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What Is Hard Water and How Can It Be Harmful?

Published on July 18, 2019

Hard Water

If you notice a certain grime ending up on kitchen and bathroom fixtures where water comes out, these are likely stains or film that all come from hard water. Unlike soft water, hard water can be detrimental to anything that it touches, from you and your family to appliances to even food and clothing.

What Makes Water “Hard”?

Water is considered hard water if there is a high concentration of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates, sulfates, and bicarbonates. These minerals are obtained from groundwater as it passes through rocks and dirt. The Water Quality Association (WQA) deems that water is hard if it contains more than 1 grain per gallon (GPG) or 17.1 parts per million (PPM).

Hard water can leave its mark on many kitchen and bathroom fixtures and appliances made out of glass, porcelain, stainless steel, tile, and more. Hard water can also look rather rusty when deposits of brass, copper, or iron is also included.

What Is It Like to Live with Hard Water? 

Living with hard water can lead to various plumbing problems as follows:

Clogged Plumbing

Stains are a means to tell if you have hard water, but there is a bigger issue in the form of clogged pipes and drains. Minerals themselves inside hard water are too small to clog a drain, but when you clean with soap, these minerals can make soap scum harden as they pass through pipes. This soap can create a potential barrier that could stop anything from passing through. If you notice that your garbage disposal is acting up or your toilet often gets clogged, a blocked pipe might be the culprit.

Hard water can also buildup inside showerheads and dishwasher sprayers, limiting the force of spray or even blocking off an entire section completely. When this happens, not only do you not get the amount of water you want when cleaning, but it also forces stress on the sprayer and possibly taking away years off of its future use.

Permanent Surface Damage

As mentioned earlier, hard water can alter the appearance of appliances and fixtures as the hard water dries. The deposits that are left behind are known as lime scales, and they are very hard to remove. Some stains may never even come out at all, as a chemical reaction can make changes to material like glass permanent, as the stain has the ability to etch itself inside the material.

Less Healthy Hair and Skin

Hard water can also be rough on your appearance. If you clean your hair with hard water, it could make your hair looking less lively, duller, and brittle. If you use gel or mousse to style your hair, it will not be as effective or look the way that you intend it to.

Cleaning your skin with hard water can result in an irritating film left on your skin that can cause it to dry as well as either hurt slightly or itch later on. Your pores can also clog up as a result of hard water, making cleaning products for the face more difficult to use. In addition to this, dirt and bacteria can also be harder to remove from the skin.

How Can I Deal with Hard Water?

If you suspect that you are experiencing hard water problems, contact a plumber in Citrus Heights at your earliest convenience. Your plumber will install a proper water softener for your home so that hard water can be filtered and you can enjoy safe soft water again. Don’t wait; Act now while your hard water problems are still treatable.

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