installed, you’ll notice improvements in your quality of life, household plumbing functionality, and possibly even your financial situation.
What Is Hard Water?
In most of the country, water will pick up ions of soluble minerals, like calcium and magnesium, as it flows through the ground. Those minerals will still be present when the water reaches your home’s plumbing system. These minerals will settle out of the water in locations where it sits for long times and at the top of toilet bowls or on shower walls where it evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. Although it’s not dangerous to your health, it can cause quite a few issues.
What Does a Water Softening System Do?
In most cases, you can have your home’s water filtered and softened in one system. Typically, these systems consist of one or two tanks that the water passes through; those tanks contain different layers, each with its own important job. First, your water must flow through a layer of activated carbon, which will absorb the chlorine and other contaminants. Next, a special ion-exchange resin swaps the calcium and magnesium ions out for sodium or potassium ions, which are harmless. Lastly, there will be a layer of gravel for catching any contaminants that may remain.
Once your household water has passed through the system, it will not only be softened but will also be much cleaner. So, why is water softening important?
Effects on Your Plumbing
When hard water flows through your home’s plumbing system, traces of calcium and magnesium will be left behind inside the pipes. This accumulation of mineral resin is called scale buildup, and it’s bad news for your plumbing. Over time, the scale will cause obstructions in your piping, which will necessitate increased water pressure to keep your household functioning. As a result, your plumbing system will have to work harder and use more electricity. Scale buildup can also damage the pipes themselves, leading to water leaks and a number of other problems in your home.
Soft water flows through your plumbing system with fewer issues. Without ions of calcium and magnesium, there’s no scale accumulation, so your pipes remain clear and healthy. As a result, you end up saving quite a bit of money on plumbing repairs and monthly energy costs.
Effects on Your Appliances
Hard water also has negative effects on any appliances that utilize it. These appliances include your dishwasher and laundry machine as well as smaller units, such as your coffee maker and ice machine. The composition of the hard water causes it to be rougher on the appliances, worsening their efficiency and shortening their life expectancies. With softened water, not only will these systems be healthier and more efficient, but they’ll also do their jobs more effectively.
Effects on Your Skin and Hair
When it comes to the cleanliness and comfort of your skin and hair, hard water and soft water have very different effects. Because of the minerals it contains, hard water removes some of the natural oils from your skin and hair when you bathe with it. As a result, you’ll find that your skin becomes more dry, itchy, and irritated, and your hair becomes dry and brittle. Additionally, the minerals may even dull the color of your hair.
Bathing with soft water, on the other hand, is beneficial to your hair and skin. Without the calcium and magnesium, it’s easy for the water to get absorbed into your skin, leaving it soft and hydrated. As for your hair, soft water will help balance its pH level while keeping its color vibrant. Additionally, soft water is far more soluble with soap than hard water is. That means that when you use it to wash yourself, you’ll enjoy a better lather and a deeper overall clean.
Effects on Your Clothing
Hard water can have an impact in areas you likely wouldn’t expect, like the condition of your clothing. When you run your laundry machine with hard water, mineral deposits will get left on the surface of your clothing. In some cases, that can result in stains or dingy whites. In most cases, though, it will cause the colors to fade far more quickly than they otherwise would.
In addition to not causing stains or faded colors, washing your clothes with soft water will see them cleaned more effectively. Just like with soap, softened water will dissolve detergent more thoroughly than hard water will, which means you’ll eliminate more of the dirt and grime. Plus, the clothes will be fresh and soft to the touch.
Effects on Your Dishes
Do you have trouble keeping your dishes and silverware clean? Do you notice that after washing them, they quickly revert to looking cloudy once they’ve dried? Does your glassware have spots if you don’t wipe it perfectly clean? If so, it’s most likely being caused by hard water. That cloudy look is actually a result of mineral deposits. With soft water, those spots will never appear, and the increased solubility with dish soap will also lead to cleaner dishes and silverware. This goes to show that the differences between hard water and soft water show up in many places around the house.
Signs of Hard Water in Your Home
Although the symptoms of hard water can be subtle, they’re easy to identify if you know what to look for. If you determine that your water contains calcium and magnesium, you can then decide if investing in a water softening system is the right choice for your household. Listed below are the most common indicators to watch for.
- Water tastes or smells off
- Lime and chalk buildup in sinks and showers
- Watermarks on faucets and dishes
- Spots on windows or shower doors when water dries
- Clothing colors fading fast
- Low water pressure
- Skin feels dry and itchy after showering
Since 2010, we at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions have been providing quality home comfort services to the greater Roseville, CA area. In addition to our expert plumbing services, you can also count on us for your heating, cooling, and air quality needs, just to name a few. You can rely on our skilled, certified team members to complete it to the highest standards of quality. Our goal is to treat our customers like family; we will go the extra mile to exceed your expectations by respecting your time, your home, and your budget throughout the process. If you want to learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions today.