Water is made “hard” in your home when water flowing through natural aquifers collects minerals like calcium and magnesium from rocks like limestone. You might have noticed hard water in the shower when your hair feels coarse, or when residue is left on your water glasses. The good thing is that hard water isn’t known to be dangerous to your health, but it can still be annoying if left unchecked.
Here are a few signs help you figure out if you have hard water and what to do about it.
The minerals in hard water can actually hurt your clothing and leave them less than clean. The minerals will prevent your laundry detergent from foaming as much as it should, which is why your clothes would stay unclean, even after a complete cycle in the wash. If you have hard water, you’ll also notice that your clothing and towels are stiffer after being washed. A good fabric softener can prevent this, but you still won’t have clothing as clean as you might want. The best option, always, is to install a whole house water filter that you’re sure connects to your laundry.
The biggest problem about hard water is how it affects your appliances and your water pipes. The calcium in hard water will build up in your pipes, can clog your coffee machine, and damage your kitchen appliances. Over time, this can reduce the efficiency of these appliances and will, eventually, cause them to break. By installing a whole house water filter, you make sure that your water is purified before it can affect your pipes and appliances.
You’ll notice you have hard water if, over time, a white film begins to form on the glass door of your shower. This is the mineral deposit from hard water. Likely, you’ll have already noticed the effect of hard water on your hair, or even skin, but you’ll know you have a more serious problem with hard water if you see the film begin to form on the walls and doors. Again, your best option is going to be a whole house water filter to fix the issue, but you might also consider a water softener.
While these systems can be a bit on the expensive side, water softeners remove calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from your water, ensuring that your washing and drinking water are clean and softened. You’ll need to gauge your water uses—how many people live in the house, how often you shower or bathe—to know what size softener to buy, and softeners require you to refill the washing soda (sodium bicarbonate) depending on your usage, too.
A Quick Fix
In the short term, as you figure out exactly which whole house water filter or water softener to buy, a quick fix for mineral-free water is to make sure that your refrigerator filter is up-to-date, or you use a water filter for your drinking water. Each refrigerator requires a different filter, but these are easy to replace. A quick search for your make and model online should show you exactly where your filter is and how to replace it.