What Is Hard Water?
Water contains minerals under normal circumstances. Hard water is when it has higher than normal levels of calcium and magnesium. The opposite is soft water, which is when it lacks higher than normal levels of calcium and magnesium.
Why Should You Be Concerned about Hard Water?
According to McGill University, drinking hard water isn’t detrimental to human health in most cases. People can eat too much calcium and magnesium. However, eating too much shouldn’t cause serious health problems. It is hard for someone with healthy kidneys to get hypercalcemia because the excess calcium gets flushed by those organs. Similarly, hypermagnesemia is rare as well, with more cases resulting in nothing more than diarrhea. Otherwise, the health effects of drinking hard water seem to be more positive than not. Some studies say that it might increase the chances of both eczema and kidney stones, which are contradicted by the findings of other studies. In exchange, some studies say that drinking hard water protects from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Having said this, there are other reasons to be concerned about hard water. For example, a lot of people find drinking hard water to be very unpleasant. It looks cloudy. Furthermore, it can have a metallic taste. Likewise, hard water isn’t as good at cleaning things as soft water. Something that can cause a lot of inconveniences. Finally, hard water can cause mineral build-up in a wide range of systems. That can mean more clean-up for interested individuals. Even worse, that can mean faster deterioration because the mineral build-up will cause systems to work harder for poorer results. If left unchecked, interested individuals might have to pay expensive repair and replacement costs sooner than they would have under normal circumstances.
How Can You Test for Hard Water at Home?
It is very easy to test for hard water at home. First, interested individuals should pour some tap water into a glass container. Second, they should put ten drops of pure liquid soap into the glass container before shaking it well for at least 10 seconds. Third, they should wait for everything to settle down before checking to see what the contents now look like. If the contents have foamed well so that there are a lot of suds on top while everything below that looks clear, chances are good that the water is soft; if the contents have foamed poorly so that there are few suds on top while everything below that looks cloudy, chances are good that the water is hard.
Other options can provide interested individuals with more certainty. One option would be buying a home test kit that can check whether water is hard or soft. After which, it is a matter of following the instructions that should have been packaged with the kit. Fortunately, home test kits tend to be very easy to use. A wet-strip test is as simple as immersing the strip in tap water. Another option would be sending a sample of tap water to a laboratory for testing. This should provide the surest results. The issue is that this kind of testing tends to be both expensive and time-consuming.
What Are Some Common Signs that You Have a Hard Water Problem at Home?
People can also check for common signs that they have a hard water problem at home. For example, people’s faucets might be surrounded by a white film that is hard to remove via scrubbing. On the plus side, this kind of film should be removable using a cleaner made for mineral build-ups; on the minus side, this film will return so long as hard water continues to move through those faucets. Similarly, people’s bathtubs and showers can have soap scum clinging to various surfaces. This shows up a lot with hard water because its mineral contents make it harder for it to remove the soap. On a related note, it is possible for this residue to cling to human skin as well. Those with sensitive skin might even feel an itch or experience worse because of it. As mentioned earlier, hard water causes mineral build-ups that can impair a wide range of systems. If people start seeing toilets, dishwashers, and other water-using systems performing poorer than they should, that could be a sign that there is a common cause for these issues.
There are a number of ways to resolve the problem of hard water for people who are concerned about it. Interested individuals can perform some of these on their own. Others will require specialized expertise, experience, and equipment.
Those who are just concerned about the look of mineral build-up can use vinegar to get rid of it. In some cases, they might even be able to run a vinegar solution through their devices, which can clear out mineral build-up. Unfortunately, this is not something that can be used everywhere, meaning that it has limited applicability.
People who want something more comprehensive will need to install a water softener that will use chemicals to counter hard water’s higher than normal levels of calcium and magnesium. Generally speaking, this is installed at the point where the main water line enters the home, which will resolve the issue throughout the said building. However, some people have been known to install water softeners at other points in their homes so that they can have hard water for some things and soft water for other things. Plumbing systems aren’t something that interested individuals should mess around with if they don’t have the right expertise, experience, and equipment. If they make a mistake, they could cause serious damage. As such, it is best to entrust this kind of thing to professional plumbers from the local area who are considered to be both reliable and reputable.