Did you know that hard water can actually change the pH balance of your skin? This can make you more prone to infections, bacteria, and other skin issues.
The term “hard water” may sound like an oxymoron, but it has real meaning. And hard water translates to all sorts of problems for your home, and sometimes even for your health. But do you know how to tell if you have hard water?
You can’t fix the negative effects of hard water until you know whether or not you have it. It’s not worth the potential damage of letting hard water flow through your home unchecked. Instead, look for the signs of hard water, and then make a plan to fix it — here’s what you’ll need to do.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is simply water that has higher levels of magnesium and calcium dissolved in it. It may also contain other dissolved minerals, but calcium and magnesium are the most common ones.
Hard water often comes from groundwater, including water from wells. This water travels through rocks and soil, where it can pick up a lot of minerals along the way. Calcium and magnesium dissolve especially well in water, which is why hard water usually contains such high levels of these minerals.
Why You Don’t Want Hard Water
For the most part, hard water doesn’t come with any serious health concerns, although it can have minor effects.
In fact, to an extent, hard water can be a good thing. It allows people to get more calcium and magnesium through their drinking water, which can sometimes be a benefit. However, there are still reasons why you don’t want hard water in your home.
For one, showering with hard water can lead to dried-out hair and skin. And, since the minerals can affect your skin’s pH balance, people with skin issues like eczema might experience added unpleasant symptoms. When your skin’s pH balance is off, it doesn’t protect you very well from exterior threats like bacteria. You might experience acne, clogged pores, uncomfortably dry skin, and other minor skin issues.
Hard water doesn’t affect everyone’s skin equally. But hard water can take a more serious toll on your home, even if it doesn’t affect your skin. For example, it can result in a mineral buildup in your pipes, gradually decreasing the water pressure in your home.
Over time, hard water can lead to corroded, clogged pipes, and may even cause your appliances to stop working. Water heaters tend to be less efficient with hard water, too.
How to Tell If You Have Hard Water
You don’t need to wait for these serious issues to come up before you find out if you have hard water. These small, telltale signs will tell you whether or not the water in your home is hard.
Spots or Cloudy Glassware
Your glassware, silverware, and other dishes may look spotted or cloudy once they’ve been washed and dried. This is due to the minerals in the water building up on the surface.
Difficulty Getting Clean
Even after you shower or wash your hands, do you still feel a filmy, soapy scum on your skin? That’s another sign of hard water.
When you wash with hard water, the calcium in the water reacts with soap to create soap scum. You’ll need to spend more time washing and rinsing to get your body, dishes, or clothes clean in hard water.
Over time, hard water will take a toll on your clothes and fabrics. It can lead to clothes and bedding falling apart sooner than normal thanks to the mineral buildup. You might also notice stains on your clothes from the minerals in the water.
Those hard water stains can also show up on bathroom and kitchen fixtures, as well as the sinks and bathtubs.
Most of the time, these stains are just mineral buildup. You should easily be able to clean them with household cleaners like white vinegar. Still, this adds an annoying extra chore to tackle in your home.
Even if drinking mineral-rich water is better for you, it doesn’t usually taste good. Hard water may have a flavor of metal, and can even smell like rotten eggs. This tends to cancel out the benefits: drinking hard water does you no good if you don’t want to drink it due to the taste.
Hard Water Test
If you’re uncertain about the signs of hard water in your home, a hard water test kit will give you a solid answer. You can find these kits at most home improvement stores.
Fixing Hard Water in Your Home
With soft instead of hard water, you can easily shower and clean your clothes, replace your appliances less often, avoid water pressure issues, and much more.
So, what should you do if you experience hard water symptoms?
A home water softener is usually the best answer. Inside a water softener, hard water gets passed through resin beads. These beads attract the mineral particles in your water, trapping it so you have soft water coming out of your pipes.
However, in addition to a water softener, you may want to add a water filter for your drinking water. This ensures that any leftover particles or other substances in the hard water get removed. You can get the minerals you need from supplements or food, so you don’t need to worry about removing them from your drinking water.
Ready to Clean up Your Water?
Hard water doesn’t cause any big safety or health risks. However, it can cause many minor annoyances that will compound over time, like reduced water pressure, sensitive skin, and worn-out clothes. It can also get very expensive if you need to replace appliances or repair pipes due to hard water.
Now that you know how to tell if you have hard water, you’re ready to fix the problem. Look for the hard water symptoms above, then install the water softener and filters you need to fix the problem.
Not sure where to find water filters? Check out our great selection here to get started!