You may be confused by the terms “hard water” and “soft water.” They have nothing to do with firmness or rigidity, and the appearance of each is virtually identical. Water is “hard” if it carries dissolved minerals. Soft water does not have these.
If you have hard water, you may wonder if it is a problem for which you need to call Fox Valley plumbing. There are no serious health risks associated with drinking hard water, and it might supplement the diet of people with deficiencies of magnesium or calcium. However, hard water can also have undesired effects on your home and your lifestyle.
What Hard Water Does to Your Home
The minerals dissolved in hard water can build up over time and leave deposits in pipes. As a result, these can become corroded or clogged. Mineral deposits can also affect the functioning of appliances that use water, such as dishwashers or water heaters. These may break down or operate less efficiently. A buildup of mineral deposits from hard water can reduce water heater efficiency by 25%, which results in higher heating bills.
Hard water promotes the buildup of soap scum in showers and sinks. It can also cause staining on sinks, toilets, and drains that can be difficult to remove. Depending on the minerals involved, hard water may also stain the tub of a washing machine and perhaps even the clothes themselves. Detergents and soaps don’t lather as well in hard water.
What Hard Water Does to You
Exposure to the minerals in hard water can make you more susceptible to infections by changing your skin’s pH balance. This weakens its built-in defenses. If you have an underlying condition that compromises the integrity of your skin, such as eczema, you may be at an even greater risk. Many people also find that they have drier hair and skin from bathing in hard water. This can cause the hair to become dull and brittle and the skin to become itchy, tight, and uncomfortable. The skin of the scalp may be particular vulnerable to itchiness from frequent hair-washing in hard water.
While certain minerals may actually improve the taste of your water, some people find that hard water has an unappealing taste and odor. It can taste metallic or smell like rotten eggs. While the taste and smell does not have any bearing on the healthiness of the water, it may be difficult to drink as much as you should if the odor or taste is off-putting to you.
Generally speaking, hard water is safe to use and drink. However, the problems it causes can be costly.