As a homeowner, you hear about hard and soft water every time a commercial for any kind of surface cleaner airs during a commercial break. But regardless of how soft or hard your water is, it doesn’t feel any different. That’s because “hard” or “soft” water describes mineral content rather than how much of a contender your plumbing is.
Hard water contains a great deal of calcium and magnesium, which is often picked up by old pipes or pulled from ground wells. Softer water still has the minerals, but in smaller quantities. Water softeners are systems attached to a home’s water line that filter out these minerals. They do this using ionic transfer to remove magnesium and calcium from the water as it passes through the filter, or using reverse osmosis to filter the water as it enters the home.
Effects of Hard Water
- Better for Plants
- Discolors Clothing
- Dries Skin and Hair
- Reduces Lather from Soaps
Calcium and magnesium in your water is not hazardous to humans. Aside from leaving your skin a little drier, the typical level of water hardness in homes is completely safe. Hard water is also better for plants, which is why it’s best to have your water softener work on plumbing inside the home while leaving outdoor spigots and faucets free of filtration.
But there are reasons we prefer soft water in the home. Heavy concentrations of minerals in your water can be detrimental to cleaning. Hard water leaves behind mineral deposits (scale) on everything it touches. This applies to washing machines, shower walls, bathtubs, and every pipe in your home. In fact, excessively hard water can leave a substantial amount of calcium buildup inside your pipes. This will eventually clog the pipe, or erode it away, leaving you with serious damage (and no water).
Hard water can also stain clothing over time. The mineral deposits make it difficult for soap to lather and form bonds with dirt, leaving behind greater concentrations of soap scum on clothes, dishes, and yourself. One of the easiest ways to identify hard water problems is by a lack of lather when using soap. Other tell-tale signs are clogged faucets or increased amounts of scale in showers.
Benefits of Soft Water
- Easier Cleaning
- Better Tasting Water
- Increased Appliance Lifespan
A lot has been said here about how hard water makes cleaning a chore. It prevents lathering in soaps and leaves difficult-to-remove stains on tile, grout, and shower glass. All of which require heavy duty cleaners to remove (since soap doesn’t bond to it as easily). Rather than dealing with the cleanup, just remove the cause. Softer water leaves less scale, meaning fewer hard water stains and faucets that aren’t clogged with calcium deposits.
As an added bonus, removing those minerals will prevent buildup and erosion in the pipes themselves. Less debris from the pipes and less mineral content in your water will leave you with water that tastes much better and is less likely to flavor your favorite drinks.
Hard water buildup also takes a heavy toll on your appliances. Mineral deposits begin to coat surfaces on the inside of any water-based appliance. One of the worst problems comes from coating the heating element in a dish-washer. As scale deposits cover the heating element, energy efficiency drops and the ability to clean dishes decreases. The lifespan of the washing machine decreases overall and can lead to costly repairs or replacements. A simple water softener or mineral filter is a relatively inexpensive way to prevent loss of costly appliances.
For water softening or any and all plumbing repairs and installations,Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!