Have you ever noticed spots on your dishes after running the dishwasher? How about soap scum in your shower? Do the clothes come out of your washer stiff and hard, and not very clean? I’ve seen this dozens of times – you have hard water.
What is Hard Water?
Simply speaking, hard water is water that has high mineral content. If you live in an area that has mineral deposits, such as limestone, your water is probably full of deposits of calcium and magnesium and other minerals.
Effects of Hard Water
Hard water isn’t outright harmful to drink, but it can leave a strange metallic aftertaste to your water. On the other hand, there are some consequences to hard water in your home – deposits on your dishes or in sinks and showers, for instance. If you shower in hard water, you’ll find that your hair and skin don’t get as clean and have a gritty type of film left behind. Laundry detergent doesn’t get as sudsy as it’s supposed to, so your clothes don’t get as clean.
All of these things are a nuisance, but that’s not the real problem with hard water. These calcium, magnesium, and lime deposits build up in your appliances and your pipes, reducing water pressure and shortening the life of the plumbing, resulting in costly repairs.
Treating Hard Water
So what do you do? I grew up in limestone country, so hard water was just a way of life. There are a few ways you can deal with hard water, from water filters to water softeners.
A good water filter can remove chlorine, calcium, magnesium, and life from your water and give you healthier, better tasting water and ice. The a water filter uses activate carbon to bind the particulates in the water to the filtering agent, giving you a clean and clear water source to drink or cook from. That’s great for you, but it doesn’t address the rest of the home.
A water softener treats hard water as it comes into the home. It uses a salt to bind with and remove the minerals in the water, giving you soft water that won’t wear on your appliances or the plumbing in your home. You’ll also experience cleaner clothes and a more thorough cleaning in the shower or tub without the film of hard water. When you add a water softener, it still may be necessary to use a water filter in your refrigerator or at the faucet.
No matter what you choose, investing in a water softening solution will improve the quality of water in your home and reduce your overall maintenance costs – something that I particularly appreciate, even if I do prefer to do my own repairs.