As much as we all use water for various reasons throughout the day, it’s important to note that not all water is created equal. Some water is good for drinking; some is not. Some water contains a high concentration of minerals; some does not. The water that is mineral-dense is classified as “hard” water. Hard water usually contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium, though some other minerals can be involved. Unfortunately for those of us in Northern Illinois, this area has some of the hardest water in the country, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. Though hard water is not harmful to your health, it can have many undesirable effects on your plumbing, appliances, and clothing. Learn how to spot the signs that your home has hard water and how you can fix it.
The excess minerals in hard water cause your soap to perform worse. More soap is required to get the dishes clean, and even then, they are left foggy or spotty. If you’re having a hard time getting your dishes to look truly clean, hard water could certainly be the culprit.
One of the first signs to alert you to hard water can be its taste. The taste of hard water can vary depending on location based on geological factors, like the differing amounts of minerals. Regardless, some people notice a different taste in hard water compared to water with lower mineral levels.
Just as hard water decreases the performance of your dish soap, it does the same to your laundry detergent. Your clothes may not look as clean as they should after they’ve been washed. Another common sign of hard water is clothing whose colors are changing gradually as they are washed repeatedly. Dark clothes may fade and bright clothes may lose their splash of color.
Issues with Plumbing
Hard water often makes your plumbing work harder than usual to get the job done. Pipes can experience backups after carrying hard water for a long time. Your water heater can be bogged down by the constant flow of hard water through it, causing it to work less efficiently. On top of this, the composition of hard water will eventually make its mark on your plumbing fixtures. You will notice spots and stains (called “scale”) in your bathtub and sinks and on your shower head. This is the result of mineral buildup from hard water.
How to fix it
Fortunately, fixing your hard water problem is not very difficult. Though there are quick fixes, such as using vinegar to clean appliances or plumbing fixtures, these all require regular maintenance. The best route to go for a long-term solution is to install a water softener. Water softeners essentially remove the problem-causing minerals from your water before they enter your home’s plumbing. Many water softeners do this by exchanging salt for calcium and magnesium, while some use other methods.
Talk to a professional to determine which type of water heater will be best suited to the particular needs of your home. If you need your water tested for hardness or a water softener installed to remedy the problem, Stephens Plumbing is here to do the job with expertise and care. Call (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online.