Hard Water: What It Is, How It Affects You, and How to Fix It

Hard Water: What It Is, How It Affects You, and How to Fix It

Have you ever noticed mineral deposits on your faucets, dry and itchy skin after a shower, or stains on your dishes? If so, you may be dealing with hard water.


Hard water is a common issue that affects many households, but understanding its impact and finding effective solutions can help you maintain a healthier, more efficient home. In this blog, we'll dive into the world of hard water, exploring its effects on plumbing, appliances, and personal care. We'll also provide you with practical tips to test your water hardness and share effective solutions to soften your water or mitigate the problems associated with hard water.


What is Hard Water?

Hard water refers to water that contains high levels of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. These minerals are picked up from the earth as water passes through rocks and soil, leading to the hardness of the water. The level of water hardness is typically measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM).


How to Tell If You Have Hard Water

There are some signs that can indicate if you have hard water in your home. Some of them are:

  • Feeling a film on your hands after washing them. This is caused by the soap reacting with calcium to form soap scum. You may need to rinse your hands longer if the water is hard.
  • Spots on glasses and silverware coming out of the dishwasher. These are usually deposits of calcium carbonate that form when hard water evaporates.
  • Mineral stains on clothes when they come out of the washing machine. Clothes can wear out faster because of the harshness of hard water.
  • Less water pressure in your home. Mineral deposits can form in the pipes, reducing the water flow and clogging the faucets and showerheads.
  • A slight metallic taste in drinking water.


If you notice any of these signs, you may want to test your water hardness. You can do this by using a test kit that you can buy online or at a hardware store, or by sending a sample of your water to a laboratory for analysis. The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mg/L) as calcium carbonate. The general guidelines for the classification of waters are:

  • 0 to 60 mg/L (0 to 3.5 gpg) as calcium carbonate is classified as soft
  • 61 to 120 mg/L (3.6 to 7 gpg) as moderately hard
  • 121 to 180 mg/L (7.1 to 10.5 gpg) as hard
  • More than 180 mg/L (more than 10.5 gpg) as very hard


What Are the Effects of Hard Water?

Hard water can have some negative effects on your plumbing, your appliances, and your skin and hair. Some of them are:

  • Scale buildup in pipes, water heaters, boilers, and appliances that use hot water. This can reduce the efficiency and lifespan of these devices, increase energy costs, and cause malfunctions and leaks.
  • Soap scum formation on bathtubs, sinks, showers, tiles, and fixtures. This can make cleaning more difficult and create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
  • Reduced cleaning power of detergents and soap. Hard water can interfere with the lathering and rinsing of these products, leaving residues on dishes, clothes, and skin.
  • Dryness and irritation of skin and hair. Hard water can strip away the natural oils from your skin and hair, making them dry, dull, and prone to itching and flaking. Hard water can also worsen eczema symptoms and increase the risk of developing eczema in young children.


What Are Some Solutions to Deal with Hard Water Problems?

If you have hard water in your home, you may want to consider some options to soften your water or deal with hard water problems. Some of them are:

  • Installing a water softener system. This is a device that uses salt or potassium to exchange the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water with sodium or potassium ions, making the water soft. Water softeners can prevent scale buildup in pipes and appliances, improve the cleaning power of detergents and soap, and reduce the dryness and irritation of skin and hair.
  • Using a shower filter or a faucet filter. These are devices that attach to your showerhead or faucet and filter out some of the minerals and impurities in hard water. They can improve the quality of your drinking water, reduce soap scum formation, and protect your skin and hair from hard water damage.
  • Using vinegar or citric acid to remove scale buildup and soap scum. You can use vinegar or citric acid to clean your appliances, pipes, faucets, showerheads, and fixtures that are affected by hard water. You can also run vinegar or citric acid through your coffee maker, dishwasher, or washing machine to descale them and improve their performance.
  • Using moisturizers and conditioners for your skin and hair. You can use moisturizers and conditioners to replenish the natural oils and moisture that hard water can strip away from your skin and hair. You can also use products that are specially formulated for hard water, such as shampoos, soaps, and detergents that contain chelating agents or water softeners.


Bottom Line

Hard water is not a health hazard, but it can cause some problems for your plumbing, your appliances, and your skin and hair. If you have hard water in your home, you can test its hardness level and choose the best solution to soften your water or deal with hard water problems. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of soft water, such as cleaner dishes and clothes, healthier skin and hair, and lower energy bills.

Back to blog

Leave a comment