Understanding and Dealing With Hard Water

May 17, 2024by Joshua Bradt
Hard water spots on a glass coffee pot

Have you ever noticed those pesky white spots clinging to your supposedly clean dishes after running the dishwasher? Or perhaps you’ve battled a persistent film on your faucets or dealt with unexplainably dry skin? These frustrating experiences could all be signs of hard water.

Hard water is simply water that contains high levels of dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. While it’s not harmful to drink, hard water can wreak havoc on your plumbing, appliances, and even your skin and hair. The good news? You can manage hard water and mitigate its effects.

What Is Hard Water?

As water travels through the earth, it picks up minerals from rocks and soil. When the calcium and magnesium minerals are present in high concentrations, the water is classified as hard. The severity of hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Generally, anything above 7 gpg is considered hard water. Although, water with 3-7 grains per gallon could also benefit from hard water solutions.

Signs You Have Hard Water

Wondering if hard water is lurking in your pipes? You don’t need a chemistry degree to recognize when your home is suffering from hard water issues. The evidence is clear and often easy to spot. Here are some undeniable signs that it’s time to invest in solutions that deal with hard water:

  • Stubborn Soap Scum: If you find yourself constantly scrubbing soap scum off dishes, faucets, and shower doors, it might be a sign hard water is having fun in your home.
  • Reduced Water Pressure: Hard water mineral deposits can accumulate within pipes, hindering water flow and causing a noticeable drop in pressure.
  • Dingy Laundry: Clothes washed in hard water can feel stiff and appear dull, lacking that fresh, clean look.
  • Dry, Itchy Skin: Hard water can disrupt your skin’s natural moisture barrier, leaving it dry and irritated. This can be particularly problematic for those with existing skin conditions like eczema.
  • Limescale Buildup: The white, chalky buildup around faucets and on showerheads is a classic sign of hard water mineral deposits.
  • Appliance Inefficiency: Hard water buildup in water heaters can decrease their efficiency, leading to higher energy bills.

How to Manage Hard Water

While you can’t control the mineral content of your water source, you can certainly manage it within your home! One of the best ways to deal with hard water issues is to install a water softener. These devices rely on a process called ion exchange to remove calcium and magnesium from your water supply. The minerals are replaced with sodium ions, which leave your water feeling soft and do not have a damaging effect on your water-using appliances and fixtures.

If you want a temporary solution for addressing hard water stains, consider one of these solutions:

  • Vinegar for Cleaning: White vinegar is a natural and inexpensive way to tackle hard water residue. Its mild acidity dissolves mineral deposits, leaving fixtures and appliances sparkling clean.
  • Adjust Detergent Use: You may need to use slightly more laundry detergent and dish soap to achieve a good lather in hard water. Consider using a product specifically designed for hard water. Just note that the use of extra soap can quickly add up! You can save money over the long term by installing a water softener, which makes it easier to get a good lather while using less detergent and soap.

Say Goodbye to Hard Water by Contacting Our Water Softener Experts!

If you suspect you have hard water, Superior Plumbing & Drains is here to help! We offer comprehensive water softener services in Charlotte, NC, and can help you determine how hard your water is and if installing a water softener is your best solution. Contact us today to learn more about our water filtration systems or to schedule a service.

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