From Florida to the West Coast, anyone stuck living in an area with hard water is well aware of the inconvenience it can cause. But what makes water hard, and how can you deal with this pesky issue in your home?
It all comes down to mineral concentrations. Too much of minerals like calcium and magnesium affect water’s hardness level, leaving behind telltale signs. For instance, you will notice white chalky mineral streaks on your water fixtures. Scale buildup in your plumbing may also result in a decrease in water pressure.
Although hard water has no health dangers, it might cause dry skin and hair if you shower in it. Also, your clothes will grow stiff and fade more quickly if you wash them in hard water regularly. Want to avoid these hard water problems? Continue reading to find out how to deal with hard water at home.
Why Using Hard Water Is Dangerous for Your House
Extremely high levels of dissolved minerals are poisonous, but this is unlikely to be a problem in most houses. Dryness of the hair and skin is the most common health problem connected with hard water. Meanwhile, it can also cause gradual damage to your property and belongings. That’s why many individuals are looking for a way to remove hard water from their houses.
Hard water destroys piping and electronic equipment
Hard water’s most damaging and problematic effect is on your home’s plumbing system. Flowing hard water with a high mineral content means that trace amounts of minerals will accumulate and build up in your pipes over time. Called “scale,” this mineral-based substance blocks water flow and speeds up rusting, leading to burst pipes and costly repairs for the homeowner.
In the same way, scale buildup from hard water accelerates the deterioration of water-using appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines.
Hard water leaves white residue on dishes and faucets
You’ll notice the white residue left behind on dishes and sinks with hard water. And this isn’t a sink-specific issue — whether you wash your dishes by hand or put them in the dishwasher, mineral deposits from the water supply can leave white specks on them.
Hard water damages, fades, and stains clothing
As a result of the reaction between hard water minerals and laundry detergent ingredients, the detergent loses some of its cleaning power. When washing your garments in hard water, you’ll also notice that the colors fade more quickly and stains won’t come out readily.
Perhaps worst of all, hard water’s mineral deposits can leave new stains on clothes and damage the fabric, leading to tearing and holes. It even traps body oils in the fabric, which causes the garments to feel stiff or harsh.
5 Ways to Deal with Hard Water in Your Home
Acids like vinegar are highly reactive with calcium, which is often a primary component of hard water. To remove calcium deposits from fixtures, soak them in warm, undiluted vinegar for about an hour. Around sinks and showers, hard water can cause soap scum to accumulate, which vinegar can also help remove.
Distilled vinegar can also be used when dealing with white film and spot problems on your appliances. You can even use it to refresh your appliances. For instance, your dishes will be cleaned more effectively after you clean your dishwasher by adding a small bowl of vinegar to a regular washing cycle.
2. Turn down the heat in your shower
Hard water stains and mineral buildup are often caused by running hard water through the water heater. Like any other part of your plumbing system, mineral precipitation can occur in your hot water heater, causing scale to form over time. As heat contributes to this issue, the accumulation can be delayed by lowering the heater’s temperature.
To avoid buildup in the hot water heater, it is also recommended that you flush it regularly. In locations with hard water, this will help keep your heater from filling up with unwanted sediment.
3. Use a rinse aid
With hard water, have you ever noticed how much more soap you have to use before it lathers and foams? This is because the positively charged calcium atoms in hard water inhibit soap from dissolving. As such, you may want to use cleaning products with built-in rinse aids. For example, use a solution like Lemi-Shine to remove hard water deposits from dishes and glassware.
4. Clean your plumbing and appliances
To keep them working smoothly, treating hard water buildup in appliances is critical. Pipe systems are also subject to this requirement. It gets increasingly difficult to remove calcified accumulation over time, so it’s better to keep them fresh with regular maintenance.
An appliance cleaning solution is recommended to keep pipes and appliances from needing to be replaced too soon. Depending on your needs, this may include corrosive, acidic, and chlorine-based cleaners to aid with water hardness issues.
A cheaper alternative cleaner is vinegar, as previously noted. To avoid hard water buildup in coffee makers and other small appliances, run two cups of vital white vinegar water through them every few days. This method is recommended to ensure that the appliance is being cleaned thoroughly in regions that are difficult to access.
5. Install a whole-house water conditioner
If you want long-term protection for your pipes and appliances from hard water, you should get a descaler. By breaking excess minerals in hard water into minuscule crystal particles that can easily travel through your plumbing system and don’t accumulate over time, a salt-free water conditioner provides comprehensive protection for your entire home.
Unlike other water softening systems, a salt-free water conditioner also eliminates the need to purchase bulky salt bags and perform time-consuming and costly replacements. (Most water softeners need new salt every 6-8 weeks). Salt-free water conditioners require no electricity or wastewater drainage, and the system lasts for six years, making them very low-maintenance. And if you purchase a system from The Science of Water, we offer a 6-year warranty as proof of its high quality.
Trying to get rid of complex water issues like scale buildup in your pipes, stains on your dishes, and calcification that shortens the life of appliances like your washing machine and dishwasher? Consider a salt-free water conditioner to deal with hard water in your home.