Hard water can be a big problem, affecting almost every area of your life, but not a whole lot of people know exactly what hard water is. In fact, if one hundred random people on the street were polled, the majority of them would have heard the phrase “hard water” – but very few of them would be able to define precisely what that phrase is referring to.
Water is referred to as “hard water” if it contains a lot of minerals or metals. This makes sense, as you can think of the fact that metals and minerals are hard – so if there are a lot of minerals in water, it would also be referred to as hard. Minerals and metals that are often found in hard water include calcium and magnesium, but other minerals and metals can be found in there as well. These pollutants get into groundwater by seeping in from the surrounding soil.
The level to which water is “hard water” can be quantitatively measured. The term that is usually used to quantify how hard water is, is grains per gallon. Sometimes, the measurement of milligrams per liter is used. Since a grain is defined as 64.8 mg, in many cases it is simply more straightforward to use the milligrams per liter designation.
We all know that hard water is “bad” – but what exactly is the problem with hard water? What kinds of problems can it cause?
Well, the problems that it can cause are twofold – first of all, hard water can cause calcium and magnesium to build up on the inside of metal (such as pipes, tea kettles, coffee makers, water heaters – anything that is made of metal that might have water inside of it). This scaly buildup can cause water to run slow or take a lot longer to heat up. Eventually, it can move from simply interfering with the movement of water through your pipes to actually totally and completely blocking it. This causes damage to fixtures like shower heads as well as pipes. This damage occurs over time due of the buildup of minerals such as lime and calcium. Steel pipes are especially susceptible to this type of damage and it is advisable to replace them with copper, PVC, or ideally you would perform a PEX plumbing replacement. Read our post on PEX to learn more about PEX tubing.
Secondly, hard water is very difficult to use around the house for daily activities. Soap is a lot more difficult to work up a lather with if you are using along with this kind of water, for instance, and it also causes so to deteriorate in such a way that it develops an extremely unpleasant scum-like residue.
The main ways to combat this kind of water is to include filtering water for the metal and mineral residues, as well as a process called descaling where those substances are taken out of the water. Additionally, you can use water softeners – a process that is quite a bit simpler.
Now that you are aware of how damaging this kind of water can be, it is not in the least surprising why so many people are interested in water softeners! One of the reasons we are giving away a free water softener!
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Call Will’s All Pro Plumbing & Air Conditioning today for more information on hard water!