Many of us have heard the term ?hard water,? and recognize it by its results: spotty glassware, white residue on faucets, sinks, and other fixtures, and the effect it has on our skin and hair. Although many claim it?s not technically harmful, the truth is, no one wants hard water, yet, 48 percent of American homes get their drinking water from private or household wells, and 85 percent have water that contains high levels of calcium and magnesium ions. Water hardness is measured by the number of grains per gallon, on a 1 to 10 scale, and this influences the degree to which you may experience water problems.
Although other minerals exist in water, calcium and magnesium are the trouble makers. When they are hot, the minerals leave the water and create deposits that harden, creating the filmy look on glasses, cups and dishes, and causing problems for appliances and fixtures. Other water problems caused by hard water include reduced sudsing action for soaps and detergents, dull, lifeless hair, and dry skin.
Consider your major household appliances, such as your water heater. A recent study found that water heaters run on softened water lasted their full life expectancy of fifteen years. Those that ran exclusively on hard water were almost 50 percent less efficient, and failed after an average of six years. Another test, applied to shower heads, had similar results, losing 75 percent of their power within the first two years.
In many cases, installing a water softener is the solution. A water softening system is plumbed into the home water system, and it works by the process of ion exchange. The calcium and magnesium are removed and replaced with sodium. One of the things to look for in a water softening system is the capacity and regeneration time, as well as the warranty and service guarantee. Approximately 40 percent of homes in the U.S. use a home water treatment unit, according to research by the Water Quality Association.
Another solution for water problems is reverse osmosis water, which is achieved by pushing the water through a permeable membrane, and filters out the larger contaminants. This water has no minerals, and there are pros and cons to consider. While ro water is free of harmful contaminants, it is also devoid of minerals that are healthy for the human body.
Other solutions to hard water problems that don?t involve plumbing changes to a building, or chemical changes to the water, include reducing the temperature of the hot water heater, and flushing it regularly. With regular maintenance, you can remove the mineral buildup on fixtures and pipes, and use vinegar or a special cleaning product to remove buildup from dishes and utensils. In addition, there are plenty of great soaps and shampoos specially formulated for use with hard water problems.
Properly filtered, high quality water is key to good health, for your body and for your home. Although hard water is not unsafe, it causes problems in cleaning, appliance maintenance, and personal hygiene, as well as pluming and irrigation. There are several solutions to these water problems, and a wide range of companies and services to help you choose what?s best for your home.