Hard water can cause severe problems to any household, especially if the homeowners aren’t aware of the issue. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home with hard water issues or have been struggling with hard water in your own home for a while, solving the problem is crucial and fortunately, there are many ways to do so.
Hard water can wreak havoc all across your home, starting from its very source: the plumbing. According to the experts at Plumbing Plus, ‘the residue from the water can accumulate inside your pipelines and fixtures. The buildup of mineral residue can cause clogs, leading to an increased chance of burst pipes and leaks’. That is why it’s important not to leave this problem unaddressed.
What is Hard Water?
We all know from chemistry classes that H2O stands for the two hydrogenatoms and one oxygen atom that make up the composition of a water molecule. However, the water you get from your tap is not pure H20. On its way to your home, different minerals are mixed with the water, changing its composition.
Hard water is simply water with a high mineral count. The minerals it mixes with are usually calcium and magnesium, along with traces of metals like iron. All of these minerals come from the soil, rivers or lakes the water travels through on the way to your home.
Some of these minerals like calcium and iron are perfectly safe. They are even beneficial to your health in the right doses. However, hard water can also contain dangerous minerals and all sorts of bacteria.
How Can You Tell You Have Hard Water?
In order to deal with the problem, you have to be aware of it first. Some homeowners may have trouble identifying a hard water issue in their home. However, there are some sure symptoms that your home is suffering from it. In this article, we list the most common ones.
#1 Unusual Taste or Smell
An unusual odor or taste is usually the first sign that tips off homeowners of a potential hard water problem. If you cannot drink the water due to its unpleasant odor, it is most likely infected with some sort of bacteria.
However, there could be other factors causing the unusual taste. If the water in your home tastes metallic, there’s probably too much iron in it. However if the smell is more unpleasant and reeks of rotten eggs, the likely cause are either harmful bacteria or hydrogen sulfide. If your water tastes like dirt, it could be actual dirt causing this, but the taste can also come from algae or old pipes.
#2 Strange Stains
Hard water is known to leave red or brown stains on materials like porcelain. These stains come from increased iron deposits in your water. The source of the extra iron could be rusty old pipes or the soil. As you might know, these stains are extremely difficult to remove.
Stains caused by hard water also appear in the form of white spots. These are calcium deposits that form when the rest of the water evaporates.
There are several DIY cleaning methods, for example using avinegar solution for those persistent red stains. However, the stains will simply keep reappearing if you don’t fix the problem at the source.
#3 Poor Showering Experience
Everyone enjoys a quick, invigorating shower. However, if you have a hard water problem, the experience might turn into a nightmare. Mineral deposits are known to clog the shower head regularly, which results in low water pressure. You’ll have to clean or replace your shower head every once in a while if you don’t solve the underlying issue.
Hard water can also be harmful to particular skin and hair types. Hard water contains a lot of positively charged minerals that react with hair. If you are suffering from an itchy head, split ends or even hair loss, hard water may be to blame instead of genetics.
#4 Frequently Clogged Pipes
Hard water can cause more serious problems than clogging your showerhead. For example, clogging your pipes. As the deposits build up in the pipes, the residue grows and pipes clog. This can lead to serious plumbing issues, including the clogged pipes bursting under pressure. However, this problem is more likely to occur in old, iron pipes than new ones made of copper or PVC.
#5 Ruined Clothes
Hard water can also ruin your laundry due to minerals like magnesium and calcium mixing poorly with detergent. These minerals cause soap, detergent and other cleaning agents to become ineffective. Your clothes may also wear out faster. Furthermore, your whites tend to turn yellow if there’s too much iron in your water, as it oxidizes when combined with bleach.
#6 Broken Appliances
Out of your entire home, your appliances are the most likely to suffer the adverse effects of hard water. The mineral deposits are known to harm the delicate design of your home appliances, including icemakers, dishwashers and washing machines. This, in turn, causes the appliances to be less efficient, and therefore more expensive to use.
How Can You Prevent Hard Water Damage
There are many ways to battle the adverse effects of hard water, but the most common one is installing a water softener in your home. This will filter out minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium from the water. It will also keep any bacteria at bay.