How to Recognize and Treat Hard Water Problems

While hard water is harmless (other than causing itchy skin and dull hair), it has numerous effects on your home that range from a nuisance to downright harmful.

Effects of hard water:

– Mineral deposits can clog pipes and reduce water flow

– “Scale” residue can build up on tiles and bath/kitchen fixtures

– Buildup in hot water heaters decreases the efficiency and raises energy bills

– Harshness of the minerals reduces the lifetime of clothes and leaves dishes spotted and filmy after washing

– Unsightly stains on porcelain fixtures, such as bathtubs and sinks

– Metallic taste to water, coffee, and tea

It’s clear that hard water can be bad news for your plumbing and appliances, but you might be wondering, what is hard water, exactly?

Hard water contains above-average levels of unwanted minerals that have seeped into the water supply through groundwater. It’s the calcium and magnesium deposits in particular that make hard water so hard on your home. When heated, the deposits encrust themselves onto whatever surfaces they make contact with, leaving behind a “scale” residue that can be difficult to remove.

So how do you know whether you have a hard water problem?

Easy ways to tell if you have hard water:

– White buildup on bath and kitchen faucets, including shower heads, that can block water flow

– Itchy, dry skin and dull, limp hair after showering

– Spotted and foggy glassware after running through the dishwasher

– Clothes emerging from the washing machine looking faded and grayish in color

– Soap doesn’t lather well, but forms a filmy “soap scum” that is hard to wash off of your body or other surfaces, like floors or dishes

If you’ve determined that you do have hard water in your home, you’ll want to start considering different solutions. Many people faced with hard water issues choose to install a water softener that will filter out the harsh minerals causing the problem. There are also some DIY solutions that allow you to offset the effects of hard water, although they won’t solve the problem.

These solutions can be a temporary fix while you make the decision to install a water softener:

– Run ½ cup of distilled vinegar through your dishwasher and reduce the water temperature

– Purchase soaps and shampoos formulated specially for hard water

– Add a “non-precipitating” water conditioner to your laundry

– Use distilled white vinegar to clean mineral deposits from shower heads, faucets, and tiles

– Distilled white vinegar can also be used to treat existing spots on fabric, glassware, and porcelain

– Install a small ion exchange filter on your kitchen faucet or use a filtered pitcher for storing drinking water, if the taste bothers you

– Regularly flush your hot water heater as per owner’s manual instructions

– Clean calcified buildup from pipes and appliances on a regular basis

If you have a hard water problem in your home and have made the decision to install a water softener, schedule service with a Bonfe licensed technician today.

One thought on “How to Recognize and Treat Hard Water Problems

  1. We have a home built in 1947 and still have the lead pipes. They are calcified and my water pressure is limited. I’ve been told to correct the problem would require replacing the pipes and that my finished basement ceiling would be damaged in the process. Is there an easier way to correct this problem. I’m retired and not sure how long I’ll stay in our home, so I don’t want to spend a fortune on repairs. Thanks!

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