Is Hard Water Bad for You?

water being poured into pitcher

How can you tell if you have hard water?

Water is a wet substance, so how can it be hard or soft? What is hard water?  When somebody says they have  hard water, that is referring to the amount of calcium and magnesium deposits are in the water. 

The first indicator of hard water is washing and rinsing your hands and they feel slimy afterward. Other indicators of having hard water are:

  1. Faucets have white scaling
  2. Sinks and tub have soap scum
  3. White laundry is dingy 
  4. Clear glasses are clear any more
  5. Dishes have mineral residue after washing/rinsing

Can you get rid of hard water?

So, hard water isn’t the healthiest water, but it isn’t a major health concern either. It is more of an annoying nuisance and it is not a friend of plumbing that corrode the pipes, creating toxic chemicals and metals that leech into the water. While you can’t get rid of it, you can learn to live with it with these six ways that are effective in dealing with hard water: 

  • Boil It: Boiling hard water precipitates the dissolved minerals, removing them from  the water and leaving you with soft water. This is a cheap and fast way to make hard water better for consumption, but it is only good when the hard water is a temporary issue. 
  • Cleaning Aid: Hard water reacts to the chemical contents of soaps will leave you with soap scum, that white solid build-up found on water fixtures that accumulate on the drain, sinks,  tubs, etc. This forms because of  positively-charged calcium atoms that prevent soap molecules from dispersing. There are over-the-counter products that acts against those atoms and makes them rinse off. 
  • Washing Soda: One  technique that treats hard water to make laundry look bright and clean is washing soda, a chemical of carbonic acid salt. This sodium carbonate softens permanent hard water condition and temporary hard water conditions by dissolving the calcium and magnesium that hard water contains. 
  • Distilled White Vinegar: When hard water has already done its damage to your faucets and tiles, white distilled vinegar, a very acidic substance with a 2.5 pH level will neutralize the calcium content. Simply apply it on the limescale covered fixtures and let it sit for an hour then rinse and wipe. 
  • Magnetic Water Conditioner: A magnetic water conditioner will condition the hard water, but it won’t completely soften it. This is a device that connects to your main water line and will alter the impurities in the water, causing the mineral ions to separate. They are still present, but they  aren’t able to stick together and form that limescale. 
  • Install Water Softener: To soften your water conveniently and easily, installing a water softener is the answer. You can attach one to the faucet or under the sink. There are different types of water softeners,  one being a potassium based softener that holds and suspends a resin type of softening medium referred to as “ion exchange”. That exchange occurs as the water flows through the water softener, forcing the mineral ions to swap with the chloride ions, resulting in soft water. 

The other type of  hard water solutions without salt for household where salt consumption is an issues is the saltless water softener. This type of softener transform mineral ions into tiny crystals, resulting in the crystalized minerals being suspended in the water in place of doing a ion exchange.

How do you soften hard water?

To change hard water to soft water, using any of the methods we described above will work: Boiling the water, using a magnetic water conditioner, or installing a water softener, with that being the best option for long-term solution, especially if you live in an area that hard water is present. 

showerhead

Can you drink hard water?

After reading this piece so far, you may feel that hard water is it bad for you and harmful for consumption, but there is no need to worry. Drinking hard water is mostly safe and in some ways, it offers benefits by providing essential materials like calcium, magnesium, and other dietary needs.

When it comes to the facts of hard water vs soft water health wise, consuming hardwater has not been found to have any adverse health problems. Where hardwater is an issue for the human body is the hair and skin because it does cause dryness and itching due to the pH balance. For anyone with skin issues like eczema, hard water can leave them vulnerable. 

So, what are some of the effects of hard water?  There are seven negative effects that hard water can cause or leave behind, all of which can be avoided by installing a water softener: 

  • SCALE BUILDUP:  On appliances and plumbing fixtures, not only unsightly, but shortens the lifespan of things like the coffee maker and dishwasher. 
  • SKIN AND HAIR: The excess deposits of calcium and magnesium will dry your hair and skin. 
  • CLOTHES FADED: Washing laundry in hard water will fade the colors and leave the material feeling scratchy. 
  • STAINED BATHTUB, Showers, SINKS: The residue left behind by hard water is rinsed off easily, but who wants to spend more water re-rinsing? 
  • PLUMBING REPAIRS: A home with steel pipes will experience a lot of issues with hard water. 
  • WATER BILL INCREASE: The buildup of deposits will have you re-rinsing clothes, dishes, yourself, using more water. 
  • DISHES LOOK DIRTY: Because hard water doesn’t rinse dishes thoroughly, they always look dirty.

Need help with water softening in your home in Aledo and Weatherford, TX? Call (817) 205-6411 today!